If you’ve been following along the last few weeks, I’ve been highlighing the beginning scene of my next Corbin’s Bend book, Psychology of Submission. If you haven’t read the start of the scene, you might want to start here first. I’m sharing the end of that first scene today as Troy convinces Traci she needs to get on a plane to Chicago. I know my opinion doesn’t count (since I’m the author) but I just love Troy so much in this scene. Would his argument persuade you to get on the plane if you were in Traci’s shoes?
Excerpt from Psychology of Submission:
They were at the heart of her lie. The reason she’d avoided this discussion for months. If she couldn’t even talk about this with her brother, the man who loved her most in the world and who lived in Corbin’s Bend as the head of household in his domestic discipline marriage, how in the world could she get up in front of a bunch of professionals and talk about it?
Again, he waited patiently. The silence between them finally forced the words from her. “I just don’t think they want to hear about the kind of relationships I’ve studied.”
“A bit more specific.”
“A bit more specific.”
“Rather than playing this guessing game, why not tell me the title of your work?”
Traci took a deep breath before continuing. “The Intimacy of Dominance and Submission. I study the psychology behind what makes Doms and HoH’s need to dominate and protect. I also study the psychology of why some people long to be submissive, both sexually and domestically.”
Troy whistled softly. “Well, you certainly have a hot-bed of test subjects here in Corbin’s Bend. At least that explains in part what made you want to move here, to live your research.”
Traci snorted an unladylike sound. “Researching others, yes. I wouldn’t say I’m living my research.” Traci had to push down the now familiar self-pity she’d been fighting since last year’s conference.
Troy didn’t seem to notice and pressed on. “But, I don’t understand. This seems like a very legitimate topic to present on.”
“If I stopped with the psychology of D/s, it might be. I dig a bit deeper.”
“And, the heart of my research revolves around corporal punishment and the need for delivering and receiving discipline.”
“You mean spanking.”
“Among other things. I delve into everything from the psychology behind DD relationships to hard-core BDSM master/slave relationships and everything in between. I’ve focused a lot on defining the difference between abuse and discipline. How humiliation and pain factor into the dynamics of D/s. It’s actually very interesting stuff. I’ve developed several screenings to help couples understand their deepest drivers to better predict long term compatibility in relationships.”
Troy took time to internalize her words before he continued. “Honestly, learning this only makes me admire you all the more, Trace. More than ever, I don’t understand why you don’t want to go and represent your hard work?”
“Let’s just say many people choose to live here in Corbin’s Bend to escape the judgmental crap from people outside our community who don’t want to understand. The topic makes them uncomfortable and instead of studying it to learn more, they decide to act like immature jerks, ridiculing me and my research.”
“I bet you’re just being paranoid.”
Traci’s anger flared. “My nickname at the last conference was the ‘Spanko Shrink’. Some of the worst offenders were kind enough to have an official name-tag created for me and had it in large letters on the name plate that sat in front of me as I sat at the head table last year. I couldn’t figure out why people seemed to be pointing and snickering. Thankfully, an acquaintance of mine was kind enough to walk up and take it down.”
“Oh for Christ’s sake. I’ve never heard of such immature behavior. These were actual psychologists?”
“Yes, Troy. That’s what I’m trying to say. These are the same peers who will be sitting in the ballroom to listen to my keynote speech this year. Waiting to laugh and ridicule. Waiting to do who knows what to humiliate me. In my personal relationships, I may admit to living closer to the submissive end of the continuum, but I’d prefer not to be humiliated in public in front of professional peers.”
Troy pondered her words before speaking again. “Traci, do you use your research to help the residents you see here in Corbin’s Bend?”
“Of course. Every day.”
“So then I guess the question is, is that enough for you? Are you willing to turn your back on the millions of people living outside of Corbin’s Bend who might benefit from the knowledge you can pass along? Because that’s what you’d be doing. Your peers at the conference can learn from you. They can go back and help their own patients. Your research can influence them. You have the opportunity to impact many outside of this small town. The question is, are you willing to risk personal ridicule to help them? You have something important to share. You’ve worked hard at it and deserve your time at the podium. If you stay home, those small-minded bigots have won and you’ll be making the most submissive decision of your life. The decision to submit to their immature scare tactics.”
Traci’s heart raced. Her brother had a way of cutting through all the crap in just a few minutes on topics she’d wasted endless hours worrying about over the last twelve months. Could she face her fears and go to the conference?
“I’d like to make a date with you, Trace, for one week from today. I’ll meet you here on this very bench and we’ll talk about how your week went. I’ll want to hear every detail from you. Now here’s the million-dollar question. What will make you feel better one week from now? Having stayed home to safely go about your daily life without fear of ridicule? Or, will you feel better sitting here telling me about your week in Chicago? Even if some people act like idiots, I suspect you’ll feel better by proving you can hold your head up high, by not letting them stop you from doing what you’ve earned the right to do: present as an expert in your field.”
His words were a direct hit. He knew her so well. Finally, all of the self-doubt started to fall away. She knew it was probably going to be the hardest week of her life, but her brother had helped her understand the only thing worse than going to the conference was… not going to the conference.
Traci tried to smile. “I guess I’d better hurry up and finish eating. I have to get home to pack.”
Troy pulled her into a big hug. “That’s my girl. I’m so very proud of you.”
Traci Jackson has been a therapist in Corbin’s Bend for several years. She’s helped many residents navigate their own D/s and DD relationships, but she hasn’t found her own HoH. Through her patients, she’s been researching and writing about the dynamics of dominance and submission in relationships for years. She loves her field, but she hates attending professional conventions where she’s treated like her specialty isn’t valid.
Sean Campbell is juggling raising his teenage daughter alone in Chicago while running a large convention hotel. When the annual psychologist convention comes to town, he literally bumps into the most beautiful and intelligent woman he’s met in a long time. He gets the surprise of his life when he finds out her specialty is D/s with an emphasis on corporal punishment.
They may find sparks from the minute they meet, but Traci and Sean have more than just the long distance between Chicago and Corbin’s Bend separating them. Sean has never heard of domestic discipline before. Will Traci pack up and leave Corbin’s Bend to be with the man she’s falling in love with, even if he can never be her true HoH?
Mark your calendar for June 4th!
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