Bound to Submit, p.1Laura Kaye
Table of Contents
Bound to Submit
PRAISE FOR THE BLASPHEMY SERIES
HOT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE BY LAURA KAYE
Dedication | To the beauty of second chances and the healing power of forgiveness.
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The Raven Riders MC
About the Author
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The Hard Ink Series | Five dishonored soldiers | Former Special Forces | One last mission | These are the men of Hard Ink...
The Hearts in Darkness Duet
The Heroes Series
Bound to Submit
FIRST EDITION October 2016
BOUND TO SUBMIT © Laura Kaye.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
No part or whole of this book may be used, reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work via electronic or mechanical means is a violation of international copyright law and subjects the violator to severe fines and/or imprisonment. If you are reading the ebook, it is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. The ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share the ebook, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. Please do not participate in piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional and/or are used fictitiously and are solely the product of the author’s imagination. Any similarity to persons living or dead, places, businesses, events, or locales is purely coincidental.
Cover Art by The Killion Group
PRAISE FOR THE BLASPHEMY SERIES
"Laura Kaye shows her mastery of the BDSM world. I'm eagerly anticipating more in this bold new series!" ~ Cherise Sinclair, NYT Bestselling Author of the Masters of the Shadowlands Series
"Smoldering and sexy, Laura Kaye's Blasphemy series is everything I look for in a romance. Haunted heroes and strong heroines populate this one of a kind club and I can't wait to see the big bad Doms fall one by one." ~ Lexi Blake, NYT Bestselling Author of the Masters and Mercenaries Series
HOT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE BY LAURA KAYE
HARD TO SERVE – A HARD INK CROSSOVER
BOUND TO SUBMIT
Hard Ink Series
HARD AS IT GETS
HARD AS YOU CAN
HARD TO HOLD ON TO
HARD TO COME BY
HARD TO BE GOOD
HARD TO LET GO
HARD AS STEEL – A RAVEN RIDERS CROSSOVER
HARD EVER AFTER
HARD TO SERVE – A BLASPHEMY CROSSOVER
Hearts in Darkness Duet
HEARTS IN DARKNESS
LOVE IN THE LIGHT
HER FORBIDDEN HERO
ONE NIGHT WITH A HERO
Raven Riders Series
Stand Alone Titles
DARE TO RESIST
JUST GOTTA SAY
To the beauty of second chances and the healing power of forgiveness.
As Kenna Sloane stood on the stage in front of the applauding audience, one word kept echoing through her brain.
Keeping the smile plastered on her face, she looked out over the ballroom full of women from a local business and professional organization.
Since being medically discharged from the United States Marine Corps two years before, Kenna had become something of a motivational speaker. She didn’t feel particularly motivational or inspirational, for that matter, and she certainly hadn’t set out to be any such thing.
It had started when her physical therapist at Walter Reed asked her to speak a few times to the new amputees. And then her nephew’s teacher invited her to speak to his school assembly around Veteran’s Day. One of the kid’s fathers turned out to be a reporter for the local paper who pushed her to do a story until she finally agreed. Though the Baltimore Sun wasn’t just any local paper. It was big. And so was the story. After it ran, the invitations came in from all over. And though some part of her always resisted agreeing, another part wondered how she could consider turning them down.
Because she was alive when others weren’t. She could share their stories when they couldn’t tell them themselves. She could perhaps offer other veterans and their families the hope that was so hard to grasp onto in those early months after a serious injury.
It was her duty. One way she could continue to serve. The only way she could continue to serve.
The long minutes after her speech passed in a blur of congratulations on her talk and introductions to dignitaries in the audience.
“Thank you for your service, Miss Sloane.”
“Fantastic speech, Kenna. Truly inspirational.”
“You’re a real survivor, Miss Sloane. Thank you for sharing your story.”
Kenna was grateful for everyone’s appreciation—being thanked for her service and sacrifice meant a lot. But it was also hard to hear sometimes.
Hard to hear because so often—too often—she felt like such a damn fraud.
Everyone thought she’d adjusted so well—to the loss of her career, to the loss of her best friend in the Corps, to the loss of her right forearm and hand—but on the inside, she felt like a disaster. Grief, regret, guilt. And so much pain that sometimes she had to give into the promising lure of the narcotics her doctor prescribed.
She should be stronger. She should be able to fight all this. She was a damn Marine—and always would be, whether she still wore the uniform or not. At least, that’s what she tried to remind herself.
“How did it go?” Sierra asked through the car speaker phone not five minutes after Kenna pulled out of the hotel’s downtown Baltimore lot. Her sister was one of the few people who understood even a little of the inner turmoil Kenna tried to keep hidden from the world.
“Fine. Good. It was a nice crowd,” Kenna said, her hands at ten and two on the steering wheel. One hand real, the other hand part of her myoelectric prosthesis. The hand was matte black and connected to a black and silver forearm shaft that cradled and covered the small stump of forearm that remained. Her gaze dropped for just a moment to the way the almost skeletal-looking fingers wrapped around the wheel.
Be thankful for what you have.
Because the prosthetic’s cost of over fifty thousand dollars had been mostly, and generously, covered by a foundation.
“You there, Kenna?” Sierra asked.
“Yeah, sorry. How’s Jake?”
“He’s good,” her sister said, a smile clear in her tone. “He lost a tooth at school today and I’m waiting to make sure he’s asleep so I can play tooth fairy.”
As Kenna maneuvered through Baltimore traffic, she couldn’t help
Sierra chuckled. “I’m giving him two bucks. The little bugger’s losing teeth so frequently lately that I’m half convinced he’s yanking them out for the cash. How was physical therapy? Didn’t you have an appointment this morning?”
And there went that smile. Kenna didn’t question the effectiveness of physical therapy—the muscles in her residual limb were stronger, which enhanced her ability to control the movement of the prosthetic—it operated in part based on the electrical signals her remaining muscles generated. She also had more mobility in her right shoulder, and her neck and upper back pain had improved a lot.
But physical therapy also left her arm fatigued and her body emotionally drained. And an intense session always seemed to exacerbate her phantom pain for a night or three after.
“It was fine. Good.” Kenna merged into the right lane and turned.
“That’s the same thing you said about your speech,” Sierra said, her tone easy-going but obviously concerned.
Despite the light touch her sister tried to use, the comment still tripped Kenna’s shorter-than-usual temper. “What the hell do you want me to say, Si? That I’m exhausted? That I’m randomly driving around right now to avoid going home because I know the second I lay down the phantom pain will start, and I’ll have to grit my teeth through it all night in order to resist downing more pain killers? Which don’t always work anyway. That I’m terrified that the pain will never go away and I won’t be able to carry it, and I’m terrified that it will go away and how can I deserve that when George is dead? That every time I give a speech it makes the fear worse because now all these fucking people think I’m some kind of hero which means when I finally crash and burn they’ll all know I never deserved their praise and applause in the first place? Is that what you want to hear?” By the time Kenna finished the tirade she was breathing hard and shaking, her eyes dry as always. Why couldn’t she have a good cry and feel better like a normal person?
The phone was quiet long enough that Kenna wondered if she’d dropped the call. And then her sister spoke. “That’s exactly what I want you to say. That and whatever else you’re really feeling. Pull over.”
“Pull over. I want you to be safe and you’re driving upset right now.”
On a huff, Kenna made her way to the side of the street and parked illegally in front of a fire hydrant. “Okay,” she whispered, smoothing her hands over her black dress pants.
“I’m not a stranger, Kenna. You don’t have to put on an act for me. I’d know you weren’t in a good place even if you did so don’t waste your energy on it. I’d love for you to talk to me, but you don’t even have to do that. You can just be silently miserable with me if you want. Or you can rant at me. Whatever you need, I’ll do for you. And if you don’t know what that is, I’ll just be with you until you figure it out.” Another long pause. “Okay?”
“Okay,” Kenna said.
“Do you want to talk about any of what you just said?” Sierra asked.
Kenna gave a humorless chuckle. “Nooo.”
“Fine. But I will say this, I didn’t know Georgia as good you did, obviously, but I knew her well enough to know she would kick your ass for torturing yourself about her death. And you know that’s true. Even if you can’t feel it yet, you have to know it. She would not have wanted you beating yourself up on her behalf. She would’ve hated that for you.”
A squeezing pang tugged in the center of her chest. Georgia Kern had been Kenna’s friend from the first day of basic training, and they’d quickly become close. “I know that’s true, but I...” She shook her head, the sadness of the loss washing through her for the millionth time.
“I know,” her sister said.
Kenna and Georgia, or Ken and George as everyone had quickly taken to calling them, had both volunteered for the Female Engagement Teams, or FETs, small, specially trained groups who served alongside male infantry units in the Middle East. In their FET, they’d worked as cultural advisors and liaisons, communicating especially with the women and families their units encountered. She and Georgia had loved their jobs, loved being central to the mission of the infantry units, loved getting to serve in such a fundamental and intense way.
And then George hadn’t made it when another of the guys in their unit, Evan Burrell, had triggered a forty-pound IED during a patrol. Kenna had been walking on the other side of George, the force of the blast enough to throw Kenna up in the air, spinning her body like a helicopter blade. She’d been close enough that the explosion had ripped skin and muscle off her arm, and the way she’d landed had done the rest of the job of destroying the arm she eventually lost, despite multiple surgeons’ efforts to save it.
One of the doctors had said that Georgia being there had probably saved Kenna’s life and, after he’d left the room, she’d vomited despite having nothing in her belly. Somedays, knowing she was alive because someone else had died was more guilt than she could bear. Especially when that someone had been her best friend.
“I’ll call you tomorrow, Si, okay?” Kenna said.
“No you won’t,” Sierra said with absolutely no judgment. “But I’ll talk to you soon.”
After driving around for another hour, Kenna finally returned to the small studio apartment she’d managed to find when she’d been discharged. She’d been living off of her savings, her disability, and the honoraria she received from her speaking engagements, so the five-hundred-square-foot place was the most she could afford. Sierra had wanted her to bunk in her guest room, but no way had Kenna wanted to force her less-than-cheerful self on her sister’s little family.
She was so used to removing her prosthesis that the process barely took thought anymore. She released the suction, removed the limb and plugged it in to charge, and rolled off the protective sleeve and cleaned it for the next day’s use. And then she climbed into bed.
Hours later, she remained wide awake, her eyes glued to the dark ceiling overhead, ghosts of every kind making it impossible to fall asleep.
Tonight, the phantom pain was the worst of those ghosts. The pain made her arm and wrist ache despite the fact that she didn’t still have those parts. It was an ache that felt like, if she could just massage the muscles and joints, it would feel better. It was a pain that sometimes felt like an itch she could never scratch, or pins and needles that would never go away.
But there were other ghosts, too. “Quit yer bitchin’.” Georgia’s voice. One of her favorite sayings when anyone uttered a gripe about anything. Kenna supposed that imagining her bestie wanting to kick her ass over the poor-me routine was better than remembering the sound of her screams when that IED had detonated.
On a sigh, Kenna sat up and turned on the light. Her gaze went right to her prosthesis, laying on her night stand and plugged into the charging unit. She had to find a way to become more than what’d happened to her, more than what she’d lost. If she could just get out of her head, maybe she could get free of the pain, of the grief, of the guilt.
Get out of your head, Kenna. Stop thinking. Just feel what I’m doing to you.
Where had that voice and those words come from? Heat ran over her skin, a phantom sensation of another kind. A sensation from a distant, lust-drenched moment, and caused by a man to whom she hadn’t spoken in years.
Her lover. Her Dominant. But never her Master. He hadn’t wanted to claim her for keeps.
She’d fallen in love with Griffin, and when she’d finally told him, they’d ended up in what turned out to be the most awkward conversation ever, which had essentially boiled down to him not being interested in a committed relationship. He hadn’t been unkind about it, just honest, but it had still left Kenna reevaluating everything. Because things with Griffin hadn’t worked out, and working as a paralegal had left her absolutely certain she didn’t want to go to law school, as her paren
She’d needed something more meaningful, something deeper, something real. She’d needed a change.
A change that had led her to a calling she hadn’t realized she’d had until she’d made the commitment and become a Marine. Kenna hadn’t told Griffin. She hadn’t seen the point. She’d just enlisted. And she’d never regretted it for a moment—and still didn’t. Being a Marine could be grueling and exhausting, but the comradery, mission, and service had resonated deep inside her in a way she never would’ve predicted. For a long time, she’d still grieved the loss of Griffin, but the Marines had been like someone turning the lightbulb on over her whole life.
So why was she thinking of Griffin now?
“I’m sorry. How long was I out of it?” she asked.
Arms around her shoulders, Griffin cradled her tighter against his muscled chest and smiled down at her. “About a half hour. Close your eyes and rest. I’m in no rush.”
Kenna pressed her fingers to her mouth as her thoughts churned and realization finally set in. That memory of Griffin taking care of her had come after a particularly intense scene that had left Kenna flying so high she’d all but lost consciousness. Subspace, they called it, and with Griffin, she’d achieved it quite a lot. Nothing got her out of her head or sent endorphins racing like it.
“Oh, God,” she whispered out loud. An idea took route that threatened to shake up her whole world—for better or worse, she didn’t know. “Would it work now?”
That was only the first of the questions that came to mind. Would it work? Could she still engage in the bondage she’d once loved with an amputated arm? Was Blasphemy even still open? She’d met Griffin when the exclusive BDSM club had first opened six years ago. They’d frequently done scenes together for just over a year before she’d gone and gotten feelings for him that he didn’t return. And if Blasphemy was still open, was Griffin himself still there? Was he still unattached? Could she even begin to think about playing with him again, after everything that’d happened in the five years since she’d left Baltimore? Would she be up to finding a new Dom instead?
Bound to Submit by Laura Kaye / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes