One secret is deadly. The other will heal the world. But which is which?

If you love dystopian dilemmas, a clash of complex female characters, and dark, sapphic romance, read Watch Over Me now.

Dark f/f Dynamic

With a dark, sapphic, slow burn, age gap, and morally grey power imbalance subplot, this 'ship touches on similar psychological tones seen between Eve & Villanelle (Killing Eve), and Nancy & Diana Leatherby (Tipping The Velvet).

Near Future What Ifs

Think Black Mirror with advancing tech and could-be-coming dystopian solutions for social dilemmas. This story is for adult fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Handmaid's Tale.

Thriller Twists

Racing plot twists, moral dilemmas, high stakes, crimes a-plenty, dark themes, a dash of near-death and almost-kisses, and you've got the measure...

Here's the blurb... After stealing medication for her secret sister, Yara is forced into RePay – a terrifying TV game show that will determine her fate.

Her only hope for freedom lies in surviving a risky biotechnology trial within the sterile walls of Watch Over Me, where ruthlessly passionate head engineer, Ms Wilding, reveals an unnerving agenda.

When Wilding’s controlling obsessions turn curiously personal, Yara must summon every ounce of willpower to outwit her captor and resist the pull of forbidden attraction in their dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. Failure means forfeiting her only chance to save her sister in an off-record bargain with Wilding’s celebrity arch-enemy.

But what Yara uncovers during her incarceration at Watch Over Me, proves she’s not the only one closely guarding a life-changing secret that will challenge alliances, and alter the course of freedom.

But whose secrets should stay hidden, and whose should be revealed to the world?

Only 30 days to decide.

Book 2 Coming 2024

Sign up for an ARC!

With no way to know who’s telling the truth, you'll be questioning who the real enemy is.

By night, I write.

Well, this is awkward because I'm a debut author, and so far, I can only tell you about my day job...

Kate is an advocate for multi-hyphenate living. Never one for the 9-5, she defines herself as career creative with a patchwork of passions.

Kate Hennessy is an award-winning, internationally published photographer and videographer, with features including VOGUE Italia. With a prior background in performing arts and a degree in education, Kate now helps people to craft stand-out images and video content to take their business branding and marketing to the next level. She has photographed best-selling authors, award-winning performers, and British royalty, but especially loves working with anyone who loves using their imagination.

Kate formerly co-presented a radio show for 92.2FM producing features on business and mindset. She also enjoys composing music, creating AI art, and not-so-secretly wishes she was either a princess or a musical theatre star. Kate lives in rural south-east England with her older partner, Amanda, where life never stands still and sleep is rarely all night on account of their two young daughters.

One day, Kate hopes to add best-selling novelist to this bio. Can you help?

Sapphics, secrets & survival.

In a nutshell. Or a microchip.

After stealing meds for her illegal sister, Yara is forced into RePay–a TV show which determines her sentence. She bargains for her freedom, but must survive a biotech trial & its dangerously passionate head engineer, Ms Wilding, who harbours a secret of her own.

  • New Adult/Adult

  • First in series: Book 2 – Tempest – coming late 2024

  • Dystopian tropes: near future | biotechnology advances | oppressive government | resistance movement | surveillance | ambitious career women in STEM | secrets

  • Sapphic romance tropes (subplot): slow-burn | forbidden love | age gap | CEO | power imbalance | rich/poor | researcher/subject

  • Spice level: 🌶️ slow-burn sexual tension | kissing | light touching | no sex

  • Why you need to know: This novel touches upon some dark, psychological themes including obsessive ambition, possessive behaviour, ownership, control, and aspects of Stockholm Syndrome. This is a novel about an unethical f/f relationship whereby morally grey romantic feelings arise between two adult women with a significant power imbalance (researcher and her enforced research subject), which drive positive change within both characters. It is not a traditional romance novel and these themes raise questions about compassion, empathy, consent, and love.


Tech + Humans

I have forever been fascinated with how the world will look with technology beyond our time – not so far off it feels implausible, but close enough to feel it coming. With AI changing the shape of human existence on a daily basis, I'm glued to the raging debate. But my question remains, which is more dangerous – the tech or the humans?

In Watch Over Me, I explore whether we can use AI biotechnology to eradicate crime.

'Have no doubt, my flower, my software will iron out all our human failings.' - Ada Wilding

Love These | Love This

If you love...

Ambitious women with a dash of dark, slow-burn, sapphic power dynamics. The arc will conclude in the book 2 in 2024.

If you love...

A racing plot with multiple twists to keep you guessing, near future tech, moral dilemmas, high stakes, secrets and lies, in the vein of Blake Crouch.

If you love...

Dystopian sci-fi that doesn't feel too far off. You'd love a flavour of The Hunger Games or Divergent, but with lesbian leads, and adult themes.

Spicy Sapphic Romance Books

Why I Take Sizzle Over Spice In Sapphic Romance Every Time

April 22, 17084 min read

The Art of Anticipation: Why I Crave Sizzle Over Spice in My Sapphic Romance Reads

In a world where instant gratification often takes centre stage, there's a quiet, rewarding satisfaction in the slow burn, the tantalising build-up that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I've always preferred the sizzle over the spice, relishing the way the author builds anticipation, taking us through the delicious uncertainty that keeps us turning the page.

Firstly, let's clear something up straight away. This is not an anti-spice post. In fact, I'm someone who freely admits to enjoying dark romance, where spice is spicy, so I'm not waving from up here on my high horse about the moral decline and debauchery of humanity. And let's not forget that individual tastes and tolerances play into our appreciation of spice. It's also worth noting that affinity for spice in real-life does not necessarily translate to a parallel fondness for literary spice, and vice versa.

So to it, then. I guess, for me, it's the difference between an inflated balloon and one that's popped. I know, it's a smirk-inducing metaphor given our topic, but it's to do with anticipation. Writing anticipation is an absolute art. It calls upon every technique a writer has in her drawers – I know, my metaphors are on fire. The build-up is the thrill, the longing and lingering, the wire-edge tension, the messy conflict and unshakeable desires that electrify the atmosphere, setting the stage for fireworks that pack an multi-level, emotional punch.

Now, I'm liberal and not without kink, and I'm here looking for an alternative approach to sapphic romance. It's not about shaming people who love spice or labelling people who don't, it's about loosening the reigns on what constitutes romance.

But spice seems to be an either/or thing, one camp or the other. What's out there for people like me in the shadows of dark romance searching for an emphasis on sizzle over spice? Sounds like an oxymoron, right? That's not to say that sex can't happen eventually, but I want it late in the game and not reliant on explicit description. And here's the stinger, I'm not necessarily looking for a happy ever after.

Stunned silence.

Well then, Kate, what does this genre you've entirely dreamed up look like, you ask? Is it even romance you're after?

Good question. What's certain is that expectations in the romance genre have, in one way or another, whether from readers or writers, distilled to a formula. Why is romance the over-arching genre in any case? Romance feels like a sub-genre to me, not the catch all. Why not relational dynamics? I know it doesn't sound as sexy – but there we are back at spice. Another axe, another time.

When it comes to sex in fiction, sure, you can opt for sweet romance, slow-burn, or fade-to-black, but those labels don't exactly drizzle on the sizzle or stir in flavours of psychosexual complexities. I'm just here to advocate for more mashups, like fade-to-black dark romance, and advocate for relationship novels that don't fit the rules for romance. Like the HEA. (Don't yell at me.)

So what's girl to do? She has to try writing it for herself. I did that here. That said, slow-burn fanatic as I am, I'm currently down to the wick in book two, so I am finally flirting with the climax, so to speak, but my point is – and call me controversial if you like – but I believe you can write a sizzling romance without ever describing the physical act.

For readers with preferences like mine, the tastiest spice is in the:

  • dialogue

  • context

  • tension

  • build up

  • metaphor (no, not 'her creamy donut of love' but bare biological language doesn't do it for me either, sorry.)

This means writing that's big on the psychological dynamics, the building tension, the tease and linger, the surge and retreat, the guessing, the shift in dynamics, and most crucially, the purpose, stakes and context. These are what charge a novel with sexual electricity.

Sure, I have my favourite tropes, mostly around sapphic power dynamics, namely age gap, boss/employee, ice queen, and enemies-to-lovers to name a few, though I have just one request:

Sex scenes must come well at the eleventh hour and be functional to the plot. Or else, I skip.

Strange concept for a dark romance reader, maybe!

It's the journey that keeps readers like me engaged, invested, and eventually submitting to the spice. It's not about rushing to the finish line; it's about savouring the building crescendo.

We read to escape, and for some, an uncomplicated romance in a idyllic setting, or else a love-against-the-odds story offers plenty of wonderful reasons to read, but don't we also have room to explore unconventional ideas of attraction, desire and love? Are they less valid, less entertaining, less worthy of the romance genre? I don't think so.

It's not just about what happens; it's about how, the evolution of a relationship, that keeps readers turning pages.

So, bring on the sizzle. And make it sapphic. Please.

sapphic romancedark sapphic romancedark romance sapphicnon-spicy dark romancesapphic booksslow burn sapphic romanceage gap sapphic romancepower imbalance romance
Kate Hennessy is a sapphic author, writing in the speculative space.

Kate Hennessy

Kate Hennessy is a sapphic author, writing in the speculative space.

Back to Blog

Click Here If You'd Like Content Warnings

This is a speculative dystopian novel with some challenging themes and potentially upsetting content, including:

Elements of F/F dark romance due to a morally grey power imbalance between a researcher and research subject (no sexual content beyond kissing, no non-con content), with an obsessive/possessive infatuation and controlling behaviour - this will suit psychological dark romance readers (without spice) but isn't suitable for those who do not enjoy power imbalances.

Enforced participation in gamified life-threatening physical challenges including near-drowning and electrocution (no gore or excessive violence).

Needles (brief mention)

Fight/assault (non-sexual on-page, suggested sexual off-page)

Death (non-graphic)

Very mild bad language and blasphemy

Separation from family


Terrorist incident (bomb)

Child illness (non-life threatening) and isolation

Trauma (suggested, off-page)

Blood (non-violent)

Bring back dystopian fiction. It offers safe exploration of oppression. It fosters critical thinking, promotes empathy, inspires change, and cultivates social awareness. The real world needs solutions that might begin with a writer and their reader. It reminds us of our power for change.



Sapphics, secrets & survival.

Here's the companion guide to Watch Over Me, with supplementary material to enhance or extend your reading pleasure.


Headline that hooks people in, gets them excited and makes them want to sign up.

© Copyright Kate Hennessy