Book Two of The Chattanooga Supernaturals.
As the vampires begin to realize bagged blood isn’t giving them what they need, Kendra goes in search of a human companion. She’s been a Domme for the past thousand years, and has never had trouble finding human men who want to submit to her.
Eric is a human adrenaline junkie who spends his time hang gliding and jumping out of perfectly good airplanes when he isn’t creating video games. And he smells of sunshine and blue skies — addictive to a vampire who’s seen neither for nearly three thousand years. Unfortunately, he’s a Dom. But he’s so full of life, and he gives her adventures when she’d forgotten how to live with joy.
As the two navigate their compatibility in bed, Eric must figure out whether he can handle living in Kendra’s world, and the vampires have to figure out whether they can deal with their third in command submitting to a human they feel is so far beneath them on the evolutionary ladder.
While Kendra and Eric work through their personal challenges, they must also fight a group of powerful supernaturals planning to enslave Eric in an effort to exploit his skills and further their own agenda. Can Kendra and Eric battle all of this to find happiness?
Warnings: This title contains consensual BDSM (M/f and F/m), bondage, mild discipline, use of toys including anal plugs, penis plugs, cuffs, floggers, and canes. Also, the bad guys are subjected to torture and extreme violence.
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Kendra called home from her car to warn the other vampires she was bringing a human home long enough for her to change clothes, and threatened them to be nice. Lucky for her, everyone currently at the house except Gavin — Abbott’s second in command — had to listen to her, and Gavin would be nice because it wouldn’t benefit him to be an ass.
When they arrived, only Gavin and Fawne were on the main level. She guessed Gavin had ran them all away from the main floor until her guest was gone, so she wouldn’t have to answer so many questions about why so many people lived there. Kendra made introductions and ran downstairs to change, as she wasn’t prepared to explain why she had to pass through three locked doors to get to her rooms. Needless to say, vampires are pretty cautious about their daytime resting spot.
Changing clothes didn’t take long with her super vampire speed, so she was back upstairs in jeans, fashionable micro-fleece top, athletic shoes, and her long hair pulled into a ponytail in less than five minutes. She could’ve been faster, but managing the change too fast would arouse questions.
When she returned, Eric looked impressed. “That was quick. I barely had a chance to talk to your friends.”
She grinned. “Yeah, that was kind of the idea.”
“You’ll be back tonight?” Gavin asked.
“Yes. If I’m not back by dawn, send a search party.”
This was an inside joke, since vampires pretty much died at dawn whether they wanted to or not, and there’d be no one awake to search after the sun rose. However, it let him know she intended to come home tonight. More importantly, it would also give her an excuse if Eric wanted her to stay with him longer than she could. Sometimes she felt like Cinderella, needing to be home before sunrise not because her coach would turn into a pumpkin, but because she would turn into a corpse.
Once Kendra and Eric were in his Range Rover, he said, “You live in a beautiful house. Well, a mansion, really, and you must’ve made some interior decorator somewhere quite wealthy. Who do you live there with?”
“It’s kind of complicated. They’re like family to me, I guess. There’s no kinky sexual arrangements going on between my house mates and I, if that’s what you’re wondering. Tell me, why has an adrenaline junkie chosen to live in Chattanooga?”
“Are you kidding? I’m an hour from the Ocoee River, one of the best places to kayak in the country. I’m also an hour from the Lookout Mountain hang gliding launch, one of the best places in the world to hang glide. There are literally hundreds of places to rappel within an hour of the city, and I can make it to a dozen different backcountry wilderness areas from here within three or four hours if I want to hike. The geography makes this area a caver’s paradise. There are enough mountains to climb in eastern Tennessee, northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and western North Carolina to last me the next fifteen years. And, to top it all off, the Tennessee River runs right through the center of town. This is an adrenaline junkie’s dream come true.”
God, so full of life, even talking about having fun, she could see, smell, and hear his excitement and joy. “What do you do for a living to support your adrenaline habit?”
He laughed, so carefree, so casual. How long since she’d laughed for no particular reason, other than to show joy and happiness in a conversation? She couldn’t remember.
“I create video games for couch potato adrenaline junkies. I don’t need to go into an office for that, I can work from anywhere in the world.”
“Where do you live? What part of town?”
“Not too far from you, at the moment. I live in a yacht currently parked at the marina just down the road from here.”
She grinned. “Why am I not surprised?”
They talked easily as they drove up one of the mountains surrounding the city. Eric was twenty-five years old, and she avoided telling him how old she was by changing the subject when he asked. She’d been twenty-three when she was turned, but she’d lived a hard life as a human, and looked more like twenty-eight than twenty-three.
When he stopped to get snacks, she said she’d eaten shortly before she talked to him at the club, so she just wanted bottled water. Again, not a lie — she’d had some blood before leaving for TBC.
They finally reached the top of the mountain, and Eric drove for a bit and turned onto a dirt road. She looked at him quizzically and he said, “We can’t do this on easily accessible public lands because they have rules against rappelling at night. If you’re nervous about going into the woods with a stranger, though, I’ll understand, and we can do something else.”
She smiled. “I think you’re safe enough. Plus, you met my friends, and they know your name and what you drive. If you wanted to take someone into the woods to do bad things to them, I don’t think you’d want to meet their housemates first. You’d have said what I was wearing was fine.” Also, she was a vampire, he couldn’t hurt her.
When they reached the top of the cliffs, he turned the engine and headlights off, and asked, “Do you want me to light the area?”
“I’d rather do it by the light of the moon. It should be plenty light, once our eyes are used to the dark.”
His smile told her he approved, and they got out.
Kendra watched him pull several things out of the back of the Range Rover, and then wrapped what looked like carpet samples around the trees. He layered some sort of webbing around the carpet samples, and then attached the rope to the webbing. When he was done, each rope was attached to two trees, not one.
“What’s with the carpet?”
“Ropes can dig into the bark and hurt the trees. Most people just use rope around something protective, but I don’t like to depend on one tree, and the webbing is easier to work with when you’re using multiple anchors. The way I have everything connected with the ‘biners, the rope is pulling equally on both trees, so if one fails, we’ll still have the other holding us. Also, with two trees sharing the weight, they’re less likely to fail.”
Kendra hadn’t thought about the rope hurting the trees, but if this was a popular spot for rappelling, she guessed they’d eventually take enough damage to their bark to be compromised. Damn, this man was just doing more and more things to make her like him.
Once he had the ropes ready to throw over the edge of the cliff, he retrieved a shorter rope from the Range Rover and attached it to a big hook already wedged into the top of a large boulder, and then he held a bundle of straps out as he motioned her towards him.
The bundle turned out to be a harness, and helping her into it involved a great deal of touching.
The more he touched her, the more she wanted him, but Kendra was pretty sure she managed not to show it. There was no smell of arousal on him while he worked — he seemed focused on getting the harness right, more intent on safety than flirting.
She was both impressed and a little disappointed.
With her harness securely arranged, and with some instruction about how the rope system worked, he talked her through a trip down the boulder. One side of the huge rock was slanted with lots of stepping places so it was easy to go up, the other side was an almost vertical twelve-foot drop, so it made a nice place to get the hang of using the equipment. She loved the patient and self-assured way he showed her how to maneuver the ropes, and how to use her arms, legs, and body to control her descent. He made her come down the boulder twice by herself, and when he saw she’d figured it out, he walked her to the edge of the mountain, made sure she was hooked up correctly, and then asked if she was sure.
“Of course I’m sure. You first, or me?”
Once they were over the cliff and hanging there, side-by-side, Eric seemed surprised she’d gone over without really thinking about it. “Are you sure you haven’t done this before? You don’t seem comfortable with the ropes, but you aren’t afraid. There was no hesitation about dropping down and trusting the equipment, which is pretty unusual. Even hard core adrenaline junkies are hesitant their first time, even if only a few seconds.”
“I’ve watched you making all the preparations, doing something and then double-checking it, even making me wear this silly hat. You seem to know what you’re doing and you’re taking safety seriously. I got an idea of what we’re doing on the boulder, and it all seems safe enough. There’s this big strong rope and this harness that I can’t come out of, and it’s kind of exhilarating to be here hanging off the side of the mountain with the view of the city in the distance. I like this, now watch me a second and make sure I have the ropes where they’re supposed to be so I can let myself down.”
She wished she could just say, “I’m a vampire, if the rope breaks I’ll just fly back up.”
They rappelled down a good sixty to eighty yards before landing on a natural shelf area, and Eric said, “You did great for your first time. Let’s get out of the harnesses and hike back up. This shelf joins up with a hiking trail that winds its way back to the top.”
“I figured we’d climb back up the way we came. I was kind of looking forward to it, actually.”
He looked doubtful. “It’s possible, but that’s more for an experienced climber. It’s harder to look for hand and foot holds while dealing with the rope. This is your first time, and you did great, but it might be pushing it to try a climb tonight.”
“I’d really like to try. I’ve done the climbing walls, where you don’t have to deal with the rope, someone else does it for you. I was thinking it’d be fun to climb a real cliff instead of an artificial climbing wall.”
He sighed. “Okay, we’ll go up about five or ten yards and if I think you can handle it we’ll keep going, otherwise we come back down and hike up. Deal?”
“Deal. Thanks Eric.”
He finagled with her ropes a minute, instructing her how to manage them going back up, and then patiently talked her through it as he stayed by her side while they rose back up the vertical cliff face. At ten feet she was figuring out the ropes okay. Climbing was no problem for her, but he insisted she keep working the rope so if she fell, it would catch her, and that part was tricky.
The cliff face was inverted near the top, and they were forced to pull themselves up by just the rope. He talked her through it at first, but then once she had the hang of it, Kendra’s stomach leapt into her throat as he pulled her to him, caressed her cheek, and then brought his lips to hers as his hand slid to her nape, controlling her head as he controlled the kiss.
This wasn’t a normal first kiss, and there was no doubt he was in command and she was merely along for the ride. His hands held her in place, his mouth ravished her, and she forgot she was hanging in mid-air, suspended. Kendra hadn’t been kissed like this in so long she couldn’t remember — as a powerful vampire, she was always the one in control, and yet this human took her over so easily, so naturally. Kendra didn’t even consider taking charge, she let him kiss her, let him overwhelm her.
When he finally let her go, he looked at her a few seconds as if analyzing her reaction and current state of mind, and then gently rearranged her ropes, reminded her where she’d left off, and watched as she once again pulled herself up.
It took her a couple of attempts to get coordinated again, and when she did, her first thought was that he’d kissed her like a natural Dom. Hanging in her harness and being kissed by him, dominated by him, had practically melted her, but she told herself it was only because he was in teacher mode and she was in student mode.
It would never work for a human companion to be Dominant. Never. She’d need to give him a kiss when they reached the top, to balance the scales.
But it didn’t happen. As he helped her out of her harness and they pulled the rope up the side of the mountain, she found herself following instructions, her body reacting to his gentle but quietly commanding voice.
She’d never submitted to a human, and hadn’t submitted even to a vampire in well over a thousand years. Vampire society is all about the hierarchy, about how powerful you are, and vampire sex is full of adventure. If you live thousands of years, you have to find ways to make it interesting, or even sex becomes boring.
However, a strong vampire could never submit to a weaker vampire. The two might have vanilla sex, but it isn’t possible for a weaker vampire to exert any kind of power over a stronger, more powerful vampire — not even for role play, or a negotiated power exchange. Strength has more to do with metaphysical power than physical strength for her kind, and Kendra was incredibly powerful both physically and metaphysically. She could have her own territory if she wanted, but was happy staying with Abbott and helping him keep his power base intact. If she wasn’t under a Master Vampire who led in a way she could respect, then she’d have taken on her own territory centuries ago.
So why in hell was she feeling like following this human’s instructions? Why was she getting turned on by it? Time to take control.
Kendra quickly stepped closer to Eric, and swiftly but carefully picked him up and then laid him down, slow just before he touched the ground so he went down gently. She did it at full vampire speed, so he’d just sense standing there one moment and then lying on his back the next, without it hurting. She sat on his legs, leaned forward, cradled his cheeks in her hands, and kissed him — and kept kissing him, with no doubt as to who was controlling things this time. When he reached up with his hands to put them around her, she gently but firmly grasped them and put them on the ground beside his head, and held them there. About ten seconds later, when she felt him start to resist, she smoothly stood, and reached her hand down to help him stand.
He gave her a wary eye, rolled his body up, and stood all in one motion, deliberately not accepting her hand. Once he was up, he quietly asked, “You were trying to make a point with that?”
“Did you enjoy it?”
He closed his eyes for a second or two and opened them, shaking his head and talking in a nice, conversational style, still not upset or flustered in any way. “Oh, this is rich. I begin to wonder if maybe I’ve met someone I might want to have a relationship with, and it turns out she’s a Domme. Is that it?”
“You’re telling me you’re a Dom?”
He turned away from her to walk towards the trees. “Yeah, and you seemed to be responding like a natural submissive right up until I found myself flat on my back.” He stopped at the first tree with the rope attached, and turned to give her a lopsided smile. “You sure you aren’t a switch?”
She returned his smile. “Positive. You still haven’t answered whether you enjoyed it or not. You responded like you did.”
“I kissed you back, the feel of your lips on mine was nice, but being dominated didn’t do anything for me.”
Damn, he was telling the truth. She’d picked up the quickened pulse and thought it was lust, but it wasn’t, it was just the rush of it, the adrenaline. He’d enjoyed it for the sake of the kiss, but not because of some latent submissive tendency — she didn’t smell the kind of lust she’d smell if he was turned on by her dominance.
However, there had been the adrenaline rush, so she tried that angle. “How big of an adrenaline rush do you think you’d have under my control? Isn’t that what you liked about what I just did? The unknown? You’ve never had a woman able to lay you down and take control, and when I put your arms down, you didn’t fight me. Not at first. As soon as you resisted I pulled back. I’m not into force — I’ll only take you if you submit.” She smiled. “But if you submit, I guarantee you an adrenaline rush.”
“And I can guarantee you mind blowing orgasms if you submit. Are you suggesting we switch? You one night and me the next?”
Kendra chuckled, and then grinned as she realized he’d made her nearly laugh. “No, actually, I was just suggesting you submit to me.” But for this man? She might consider switching a little. He’d chased away the darkness that’d been eating at her for decades, and her entire body tingled at the prospect of living life with joy again.
He shook his head as he disconnected the webbing from one of the trees. “I’m pretty sure that isn’t going to happen. Once a relationship is established I might agree to submit for one scene just for the adrenaline rush, but I’m wired as a Dom and that’s the only way a relationship with me will work. I’ve tried vanilla with people who weren’t into power exchange, and it’s just a road to heartache because it isn’t enough for me. I don’t date like a normal guy, my only relationships now are with people I know are in the lifestyle before we even start.” He shrugged. “Something about you made me want to learn more about you. The kiss on the way back up was so I could see if you had submissive tendencies, and you do. Deny it if you want, but you responded to the kiss and you responded to my instructions once we were back on top.”
Kendra liked this human, and he’d be a great companion if she could, well, tame him into it, but she didn’t see how that could happen if she submitted to him. But, damn, he was right — she’d been majorly turned on when he kissed her on the way back up the mountain.
She deflected the conversation. “Can I help you pack the ropes, or are you picky about the way they get stored?”
He smiled. “I’m picky. Just sit and we’ll talk while I do it, don’t feel like you need to help. If we do this a lot I’ll show you how I like it done, but tonight it’ll be easier for me to just do this part of it myself.”
“I’m going to walk into the woods a second while you do that.”
He shook his head as he worked. “It isn’t safe to walk around on the edge of a cliff at night. If you just need a minute to think then sit there and do it, and I’ll be quiet.”
She wanted to argue about her night vision, but decided it wasn’t worth it. She walked a few steps, sat on a nice flat rock, and sent the feelers in her mind out to Abbott.
A minute, Kendra, let me finish what I’m doing. Are you okay?
Yes, just need some advice.
Okay, just a minute or two, please.
True to his word, a few minutes later he came back with, Now, you have my undivided attention.
I found a man tonight who’ll make an excellent human companion. He’s so full of life, and we really hit it off, but it turns out he’s a Dom. When he kissed me, I felt, well, I reacted. You know, like a submissive. It’s been over a thousand years since I submitted to one of us, and I’ve never submitted to a human. I know this is hopeless, but Abbott, he’s so full of life, and he smells like sunshine. I’ve only known him a few hours but I don’t want to walk away from him. What’s going on? And how in the hell could it work for me to submit to him anyway? I’m so much stronger than he is, there’s no way he’d ever be able to overpower me.
Abbott’s mental voice came across supportive and caring. Human men submit to human women who are weaker than them all the time Kendra. For humans, it isn’t about who’s stronger, but about an arrangement to exchange power — an agreement that one is turned on by submitting and the other is turned on by being in control. You may have some challenges to your status if it gets out you’re submitting to a human, but once you make a few examples of those who challenge you, no one else will say anything. If you find yourself wanting to submit to him, go for it. I’ll back you with the other vampires if anything is said. I’d have a hard time doing so if you wished to submit to another supernatural, of course, but submitting to a human doesn’t affect the vampire hierarchy or our political position with the other groups.
Kendra watched Eric coiling the rope, his forearm muscles shifting deliciously. But, if he’s in control, how can he be a human companion?
I’ve never done it myself, but I know other vampires have made it work. I can’t give you any advice other than to say it’s possible.
I think he needs to know I’m a vampire before we go much farther. He needs to understand I’m stronger than he is. Normally, there’s more of a relationship established, but in this case he needs to know before he and I start talking about limits, or he’ll never understand why my limits are going to be so far out there. Plus, I don’t want to start our relationship with lies.
Okay, set a time with him. I can get away tomorrow evening around eight, either at his house if he lives alone, or bring him to the coterie house. I’ll help you tell him and make sure the binding takes.
Kendra wasn’t terribly sure about this, but was willing to give it a try to see what happened. She wanted to taste of this man, not just his blood, but his life force. More than that, she wanted to spend time with him and get to know him. When you live for thousands of years, you tend to pay attention when someone special pops into your life. She wasn’t willing to submit to him around the other vampires until she was sure it would work, but once she was certain, she’d figure out how to deal with them.
“Eric. Come give me another kiss.”
He gave her a lazy smile as he looped the rope around itself. “You giving me an order? I think we’ve already covered the fact I’m used to being the one giving orders.”
Yep, that settled it. The extra little twinge she felt between her legs meant she was indeed responding to his dominance. She knew what he wanted to hear, and she smiled as she asked, “Eric, will you please come give me another kiss?”
He smiled and gently placed the rope he was working on at his feet before walking to within a few feet of her. He spoke softly, but she could sense the strength in his gentle tone. “Stand up, Kendra, and put your hands behind your back.”
She looked up, met his gaze, and narrowed her eyes. “Don’t push it, Eric.”
“You want me to kiss you so you can be sure it affects you the way you think it did when we were hanging off the cliff, right? Does the idea of having to hold your hands behind your back while I kiss you turn you on? I’m trying to help you answer your question. If we’re going to do this, you’ll have to learn to trust me.”
Damn, he was right. She gracefully stood and put her hands behind her back, hyper-aware of her breasts sticking out, with no way to keep them from doing so without releasing her hands. She was under-endowed, and barely filled a B cup, so it wasn’t as if they were sticking way out, but she still felt self-conscious. After going so long without submitting, it was almost like she’d never done it before.
This was going to be even more difficult than she’d envisioned.
Eric took the last two steps to her, put one hand ever so gently on her cheek, the other on her hip, and slowly brought his lips to hers. Tender at first, but then he held the back of her head just under her ponytail, aiming her face the way he wanted, and his kiss grew more insistent until she melted into him and the trees around them faded away, his lips, his hands, and the beat of his heart the only things she was aware of. He slowly eased up, then pulled back a few inches before placing both hands gently on her cheeks and then ever-so-softly kissing her forehead.
“You can release your hands now, Kendra. Did that answer your question?”
She closed her eyes a second to get her bearings and then opened them to his questioning, piercing gaze. She held eye contact and answered, “It’s going to be hard for me to submit. Can you be patient? Treat me like I’m new to the lifestyle? Actually, I think doing it this way may be harder than being new. Going from Domme to sub is… I’m not certain I can, but you’re correct about my response, and I think I owe it to both of us to explore it.”
He ran his finger down her cheek and gave her another small kiss on the lips, just a touch. “Yes, I can be patient where I think it’s called for, but there’ll be some things I won’t go slow with. Your submission will be just that much more exquisite, knowing what you’re going through to offer it.”
He stepped away with a mischievous glint in his eye as he said, “Not to mention knowing you could put me flat on my back if you wanted, and are choosing to submit anyway. You’ll have to show me that trick at some point. I’m almost done with the ropes and then we can head back. When you’re ready, we can sit down and talk about hard limits and soft limits, what you think might turn you on, and what’ll turn you off. But, if you want to wait a few weeks, just date for a while first, that’s okay.”
“You’ve seen my house, I’d like to see your yacht. Do you have plans for tomorrow night? I could be there around eight? Maybe we can talk a little and then you could take me for a ride around the lake? Or am I being too forward, inviting myself?”
“You’re being honest, and I like honesty. Come hungry and I’ll make you dinner.”
“I’ll have already eaten by then, but drinks might be nice. What do you drink when you aren’t drinking beer? I don’t suppose you drink wine? I can pick something up on the way.”
He smiled. He had a beautiful smile. “No need. I have a great desert wine I can open.”