Authors: Kendall Grey
Copyright © 2012 by Kendall Grey
Howling Mad Press, LLC
P.O. Box 660
Bethlehem, GA 30620
All rights reserved as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the Author. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Edited by Jennifer Sommersby Young
Cover design and additional art by Renee Coffey
First E-book Edition: September 2012
This short story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the word marks mentioned in this work of fiction.
Items designed to be useful or important for only a short time, especially pamphlets, notices, tickets, etc.
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
, I need you and Byrn to put in some undercover time at that new BDSM club outside of town,” Jack Weaver said. “It’s called ‘Carnival.’ I got a lead on the Fyre Elemental we’re looking for, and word is, the dude spends a lot of time there.”
The code on the computer monitor blurred. Vexx shook herself out of her zero- and one-filled reverie. One of her fat pink and black pigtails lashed her cornea as she whirled to face Jack and Byrn. “Wait, what?”
Byrn’s tawny tiger eyes widened, along with his pearly tiger grin, and his broad, rolling tiger shoulders. “Oh, fuck, yes. I call top!”
From his relaxed sprawl on the hotel room couch cushions, Jack swallowed a couple gulps of beer, then wiped his gray beard and mustache with the back of a tanned, veiny hand. Grip loose on the bottle, he pointed an index finger Byrn’s way. “Byrn gets bottom.”
The brawny Fyre Elemental hunched his shoulders and poked out his bottom lip. “Why does
get to have all the fun?” He thrust his red-stubbled chin in Vexx’s direction, crossed his arms, and tucked balled fists under his armpits. The sun haloed his body through the frame of the window behind him. Reminded Vexx of Apollo.
Topsies at a BDSM club with Byrn as her sub? She mentally giggled like a schoolgirl at the thought of turning the Elemental tables on him. And of tying up all that yummy … Fire.
“You know you’re a bottom underneath your big bad Fyre package, and you secretly can’t wait to see what I’m gonna do to you.” Her bubblegum snapped in quick succession between clenched teeth.
Byrn lowered his arms and swaggered over to her. He stopped close enough for her to count the whiskers on his ruddy cheeks. Vexx hated when he invaded her space like this. For a lot of reasons. Heat eased off him, slowly dancing Elemental flames, licking her Air with a venomous snake’s forked tongue.
Instinct told her to get away before she got burned, but she stood her ground and popped off another round of gunshot bubbles inches from the lips suspended over hers. So damn kissable …
His blondish hair shifted as he tilted his head to his left. Byrn was still a young Fyre, so he didn’t have much red yet—just a few streaks through his hard-cut bob. The lack of red kept him from standing out too much. Well, it
have if he could rein in his personality. As it was—
He was staring at her.
His stunning half-grin lit up her insides. A breath of her Air burned away, taking her wits with it. Why’d she have to be attracted to
? A Wæter Elemental like Xanthos would’ve been a much safer choice. But Byrn’s Fire … did things to her.
“Bottom or top, I do what I have to,” Byrn said. “You, on the other hand, like being in control a little too much. Or more accurately, you don’t like
Maybe he was right.
“You’re a man-whore, Byrn.” She flapped her thick, fake lashes at him.
His hand hovered next to her cheek but didn’t touch. Vexx’s heart responded with a full-on sprint. His Fire pulsed. Beyond dangerous. Deadly. Despite the menace, she leaned a fraction of an inch closer to get a breath of his spicy scent.
“That’s the best comeback you got? I love scrambling your brain, Vexx.” Mocking laughter roared out of him as he ambled away.
Feeling her irises yellowing on release from the addictive thrall of his Fire, Vexx puckered up, kissed the air, and blew. A gust of wind rushed him and tangled his hair into a strawberry blond nest. His back muscles tensed through the tight black T-shirt, and he turned to her slowly, his face angled with harsh lines.
“Children.” Jack’s “daddy” voice cut the tension between them, but not by much.
Byrn’s eyes glowed dull red. “You know, Charlie, your angels might actually behave if you paired them up a little better.”
Vexx sidled next to Jack on the couch and wove her arm through his beerless one. Air returned and filled her mind with the fresh breeze of logic. Much better.
“For once, I agree with Dickhead,” she said. “Why can’t Jet take the lead on this one? She’s more than enough woman for Byrn, and she’ll keep him in line. Probably leave some wicked scars on him too.”
She flicked a glance loaded with feigned apathy at the Fyre. Smoke billowed from his nostrils. Even mad, with his hair a mess, he was hot.
Imagine him with bed head.
Gods. She shook her head.
Jack gave her a squeeze and patted her hand. “Jet’s busy with other shit. Besides, muscle is the least of my concerns. I need someone who can penetrate thoughts without leaving a trail. All you guys gotta do is locate our target. If you find a suspect, drop a little tracking device in his banana hammock, toy box, or butt plug case, and then let his ass go. I’ll take care of him from there. If nobody fits the bill, you do nothing. Easier than Byrn trolling for lovin’ in an old folks’ home.”
Vexx sighed. “Picking Fyre Elemental brains isn’t the part I’m worried about. How am I supposed to dominate
?” She looked at Byrn, then pointed to herself. “Aer Elemental, remember? I can’t even touch him.”
Jack flashed a knowing smile. “You’re a smart girl. You’ll figure it out.”
Byrn pursed his lips and hit the brakes on the eyebrow halfway to liftoff. “I can be top. I’ll make the sacrifice.”
“No,” Vexx and Jack said at once.
She bit her lip. No way she could work Byrn at a BDSM club. Not only would it threaten her physical body if he touched her, but she’d die of embarrassment if he discovered her feelings for him. She’d never hear the end of it. Better to keep things as they were. Antagonistic, distant, and painfully uninvolved.
“Aers can’t mix with Fyres. Get Xanthos to do it. He might not read minds, but he can sense emotions like nobody’s business. He’d pick up on our target in an instant. And Byrn’s try-sexual, so he won’t mind being dominated by a guy.”
“Much as I adore Xanthos, he’s not coming near me.” Byrn flaunted an overly dramatic, effeminate tone and hitched a hand to his kicked-out hip. “That pussy couldn’t crack a whip against this hot ass if Jet was holding his hand.”
Vexx knew the real reason Byrn didn’t want Xanthos around was as primal and deep-seated as her own instinct to avoid Fyres. Xanthos’s Water eclipsed Byrn’s Fire, and Byrn’s Fire eclipsed Vexx’s Air.
And self-preservation eclipsed preposterous delusions of desiring one’s mortal enemy.
Natural laws were such a bitch.
Jack stood and stretched. “Xanthos is busy too. You two are up, like it or not. Go tonight. Get it over with. I’ll buy you both a popsicle when you’re done.”
“You can suck my popsicle when we’re done.” Byrn made a blow job motion at Jack, complete with sound effects.
“Just remember which end of the whip you’re on.” Jack shifted his gaze away from Byrn and speared Vexx with a pointed glare. “Both of you.”
, when do I get to see what’s happening under that trench coat?” Byrn’s uninterested tone and strict attention to the road were probably for the best, but his indifference dug under Vexx’s skin. He slowed the car and made a right turn.
“When I decide to show you.” Vexx stared out the window into the winter night. Quaint restaurants with muted, cozy lights dotted the stretch of road on the outskirts of Brisbane. Long fronds of grass hemming the pavement waved gently as they passed. The moon beamed down with a beatific smile.
Nothing else about tonight would be so soft.
Byrn’s pheromones snuck into her nose again and nudged her libido with a seductive stroke. Bastard.
She lowered the window a crack and inhaled the crisp Air. “Cut the shit, Byrn. We need to lay down some ground rules before we get there.”
“I know the drill. You tell me what to do. I do it.” He shot her a quick glance. “I can do you too.”
“Dream on, hot pants.”
“You know as well as I do that Elementals don’t dream. But I can rock your fantasies with a sonic cock boom you’ll never forget.” The corner of his mouth screwed up.
“I’m not interested in cremation any time soon, thanks.” Though imagine the fun she could have in the few seconds before the burn kicked in. Might be worth it. She sighed loudly.
“You don’t like me much.”
No, she liked him
much. Where had her head been all day? She couldn’t stay focused. Her thoughts had wandered to him more times than she could count. And here they were again, dragging her into the messy, beautiful, thoroughly wrong-for-her mire of Byrn. She hoped to hell she could pull some Air off the other Doms in the club tonight, or she was toast. Literally.
likes you much. It’s ’cause you’re an asshole. Mind on business.”
She twisted her torso to face his profile and wished she hadn’t. The rugged cheeks, the single red streak cutting through the blond, the barely there smile—man, she loved his teeth. Often fantasized about those pearly whites dragging across her belly.
“Business, huh?” The grin roared back to life with a vengeance.
Vexx startled when warmth seeped through the black latex glove on her hand. Just the wake-up call she needed. Heart suddenly racing and Air flowing freely, she snatched her arm away and cradled it with the other one.
“Come on, that didn’t hurt.” Byrn play-punched her shoulder as he braked the car to a halt at a stoplight.
A deep inhale exchanged the Fire searing her lungs for some fresh Air. Two could play at this game.
She flipped her eyes yellow and narrowed them on him. Tapping into her Elemental reserves, she wafted minty pheromones across the Fire-Air divide and put some mental elbow grease into her commands to ensure they got through. “Here’s how it’s gonna roll. You’ll address me as ‘Mistress.’ You’ll speak only when spoken to. You will not touch me unless I ask you to. You will open your mind to me and give me whatever I demand from it. You’ll keep your Fire in your pants. And you will wear this”—she reached into her bag of toys and tossed a pink and black leather collar onto his lap—“until I tell you to take it off. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Mistress.” He lowered his gaze like a good little slave.
She smacked the back of his head. “Good. Now drive. The light’s green.”
Either her Air-fueled suggestions had worked, or Byrn was the practiced slave she’d feared he was. Whichever the case, he’d sunken into his role far too quickly for comfort.
, he said. Except it wasn’t his voice. Instead, his Air—what little there was—communicated with hers.
Had she inadvertently opened her thoughts to him? Sure hadn’t meant to. At least, not yet. She cut her eyes his way, but he gave no indication he’d heard her.
And the head games began.
at Carnival took the keys, and Vexx’s newly collared, shirtless Byrn walked around to the passenger side. The sadistic irony of this whole gig was the kind of mindfuck only an experienced Aer could engineer. Or Jack, a Sentinel with a flair for masterminding impossible, Hannibal “The A Team” Smith-type plans.
Byrn carried himself like a tiger. The tight black leather pants hugging his hips and ass grabbed her self-control by the throat, clamped down, and shook it to within an inch of its life. Everything she’d ever wanted was laid out before her like an all-you-can-eat buffet. And Vexx sat at Byrn’s proverbial table, knife and fork in hand, mouth watering, with her jaw wired shut, unable to sample a single bite.
Byrn opened the car door, leaned in, and held out a hand to Vexx. She stared at it for a moment, and lightly rested her gloved fingers in his warm palm. The latex would protect her from the physical threat of his Fire, but she needed to fortify her mental walls to keep the rest of him at a safe distance.
Easier said than done. Especially when her lady bits were screaming at her to let him in.
He helped her out of the car with a gentle touch. Once she was steady on her feet, he let go and retrieved her bag from the floorboard. If the winter breeze bothered him, he didn’t show it. He bowed his head, and his gaze skimmed down the line of her black trench coat to the six-inch boot heels peeking from under the hem. Red flared in his eyes for a split second.
Vexx smiled. Good. He deserved to be as tortured as she’d be tonight. Embracing her new role as Mistress with a wistful inner sigh, Vexx steeled her mind with a breath of cold Air.
You can do this,
she assured herself.
She flashed the fake club membership cards she’d whipped up earlier that day to a beefy bouncer dressed like Tarzan. He nodded and waved Byrn and her through the door. Air filling her with a head full of artificial confidence, she sashayed into the club like she owned the place. The weight of Byrn’s heat and the lure of his sharp, seductive scent pressed against her back, though he followed several paces behind.
Gods, the steam they could make together—
But they weren’t here for that.
Find the Fyre target and get the hell out.
She casually scanned the club with eyes and Air. The décor featured an erotic but tastefully done circus theme. Over-the-top murals with strategically placed foliage depicted naked people in animalistic hunter-and-prey poses. Nine Inch Nails blared through hidden speakers. Steel cages in the four corners displayed dancing, topless women, body-painted with stripes, spots, and scales of every hue.
A sandy arena in the dead center of the room featured a leather-clad ring mistress, complete with top hat, putting her riding crop to good use on a naughty sub. The furry lion’s tail attached to the butt plug buried in his ass swung as he pranced on all fours. Spotlights tracked his every move.
Tiki torches encircled the sand pit. A pair of unoccupied trapezes hung from the ceiling. Jugglers lazily tossed knives. A guy on stilts, sporting a six-foot long plastic dick, goosed performers and lifted women’s skirts with his erection.