It will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me that I adore JP Barnaby. She is one of the most fearless writers I know, and obstacles to her are just something that make her stronger. And of all her wonderful characters, I have to say that I love Master Ethan most of all. Fierce and flawed and brilliant and troubled, Master Ethan is the heart and soul of In the Absence of Monsters, now available from Wilde City.
Here’s more about In the Absence of Monsters, and at the bottom of this post is a chance to win a Kindle Fire and $100 Wilde City download code to fill it!
Here’s what this awesome story is about…
Jayden Carter knew the path he wanted his life to take. He wanted to get his Master’s Degree in History and teach. But, when he answered an ad for a roommate and met mysterious doctor, Ethan Bryant, he’s brought into a world he never knew existed and his path changes.
It changes again for Jayden and he leaves Ethan with their friend, Lexi, in tow. Ethan loses himself in a haze of self-destruction and pain. With the help of a childhood friend, Gabriel, Ethan battles the demons of his childhood and finds a way to survive. Gabriel and Jayden wage an epic war for Ethan, but in the end, they may all end up losing.
Adapted from The Forbidden Room and A House of Cards: Deconstructing Ethan
Note: the following excerpt contains strong language and seriously graphic adult situations. Because this is not for children…
In the Absence of Monsters Behind the Scenes
Someone who will care about him all the time?
What did that little prick know about it?
I was in love with the guy, all the time, not just when it’s fucking convenient. It was threatening to destroy my whole life! I was going to crush Lexi, disappoint Kimberly, and admit that I liked to fuck guys. All for what? A guy incapable of loving me back?
Golden boy hasn’t been there for Ethan in fucking years. He wasn’t there to pick up the pieces; he wasn’t there when Ethan really needed him.
Presumptuous little ass, I thought as he followed Ethan up the stairs. Fuck, the prick was probably going to break up with him, and I couldn’t stand to see him hurt like that. I knew the little bastard was going to hurt him. Lexi tried to grab my arm, but I pulled out of her grasp, stewing about it, and headed up the stairs a few minutes later. I stood outside the door trying to gain my composure. Then, I heard laughing from behind the door. Things must not have been going too badly if they were laughing.
Maybe I should just apologize.
I sighed, and turned the knob.
The sight in front of me stopped me in my fucking tracks.
Ethan was lying on his bed underneath Mike, his legs wrapped around the guy’s waist.
They were kissing.
My words died in my throat. It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment that Mike and Ethan were having sex. From Ethan’s reaction to our…our night together- I wanted to call it lovemaking, but I doubted he would see it that way- the way it took him back to that horrible time in his life. Never would I have thought he would ever want to do bottom again. That night, I had tried to be as gentle as possible with him, to show him how much I cared about him.
It was all a sham.
This guy was fucking Ethan.
I apologized for disturbing them, not paying a whole lot of attention to where I was headed; I stumbled back down the stairs, and made it to my study so that I wouldn’t have to see them leave. More than anything, I hoped that Ethan would come and talk to me before he left. I don’t know why that small measure of comfort would have been so important to me. Maybe I wanted to know that I was as important to him as that little bastard he was with upstairs. Sitting in the leather office chair, I ran my fingers along the polished mahogany desk, not caring about any of it. It was the finest furniture money could buy, but it could have been a folding table for all I cared at that moment. The only thing that meant anything to me in the world was him, and he was about to walk out the door with another guy.
I heard the front door open and close. He was leaving – without a word. Why? Why did I do this to myself? Had I turned into an emotional masochist as well as a physical one? I fucking hate this.
Grabbing the first thing my hands came across, I hurled the mantle clock out of the open study door where it exploded against the hallway wall. Lexi came running up the hall to see what had happened, her face registering first shock, and then pain, at the clock lying in pieces on the hardwood floor. At first, I didn’t understand. What fucking difference did it make? I had more money than God; I’d just buy another fucking clock.
“That clock belonged to my mother,” she said softly, the tears falling silently now. All of a sudden, I felt sick. I took off at a dead run, barely making it past Lexi and the clock in the hallway and out the back door before I threw up in the bushes.
I was a fucking monster.
Nothing in that moment could have prepared me for my own self-hatred. I got on my motorcycle and sped as fast as I could away from the house, towards the lake. Things like speed limits, or even stop signs didn’t concern me. Weaving in and out of traffic like a man possessed, I finally made it to Navy Pier. Parking my bike on the sidewalk, not caring if it was towed or even stolen, I walked aimlessly along the bike path. Turning sharply to my left, I walked until I reached the end of the pavement at the water’s edge. I sat down precariously, blissfully alone, and dangled my legs over the water below.
Lexi had to know how I felt about Ethan; I wasn’t exactly the best at hiding my emotions. At some point, it would be too much. My deception was going to break her heart. Would she leave? Would she go back to New York? I couldn’t stand the thought of that. Even though I didn’t love her in the way she wanted, even though I didn’t love her as much as I did Ethan, I did love her.
I wanted the three of us to always be together.
However, with my feelings for Ethan, his lack of feelings for me, and Mike now in the picture, I didn’t see how that could ever happen.
I was being so fucking selfish.
If Ethan could be happy with Mike, I should let him be happy. I’d made my choice. In a blind fucking panic, because I couldn’t face the fact that I might be in love with another man, I couldn’t face that I was in love with my Dom, but most of all, I couldn’t face that I was in love with a guy that could never feel the same way about me. So, I had made a panicked declaration to Lexi.
Lexi loved me, I knew that.
I grabbed a hold of her love like a drowning man. After my parents, and after the falling out with Rosalie, I needed to know that someone gave a fuck about me. Now, I just didn’t know what to do. It hurt so badly watching Ethan with Mike, like a searing knife through my chest.
I could see it all playing out in my head. Ethan and Mike at mommy’s brunch, holding hands and playing the token gay couple. Ethan would fake a laugh at their stupid jokes, all the while staring blindly at his watch begging time to speed up.
Ethan deserved better.
He deserved better than to be paraded out like some circus animal for his parents’ amusement. Mike didn’t know Ethan, Mike wouldn’t understand that Ethan didn’t like that kind of attention. I sat quietly seeing Ethan in my mind in front of the all of those people, how edgy he would be, how off balance.
I hated it.
No matter how I was feeling about Ethan, my natural tendency was to protect him. It made my chest ache to think of him being uncomfortable like that. Grabbing my phone, I made a decision. It was now just past five and I had to talk to Lexi first, so I figured I better make it later rather than earlier. Hitting the keys on my phone, I sent him a text asking him to meet me in the playroom at nine o’clock. A session would help him deal with his emotions after being with all of those people.
It was just after seven when I finally got back home, and my mind was on planning the session for Ethan. It took a few minutes for me to realize that Lexi was standing in the doorway, calmly watching me with red-rimmed eyes. I looked down at the floor, away from her face, feeling the guilt eat at me.
“Jayden, this has to stop,” she said softly, her voice almost pleading. “It’s not healthy for you, or for him. He is trying to heal, to find some measure of peace. Mike is helping him. You cannot fly off the handle when you see them together, no matter what you may think of Mike. It’s hurting them, and it’s hurting us.” Letting out a sharp huff, she turned. Before getting completely out of the room, she added, “by the way, my mother’s clock is still in the hall. You’ll need to do something with that.”
I heard the front door slam as she left.
Staring at the empty doorway, my heart hammered in my chest. I was screwing this up so badly. I was letting them both down. Pretty soon, neither of them would be able to stand me. I’d be alone, and I would deserve every bit of it. Just as I deserved Lexi’s anger, I deserved Ethan’s indifference.
I waited, huddled on the floor of the playroom for the time to pass, but it refused. There were no clocks here, and the sun had already set. Nothing was discernable with respect to time; I may have been sitting here for minutes, or for hours. My eyes had traced over every piece of equipment here, imagining how best to utilize it with him. Finally, they landed on the ottoman. That piece had been a gift from Ethan, and it was one of my favorites. He had used it with me, and we had both used it with Lexi.
I was deceitful.
I was manipulative.
I was out of control.
Trying to quell the rising panic building in my chest, I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket to check the time. Oh God, it was just minutes before nine. The panic took over, there was no way I would be able to Dom him in a session.
More to the point, I wanted to be dominated by him.
I needed to serve him, please him. I needed the structure, the discipline. Stripping quickly, I made my decision in an instant. My knees had just hit the floor as I landed in my position when I heard the knob turn.
Slowly, almost excruciatingly slowly, he made his way to me and knelt on the floor to look at my face. I couldn’t contain the overwhelming panic, the devastating need I felt for him. Trying not to let my voice crack, I begged him for Master Ethan. We hadn’t had these roles for months, but I needed to give myself over to him now.
I felt his fingers in my hair, and I relaxed, closing my eyes. His touch always had that effect on me; he excited me sexually, yes, but I felt safe and comfortable with him. Tilting my face up to look at him, he asked me about the clock. I answered in a whisper, ashamed of my outburst. Then, he asked me if I should be punished, and I wanted to beg him, but I knew my place.
I knew the game.
“If it pleases you, Master Ethan,” I said, almost calm under his influence. He had me stand and hold onto the bondage frame, and when I was stretched, it felt good to exert myself. Spreading my legs wide, so that more weight was forced onto my arms, I was almost hanging. Listening to him move about the room, I waited.
Then, I felt the sting of the flogger and was grateful for it. He whipped me everywhere, my back, my ass, my thighs, and my cock. I presented each in turn, almost begging for him not to stop. Then all too soon, it was over.
Binding my hands behind my back, he then tied my ankles wide apart to a spreader bar. I suppressed any sound of surprise as he wrapped his arms around my waist. Oh God, I could have stayed in that moment for the rest of my life and been completely happy, even if I was bound. I wanted to let my head fall back on his shoulder, I wanted him to kiss me, and I wanted him to make love to me.
It was eating away at me, knowing that he wouldn’t. It would all be about the domination, about the sex, but I would have to take what I could get. After helping me down to my knees, he grabbed that damned ottoman and set it in front of me. Sensing what he wanted, I almost lay down over it, but I’m so glad I didn’t because he poured some of the silicone lube over my cock and began to stroke me.
I could feel him behind me, and I tried to hold back, to stay still, but I just couldn’t. After a few minutes, I started pumping my cock shamelessly into his hand, and when I felt him kiss my neck and I nearly came.
His voice was low in my ear, the nearly painful need he had for me evident, as he asked me if I wanted him to fuck me. Telling me that he was my Master, he asked if I wanted to please him and I nearly missed that small miracle when he called me his Jayden. I wondered, as my breath caught, if he really understood how true that was, that I was his Jayden.
After pushing me over the ottoman, he lubed my ass. Again, I shamelessly moved my hips pushing back against his fingers as my slick cock rubbed against the leather. All I wanted out of life in that moment was for him to be inside me.
And then, he was.
As he slowly entered me, the realization that our arrangement would most likely end soon spread over my body like a hot, wet, blanket threatening to suffocate me. I would lose even these brief moments of intimacy with him. He would not see our sessions as intimate, but in my desperate need for him, that was the only way I could think of them.
After all, it wasn’t me he wanted in his bed.
Our one night of lovemaking was just a failed experiment. An experiment in which I’d found everything I had never wanted, and he found … nothing. My throat burned as the tears that had been threatening to fall all day welled behind my closed lids; my emotions were always so much fucking stronger during these times when I opened myself to him – mind, body, and soul.
When I let his name escape, I was surprised when I received no admonishment for it. Whimpering again as he drove harder into me, I felt my orgasm rapidly approaching. The muscles in my legs began to tense, the burning, tingling feeling in my cock and my balls grew more pronounced. Ethan made me feel things that no one else had made me feel during sex…ever. At first, I had thought it was the submission, then I feared that it was just because he was a man, but now I knew – it’s because he was Ethan, and one day I would never feel like this again. I would never be able to have this intimacy with him. The tears streamed down my face as I heard him give me permission to orgasm. Trembling now with soft sobs as I rubbed myself against the ottoman, I tried hard to obey him and when my orgasm tore through me, I cried out as I came. I not only heard, but also felt him follow quickly. Turning my head, resting my cheek against the cool leather, I tried to get a handle on my churning emotions.
As soon as he released me from my bonds, I fled, taking the stairs to the third floor two at a time in my haste. I did not want him to see how truly upset I was. Surely, he would ask questions that I did not want to answer, or even questions to which I had no answers. Once in my room, I flung myself onto the bed and cried openly. I cried for Lexi, because due to my cowardliness, she would never truly find love. I cried for Ethan because though he deserved it more than any of us, he was incapable of finding love.
Then, finally, I cried for me and my selfish squandering of Lexi’s love in a fruitless dream of ever having Ethan’s.
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Award winning romance novelist J. P. Barnaby has penned over a dozen books including the Working Boys series, the Little Boy Lost series, In the Absence of Monsters, and Aaron. As a bisexual woman, J.P. is a proud member of the GLBT community both online and in her small town on the outskirts of Chicago. A member of Mensa, she is described as brilliant but troubled, sweet but introverted, and talented but deviant. She spends her days writing software and her nights writing erotica, which is, of course, far more interesting. The spare time that she carves out between her career and her novels is spent reading about the concept of love, which, like some of her characters, she has never quite figured out for herself.
Web site: http://www.JPBarnaby.com