Authors: Rachell Nichole
Tags: #BDSM; Multicultural
“Don’t put much stock into head doctors, huh?”
Therapy had made her more miserable than ever as a kid. Her father’s insistence that she needed help to control her urges had meant staying locked in a room with some guy or lady in a white coat telling her it was
to be sexually active at sixteen. The one and only time she’d tried to talk frankly with any of them about how she felt inside regarding sex had turned into a disaster, ending with her getting put on antidepressants.
She shuddered, remembering how she’d walked around like a zombie for those first few months, until she’d found a pill that looked the same that she could take in its place. Dumb kid move, she knew, taking the wrong meds, but she couldn’t function in such a haze, and since her father practically crammed them down her throat, there hadn’t been any other way to avoid taking them. As an adult, she’d had some success with one therapist who’d helped her get a handle on her anger. But out of the half dozen shrinks she’d seen over the years, Dr. Reynald had been the exception, not the rule.
Chase snapped his fingers in front of her face, and she blinked, shaking her head and clearing her mind of the vestiges of those horrid memories. “Sorry. Anyway, I’ve been reading a bit more in the BDSM erotic-romance subgenre. But I can’t seem to re-create the right balance in the book. The scenes either come off sounding rapey or stupid or not sexy at all. And it needs to be sexy.”
“Rapey?” He shook his head. “Yeah, that’s definitely not sexy.”
“Hence my issues. I need to understand a true, healthy Dominant/submissive relationship before I can write it out, I think. Sarah and Hawke are good people, and I need to do right by them.”
“You talk as if they’re real people.”
“To me they are.” She stared straight into his chocolate-brown eyes as she said this. It was nice to be able to look him in the eye without straining her neck for once.
He shrugged again, one bulging shoulder lifting in an almost delicate gesture. Nothing about this man was delicate. Except maybe his ego. “Okay. Well, at the base of the relationship is usually the need to be yourself, to be comfortable. Doms need to be in control the way you need to write, whereas subs need to be controlled.”
She tried to take notes as he talked, she really did, but she couldn’t stop staring at the way he formed his words, at the way his lips moved sensually over each syllable, almost purring.
“That doesn’t really explain anything, you know.”
He groaned, picking up a napkin from the holder on the table between them and fiddling with it. “There’s not necessarily a why, a motivation behind it for a lot of people. It’s like they’re just hardwired that way. You’re either kinky or you’re not. The same way that you’re either gay or you’re not.”
“So it’s not like the Kinsey scale of sexuality? There aren’t, like, two ends of the spectrum—totally gay and totally straight, and everyone is pretty much in the middle?”
He twisted the napkin tighter in his fingers. “Well, maybe. So let’s put nuns on one end of that spectrum, then the vanillas—you know, people who only like straight sex, and by straight I don’t mean not gay; I mean sex without any kind of kink. Think like total-missionary, once-every-six-months, and blowjobs-on-birthdays kind of vanilla. Then as you move more toward the middle, you get people who like different positions, more spice, maybe ménages, and a bit of tie-me-up, tie-me-down with silk scarves and soft blindfolds. Then as you keep moving, you get to people who like the harder stuff, like whips and nipple clamps, spanking, debasement, orgasm denial, reward and punishment. Then all the way out here are the real edge players who use blades and fire and stuff.”
Liz shivered. Fire and blades. How could you ever trust anyone like that? She started drawing the scale, in a completely nerdy bell-curve kind of way, trying to slow her pounding heart when she thought of a blade pressing against her skin while she was utterly at someone’s mercy. According to Chase, most people fell somewhere in the middle, between vanilla and kinky as hell.
“For some, the line is here.” He reached over and traced an invisible line down the middle of her bell curve with his thick index finger. “They’re mostly vanilla, with a little slap and tickle, and they won’t go any further. For a lot of people who come on the scene the first time, they fall somewhere in here.” He rubbed back and forth from the middle to halfway through the second half of the curve in a sensual slide that made her throat go dry. She could picture that finger rubbing back and forth like that along her skin, and she clenched her thighs together, holding the heat at the center of her body close.
“Sometimes they push themselves and find they’re actually out here.” He captured her hand in his, and she let him trace her finger to the outlying edges of her curve. “And some people think it’s cool and trendy and dangerous to pretend they lie here.” He brought her finger back toward the middle. “When really, they’re way the hell over here.” He jerked her hand all the way across the page to where she’d written
. The soft paper teased the pads of her fingers with every movement.
“Others who have been taught how evil and dirty it is to want to be spanked spend their entire lives miserably stuck in Vanilla Land.” He circled her finger around the word. “They never admit to themselves, let alone their partners, what they want, what they
. And then they have unfulfilling sex for eternity. It’s sad.”
She’d been watching his large, calloused hand as it held hers captive and skittered across the page. But now she looked up and locked gazes with him. His penetrating stare seemed to see deep into her soul, and she tried to shrink back from it. He didn’t let her. Was he talking about her? Her sex life wasn’t unfulfilling. It was nonexistent.
“Okay, so I get the whole where-sexual-preferences-lie scale thing. I understand the hardwired stuff. And the need to be truthful to yourself about your desires.” Did she sound like she was admitting she was one of those people in denial? Or like she was consenting to let him show her how to stop denying herself? She wasn’t sure. “Hawke and Sarah know who they are, what they want. It’s not about them exploring boundaries or where they are on the Masters Kink Scale.”
“What is it about?” He didn’t seem inclined to release her gaze, or her hand, anytime soon.
“I can’t take notes with you holding me hostage,” she said, her voice breathy, restless.
His tongue darted out and wet his bottom lip. Her thighs clenched tighter together, the pressure at once feeling wonderful and awful at the apex of her legs. He leaned in close over the table, his large frame suddenly crowding her, though there was still at least a foot between them. “If you really want me to let you go, you have to say so. Don’t make some passive-aggressive comment about not being able to write in this position.”
God, this was like the best and worst game of
are you nervous
ever. She’d played it as a kid at those parties she’d sneaked out to attend. She’d always won, while some boy’s—or girl’s—hand crept higher and higher up her thigh, attempting to make her squirm. But this guy made her squirm without even trying.
Still, he was going to make her say it. Make her admit what she wanted and voice it. “Let. Go.”
There. An implacable direct order that didn’t make her sound weak at all. She wasn’t asking, wasn’t pleading with him to release her. She was demanding it. But what the hell would she do if he refused?
CHASE WANTED TO keep the connection between them. But she’d been very clear this time. After he’d pushed her, that was. Reluctantly, he released her hand and slid back onto his bench. Her almond-shaped eyes were dilated again, and he could see them better today. She’d chosen less dramatic makeup around her eyes, with a softer blue liner in place of the harsh black she’d worn the first time they met. Even her outfit was less harsh, showing him the vulnerable inside he’d glimpsed when she posed, ass in the air, for him on the spanking bench. His cock spasmed with the memory of her in that position every time he thought of it. Now, as he sat across from her, with her sweet vanilla scent wafting around his kitchen and her sassy voice trying to order him about, his dick was roaring to life in his tight jeans.
She scribbled something on the pad of paper he couldn’t read upside down. “For a writer, you have really shitty penmanship,” he said.
She ignored him, still scribbling furiously, until she snapped the notebook up and turned the page, then returned the purple tip to the lined paper, almost ripping it in her haste to write faster. Ms. Elizabeth Clark seemed practically oblivious to him as she wrote. He watched as she focused on the page, and then she closed her eyes. Silky brown hair cascaded from behind her ear, hiding part of her downturned face from his view. She didn’t seem to notice, and he resisted the urge to reach out and tuck the strands behind her ear.
He’d seen this kind of devout focus before, on the face of people fully immersed in a scene, totally unaware of anything around them except the person, or people, playing with them. She was amazing like this. Writing with her eyes closed seemed to make her go faster. The scrawls glided above and below those orderly lines, and when she got to the bottom of the page, she flipped the book over and effortlessly started at the top of the blank surface without opening her eyes.
It bothered him that she wouldn’t acknowledge him, but he relished the opportunity to study her in her natural habitat. Her cheeks tinted pink, her mouth slipped open, and it almost killed him not to snatch away her notebook and read what she was writing. Whatever it was must have been hot, because the evidence of her growing arousal was as clear to him as the reaction in his pants to seeing her in this state.
Her muscles were tense, coiling up and readying for release. Oh, how he’d love to give her that release. Had she allowed herself such pleasure recently? Her whole demeanor, the way she’d curled her lip in disgust at the club, told him she didn’t have a rampant sex life. His mind taunted him with an image of him sliding under the table and burying his face between her legs. How long would it take for her to realize he was touching her there? For her to spiral out of control and stop writing?
He shifted in his seat, trying to adjust his pants, and couldn’t quell a soft gasp when his hand passed over his cock. Instantly, Liz’s head snapped up, her unfocused eyes blinking open. After a second, her brow lowered, and her gaze collided with his. His hands were still under the table, and there was no way she wouldn’t notice when he brought them up. She pierced him with her gaze, pinning him to the spot as her cheeks flamed red.
“Sorry,” she said. But she didn’t sound it.
“Don’t worry about it. Does that mean your writer’s block is cured?”
She laughed, glancing down at the table where his hands should be. She set down the pen and shook out her hand. “I wish. A mini scene doesn’t really count. It’s probably crap anyway.”
“Doubtful.” He reached for the notebook, but she huffed and held it away.
“I don’t think so.” Her breathy voice had vanished, replaced by that prissy tone he’d almost started to find endearing. She turned to a new page.
He cleared his throat. “You said the book wasn’t about exploring the kink, but you still didn’t tell me what it is about.”
“Plot-wise? I have no idea. Plots don’t matter as much as the characters and their relationship. It’s about love, like all romance books.”
“That’s pretty vague. I can’t help you if I don’t know what you want.” Here he was again, pushing her to verbalize her needs. He had to push. It was in his nature.
“I need to understand what they want and how they fit together in this Dom/sub relationship. Since I don’t really understand anything about feeling those kinds of urges, it’s hard for me to make them seem real on the page.”
“A Dom/sub relationship is like any other. It’s about finding the right fit. The person or persons who help you be the best you. It’s harder in a kinky relationship because there’s more of a balance of power. If you think about a conventional relationship between a couple, it’s usually about an equality of power in today’s world. Two people who view each other as equals, as partners. A lot of time, it’s hard to reconcile that modern idea of equality with letting someone dictate things to you.”
“Yeah, no kidding.” Her tone said she was speaking from some kind of personal experience. Had she tried to explore a D/s relationship with someone who was the wrong fit? That could sometimes lead to disaster, as he’d found out. A bad Dom could scar a sub for life. The way Suzanna’s first Dom had done to her. Chase’s heart ached as he remembered some of her harrowing stories.
“So it’s about power?” Liz asked, yanking him back to the present.
“Sometimes. Sometimes it’s about safety. About knowing you can be yourself with your partner, about not being afraid to tell him or her what you want, about letting someone see far into your head, your soul, and knowing they’ll still like you afterwards. Sometimes that includes love, sometimes not. A lot of people come to my club to play out their fantasies with strangers.”
“How can you trust a stranger? That doesn’t make any sense. Trust is something that’s built between people. It’s not just something that happens, and you can say,
Poof, I trust you
“Yes. But we have rules to help people feel and act safe. I’m the resident dungeon master. I lay out my laws. And I enforce them. Easy as that. People know they can trust the boundaries and play within them. Nothing ever goes further than the two parties are willing for it to go. Only once has something come close. A Dom who wanted to stop, knew he had to, and a sub who didn’t. That was a long time ago.” Did his voice betray the fact that the Dom had been him? That that night had been what finally ended his relationship with Suzanna all those years ago? She’d wanted him to punish her, to mark her, and he hadn’t been able to, paralyzed by the horror of her first Dominant who’d abused her. He’d safe-worded out, but she hadn’t wanted to listen.