Hope drew another deep breath. “Okay, so yeah, Lokmi knows what he’s doing. I liked what he did. A lot. But I kind of feel as if I shouldn’t have.”
“Because of the religious rulings which say no sex outside of your marriages?”
“That part makes me feel guilty, nothing else. Though not guilty enough to keep me from doing it again if the chance presented itself.”
Piras snickered. “Lokmi would be glad to hear it.”
“You’re a Dramok, the breed that likes controlling situations, right? The thing is, I’m used to being in control of stuff also. Sure, I defer to my father in matters of our rebellion, because he’s an expert. But I lead in a lot of things too.”
Piras nodded, but his face had become unreadable. “You have a strong will.”
“I’m comfortable in taking the lead. I’ve never been much of a follower, unless I have confidence in who is in the charge.” She slammed a fist on the surface of the desk, her frustration coming out. “I sure as hell don’t go around handing off control to strange men I barely know, even if they do understand more about sex, or whatever else is going on. I—what’s so funny?”
She’d broken off because Piras was grinning again. He managed a diplomatic tone, however. “I’m amused because you sound a lot like Lokmi. He dominated your, um, interaction?”
Hope lowered her gaze to stare at the empty bowl in front of her. “Yes.”
“And you found it pleasurable?”
“I hate to admit it.”
“A part of Lokmi hates it when Kila wins the right to dominate him. Our Imdiko does enjoy being topped in sex with the right person, but a part of him says he shouldn’t. His Dramok half drives him insane in that regard.”
Hope digested the information. Was her investment in being strong why she had such issues? Was that why she couldn’t quite believe the positive reaction she’d had when she’d surrendered to Lokmi? It made sense. “How does he handle it?” she asked.
“He and Kila fight for the right to be on top. When Lokmi loses, Kila takes care to give him all the pleasure he needs. It helps him get over being on bottom. Lokmi does the same for Kila, though Kila doesn’t mind losing a fair fight.”
Hope had a vision of the two muscular men wrestling against each other, trying to overcome one another. Naked. The idea was titillating, exciting her—which made her feel embarrassed all over again.
She dived into the question that she prayed would clear all unwanted thoughts from her mind. “What about you? You haven’t said anything about how Lokmi copes with you being in charge.”
Piras regarded her, his expression inscrutable. He stared at her for so long, Hope thought she’d somehow insulted him. She was on the verge of telling him to never mind when he shrugged, a look of loss flitting over his face. “I am never in charge when it comes to sex. I do not enjoy taking the lead in intimate situations. I am submissive in that regard.”
Hope gaped at him. The in-command Dramok, leader of his clan, an admiral of the Kalquorian fleet—submissive to others? “You prefer it?”
“I would venture to say that preference isn’t the issue. I require dominant lovers.”
“You never—with Lokmi or Kila?”
“I get very little out of being in control of my clanmates’ sensual pleasure. Sex is the one place I do not feel I need to hold the power, so I surrender to them.”
Hope turned Piras’s admission over in her mind. She tried to imagine it, a man who allowed his lovers to command him. She’d never seen such a thing, though she’d seen next to nothing of sex before Lokmi in any case.
On Earth, it had been accepted that women were to submit to their husbands. Men ran the show. That was how it was.
Except Dad and Mom always discussed decisions for the family and the revolution like equals. Dad never treated her like she was less, unless they were in front of important people who might think her out of place. Then she behaved like an obedient wife. She was meek, as we were all told to be by the state.
It was a dictate Hope had always despised. Yet like her mother, she’d been careful in the presence of those outside her family. Docile. Deferential. Never letting the men see how she seethed inside to be treated as less.
“What are you thinking, Hope?”
Piras’s voice brought her out of reverie. Hope gazed at him to find him regarding her with a calm, straightforward gaze. He looked at her as if he had nothing to be embarrassed about.
If a man like Piras had no need for shame because he turned acquiescent when making love, then Hope doing the same with Lokmi meant she had nothing to be chagrined about either. If sometimes she liked giving herself to a strong, willful man, then it was all right.
And if sometimes she wanted to be the one in charge…
Feeling emboldened by Piras’s easy acceptance, she mused out loud. “It makes me wonder many things. Like how it would be, as a woman, to have control over a man during sex?”
“If you want to find out, I’m agreeable. Would you like to make love and dominate me?”