The Scientific MethodJoey W. Hill
The Scientific Method
by Joey W. Hill
The Scientific Method
A Vampire Queen Novel
Published by Storywitch Press
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Cover Design by Sasha White
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright (c) 2014 by Joey W. Hill.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
My great thanks to Helen and Gina, my science advisors. I am not a science person at all, so their assistance was invaluable to better reflect the world and thought processes so familiar to Brian and Debra. My gratitude also goes out to Mindy for coming to my rescue during the "erotic anatomy lesson" - love you, darling! My additional fervent thanks to Erin for her proofing abilities. Back-to-back edits fried my brain, such that I desperately needed another set of eyes in the three days before deadline. She came to the plate and delivered wonderfully.
Any remaining shortcomings are entirely the fault of this author, who hopes you enjoy Brian and Debra regardless. Hugs to everyone who has waited for their story for so long. I hope I did it justice!
Author's Note: While this book is a novella of the Vampire Queen series, happening somewhere after the time frame of Book VIII, Bound by the Vampire Queen, it can be read as a standalone. However, a familiarity with my vampire world will certainly enhance your enjoyment. You can read blurbs and excerpts for all the books in this series at http://www.storywitch.com/series-vqs.
Table of Contents
Debra. I'm hungry.
Two words that always meant something much more than blood to vampires.
She found him in Lady Lyssa's gardens. The old stone bench under an arbor weighted down by Confederate jasmine was his favored place to work when he didn't have to be in the lab. He was studying his laptop now, which provided her time to look at him as she approached.
The moonlight limned his hair, giving the lighter strands a golden-silver luster. The sculpted planes of his face were etched by shadow. With the preternatural vampire stillness that could take him when he was deep in thought, he could have been another marble statue in the maze of gardens.
Though he often came out of his work as if emerging from the bottom of a still ocean, she felt the moment his focus sharpened on her. It was a transition that never failed to weaken her knees. The awareness in his eyes, a mixture of blood hunger, sexual need and...
No, that was all there was. That was all she could let herself think about. For her part, it was so much more, but that was her problem to handle. She was the human in the relationship. A servant to his needs.
Setting aside his laptop, he brought her between his knees, banded his arms around her and nuzzled her throat. No words. They didn't need them, did they? She wound her arms around his shoulders, taking advantage of those first few seconds to slide her fingers through his thick hair, her pulse tripping as he slipped the buttons of her blouse and licked the valley between her breasts, tracing the curves. The man could use his tongue, the way a master painter used a fine brush. The pressure, stroke, timing... Totally controlled and excruciatingly perfect.
If a vampire wanted to fuck his servant in plain view of everyone on the Council estate, no one thought a thing about it. But right now, they were blissfully alone. Brian slid a hand up under her skirt to cup her buttock. When he found his way beneath her panties to stimulate her rim with long fingers, she moaned, rubbing her mound against his chest. The look he lifted to her was full of heat and pleasure, reflecting that dangerous edge that left no doubt -- at least in this moment -- that he considered her totally his.
His other hand slid along the curve of her breast, up to her throat, stroking so she lifted her chin, drawing in her breath at the whisper of his own there, the brush of his fangs. Those vibrant hazel eyes watched her every reaction.
"Stay still," he said, and she didn't move a muscle, even though inside all of her nerve endings were dancing. He pressed his mouth against her throat again and, as his fangs penetrated, he slowly slid his fingers into her wet pussy.
Clasp your hands behind your back. He spoke to her mind to mind, but it didn't lessen the command. When she obeyed, the thrust of her breasts put her tight nipples against his upper chest, an excruciating friction.
My bad girl. Already so hot and wet. You're going to come without my permission.
No, my lord.
You're saying no to me?
He took a particular delight in befuddling her usually organized mind like that. She could tell it in the gleam of his gaze, the erotic set of his irresistible mouth as he briefly lifted his head, gave her a look. She gave a desperate half laugh. "No, my lord. I mean, yes. Oh..."
He scissored and thrust his fingers in a rhythm with his drinking that elicited tiny moans, made her lose her train of thought.
You're going to come for me.
"Yes." She breathed it, shut her eyes and pressed her jaw against his head as the climax rose up inside her, an irresistible wave. She'd do anything for him.
He locked his arm around her, holding her fast so her sensual writhings worked her against his body. As he took his nourishment from her throat again, he kept stroking and teasing her until she wanted nothing more than to grip his shoulders, hold on forever.
But she wasn't allowed to touch him until he said she could.
That had been a couple hours before dawn, quite a few hours ago, but her body still vibrated with need. Debra opened her eyes, staring at rows of clean test tubes, mounted in the stainless steel drying rack on the wall across from her. The light thrown in from the west window gleamed off the glass. The rack kept them equidistant, allowing them to dry evenly and completely. Such order usually soothed her, centering her mind, but today she had an absurd urge to make the tubes fall. Make them touch, shatter against one another. Their rigid order felt like a mockery, a flimsy screen over a world making less and less sense to her.
She knew recalling her Master's latest feeding was a double-edged form of self-comfort, but it didn't stop her from recalling every ounce of sensory input. His hair against her skin. The thick strands scattered over his forehead and brushing his collar were the color of sunbaked golden sand, mixed with the darker bronze of it close to the shoreline. He'd had a scattering of Confederate jasmine blooms on his shoulders. Then there was his scent. The sharp cleanliness of the lab had been integrated with the smell of cut grass and old stone.
She thought of his eyes, focused and sharp. His firm mouth, commanding her to sink to her trembling knees after her climax and his feeding. He'd unbuckled the belt of his slacks, opened them to r
each in and grip his steel length. He'd stretched his cock out over the snug fit of his underwear, fed it between her parted lips, her moan of eagerness to serve him vibrating against the broad head.
In the vampire world, Lord Brian might be thought unassuming because he was more interested in gaining scientific knowledge than political power, but the inherent Dominant nature all vampires carried was just as full-blown in him as in a member of the Vampire Council.
Unfortunately, it tended to show itself only in short bursts; during feedings or at social events. If he was present for the event, that is. All too often he sent Debra by herself, because it was required that a lower-ranking vampire would make his servant available for such formal occasions. Here on Lady Lyssa's estate, where high-ranking vampires regularly came to petition the Council, most vampires wouldn't get away with sending their servant but not making an appearance themselves. However, if Brian wasn't there, he was in the research wing of the estate, his quarters, or the gardens, his brilliant mind employed with vital issues that affected the wellbeing of vampire kind.
Performing sexual acts with other servants for the pleasure of watching vampires was part of being in their very carnal world. She'd learned to embrace the sensuality of it, realizing she was honoring her Master by performing well, handling those things so he could spend time on his work. Even so, being at those events without him was never easy. She was indebted to the kindness of other servants who'd helped her grow more comfortable with it. By going to a place in her mind where she imagined him in the group of watching vampires, speaking in her head, ordering her every move, she could sometimes even make it pleasurable.
Since Lady Lyssa had taken over the Council leadership, she'd pretty much excused Debra from any formal vampire dinner requirements if Brian wasn't going to be present. It was a significant change from when the Council had been under Belizar's leadership. Though she suspected Jacob, Lyssa's servant, had been behind that decision, Debra was grateful for it.
When she'd met Brian at the university-affiliated research facility where she was working, he'd recognized she was a bone-deep submissive, one who had never articulated her needs. Instead, she'd channeled all of it into who she was as a scientist, serving the greater good, always asking more of herself, pushing harder. The bar was always rising, every breakthrough only a step toward the next one. She was an extreme overachiever with a dazzling mind, responsible for the acquisition of several key grants for the facility and, despite her age, in line for a fellowship.
Yet after only a short period of time in Brian's company, she'd left the world of human research and committed her life to him as his third marked servant. For one thing, he'd offered her an incomparable professional opportunity. She managed the day-to-day operations of the multiple wings of the research facility here at the Council headquarters. That also included management of the human staff of sixteen second marked servants who worked in those wings.
Working side by side with Brian, they'd made outstanding breakthroughs on the Delilah virus and vampire fertility issues that had made a difference to the species as a whole. Some of those breakthroughs had led to discoveries related to human disease. She'd forwarded those findings to a trusted contact at her old research facility and allowed her to take the credit, Debra remaining anonymous. Which was fine. The real reward was working with Brian himself.
The way her and Brian's minds meshed when they solved problems created a synergy so profound, it was no different from the exhilaration of shooting down the water slide in the amusement park of her youth.
She hadn't wanted to go to that amusement park, but her grandfather had said she was too serious, that she needed to get out and live life as much as study it. When she hit the pool at the bottom of the slide, the rush of the water, the pleasure of turning somersaults and getting a buoyant sense of herself different from what she'd ever known, had in fact been liberating. It made her a better scientist.
Her grandfather had taught her to seek different ways of looking at things. There's always one perfect angle to see everything that's important. But remember the sun shines on a different world every day. Getting trapped into one way of thinking is quicksand.
She could tell herself she'd left her old life for the science, but when Brian had unlocked the sexual side of her submission, he'd shown her it went down to her soul. When he held her, looked at her like he had in the garden, that was the perfect angle. It was the key to everything she needed from him and wanted to be for him. He was her Master, that one word the beginning and end of all of it. Which explained not only the main reason she'd followed him into his world, but why she was still with him, even during times like these, when the emptiness of her soul ached to be filled by things he could never offer her.
She glanced down at her tablet. The email she'd received several days ago was only a couple of taps away, but she already knew it by heart. Reading it again didn't change anything. Lack of change was the real problem, wasn't it?
A crackling noise penetrated her brooding, making her snap her attention to the left side of her desk. Emilie was chewing on her pencil like a beaver taking down a tree.
"Emilie, no. You know better than that." Debra extricated the item from the tiny claws of the white mouse and offered her a pinch of sunflowers from the jar on her desk. The mouse sat up on her haunches, seed clasped in both paws as she nibbled with a satisfied air. Debra raised a brow.
"Think you have me trained like Pavlov's dog, don't you?" She took a pinch of seeds herself, chewed while she looked back down at her notes. They were complete; she knew they were. She should move on to the latest data reports about the Delilah virus, but instead she tapped the tab on her tablet marked "birthing data".
Everything they'd collected about vampire birth data was in there, from Kane, Lady Lyssa and Jacob's son, to the most recent pregnancy in the vampire world, the daughter born to Lord Mason and his servant Jessica. But Debra wasn't interested in reviewing statistics. Instead she chose Brian's formal presentation to the Vampire Council a few months ago. If she kept it in hardcopy, it would be like a worn love letter. A simple fact, not sentiment, and a scientist never discarded fact because it was too uncomfortable to face, did she?
What I have found is this: there is an undeniable connection between fertility and those vampires and servants who have a closer relationship than is considered acceptable in our world...
What they'd done was analyze a number of carefully selected factors from both fertile and non-fertile relationships, and the results overwhelmingly supported their theory. Each fertile test couple exhibited a higher level of intimacy and trust than their non-fertile counterpart, as well as some level of what they'd decided to label as "positive dependence".
Debra went back to the report, where they'd couched it in lay terms. Terms so potent she couldn't stop re-reading them.
Positive, in that the vampire still clearly held the dominant role in the relationship, but he or she valued the servant in a manner that strongly suggests an emotional bond. One that could be defined as deep, romantic love.
Servants could be valued confidantes, a constant blood source, useful for performing daylight chores. But they were still considered an inferior race. The idea that vampires could be in love with their servants, that there was some sort of emotional parity to the relationship? Taboo, to say the least. The specifics of these results had been kept confidential at the Council level, only a carefully edited summary allowed distribution to Region Masters and overlords. The Council needed time to digest the implications before they would be comfortable handling the reaction of the vampire world as a whole.
Deep, romantic love. She and Brian had debated the correct terminology to use for the presentation, and in the end agreed it would be best to go with a subjective term a layperson would understand, to maximize the impact. This wasn't about achieving rights for servants. Beyond having their existence publicly exposed to humans, born vampires faced no greater threat than the extraordinarily low birth r
ate. Made vampires for the most part simply didn't have the same longevity or strength. This was a significant finding, if the data continued to support it, and so far it had.
Closing her eyes, Debra remembered what else Brian had said to Lady Lyssa during that pivotal meeting. "I credit my lab assistant and servant with this finding. She pointed out the variable to me and backed it up."
It was ironic that when she'd met Lady Lyssa's servant, Jacob, Debra had been the one to give him the stern lecture about the nature of the relationship between vampires and servants. The bond between servant and vampire is unique. Not family, not spouses, not lover. The excess sex drive vampires have can force us into a deceptive intimacy. We convince ourselves we're lovers, probably because the reality is beyond our ken and we don't know how to classify it. Since we can't reconcile the feeling with the reality, we use sex to Band-Aid it... If you allow yourself to believe it's something different from what it is, you've fooled yourself in a way that will only bring you heartbreak. In the worst cases it'll result in bitterness. They'll drive that lesson home again and again, twisting the knife.
She'd been on the receiving end of that knife during her first couple of years as Brian's full servant. She considered herself a rational empiricist, so once she'd pushed past the emotional pain of what had happened, she'd analyzed it from all angles and accepted what her relationship to Brian could and couldn't be.
Or so she thought. Lately, things had been changing, new variables altering her ability to manage her feelings.
Lady Lyssa and Jacob had defied hundreds of years of strict vampire protocol on vampire-servant relationships. They were clearly a man and woman in love, no matter that as her servant Jacob only had the rights Lyssa gave to him. But what vampire law said and what people's hearts dictated were frequently different.
When Debra was around Jacob, it was clear how often Lyssa floated in and out of his mind. His handsome mouth would quirk, his eyes soften, brief flashes of humor crossing his features. Along with occasional wry frustration, since the last queen of the Far East clan was far from the most easy-going of vampires -- an uncommon trait in any vampire, let alone one over a thousand years old with royal blood in her veins.