Read Only Human Online

Authors: Candace Blevins

Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Urban, #Erotica, #Bdsm

Only Human (7 page)

BOOK: Only Human
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“Where on the mountain? Fairyland, or somewhere with a view?”

He smiled. “On the brow, between the Incline and Point Park.”

Damn
. Those houses were worth millions. I started to ask if he knew Aaron, as there were only around a dozen houses along his stretch of road, and since Aaron lived there, too, it was likely they knew each other. However, I didn’t want to have to explain how I knew him.

I once again wondered why Abbott Hamilton was interested in me. I mean, I’m not ugly, but I don’t believe I’m beautiful anymore. In my teens and younger twenties I was a model and a ballerina, but now I’m in my thirties and…well, I guess I’m still attractive, but not beautiful. I don’t really miss it — people now accept that I have a brain, which didn’t happen much when I fit the definition of what our society considers ideal.

Abbott appeared to be about my age and in very good shape.

Very. Good. Shape.

Let me just say he’s hot. So far I’ve only seen him in well-tailored suits, but twice I’ve touched an arm and it felt like braided steel. Also, let’s not forget the already-mentioned chiseled face.

So why the interest in a middle-aged, upper-middle-class single mom with a couple of psych degrees? Not that I’m selling myself short, but something hadn’t felt right about him from the beginning and it just kept feeling curiouser and curiouser. Add the possibility his club had supernatural bouncers, and I wasn’t sure what to think, but if he were the Master Vampire, wouldn’t he have said something by now? He hadn’t tried to poke through my shields in any way.

Unless he was good enough I wouldn’t know. I’ve been able to keep some really powerful people out, so it wasn’t likely, but I needed to keep the possibility in mind. Mistakes happen when people begin to think they’re invincible.

As the play progressed and I started crying, he calmly handed me a handkerchief without comment. He’s the only man besides my father I’ve ever seen carry a handkerchief, and he gained lots of points by not making a big deal of my tears.

When the play was over we went backstage, but my parents weren’t there yet. I called my dad’s cell phone to see where they were and discovered security didn’t know them and wouldn’t let them pass. I usually sat with them, and hadn’t considered how they’d get to Lauren without me as an escort.

I stepped out to meet them and walk them in, and took the opportunity to warn them they were going to meet the man I’d been sitting with. I gave my mom a serious look and told her to behave, though I knew it wasn’t likely. Even Xiaolan laughed when I said it.

I told them Abbott had asked me to go with him after the party, and I asked my dad if he’d mind driving Xiaolan and Lauren home and walking them into the house. He said he didn’t mind at all, of course, because my dad is great about that kind of thing. My mom rolled her eyes at me and squinched her face up like the Church Lady from SNL. I shrugged it off and pretended not to notice — she rarely approves of me or my choices, and I’d come to terms with it long ago.

I introduced Abbott to my parents and Xiaolan, and excused myself to go get Lauren. I hated to leave them all together without me there to oversee the conversation, but I needed to make sure Lauren packed everything that was hers, and turned everything in that belonged to the theater. She may be a genius, but she’s still a sixteen year old coming down off the high of performing.

My parents were ready to go an hour into the party, and Abbott and I walked them to their car. I told Lauren I expected her to be asleep by the time I got home, I thanked Xiaolan for going home with her, and then they were gone.

“The coffee house up on the hill has a decent Celtic band performing tonight,” Abbott said. “It should be a nice atmosphere for conversation.”

I don’t drink coffee in the evening, but assumed they’d have tea. “That sounds lovely. It’s nice out; why don’t we leave the cars here and walk?”

Most people would’ve been out of breath by the time we reached the coffee shop, as the hill is steep. I wasn’t, but expected Abbott to be, and he wasn’t, either.

Abbott ordered coffee like that of a connoisseur, rattling off the kind of coffee and what he wanted done to it. I noted they had bubble tea, so I ordered it. I hadn’t had bubble tea since my last trip to China a few months before.

When they brought our coffee and tea, I noted Abbott wasn’t drinking. He held it, and smelled it, and occasionally brought the cup to his lips, but didn’t drink. After about ten minutes of conversation I asked, “You aren’t drinking your coffee. Is it okay?”

“I’m sure it’s fine. Vampires don’t drink coffee, though many of us love the smell.”

Shit
. I knew something was rotten. Okay, first thing I needed to do was see if he could read my mind. I hadn’t felt him try, but needed to be sure.

However, I couldn’t do it just yet, so I said, “Riiiggghhhtttt, you’re a vampire. And I’m a fairy. Since fairies and vampires don’t really like each other I suppose we should end the date now. Thanks for the tea.”

I moved to get up to leave, but he reached across the table and pushed down on my forearm. I had the choice of sitting back down or making a scene. I sat, and looked expectantly at him.

He very matter-of-factly said, “You are not fae; you’re human. I have no intentions of hurting you. There is no need to leave.”

His voice was kind yet unemotional, and his words told me he knew I didn’t smell like fae,
and
knew vampires would know this. This suggested he was a vampire or some other sort of supernatural, but I wasn’t ready to admit out loud that I didn’t have a problem with the fact vampires really exist. It felt too much like entrapment, as if they were seeing if I would screw up. Or worse, trying to make me screw up. So I said, “Look, you seem like a nice enough guy, if a bit deranged, but I deal with delusions enough in my work and don’t really want to date anyone who believes he’s a vampire.”

“You think I’m delusional? Do you mind explaining how you’re so sure I’m
not
a vampire?”

“Because there’s no such thing as vampires, so of course you can’t be one.”


Indeed
.”

And then I felt him trying to probe my shields, his will pressing into my mind. I caught my breath and added bulk to my already reinforced shields when I felt a power remarkably stronger than Kieran’s trying to come into my head. A few seconds later, I realized he was stronger than Kieran and Gwen combined. When he couldn’t come in gently, he pressed with sharp, heated pieces of his willpower, moving and sliding, pushing and finally hammering as he looked for a crack to poke into and widen, and then tried to create a crack when he couldn’t find one.

I held strong, though it hurt to do so and I knew I couldn’t hold him off for long. I decided perhaps it would be a good time to see if he could read my mind, so I imagined myself unzipping his pants and taking him into my mouth, and I had to keep from smiling as he startled for a microsecond and withdrew from the probing.

I couldn’t be sure he’d read the actual thought, as it was possible he’d read my aura or scent, so I kept them under control as I imagined deep throating him. The startle calmed down a bit instead of getting worse, and his reactions told me he was reading my aura or smelling my emotions, but didn’t have access to my thoughts. I had the feeling he knew I was contemplating something sexual, but he didn’t know exactly what.

I could work with that.

I didn’t know if this was a trap or not, but I knew I couldn’t admit I knew of the existence of vampires, because to do so would break the agreement I’d made with Kieran. If Abbott wasn’t sure about it, and I admitted I knew they existed, then I’d just told someone the big secret. This had trap written all over it, and I needed to get away from him but I had a feeling he wouldn’t let me go without creating a scene.

It wouldn’t hurt to try, though.

“Look, Abbott… I’d like to thank you for a lovely evening. I’m going to walk back to my car now and head home to my daughter. Please remove your hand from my arm.”

“I will remove my hand, but I’d like to ask you to give me ten minutes. If at the end of those ten minutes you still wish to leave then I will walk you to your car and bid you a safe drive home.”

“And if I don’t agree to your ten minutes?”

“I’m hoping you do.”

He didn’t say it as a threat, but I was aware it could be taken as one. I sighed as I told him, “Talk fast. You have five minutes.”

He lifted his hand and reached for his coffee again, wrapping his hand around it but not picking it up. “Thank you. When Kieran asked if it was okay to let you go with knowledge of us, he spoke with me through a mind connection. I approved of them letting you go home that evening.” His smile wasn’t the affectionate one of earlier. This was the smile of someone with power who was comfortable exercising his authority. Someone who didn’t apologize for his decisions — not even the hard ones.

I could easily see the Master Vampire now, and I wasn’t sure I liked it but I didn’t let the fear climb. I faked self-assurance and calm, and hoped my scent followed what I was pretending to feel.

“To be honest,” he continued, “I didn’t completely believe them when they told me of your energy and your ability to block our powers, but you hold the energy of a dozen humans, and you just blocked me from your mind when no human and only a handful of supernaturals have been able to do so since I came into my power.”

His smile returned to the affectionate one of earlier. He was back to being Abbott, no longer the Master Vampire with the huge power signature. “I originally wanted to speak with you to verify their report, but I find myself intrigued by you. I’ve lived a very long time, and humans — with their short lifespan and foolish notions of how best to spend them — don’t intrigue me.” He shook his head. “And yet I’ve thought of almost nothing but you since our conversation in the theater the other night. Kieran and Gwen tell me you weren’t freaked out about them being vampires and needing to drink blood. If this is true, would you be interested in going on a few dates with me to see if we’re compatible?”

“Are you done?”

“Yes, I believe so.”

“Good, you may now give me a card or some way to contact you, and then walk me to my car.”

“You have nothing to say in response?”

“Not tonight. I told you I’d hear you out, and I have. I’m not commenting on whether I’ve met people named Kieran and Gwen, and I’m still fairly positive there’s no such thing as vampires. If I change my mind, I’ll give you a call.”

He smiled as if he understood perfectly, stood, and offered his arm. I hadn’t thought he was actually reading my mind, but could I’ve been mistaken? Or had he just finally grasped that I wasn’t going to admit to anything until I spoke with Kieran personally? No idea, and my instincts told me not to test it right now, so I didn’t.

We talked of Hong Kong and the Star Ferry while we walked to our cars, and he politely said goodnight and watched me pull away. I called James on the way home and told him it was a pretty uneventful date and we hadn’t made plans to see each other again. We have a code word to use if things are going bad and I’m being coerced into giving a positive report. Luckily there was no reason to use it tonight.

Chapter Six

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday morning I made a special effort to shave everything that needed to be shaved, and trim everything that needed to be trimmed. I donned a navy pantsuit with an ivory blouse, dropped Lauren off at school, and took the stairs up to my office with Xiaolan so she could retrieve her bike. There’s nothing wrong with the elevator, I just liked the exercise.

I asked my assistant to get me the contact information for Kieran and Gwen Dixon, and I began to prepare for my first appointment. This was to be a ménage group, two males and a female trying to live together, so I needed to set the chairs up with three of them in a group facing my one. The loveseat would not be good here, everyone needed their own space.

I stepped to my desk and saw that Eileen had messaged Kieran’s number, so I picked up the phone and called. I didn’t expect him to answer, since he’d be all
dead
by now, but figured I’d leave a message. His recorded greeting made me want to slap him for his too-perfect grammar, but I left my cell phone number and asked him to call me.

I had three appointments that morning and then it was time for a quick salad before heading to meet James. He’d texted me where to go already — James owns half a dozen vacation cabins and we generally meet at one of them. His favorite has these huge exposed beams, and he loves to throw a rope over them and tie the ends to my wrist cuffs, but today we were going to one we don’t often visit. It has a delicious hot tub in the master suite though, and I hoped to make use of it.

Sometimes our sessions are all about pain, sometimes there is very little pain. Always, there is some lesson about submission, or my body, or making me accept what my body craves. Without James in my life, it’s possible I would’ve settled for someone I wasn’t completely compatible with just so I could satisfy my kinky cravings. However, James manages to scratch all of my itches, which allows me to make responsible relationship decisions with my head instead of my hormones.

Today’s session was all about pain, and was apparently exactly what I needed. It centered me in a way not even hours of meditation is capable. The rest of the world falls away to nothing when you’re physically bound and pain is doled out in a controlled fashion. James and I’ve been together as trainer and student, Dom and sub, Mentor and mentored, for long enough that he has my complete trust.

You know how Eskimos have all those words for snow? I think there should be dozens of words for pain as well. There are so many flavors of pain — one word can’t possibly describe them all.

The cabin is in the middle of nowhere, and today he took me to the screened-in porch on the back, tossed a rope over a support beam, and connected it to my wrist cuffs so I had no choice but to stand with my arms over my head. He put a blindfold on me and reminded me our agreement allowed for him to invite spectators so long as they were in the lifestyle.

BOOK: Only Human
7.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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