Guest: JP Barnby – Behind the Scenes of In the Absence of Monsters


In the Absence of Monsters Behind the Scenes

Ethan Safewording

Jayden Carter

 Ethan has been so uptight lately; I wish he would talk about what’s bothering him.  I didn’t know if he was having trouble with Gabriel, or if it was something else.  He just seemed so unhappy, closed off.  Lexi and I had talked about this a few times and I figured she had a pretty good idea of what was wrong; she was just so intuitive like that.  She could see right through me, I’m sure.  Lexi and I had talked a few times about the session tonight, and I knew she was looking forward to it.  It had been a long time since Ethan had been Master Ethan with her, and I know that she missed it.  He was her first Dom, and was important in her life.  Even though she was in love with me, she would still enjoy submitting to him tonight.  Then, after the session, he and I would talk, as he wished.  I didn’t know what he wanted to discuss, but I’m sure whatever it was would be easier if we were both relaxed. Nothing relaxes you like a good hard session.  God, I loved my sessions with him when I was his sub.  I had really started to miss that lately.  I missed the emotional and physical release I always got submitting to him.

Then it struck me.

I could give that to him.  I could give him that release.

We headed up to the playroom, and saw that Connor was already positioned on the floor.  He was a good sub, but Lexi was really more into dominating him than I was.  Ethan had told me once that I was a natural submissive, now I really understood what he meant. He had trained me as a Dom, but really I wanted nothing more than to be naked and on my knees for him.  Ethan looked over at me for direction and I indicated that I wanted him naked on the floor next to Connor.  If he was gay and bottoming for both me and Gabriel, what I had in mind shouldn’t be an issue.

When Connor and Ethan were both naked and kneeling, I walked over to them and told Connor to greet me properly.  Like an overly enthusiastic puppy, he did just that, kissing from my bare feet as high as he could on my chest.  He stretched up, craning his neck to reach as high as he could.  I told him he was very good, that he had pleased me.  Then, I stood before Ethan and told him the same thing.   He was less than enthusiastic.  Distracted, he kissed up to just above my stomach.  I could tell that something else was on his mind, and considered stopping the session, but now more than ever I knew he needed that release.

I told Lexi and Ethan to position themselves on the saw horses, Lexi looked at me surprised, as it was supposed to be her and Connor on the horses.  I asked her if she was going to safe word, or get on the horse, I wanted to get started.  Helping her position herself so that she was facing the other horse, I asked Connor which one he wanted to work.   Figuring he would choose Lexi, because it’s not exactly a secret that he has a thing for her, I was surprised when he chose Ethan.  Then, it dawned on me that Connor could not wield the paddle against Lexi.  I should have seen that coming, but I didn’t.  A little peeved that I wouldn’t be the one to give Ethan his release, I nodded at Connor.  He went back and got a paddle to use on Ethan, while I stayed with Lexi and Ethan.  Then, as Lexi and I watched, Connor paddled Ethan’s sweet tender ass.  I got hard watching.  Then, I saw Ethan’s face as he rested it against the padding of the horse.  He looked bored, no, not bored.  As his face came into better view, I saw that he was anxious, not bored.  His eyes were closed tightly, and he appeared to be grinding his teeth.

He needed to relax.

I told Connor to get Ethan hard, knowing from experience that it would be easier on him if he were aroused.  Connor looked at me for a long moment; I couldn’t really discern the emotions that crossed his face.  Then, he got to his knees and went to work.  Ethan kept his head down, but as I watched his cock get hard, I knew he was enjoying Connor’s ministrations.  Then, I tossed Connor the lube, and he started to prepare Ethan.

Several things happened at once then.

Lexi started squirming on her horse; it looked like she was trying to get out of her bonds.  She had the buzzer; all she had to do was hit it if she wanted my attention.  So, I kept watching Connor and Ethan.  Connor pressed his hard cock against the soft skin of Ethan’s ass, and Ethan moaned, pulling his head up to look at me.  When he saw me, his expression turned from surprise into blind panic in an instant.  I could not understand it

Then, he screamed.

The sound tore through me, and instantly, my heart started to pound in my ribcage.  He sounded terrified.  I couldn’t do anything, but watch.  He was screaming, begging me to stop Connor.  So panicked by the thought of bottoming for Connor, he couldn’t even remember his own safe word.   The words came out almost like choked sobs as he started to hyperventilate.  The tears in my eyes at the heartbreaking tone of his voice clouded my vision.  I told Connor to go to his mat so that Ethan would calm, but he continued to panic. Finally, I went over and cut his bonds away, expecting him to stay still.  Instead he fell off the horse in his effort to get away from me.  Me.  He ran to the front of the room and started to pull his pants on.  I could not understand what was happening.

I told him that I didn’t understand.  He was gay; he wanted to be with men.  Ethan had bottomed for me, for Gabriel.  Why the hell had he panicked like that?   Then, he told me the one thing that made it all clear.  He had never bottomed for anyone else, just me.  It crushed me when he threw in the term „willingly‟, making it devastatingly clear that he was lumping me in with his abuser.  He felt that what I had wanted Connor to do was tantamount to what the monster had done to him.

I felt sick.

I tried to call him back, but he was gone.

I handed the knife to Connor to let Lexi loose, and headed for the stairs.  By the time I’d reached the bottom, he was gone.  He had gotten in his car and fled. He ran, from me. Looking down, I noticed that his shoes were still next to the door.  In such a panic that he wouldn’t even take the time to put on his shoes, I couldn’t imagine what would happen to him. Could he even drive, upset as he was?  If anything happened to Ethan tonight, it would be entirely my fault.  I would not be able to live with myself.

Slowly, I trudged back up the stairs to make sure that Connor had released Lexi.  As soon as I walked into the room she came over to me.  At first, I thought that she was trying to comfort me.  Then, her hand came back and she slapped me across the face.


“How could you do that to him?” she screamed at me, and I fell to my knees.  “He was raped for eight years, and you think it’s okay to just make Connor have sex with him?  Is this because of Gabriel?  You wanted to get back at Ethan because you’re jealous?  I never thought you would stoop to this.  I thought you cared about Ethan.” She never took a breath as she screamed at me.  I just sat there, on my knees, taking it all.  She was absolutely right.  I had just shattered Ethan’s trust in me, and most likely our friendship.  Now, I had nothing.

I had absolutely nothing.

“I’m going to go look for him,” I said softly, and she pushed me back.

“You are going to stay right fucking here while Connor and I look for him.  The last thing he needs to see right now, is you!” she yelled.  Pulling myself off the ground, I went to the back corner of the playroom, the same relative corner where I had found Ethan in his own playroom when Lexi left.  I sank down against the wall, the tears finally falling.

My God, what had I done?

I pulled my phone out of my pocket and tried calling Ethan.  I was pretty sure he wouldn’t answer, but I needed him to know that I was sorry, that I cared about him.  Oh God, if anything happened to him.  The fear, and the guilt writhed in my stomach as I hit the speed dial.  His smooth voice came on as the voicemail picked up.  The phone hadn’t even rung.  I listened to his soft melodic voice as he went through the standard greeting.  Doctor Cullen sounded so calm and sweet on the phone.  It was strange the things that you think about when your heart is breaking.

“Ethan?  Ethan I am so sorry.  Please come home so we can talk?” I said into the phone without any real hope that he would.  First and foremost, I just wanted him to know that I was sorry for my horrific error in judgment.


He didn’t call back; Lexi and Connor didn’t call to say that they had found him.  Nothing.  As the minutes turned to an hour, I felt like someone was squeezing my chest.  The panic was just paramount.  I loved him so much, I had only wanted to help him, and now he would hate me.  He would never speak to me again.  I called again, almost aching just to hear his voice.

“Ethan, we’re all coming to look for you,” I said softly.  It was a lie, of course, because I was grounded to the house and unable to look for him.   “Please just call one of us to let us know you’re okay.”  I practically begged into the phone.  He wasn’t going to call me, I knew that, but I just wished he call someone to let us know he wasn’t in a ditch.

I put my forehead on my knees and covered my head with my arms.  Rocking back and forth, I didn’t let myself give in to the sobs that were threatening to burst from me.  Please let him be okay.  This is my fault.

Then, my phone rang.

I opened it without looking at it.

“Hello?” I asked, my voice breaking.  I didn’t care who it was, as long as they had news about Ethan.

“Jayden, it’s Lexi.  Connor just called and let me know that Ethan is at Gabriel’s.  He saw his car in front of the house, but he wasn’t in it.  He must already be inside,” she said, and her voice was flat.  I could tell that she was relieved that they had found Ethan, but now her rage would turn on me.

“Thank you, Lexi,” I said quietly, but she hung up without another word.

I called Ethan again, this time for no other reason than just to hear his voice.  “Ethan, Connor just called and said your car is at Gabriel’s. I’m so glad that you’re safe and with someone that cares about you. I’ll call you tomorrow.”  I dropped the phone onto the floor beside me, and started to sob in earnest.  Now that I knew he was safe, I could focus on my own overwhelming grief.  It could have been minutes or hours that I sat there.  So absorbed in my own sorrow, I didn’t hear the door open and was unaware that I was no longer alone until Lexi stood before me.

“You are I are going to talk, now,” she said, and I didn’t even bother to wipe the tears away before I looked up at her.  She sighed, and sat down on the floor next to me.  “Jayden, this jealousy has to stop.  You could have done irreparable harm to him tonight, just to assuage your own green fucking monster.  He is my best friend; he is your best friend.  How could you think that this would be okay?  How could you think that he would be okay with being tied down and fucked by another guy?  After everything he has been through, everything you have learned about him, you had to know that this would end badly.  Were you trying to push him away?  I don’t understand you Jayden.”  I nodded.  Everything that she had said was true.  I explained to her why I had thought he was bottoming for Gabriel and my logic for everything else.  As the explanation came out of my mouth, even I knew my logic was flawed.

When I was finished, she sighed.  “I don’t know what this is going to do to your friendship.  I’m not sure he will be able to forgive you.”  Standing up, she pushed my phone over to me with her foot.  “You need to explain this to him and apologize.  Oh, and from now on, I’m in charge in this room.  We will transition Connor to another Dom when we can, I think that you and I need to work on a few things.”  Then, she walked out of the room, leaving me alone with my thoughts.

I tried to process everything. After this fiasco, Lexi had to know about my feelings for Ethan.  Ethan may not know, or understand, but I’m sure Lexi did.  I was also pretty sure I had just pushed Ethan right into Gabriel’s arms.  He would never trust me

I picked up my phone again to make one last call to Ethan. again, and he shouldn’t.  My own girlfriend didn’t trust me with a sub anymore.  I had failed them, I had failed myself.

I tried to explain everything, what I was feeling, how I only wanted to help him, and what Lexi and I had talked about. Needing for him to understand, I told him that I was stepping down as a Dom, that I could not let my feelings or anything else get in the way of my judgment again.  My sorrow, my fears, everything came out into that voicemail.  It cut off just as I was begging for his forgiveness.  I would have done anything in that moment for him not to hate me.  I didn’t care about the playroom or any of these games anymore.  I just couldn’t stand the thought that he hated me.

Then, I sat the phone down on the floor and waited.  I had no intention of moving from that spot until I knew that the other half of my heart would be coming home.

In the Absence of Monsters Blurb

Jayden Carter knew the path he wanted his life to take. He wanted to get his Master’s Degree in History and teach. But, when he answered an ad for a roommate and met mysterious doctor, Ethan Bryant, he’s brought into a world he never knew existed and his path changes.

It changes again for Jayden and he leaves Ethan with their friend, Lexi, in tow. Ethan loses himself in a haze of self-destruction and pain. With the

Adapted from The Forbidden Room and A House of Cards: Deconstructing Ethan help of a childhood friend, Gabriel, Ethan battles the demons of his childhood and finds a way to survive. Gabriel and Jayden wage an epic war for Ethan, but in the end, they may all end up losing.


About the Author



Award winning romance novelist, J. P. Barnaby has penned over a dozen books including the Working Boys series, the Little Boy Lost series, In the Absence of Monsters, and Aaron. As a bisexual woman, J.P. is a proud member of the GLBT community both online and in her small town on the outskirts of Chicago. A member of Mensa, she is described as brilliant but troubled, sweet but introverted, and talented but deviant. She spends her days writing software and her nights writing erotica, which is, of course, far more interesting. The spare time that she carves out between her career and her novels is spent reading about the concept of love, which, like some of her characters, she has never quite figured out for herself.

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One Response to “Guest: JP Barnby – Behind the Scenes of In the Absence of Monsters”

  1. Gigi Says:

    Please count me in. Thanks!

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