Detective John Barnett joined the anti-supernatural taskforce to take down the werewolf who killed his son, but he finds more there than just his fruitless search when he stumbles into a kinky relationship with a beautiful and strong-willed radio show host domme, unaware she's secretly a siren.
When their worlds crash together, he has to reckon with the idea that not everything is black and white: not every monster is a murderer and not every human is a good guy.
As the nonhuman element of the city is forced out into the light and his enemy returns from the shadows, John and Esther's lives become ever more complicated and they're forced to balance their duelling natures against their relationship.
Pages: 431 (according to Amazon)
Released: January 24th 2020
Siren Radio is available on Amazon as well as a variety of other stores. I get the most royalties from Gumroad, which is also DRM-free.
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In which John and Esther communicate. 3,476 words.
A car horn jerks him awake and he finds himself sprawled across Esther, his head on her chest and her hips twisted so that both of her legs are slung over his thighs. It’s an odd position, but she’s clearly comfortable since she’s still fast asleep, and it’s intimate and warm.
His head hurts. Dehydration, he figures out, although his brain moves like it’s trapped in jello. He doesn’t want to move, so when he notices a bottle of water next to his gun on the table on Esther’s side of the bed he settles and tries to squirm closer to it. He reaches out, grabs the bottle and uncaps it without moving too much, trying his best not to wake the sleeping angel tangled up with him.
It works out well until he misses his mouth and pours icy water all over her chest.
“FUCK!” She startles awake with a shriek and shoves him instinctively. He rolls away with a yelp and nearly tumbles right off the side of the bed. She pats her chest down like she’s checking for injuries and stares at him where he’s fallen onto the edge of the bed. “What—!”
“I’m sorry!” He dissolves into laughter and clutches the water bottle that ended up poured all over him too when she shoved him aside. “I was trying not to disturb you!”
“Mission failed!” she squeals and starts laughing too. “God, what a wake-up call.”
He sprawls on his back, his head hanging off the side of the bed, and just starts laughing harder. “Fuck, I’m so sorry!”
“Yeah, you seem it!” She kicks his knee lightly with her bare foot, which just makes him laugh even more because it’s so dainty and gentle compared to the harsh snaps of her switch the night before. In fact, he’s still feeling those stings and they’re even more painful today, a dull throbbing ache all over his ass and thighs and a small amount of stinging on the backs of his shoulders.
“I am!” he says. “I’m just—!” He doesn’t have a good excuse for his hilarity so instead he throws more water over her.
She yelps and flails her arms as water showers her face and chest, then just stares at him. For a split second he thinks he’s majorly fucked up, but then she launches across the bed and clambers on top of him, grabbing for the bottle. “Johnny, give me the weapon!”
“No!” He holds it as far away as he can but she has the advantage of being on top of him, so when she grabs at it she manages to smack it out of his hand. It falls, bounces off his face—“Oof!”—and then off his chest—“Ack!”— and then splashes them both with water as she and laughs with glee as he starts cracking up again.
“I was thirsty!” he argues and she grabs the bottle before it can bounce right off the bed and onto the floor and inspects it.
“Here, drink this,” she says, offering out the half-cup left in the bottom. “I’ll go fill it up when it’s emptied down your throat instead of over us.”
She’s still sitting on his hips in that damn lingerie of hers, and god damnit is he aware of it. He struggles up to rest on one elbow and drinks the tepid water, trying to keep his body from reacting, and notices the moment one eyebrow raises up in time with his dick, no matter how hard he tried to keep it at bay. “Johnny,” she says, “are you aroused by getting me wet?”
Water goes down the wrong way and he starts coughing into the bottle, then moves it away to cough into the back of his hand and wrist instead, trying to stop laughing.
“I’m only asking because, well—” She wriggles on his hips and his bare dick rocks up against the seat of her silk panties. “You seem to be.”
He coughs a few more times. “Well, ma’am, you’re not making it any easier for me by doing that.”
A slow grin spreads across her face. “I suppose not,” she agrees. “Drink your water.”
“I’m trying,” he says and finishes off the bottle. It isn’t enough, he’s still parched, and she seems to care about that, so she takes the empty bottle off him, climbs off his hips and disappears into the little bathroom.
He looks down at his dick reproachfully. “You’re making us look bad.”
“Don’t talk to your penis, Johnny,” she calls through from the bathroom, light voice echoing through. “You’ll make me jealous.”
He laughs a little and drops his head back again, off the edge of the bed he realises a second too late as the blood rushes to his brain.
He shuts his eyes and he doesn’t hear her come back, footsteps too light on the carpeted floor, just feels her climb back onto his hips and sit there, which does little to help him convince his dick to find some chill. “You’re killin’ me here, smarty.”
“I’m sure you’ll die happy,” she says. “Drink your water.”
He sits back up and takes the bottle, putting it to his lips. He pauses, not drinking, and gives her a speculative look. “Are you going to drown me again?”
“Not currently,” she replies, but she’s still seated right on his dick and is clearly enjoying the power she has over him, so he hums in disbelief and drinks deep.
She doesn’t do anything to disturb his hydration, just watches him with her brown eyes sparkling like honey as he chugs the water desperately, only realising just how thirsty he is once he starts. He finishes the bottle in one go without stopping and offers it back.
“Another?” she says.
He shakes his head. “Not yet.”
She nods and sets the empty bottle down on the bed beside them. She still hasn’t moved and he can’t decide how he feels about that. He wants to have sex with her, but he knows she doesn’t want it too, and he’s okay with that. He’s just struggling a little with her teasing him.
“What’re you doing?” he asks finally and she frowns at him.
He gestures at where she’s sitting on his hips, seated so snugly against his hard dick. “This,” he says. “You said you don’t want to have sex with me. This is a little...” He doesn’t rock his hips, no matter how much he might want to. “I’m just wondering what you’re thinking here, is all.”
She falters, biting down on her lower lip and studying him. “I’m sorry,” she says and climbs off him. “I—I wasn’t trying to lead you on.”
He frowns. “That isn’t it,” he says, although it is, a little. “I’m just— I’ve never been with a woman before and not given back in some way, you know? You haven’t kissed me, you don’t let me touch you. There was a very distinct line in the sand between us.” He gestures a line between them, as though either of them really need the visual clues. “You, uh... We meet up, you tie me up, you do things to me to make me feel good, and you get me off. Then we snuggle.” She nods, watching him, kneeling on the opposite side of the bed from him now. “But this is a bit... closer than that? And you haven’t let me... get you off in return, and you said you don’t want to fuck, so... why the...” He waves a hand at her lingerie. He waves the same hand at his dick. “You’re giving me some mixed signals, is all.”
She licks her lips and rearranges, pulling her knees up towards her stomach and folding her feet under her, sitting up by the pillows. “I wasn’t trying to do that either,” she says sincerely. “I was just... playing. It’s easy to relax and just have fun with you. I don’t know where I was going with it. Truly. I’m sorry.”
He rubs at the back of his neck and sits up properly, dick deflating like it should have ten minutes ago if it knew what was good for it. “It’s okay,” he grunts out, like he doesn’t suddenly feel really overexposed. “I just don’t think I really understand what’s going on here and that’s on me.”
“It isn’t,” she says quickly. “We haven’t done a lot of talking about what we’re doing, that’s my fault. You told me what you wanted and it sounded fun and exciting and attractive and I dove in feet-first without—” She takes a breath. “Without conceptualising you as a human being with thoughts and feelings of your own. I’m sorry.”
Well, that feels worse and he feels worse now, like they’re breaking up whatever this is. “I don’t want to stop.”
“I don’t either,” she says, “but I think we should discuss it a little more fully, yeah?”
“Yeah,” he says. “Maybe without me being naked.”
She laughs. “Maybe I should put a robe on.”
They spend the next couple of minutes in a kind of shared awkwardness, John pulling his pants up and hissing low when he scrapes his newly acquired sore patches, and Esther pulling on a big fluffy motel robe, covering up all those gorgeous curves he loves so much. She ties it around her waist as he pulls on a shirt. She fluffs up her already poofy hair and he smiles and watches her as he does up his buttons and she helps when he misses one button and then the other.
They sit down on the bed, up by the pillows where he can lean his head against the wall. She rests her hands in her lap and watches their bare feet and the end of the bed and the dresser. He doesn’t speak, waiting for her to start. She doesn’t speak either. He sighs.
“Sorry,” she says. “This is just new to me.”
“You keep saying that,” he says, “but I think I’d like to understand what you mean? Do you mean you’ve never done sexual things before? That you’ve never done those things with a man? That you haven’t been touched? That you haven’t done this kind of kinky shit? That you haven’t done it with a complete stranger you picked up at a fundraiser?” He pauses. “I want you to understand that I have no problem with you having any prior experience with any of these things bar one.” He holds up a finger. “I’m going to be a little jealous if I’m the second fundraising stranger you’ve picked up.”
“Oh, Johnny,” she says, “let’s not pretend you were there to raise funds.”
“Fair,” he says and huffs out a laugh as she giggles too, some of the awkward tension raising from their shoulders.
“I’m not a virgin,” she says, which answers a couple of his questions, “although my experience has been somewhat limited: two women, one man. And had anyone but you asked me, I would of course say that I am a virgin.”
“Naturally,” he murmurs. He understands the culture they’re immersed in as well as anyone. He still doesn’t really believe he was Miriam’s first, although she’ll go to her grave swearing he was and he’s accepted that: it’s part of the dance.
He doesn’t want to dance with Esther, he likes this far more. He’d much rather be open and honest with the person he’s intimate with, in whatever capacity.
She seems somewhat awkward, so he licks his lips and says, “I was with eight people before Miriam: three men, three women, two other. After my divorce I’ve been with you, and my partner, Mal. That’s an ongoing—” He makes a hand gesture. “We hook up from time to time. It’s nothing romantic. Stress relief.” He pauses. “Not something I need today.”
“I won’t tell anyone,” she promises and he nods his appreciation. He didn’t think she’d tell on his queer past relationships, but it’s still nice to hear her confirm it. “I appreciate you trusting me enough to tell me.”
“This is my first kinky outing though,” he says. “Miriam and I were very—” He tries to gesture the missionary position but ends up looking like he’s trying to say a duck quacking. “And everything else has just been...” He doesn’t have a good word to express that it wasn’t boring but it wasn’t this. She nods because she understands. She always understands.
“I haven’t explored this side of myself with anyone,” she says after a minute. “My relationships with them—my previous three lovers—” He makes a note that her use of the word previous loops him into being a current lover and plans to coo over that later. “—were very vanilla.” Oh, that’s the word he needed. “And... familiar? I knew them, they were friends or family friends. One woman is our roommate, which still haunts me.” He laughs at that and she offers him a crooked smile. “The other I worked with, for a time. The man was... a complicated relationship. He was interested in marriage but I never felt the same about him that way. I loved him, but he—I didn’t feel like I would want to spend the rest of my life talking to him, do you understand what I mean?”
He thinks of Miriam, thinks of the fact he hopes she lives a long and happy life, that he loves her and will die loving her, but that he understands exactly what she means about her past lover: he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life talking to Miriam, either. He’s not sure he ever did, he just did what felt right at the time. “I get it.”
“Anyway,” she says, “I haven’t done these things with anyone because... My ex-lover, if she told my mother we’d been sleeping together, I might end up in trouble for being so... dismissive of this culture, but I wouldn’t be...” She trails off. “Humiliated.”
He frowns. “Why would this humiliate you?”
“Telling my mother?” she says and looks at him.
Okay, yeah. “Fair enough,” he groans at the thought.
“Anyway, it’s just... I saw it as an opportunity, I saw you as an opportunity,” she says. “Which was wrong of me. I should have seen you as a person with feelings and desires of your own.”
“I mean, so far our desires are pretty in sync,” he says with a grin. “I’m just more into the idea of having sex with you than you are and so when you get on my hips it... turns me on! And then I’m just disappointed.” He keeps his tone light and playful, not wanting to make her feel pressured in any way. She nods and primps her hair absently.
“That’s my fault for not taking your feelings into consideration,” she says. “I’m not adverse to the idea of doing sexual things with you not just to you? I just... don’t want to have sex like that.”
“You don’t like it?” he says.
“I do,” she replies, “but I already had one pregnancy scare in my life and I’d rather not have another one. And it’s slightly more attraction-based for me than just... getting off?”
He raises an eyebrow. “Getting off?”
She bites on her lower lip and shrugs a bit. She seems more like a young woman now and less like a domme. It makes her easier for him to relate to; she’s just as lost as he is. “What kind of things are you used to doing?” she asks, looking around at him. “With your other partners.”
“With men I suck really good dick,” he says airily. That startles a laugh out of her and she claps a hand over her mouth, giggling into her palm. He grins at her, all the more proud of himself for making her laugh. “I’ve been told it’s gold star standard!”
“Johnny,” she says. “Come on. Don’t goof around.”
He rolls his eyes. “You think I’m goofing but it’s the god’s honest truth,” he says and turns towards her. “But I’m good with anything, really. I’ve gone down on women, I’ve fingered them, there’s some of those toys like you want to try on me?”
She laughs a little. “I do really want to try those on you,” she says. “I bet you’d look amazing like that.” He opens his mouth to reply but before he can she says, “But I like the idea of you pleasuring me.”
He was already into this situation, that’s a given, but now he is even more so. “With my mouth? My hands?”
“Both, either,” she says, growing a little shier. “If you’d like that too.”
“I would,” he says and smiles. He’s a little nervous that this new dynamic will end with less submission on his part and less domination on hers, but he wants to keep her in his life either way, so he offers her his arm. She curls up against his side, resting her head on his shoulder, and he wraps his arm around her slender frame, pulling her closer to him. “We should experiment with that next time,” he muses into her hair, “maybe you’d like to tie me down and sit on my face. You do seem to like causing me breathing issues.”
“Johnny.” She slaps his stomach and he coughs once, overdoing it a little.
“See?” he says. “You love it.”
“Don’t tempt me to get something for that,” she says. “I could see myself tying something around that pretty throat of yours.”
That’s twice, he notes, that she’s commented on how good he looks. He files it away as something to be confused over later.
“I think you’re trying to kill me,” he drawls.
“Never,” she says and holds onto him a little tighter.
If that’s an odd reaction he doesn’t comment on it. He just pulls her closer to his body and kisses her hair. “Okay?” he says after a moment of quiet.
“If you are,” she replies.
“I’m glad we talked.” He strokes lines down her back like she did for him the night before. “You can squirm around on my hips any time you want now I understand what’s happening here.”
She laughs a little and takes that opportunity to climb into his lap and sit, straddling his hips and thighs, grinning into his face. “Is that so, Detective Barnett?”
He grins at her and settles his hands on her hips through the thick robe. “You gonna tell me if I’m touching you in a way you don’t like?”
“Oh, you’ll know,” she says. “I’ll just start choking you.”
“That doesn’t convince me not to do it,” he teases and she smirks at him.
“Does that mean choking is on our radar?” she says with a slow, easy grin.
“It’s on the radar, yes,” he says. He gestures far away with his hand. “It’s out there somewhere, but it’s on the radar. Few miles out. Visible in good conditions.”
She laughs and rolls her hips on him. He groans a little at the sensation, her robe having ridden up, leaving no padding between her and his pants. Even through multiple layers he can feel her heat and the pressure of her movements.
“Still killin’ me here,” he rumbles out, voice low, eyes closing and head dropping back against the wall.
She hums. “I know,” she says. “But that’s what I’m here for, isn’t it?”
“You sure changed your tune from never killing me,” he says, laughing softly. “Bit fickle, you are.”
“Now I’m considering face slapping,” she chirps.
He laughs, hearty and almost happy. “I could be into that,” he murmurs when he’s sobered. “I really could.”
She raises both eyebrows at him, an expression he’s becoming increasingly fond of, and wriggles in his lap some more. “How into it?”
He groans under his breath, tightening his grip on her hips. “Very into it.”
She grins slowly and licks her lips. “What time do you need to be home?” she asks. “Are you seeing Tommy or Miriam? Do you have to be at work?”
He doesn’t want to leave her, and lucky for him he doesn’t have to. “Not until the day after tomorrow,” he says softly. “This is my weekend.”
She shifts her weight so that it presses the backs of his sore thighs down into the bed. He groans again. “I could pay the room out for another day.”
He sighs in contentment. “I’d like that,” he says and he’s disappointed when she climbs out of his lap, even though he acknowledges why she’s doing it. “Would you like me to pay?”
“Next time,” she says and rushes out of the room like she’s as eager as he is.
He hopes she is.
Due to the nature of the book, Siren Radio contains:
Specific content warnings contain spoilers!