In a world on the far edge of desire, two women are drawn together by power, passion, and dark pleasures. When Kyle Kirk embarks on a daring exploration of her most secret fantasies, she finds that Dane, the stranger who guides her on the journey of self-discovery, awakens something far more dangerous than her senses. In the dark hours of the night, when passions rule and the barriers of convention are stripped away, both Dane and Kyle are forced to confront the true nature of what has long lain buried within their hearts.
THE SETTING SUN was almost below the water’s edge as Kyle pulled off the curving road onto the overlook. She brought the cycle to a halt along the shoulder, well away from the few cars stopped to watch the sunset. She turned the engine off, a long leg down on either side of the heavy machine for support, and pulled her helmet off. Absently, she ran a hand through her dark, wavy hair as she stared out over the ocean. The waves created a soothing, steady rhythm as they crashed and broke on the rocks below. She loved to ride this stretch of coastal highway, even though it was often crowded with tourists who slowed her progress. The road was demanding and she could lose herself for miles in the steady drone of the engine and the hypnotic ribbon of macadam sliding beneath her headlights. While her conscious mind was occupied with the mechanics of driving, her unconscious thoughts would surface, often illuminating some problem that was plaguing her. She didn’t question the process; she rarely questioned the workings of her own mind.
Tonight was different. She was aware of a simmering unrest, which had not been dissipated by the twenty-mile drive on the tight, tortuous turns. She wondered how long it would take to identify the source of her unease. She knew from experience that these feelings usually meant something in her life was awry, but she had learned to be patient until the pieces fell together. Being most comfortable with action, she found introspection unsatisfying and frustrating.
Sighing slightly, she reached a hand into the left inside pocket of her leather jacket and found her cigarettes. She fingered one out of the pack, holding it lightly between her lips while she fished the black and gold lighter from the right hand pocket of her tight black leather pants. The tiny flare of flame lit her features for an instant as she touched it to the tip of the cigarette. A chiseled profile, squared chin, and straight, slightly high nose were highlighted briefly in the glow. As the lighter snapped shut, the image disappeared, and her figure became a silhouette against the deepening sky. Kyle hunched her shoulders slightly against the cold wind streaming in from the sea and focused her gaze on the plumes of white spray, which wafted up from a large clump of rocks just offshore. In the silence around her, she could hear her own questioning thoughts.
Why are you out here tonight? Where are you headed?
It had been many weeks since she last made a Friday night journey into the city, seeking the comfort of women together in one bar or another. More often than not, she returned home alone in the quiet hours before dawn, her soul strangely soothed by the memory of others like herself that clung to her all the long ride home. Sometimes she unlocked the second helmet she always carried on the side of her Harley and brought home a woman to fill the emptiness in her body as well as her spirit.
Tonight it was more than just her usual urge for company. She had been unsettled and short-tempered for the last few days, and she knew as she thought about it that she hadn’t been herself for weeks. It wasn’t the solitude of her life—she was used to that after seven years. She had several good friends, which was more than most people could say, and work that she enjoyed. Her sexual life, if not constant, was fulfilling, and she could have had more if she cared to. She didn’t. Recently she was aware of a disquieting sense of frustration that threatened to disrupt the comfortable routine of her life. She hadn’t intended to go out tonight, but as if by pre-arrangement, she had set about getting ready as soon as she came into the house from her shop. Without conscious thought, she had showered and donned a crisply ironed white shirt and her leather pants. She tucked a slim leather wallet, contoured to her form from years of use, into her right rear pocket with her license and enough cash to last the weekend. A fresh pack of cigarettes went into the left inside pocket of her favorite leather jacket and the lighter into her pants. She pulled on the jacket and zipped it partway up as she headed through the kitchen. It was as she set the timer, which controlled the floodlights subtly tucked under the eaves of the house, and carport that she realized she was setting out for the city. Still, she had driven twenty miles before she had allowed herself to think about why.
Kyle took a last drag from her cigarette and dropped the butt near the toe of her boot. Carefully she dug a little hole in the gravel of the turnoff and pushed the bit of trash into it. With her heavy black boot, she meticulously covered it with a small mound of stones. She pulled her left leg up to rest on the black tank of her cycle and rested her chin on her knee.
As she had been sitting there, the water sounds gradually surrounded her and separated her in the darkness from the cars steadily streaming along behind on the highway. The pieces had inextricably begun to fall into place. It had started with the newspaper. Not long ago, she had been to the women’s bookstore looking for recent novels from her favorite women’s press. Disappointed to discover she had all of the newest books, she picked up a few newspapers rather than return home empty-handed. Once at home, stretched out in front of the fireplace with a brandy, she looked through the things she had purchased. The second magazine she picked up was one she didn’t recognize by name, but the subtitle, “Woman-to-Woman Encounters,” had caught her attention. She quickly discovered that the short stories, articles and poems inside contained some of the most graphic erotica she had ever read in the women’s press. It was more than that which surprised her, however. The entire publication was oriented toward issues involving sexual power. Kyle read the magazine cover to cover, and a few days later she went back to the bookstore and picked up the two previous issues.
Looking up at the dark, star-filled sky, Kyle suddenly realized the sun had set without her notice. She also realized something else. She had carefully taken note of the exact address of the bar, which advertised in every issue of the newspaper she had read with such interest. As she started the powerful engine and pushed the bike around to face the highway, she repeated the address to herself one more time.
AS KYLE DROVE through the city, the streets were almost empty, which was unusual for a Friday night. She was used to the crowded avenues and alleys from the years that she had been a city dweller. Even now, many years after she had moved north where the air was cleaner and the stars could be seen at night, she was at ease on the fast-moving streets. She found the address she was looking for in an area mostly frequented by men, but she was sure that the advertisement had specifically said “women.” And it was too late now to turn back. Looking up, she saw the sign she had been seeking. In faded letters the logo was clear, “Leathers.” Kyle pulled her bike into line with the others already parked there and switched off the ignition. She took a deep breath and made her decision. This was what she had come for, and she was not turning back.
Her footsteps echoed hollowly on the empty pavement as she approached the door. She looked in vain for the sight of a familiar face. No one approached. The door to the bar was slightly ajar and music wafted out into the street. It was a song she recognized from the popular music station. At least she wouldn’t feel completely out of place. She took a quick breath as she shouldered through the door into the darkness beyond.
Kyle was not a stranger to new surroundings. She moved through the small crowd near the door as she had so many times before in other strange bars. The room was long, with a bar down the right side and scattered tables off to the left. There was a small dance floor in the center of the room made smaller by people standing about and chairs pushed askew. She walked directly but unhurriedly toward the bar and found a free space. Women leaned against the scarred but polished surface and moved about in the shadows opposite her. At first glance, it looked much like any other lesbian bar on a Friday night.
It wasn’t until she caught the bartender’s eye and ordered a beer that she looked more carefully around the bar, casually surveying the crowd. With an elbow against the bar and her legs stretched out in front of her, her eyes traveled as she took her first sip. Her vision had adjusted to the semi-darkness of the bar, and as she looked out across the dance floor through the softly wafting curls of cigarette smoke, she focused on the figures before her. Initially it seemed there was a strange sameness about everyone. Then she realized it was because everyone was clothed in some form of leather or denim. Leather jackets, vests and tight jeans abounded. She smiled slightly to herself, realizing that she had unconsciously chosen exactly the right thing to wear. Knowing that outwardly she appeared to be like everyone else made her feel more comfortable, even though she felt anything but confident in this new theater. Nevertheless, the sight of women standing about in groups talking or simply watching each other as she was doing, brought the usual thrill of excitement she always associated with the bars. This was the stage where anything might happen, or anyone might become a player.