Anyone who follows my blog posts will know that I'm extremely ambivalent about vampires. On the one hand, I resonate with a well-told tale of the undead. I read Bram Stoker, breathless, when I was in high school. I still have a copy of the first paperback edition of Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire. At the same time, these days I sometimes feel as though one more vampire story is all I need to make me crack and run naked through the streets screaming, "Enough! Enough already!" Still, Stephanie Meyers continues to sell millions of books and publishers continue to issue calls for vampire romance and erotica. The reading public, it appears, is even more insatiable than than the legendary Count.
I have a new vampire story coming from Total-E-Bound in October. Fire in the Blood is not your typical vampire tale. The hero is a black ex-slave in Jamaica, turned by his cruel mistress. He lives alone on a ruined plantation, struggling to suppress his blood-lust and avoid falling into evil, but the heroine and her boyfriend seriously undermine his resolve.
I had a revelation while I was writing this tale. One of the things that attracts me to vampiric fiction is the close relationship between vampires and BDSM. Most of my readers--the full half-dozen of you!--know that I have an enduring fascination with D/s relationships. The most thrilling vampire tales derive their impact from the same emotional dynamics.
I'm not talking about surface stuff. True, many vampires dress like Doms, or vice versa: black leather or silk or spandex with the occasional blood red accent, capes and gloves and maybe a silver-headed cane. Some literary vampires I've encountered, notably Angela Cameron's vampire mafia, actually have a penchant for bondage and similar fetish activities. One might argue that vampires are natural dominants. After all, they have real power (although one of my favorite vampire stories, Kathleen Bradean's "Red By Any Other Name", features a male vampire submissive visiting his human Domme).
For me, though, the essence of the vampiric power exchange (if one can use such a term) is the victim's willing surrender. Before vampires became so eroticized, they were inhuman monsters, ugly, vicious and untidy, inflicting only pain, taking what they required without consent or cooperation. Anne Rice gave us beautiful, seductive vampires. She pioneered the concept that the drinking of blood could be a kind of communion, a brief but transcendent ecstasy for both the vampire and his victim. Vampire romance had whole-heartedly adopted this convention. The victim gives herself to the vamp, intoxicated by his power, perversely tempted by the nearness of death and subsequent immortality. This is remarkably similar to the surrender of a submissive, who willingly places herself in the possibly cruel hands of her Master even though she knows she may suffer for it.
In the few vampire stories I've written, I've tried to overturn the stereotypes as thoroughly as I can. The hero of "Vampires, Limited" is a blond-haired, blue-eyed college boy vampire who has only been undead for a couple of years. "Prey" features a vampire couple and explores how love and sex change when you and your partner are both ancient and undying. "Fourth World" presents an amoral female vampire without fangs who really just wants to have fun. Somehow, though, I always end up writing a surrender scene--where the human victim, swept away by the vamp's beauty and power, willingly offers what the vampire desires.
This happened in Fire in the Blood. I did not intend this to be a BDSM story. Yet I couldn't help myself. Echoes of surrender, the thrill of submission, infiltrated the tale despite my intentions. Here's an unedited excerpt from the tale:
Before she could recover, he was on top of her, his cock nudging against her still-quaking opening, his face inches from hers. His eyes glowed with a fierce, wild light. His lips stretched wide in a grimace of triumph, exposing the pointed teeth of an animal. Blood smeared those lips—her blood. Its rusty scent mingled with his aura of roses. She shuddered, even as her pussy wept tears of new desire. “Do you still want me, cherie?” he growled. “Now that you know what I am?” He ground his rock-hard erection against the softness at her centre, striking sparks that burned away her fear. “Yes,” she had time to whisper, before he fastened his gore-stained lips on hers.
She tasted iron, mingled with the crystal freshness of new fallen snow. His tongue snaked into her mouth, savouring her as though she were some exotic delicacy to be consumed. His teeth raked across her lip. The metallic flavour grew stronger. One hand cupped the back of her head, bringing her face to his. The other traced a ghostly path down the side of her neck, from her earlobe to her collarbone. The feathery touch made her nipples throb and her pussy clench.
His fingertips came to rest against just below her jaw. Her heartbeat quickened as she realised he was seeking her pulse.
He broke the kiss, rearing back and locking his eyes on hers. Raw power burned in those eyes, naked and inhuman. Madeleine had no choice but to surrender. She did so gladly.
Etienne held her in his gaze for a moment longer as if sensing the release of her will. Then he dove for her throat. His fangs pricked the skin his fingers had so recently caressed. At the same time, he jerked his hips and drove his cock into her depths.
He filled her, stretched her, woke such a riot of sensation in her pussy that she scarcely noticed his bite. She was loose and wet enough from her previous climax to take his whole massive bulk into her body on the first thrust. He slid easily along her well-lubricated channel, stretching her to the edge of pain but not beyond.
His rod was hard as steel, and metal-cold too, an icicle inside a thin sheath of flesh. It was a cold that burned. He pulled back then sank himself deeper into her welcoming sex. Delicious chills spiralled through her. Wisps of frost kissed her aching nipples. Her clit was hot and heavy. When his icy cock swept over that swollen nub, every muscle tightened at the exquisite contrast.
His lips locked to her throat, sealing the connection between them. He thrust and sucked in time, ramming his cock into her quivering folds at the exact moment that he drew a new mouthful of her blood. Madeleine was rocked in the savage rhythm, a fragile boat on a turbulent sea of scarlet. Wave after wave of delight shimmered through her helpless body, doubly pinned by his cock and his fangs. Every stroke triggered a new climax, until nothing remained but non-stop ecstasy.
A red mist rose around her. Her thoughts grew hazy. Hardness, wetness, above and below—these were her only realities. Her pussy was molten, hot juices bathing the chill rod that pistoned in and out of her hole. Blood surged from her torn throat, pumping out onto his tongue. The tides of life ebbed as he took more of what she so willingly offered.
I guess I've fallen wholeheartedly into this cliché, at least, because it pushes my personal buttons. Give me a seriously dominant vampire and I'll melt into a submissive puddle of lust. I wonder to what extent this connection between vampires and BDSM explains the popularity of the genre. I'd love to hear what readers think about this.