Authors: Sidney Bristol
is a work of fiction. Names, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
A Loveswept eBook Edition
Copyright © 2014 by Sidney Bristol
by Stacey Kennedy copyright © 2014 Stacey Kennedy.
All Rights Reserved.
Published in the United States by Loveswept, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
LOVESWEPT and colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.
Cover photograph: Claudio Marinesco
Cover design: Caroline Teagle
eBook ISBN 978-0-553-39252-4
“It’s not until you lose everything that you can truly appreciate everything.”
Beauty and the Beast
Damien had a craving, and every intention of sating it. That’s what these kink retreat weekends were all about. Scratching an itch. Indulging in his every illicit desire.
Usually when he attended his friend’s events, he let potential play partners approach him. This time, he knew who he wanted.
He’d seen her for the first time at dinner. It was one of the casual buffet meals, instead of the formal, seated events where attending submissives and slaves served the dominants and masters. She’d been in the room for less than ten minutes, and he’d stared at her every single one of them.
It wasn’t that she’d stood out. In comparison to the other nude or scantily clad guests, she’d been conservative in appearance. And it wasn’t her physical endowments that had captured his curiosity; it was how she carried herself, the poise with which she’d surveyed the room. He’d looked away for a second to extract himself from a conversation, but she’d left, leaving him frustrated and curious.
The library was on a long list of potential hiding places where his prey might have gone. Damien wouldn’t be deterred. Even if he didn’t find her tonight, he had the rest of the weekend to locate her.
He stilled, catching sight of blond hair draped over the edge of the sofa.
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair
Damien crept closer, his lungs burning as he held his breath.
She lay on a red-velvet chaise longue, her head turned away from him and pillowed on her arm. She’d changed from the sexy little lingerie dress she had worn at dinner, into black yoga pants and a tank top with the
logo stretched across her breasts. Brightly colored tattoos crawled down her left arm, ending at the elbow. The design appeared to be birds, or maybe butterflies. He wasn’t close enough to see the entire image.
She didn’t wear a collar, cuffs, or any other item of jewelry that identified her as someone’s submissive or slave. Was she a dominant like him? He liked a woman with spunk who was unafraid of calling the shots, but he’d watched others struggle to make relationships work with two alpha personalities. Maybe she was a greedy little switch who liked to play both sides? Switches were an ambiguous role identification. They could prefer to top one night,
swinging a flogger as hard as any dominant, and the next night prostrate themselves and beg for the lick of a whip just like any other submissive. It was a tantalizing option, and teased his imagination. He’d played with switches before. Most of them were mouthy and practically begged for more.
Regardless of how she identified, he wasn’t walking away now. Not when he’d found her.
Damien cleared his throat and let his boots thud on the tile floor as he stopped in front of her.
The woman sat up suddenly, blinking as if she had been dozing and was just waking up. Her gaze landed on him and she froze. In the dim light, wearing all black, he was probably a bit difficult to see.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.” No, he’d just wanted her awake. He added a smile to further put her at ease. “May I join you?”
“Depends if you make a habit of hovering about watching people.” Color rose in her cheeks, giving them a pink hue. Damn if it didn’t entice him more.
Damien grinned. “Got me there. It’s not a habit, I promise.”
“Have a seat if you like.” She swung her feet off the chaise, lifting a book from her lap. She covered her mouth while she yawned, and even that gesture was cute.
“What are you reading?” he asked as he sank into an uncomfortable leather chair.
Her lips curled into a smile and she flashed the book’s cover at him. A shirtless man graced the front. “A trashy romance novel. Want to read a page?”
“He looks like he’s constipated.” Damien held out his hand, now more curious than ever about her. “What’s it about?”
She handed the book over and her smile widened. “A wolf-shifter alpha has to take a vampire queen as his mate to save his pack, but what he doesn’t know is that the vampire coven has organized the marriage—mating—to get rid of her and the pack, because they want to suck the blood of everyone in this town on one special night so they’ll become uber-powerful.” She curled her legs under her and propped her chin on her fist. “I’m at the part where the vampire and the wolf are realizing the plot against them, but they’ve already fallen for each other.”
“I … see.” He shook his head. The stuff in books made everyday life seem normal.
Damien started where she’d left off, at the top of the left-hand page, and began reading. “He dug his hand into her hair and pulled, exposing the long column of her neck. His bite, the mark of a mate, stood out on her pale flesh. Adam slapped the round curve of her bottom. She
moaned. His little vamp liked pain with her pleasure. He delivered several blows to her bottom until her skin turned a rosy red and her head tossed back and forth in pleasure. ‘I’m going to tie you to this wall, bite you until not an inch is left unmarked. Then I’ll fuck you until you scream,’ he said.” Damien stopped there and studied his new companion. “If this is trashy, I’ll take a copy.”
She sputtered and laughed, none of the unease he’d glimpsed earlier evident in the comfortable way she reclined across from him.
“I’m serious. Does he really tie her up?” He slipped the bookmark back between the pages and laid the book on his lap.
“I don’t know. Someone interrupted me.” She bit her lower lip and her eyes seemed to sparkle. Rapunzel was an accurate name for her. There was an air of mischief and wonder about her. The blond hair only added to the picture.
What’s your name?
was on the tip of his tongue, but he didn’t ask. He couldn’t. House Surrender was excessive in its rules, to protect the private lives of those who attended. As a resident dom when he chose to attend, he could recite the rules forward and backward. They were the reason he could enjoy a small slice of the BDSM lifestyle beyond the closed doors of his home. He simply could not risk the truth of who and what he was away from his job in law enforcement to become known.
“Sorry about that. Should I leave you to this?” He lifted the book and wiggled it at her.
“Hmm.” Her lip slid from between her teeth as she appeared to consider his offer. “I can read it later.”
“Are you having a good time?” he asked for lack of a better opening to pry into the mystery of who she was.
The light in her gaze dimmed and she shrugged. “It’s okay.”
“What’s going on?”
“I think … I think I had an idea of what a retreat at House Surrender would be like, and it’s nothing like what I imagined.” She shrugged again and picked at a spot on her pants.
“Tell me. My friend owns House Surrender and he’s very adamant that everyone find what they’re looking for.”
Her eyes fluttered wide open. “Oh crap. I’m sorry. I don’t mean it’s not good.”
“It’s okay. Just tell me what’s not to your liking.” Maybe he’d be able to fix it to
She cringed and ducked her head, staring at the couch, or maybe her pants again. Her hair formed a partial curtain, obscuring her face. “Nothing’s wrong. I just thought it would be, I don’t know, not so many couples. I thought there would be more opportunity to, maybe, meet people.”
You’ve met me, Rapunzel
. “It’s hit or miss which retreats have a higher number of singles or not. I know several poly couples who are looking to add a third. I could introduce you?” He hated saying those words, but so many people were of the more-the-merrier camp lately when it came to relationships. He was a bit old-fashioned there. He only wanted one woman.
“I don’t like to share or be shared,” she said adamantly, no smiles or shyness about that.
“Neither do I,” he replied.
Their gazes met, and for a moment the room faded away. The crackling fire and the scent of hundreds of books and leather blended together, until she was the only thing in focus. An undeniable zip of chemistry struck him full in the chest and his cock answered, hardening at the idea of this woman under his control. She would be fun.
“What else don’t you like?” He had to force himself to speak. It was that or act on the more carnal thoughts circling in his mind.
“I thought this would be like a weekend I’d spend at my BDSM club. Maybe this is someone’s idea of a club, but it’s not mine.” She didn’t shy away from his gaze, which he liked. A woman with spunk and a spine. He might be in love already.
“Why? What’s so different?” No club in existence was identical to another. You could have the same furniture, perform the same acts, but you couldn’t replicate the people.
“Here you have to be either a dominant or a submissive. Master or slave. There’s no wiggle room for those of us who aren’t entirely either.” Her frustration rang clear, and he understood it, though he couldn’t identify, since he was a dom to the bone.
A switch. She was a switch.
Damien couldn’t decide if the idea intrigued, excited, or bored him. Switches were the greedy ones of the kink community. They didn’t play just the top or bottom position; they went both ways. Some people didn’t like them, because you never knew which side of the coin your switch would be on. Studying her, he couldn’t deny she both intrigued and excited him. She was tempting, and something about her drew him.
“Yes, I’m a switch. Is that a problem?” she said, in reply to a question he hadn’t realized he’d asked. She tilted her head to the side, waiting for his answer, but all he could do was marvel at her poise.
There were two layers of energy he got from her, the confident, self-assured vibe that had drawn him, and a secondary one that had a distinctly submissive vibe. She might be a switch, but he’d be willing to bet that under his hand, she’d submit and enjoy it. The question was, would she do it willingly? Or would she fight him at every turn?