Author’s Note: Please note that this preview is safe for all audiences. I chose a scene I think captures the essence of the novel. Please enjoy this preview and know that it has NOT undergone editing yet (and I might be changing it as I find issues with the text). So forgive me if there are any glaring errors here. I did attempt to edit it to the best of my ability, but you know how that goes. As an author I’m sometimes too close to my material to catch stuff. Enjoy it!
Brad eyed the back of Eric’s head warily. There was no easy way to bring it up. “So you realize you let Amy top you from the bottom?”
Eric whirled around, giving him a puzzled look. “What? No, man. It’s not like that.”
“It seems to me she’s calling the shots, at least at the moment. I think even in the vanilla world that’s called whipped.” He grinned.
Eric got defensive like Brad expected. “Well, it’s our relationship, so I suppose we can do whatever we want. Besides, you’re the one always telling me how each bdsm relationship is its own unique animal. Right now we’re in an exploratory phase.”
Brad shrugged. “I guess you’re right. It’s just that at first you took some pretty irregular liberties in caging her and treating her like she’s been a sub forever with no training, and then you turn around and let her call the shots. I guess I’m not understanding what’s up with you two.”
“Well, I look at it as I’m helping her explore her submissive sexuality. It pleases me to do that. Besides, it’s not like I don’t incorporate my wants into that equation,” Eric told him. Then added as an afterthought, “Amy is eager to please me and she usually does what I tell her to even when she’s unsure about it. And when she doesn’t she’s punished. I’ve only gotten the safe word once in the last two weeks. Besides – you’re the one who took a single tailed whip to her. How irregular was that?”
“That wasn’t just me. That was a collaborative decision between the three of us. You know as well as I do that she sometimes needs pain to bring out an emotional release, otherwise she shuts down. You can’t deny that. I guess I’m perplexed at how initially you didn’t even work her up to caning or anal plugs. You just kind of jumped into that, too. And yet now she gets to pick and choose?” Brad kind of laughed, knowing he had Eric in a position where he couldn’t refute it.
Eric relented. “Okay, so I didn’t go slow and I took a lot of liberties with her in the beginning. But she’s just so damn… willing to let me do what I want with her. I don’t want a sub who always struggles against my demands. I want one who does what I want when I want it. And yes, she does get what she wants but only when I agree with her. She’s so damn creative with her kink I can’t help but be curious about it myself. That girl has one hell of a unique imagination. Besides, we’re not 24/7 and I’m not sure if our relationship is heading in that direction. I’m cool with that. How does that translate to her topping from the bottom again?”
The door opened and Amy entered, trailed by Kali. Both women were smiling.
That couldn’t be good. Brad lifted an eyebrow. “What are you two up to?”
“Girl stuff,” Kali said with a wink. They both disappeared behind the counter and into the back room.
“Speaking of topping from the bottom, about Kali…,” Eric started.
Brad nodded, looked toward the door at the back of the register station cautiously and said, “I was meaning to talk to you about that. You know, the whole switch thing has me a bit baffled. She doesn’t top from the bottom at all. And you think she would. I’m beginning to think the whole Domme thing was a ruse.”
Eric snorted. “Man, you can’t fake that. Kali can be a force to be reckoned with.”
“Everyone has an aggressive side to them. It’s just a matter if it’s nurtured or not. I think with her it’s a defense mechanism. All the signs are there. I mean, when she did the whole switch thing it was literally like something clicked and her defenses just fell down around her. Like she was tired of keeping them up and needed to drop the charade. I don’t know how else to describe it. I want to do some checking around.” Brad gave Eric a questioning look. “You think you might be able to talk to your private investigator friend and see if he can help me out?”
“Seriously? You want to actually check her out? Like investigate her background?” Eric was clearly surprised by this revelation. “Why don’t you just ask her?”
Brad gave Eric an exasperated look. “I did. She skirted my questions with some bullshit answers and changed the subject. So yes, I want to find out what’s up and clearly she’s not going to tell me.”
“She doesn’t trust you enough to tell you yet. Stuff like that takes time. Maybe you should wait it out. I mean eventually she’s going to spill whatever it is, if anything. She may have been sexually assaulted as a sub so she turned Domme or something. Or maybe you’re seeing something that isn’t there. A lot of people are switches.” Eric looked over the bookstore.
Tuesday mornings were always really slow until about lunchtime.
Brad was doubtful. “A Domme suddenly switches and becomes a very obedient, well-trained sub in a matter of hours. I’m not so sure about that. Sexual assault or abuse doesn’t generally manifest like that…”
“Oh come on, she had to have given you a reason for the sudden switch.” It was obvious Eric wasn’t seeing the same thing Brad was.
Brad shrugged. “Maybe. She did say she was interested in me and she knew the only way I’d have her was as a sub. Since I’m not inclined to allow my women top me from the bottom,” he added with a chuckle.
“Fuck you, man,” Eric said. Just then the women came out of the back room.
“What are you two doing?” Brad asked again, noticing Amy had the new shipment of indie titles in her arms.
She set the box up on the counter and opened it and began pulling the books out onto the counter. “We’re planning a barbeque, and I’m going to put these on the shelves. We actually ran out of those indie teen vampire novels last month.”
Eric snorted. “What I don’t get about the whole teen vampire thing is it’s usually about a vampire who looks seventeen, but really he’s like one-hundred-and-something, and yet he still hangs out at high school. Why? Do teen vampires really need to go to high school for the rest of their lives?”
Amy giggled. Brad and Kali exchanged smiles.
With an armful of books, Amy retreated into the stacks and Kali gave Brad a quick kiss on the cheek before leaving and heading to work.
Once she was gone Eric nodded. Obviously he’d thought it over. “Alright. I’ll call Ted later today. What do you want to know exactly?”
“To start, where she’s actually from, what she did before moving here, criminal record – that sort of thing.”
Eric nodded but didn’t really say anything.
A sudden sick feeling overtook him. Before he changed his mind he looked at Eric in earnest. “Hey man, don’t tell Amy. Okay? She might tell Kali what’s going on.”
“What if Amy knows what’s up with Kali?” Eric suggested. “We could always ask her. Women talk.”
Both their eyes traveled to Amy’s head poking up between the shelves. “I don’t know.” Brad wasn’t too sure he liked that idea. “I don’t know that we can trust Amy to keep this quiet if Kali bends her over a spanking bench.”
Eric nodded. “At the same time, Amy lives with me and we share everything. I haven’t kept anything from her so far and I don’t intend to start now.”
“For now let’s keep it between us and Ted, okay?” Brad lifted an eyebrow at his best friend.
“You got it, man. I’ll keep it between us for as long as I can.” With that, Eric picked up another stack of books and headed off to shelve them.