Home > The Farthest Edge (Honey #2)(11)

The Farthest Edge (Honey #2)(11)
Author: Kristen Ashley

* * *

The problem with this plan was that Branch wasn’t at any of the clubs.

Night after night, she trolled them—the sex ones and the vanilla ones besides—and he was not to be found.

Which at first was annoying.

Then it was frustrating.

Through this all, it was tiring (she was a girl who liked her sleep and dropping into bed at three in the morning was not her idea of living the high life, especially when she did that not having anything to show for it).

Eventually, she realized this failure was unsurprising.

Branch was not the club kind of guy, in any of a club’s varieties.

She couldn’t ask around for him because she’d signed that damned document and he wouldn’t have asked her to sign the damned thing if he frequented places like the Bolt.

No, but she knew he was a man and men found what they needed. So Evangeline also knew he got what he needed (if not what he needed) somewhere and if it had to be on the deep, down low so no one would know, he’d have to get creative.

Thus she scoured the ads trying to decipher if he’d put one in and finagled herself (through her friend Josh, who was only a loose friend, mostly because he could often be a douche, but he was a friend because he could sometimes be a decent guy, and he was also a part owner of the Bolt) an invitation (and paid the fee) to the only private party that had happened in the ensuing weeks.

Unfortunately, after striking out at the party, and during it having to scrape off a variety of subs who made it plain they liked the look of her, she wasn’t beneath hitting the last known place she thought Branch might hit to get his kink.

And, if she was honest about it, she knew it was the first place she should have looked.

This being going to a Pound.

Evangeline would guess everyone in the life in Phoenix had heard about the Pound.

She’d also guess that anyone with membership to the Honey would go nowhere near it (and, perhaps, speak those words with a sneer to their lips even though they all practiced nonjudgment not only because it was right, but because they eschewed judgment due to their way of life—that was how bad a Pound was).

And lastly she would guess that Josh was a frequent attendee.

The Pound, as local lore had it, was a traveling BDSM scene.

Not a club, it didn’t have its own structure.

A scene.

No one knew when the next opening would be. Or where. All they knew was, when it happened, the text would go out and be forwarded to those who desired it, the cover charge would be hefty, the security would be extreme (but only to keep the police from catching them) and anything went.

A total free-for-all.

Orgies.

Booze.

Drugs.

Cum, sweat, puke and blood everywhere with no cleanup crews.

The lot.

One didn’t pass out at a Pound or they’d wake up on a dirty mattress (the last if you were lucky), seeping from every orifice without any memory of what had occurred.

It sounded dismal.

Heinous.

It was also an edge Evangeline knew to her bones Branch would seek out to skid right along, thinking he was proving something to himself.

And maybe not aware he was failing miserably.

So when she struck out yet again in the vain (she knew) hope that Branch would check out the talent at the Bolt, she charmed the knowledge out of the front desk kitty-baby that Josh was up in the office with one of his partners.

And she made her way there.

Once she’d arrived she found the office at the Bolt couldn’t be less like Aryas’s office at the Honey.

A large desk that had once been grand but now had copious deep grooves and chips at the edges that Evangeline couldn’t fathom how they’d been made.

And the room was painted oppressively in a very dark blue (something she didn’t like even though that was one of her favorite colors). It was also filled with slouchy, ludicrous, legless furniture that made bile race up her throat, thinking what might have happened all over it (and she was a Dominatrix, so that extreme of nausea at the very thought said something).

The partner she didn’t know and Josh didn’t introduce her to (so she introduced herself) was named Barclay.

“But friends call me Clay,” he’d said on a sweet smile and a firm handshake that made her think he was more like the decent side of Josh and didn’t have the douche part in him.

“Nice to meet you,” she’d replied on a squeeze of his hand and they let go, no lingering, just a friendly introduction (indicating more decent from Barclay). She’d then looked to Josh but said to them both, “I don’t want to take a lot of your time, but I wanted to know if you knew when the next Pound would happen.”

Josh, with his mess of sandy-blond hair (that was not attractively overlong, like Branch’s, it was just a mess) and blue eyes that made it clear he’d taken something, lit up.

“Coolio, bitch!” he shouted. “Want me to go with?”

In other words, she had not been wrong that Josh was a frequent attendee.

And oftentimes a douche.

Geez, how did this guy run a business?

It was on this thought that Evangeline realized she did not feel excitement coming from Barclay.

Thus she avoided looking at him.

But she had some idea how Josh ran the business.

He collected the money, offered up his loopy charm to keep the members happy and this Barclay guy did the tough stuff.

“No, I just want to check it out,” she answered Josh.

“You should let Josh go with you,” Barclay entered the conversation.

As it would be rude to continue to avoid him when he spoke directly to her, Evangeline looked to him to see him regarding Josh.

She also saw he was rather handsome, in an understated way. His hair was dark, his frame was slight and his brown eyes were kind.

The last meant, she hoped, Dom or sub (for the life of her, when she was usually really good at reading that kind of thing, she couldn’t read on him which way he swung, so maybe he was a switch, in other words, swinging both ways), he’d found someone he liked to play with in the life and in life.

“And bud, you go with her, you go clean and sober, man. Yeah?” he ordered.

“What’s the fun in that?” Josh returned moodily but instantly brightened. “Oh, right. I can score at the Pound.”

“No, Josh,” Barclay said firmly. “You’re with her, you keep your shit together.”

“She’s a Domme, dude, she can take care of herself,” Josh shot back.

At this, Evangeline fought a sigh.

In the beginning, before being a member at the Honey, when she found what she was looking for other places, learning, before the intense training she’d been given at Aryas’s place, she’d often been mistaken as a sub because first, she had a vagina, and second, she was petite.

The hunting ground at the Honey meant this didn’t happen. When she was there, she occupied one of the booths, not the hunting ground, like all the Doms. Thus there was no misinterpretation.

It was irritating to have it happen again.

“I get that,” Barclay surprised her by saying. “But doesn’t matter and you know it, Domme or not, her first time, dude, you keep tight until she gets into the swing of things.”

“It’s just booze, sex and drugs, with house music rather than rock ’n’ roll,” Josh replied.

“It’s a fucking wasteland way beyond Thunderdome, asshole, the apocalypse that happens after the apocalypse that people go in, they don’t know what they’re getting into, they won’t come out.” Barclay looked to her. “Or at least, the person who comes out won’t be the one who went in.”

“I’ve heard all about the Pound, Clay,” she said quietly, trying to communicate she was grateful for his concern, but it was unnecessary.

“You could have heard it, Evangeline, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be shocked stupid when you experience it. That shit’s fucked up, babe. And if Josh won’t go with you, much as I hate that mess, I will.”

That was sweet.

But also unnecessary.

“Like Josh said, I can take care of myself,” she assured him.

“Where do you play?” he asked.

“I don’t play,” she told him.

   
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