Unconditional: A Masters and Mercenaries Novella
A curious woman
Ashley Paxon understands responsibility. After her fiancé left her alone and pregnant, she forged a new life for herself and her daughter. Moving to Dallas, she went back to school and found a job at a club called Sanctum. As one of the BDSM club’s waitresses, she watches the Doms and their submissives every night. She yearns to explore their lifestyle of discipline and power exchange, but she knows she wouldn’t belong.
A wounded man
Keith Langston believes in living in the moment. Haunted by the past, he moves from one casual relationship to the next and never looks back. But the moment he lays eyes on Ashley, something primal and possessive takes over. He can’t stop thinking about her and yet he knows he can’t offer her what she needs. Having her seems impossible until Sanctum’s owner, the mysterious Ian Taggart, makes him an offer he can’t refuse.
The perfect contract
Offered the chance to train Ashley and initiate her into the D/s lifestyle, Keith is delighted to accept. Under the guidelines of a carefully crafted contract, they lose themselves in the pleasures and intimacies of being Master and submissive. But when Ashley and her daughter are threatened, Keith realizes she needs much more than a part-time Dom. To protect her, he will have to break through the barriers of their contract and finally face the demons haunting his heart.
A Masters and Mercenaries Novella
Release date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Print pages: 149
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Unconditional: A Masters and Mercenaries Novella
Ashley Paxon took the seat the big bad Dom offered her and wondered if she was about to get fired. Or maybe murdered. She wouldn’t put anything past Ian Taggart. Oh, her sister said the massive hunk of man was really a teddy bear on the inside, but Ashley wasn’t buying it. This particular teddy bear had claws and fangs. The owner of Sanctum was gorgeous and—if rumors were true—deadly.
God, she wished Ryan and her sister weren’t on their honeymoon.
“Are you trying to win the quiet game?” Ian asked, a quizzical look on his face.
Jeez. How long had she been sitting there staring at him? Sometimes she lost track of time. And she’d been known to fall asleep with her eyes wide open on occasion. It was something that happened because she got no sleep at all. Her daughter was cutting a molar and she didn’t have a husband to share the load, so sleep was sometimes a hard-fought battle. “I…I…no.”
Taggart’s blue eyes were like lasers pinning her to her chair. “Because if you are, you just lost.”
She wanted to look around for the cameras. Maybe this was one of those surreal TV shows. Or maybe the guy was toying with her the same way a lion batted around a mouse before he crunched down and made a light snack of it. “Are you going to fire me?”
If he was, she would rather go ahead and get it over with. She’d taken the job waitressing in the bar at Sanctum because it paid well and only required her to work three nights a week. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, her baby girl, Emily, stayed with her brother-in-law’s mother at Ryan and Jill’s new house. It was the perfect setup because Ashley lived in their guesthouse, so it was easy. Helen Church had become her baby girl’s grandma. It was a damn good thing because Ashley’s own mother was dead and Emily’s dad was so not in the picture.
“Why would I fire you?” Ian’s blue eyes narrowed and he leaned forward, a menacing look on his face. “Have you been doing something wrong?”
She felt like he was looking through her, like there was no skin to hide behind and he could see down to the depths of her soul. Suddenly she believed all the rumors about this man. He had very likely worked for the CIA, and she was certain he’d been damn good at his job. He probably wasn’t into the Geneva Convention protocols for dealing with prisoners, either. “No. I mean, not really. I was ten minutes late last Friday. I’m so sorry. I got caught in traffic on 75. It was a complete mess. I also ate three…no, five. I ate five maraschino cherries. I’m a little addicted to them. I can pay for them. You could take the whole jar out of my pay.”
She knew she shouldn’t sneak them, but they were so tempting.
“You ate my cherries?” Taggart’s eyes went wide.
“What are you doing?” The door behind her opened and a tall, well-built woman with strawberry blonde hair entered, her eyes on Ian Taggart. “Are you trying to scare the crap out of the subs again?”
Charlotte Taggart gave her husband a stare that would peel paint off a wall, but he merely smiled her way, a slow, sexy curling of his lips.
“She’s so easy to scare, baby. I couldn’t resist. Come.” He moved his big chair back, patting his legs.
Charlotte rolled her eyes but placed herself squarely on his lap, her arms going around her husband’s neck as she kissed him lightly. “You’re mean.”
“Not to you, I’m not.”
A sigh huffed from Ashley’s chest. Working at Sanctum had been her sister’s idea. Jill was the bar manager and her husband, Ryan, was the Dom in Residence. Sanctum was a real live, honest to goodness BDSM club, and Ashley had thought she would last roughly two point three seconds in what amounted to a sex club.
She wasn’t sexy. She didn’t even really believe that sex was all it was cracked up to be. She’d had exactly one serious boyfriend and he’d knocked her up and then promptly disappeared, leaving her alone until her daughter had been born.
Sex was nothing more than a biological function. The whole orgasm thing was mostly a myth. Or maybe she simply wasn’t that type of girl.
But damn, her heart skipped a beat when she saw the way the Doms of Sanctum treated their subs.
Charlotte finished kissing her husband, but she didn’t move out of his lap. As far as Ashley could tell, if those two were in a room together, they were connected. They were holding hands or he pulled her into his lap. When they sat in the bar, Charlotte usually lounged on one of the oversized, luxurious pillows on the floor, her head in Ian’s lap as he talked with his friends.
Yeah, she might not want to hop back into the sexual pool, but she damn sure missed affection.
Although how could she miss something she’d never really had?
“So, Mr. Evil is going to stop torturing you and tell you about our plan,” Charlotte explained.
Dear god, that scared her even more. “There’s a plan?”
Ian’s lips quirked up. “It’s more a favor I’m going to ask of you. Would you do a favor for me, Ashley? In exchange for a whole jar of maraschino cherries.”
It was kind of, sort of phrased as a question, but there was an underlying meaning behind those words. Sanctum was his club. She was his employee. He wasn’t the polite type to ask kindly. She was pretty sure that if his wife hadn’t walked in, he would have just told her what to do. “I suppose I could try. Do you need me to work an extra shift?”
“No, but I do need you to take on an extra duty. You know I’ve got a couple of new Doms applying for Master rights here.”
Everyone was talking about the new guys. A big gorgeous Brit had shown up about three weeks before. He’d been walking the dungeon at night, leaning heavily on a cane, obviously recovering from some sort of injury. Jesse Murdoch had been studying, trying to pass the courses Taggart insisted every Dom in his club passed.
“Yes, I’ve talked to Jesse a couple of times, and the other one seems nice enough.”
Ian snorted. “Are you talking about Damon? Nice? Sweetheart, Damon is a raving, raging murder machine right now, and you should stay far away from him.”
She should probably stay away from everyone because she had terrible taste in men. Her last boyfriend had merely been a douchebag with both commitment and mommy issues. She wasn’t ready to move on to murder machine, though she’d been voted “Girl Most Likely to Pick up a Serial Killer” by some goofballs in high school. She’d lost “Girl Most Likely to Get Knocked Up” to Britney Kraig. Britney was still single and had a belly she could bounce a quarter off of, so she’d shown them. “All right. I’ll watch out for him. Should I mace him if I get the chance?”
“I’d pay to see that,” Ian said. “Seriously, I’ll pay you. It would be so worthwhile to see the look on his face.”
Charlotte sighed. “Damon got shot by his bestie. He’s not handling it well. He’s not going to tear up the club.”
“Unless Baz shows up. Then all bets are off,” Ian countered. “And I’m not talking about Jesse, either. I’m fairly comfortable with him. I’m talking about your brother-in-law’s friend.”
“Keith?” She’d met Keith a couple of times. He’d been at Ryan and Jill’s wedding. He’d been the best man and she’d been the maid of honor. She could still remember how he’d offered her his arm before they walked down the aisle. Keith was a tall, broadly built man with golden brown hair and a smile that transformed his naturally sober face into something beautiful.
He’d escorted her down the aisle and then utterly ignored her. He was some sort of ridiculously wealthy investor guy. She was a girl who cheered when her bank account had more than a hundred bucks in it.
“Yes. Keith has moved back to Dallas and he wants to come to Sanctum. I know Ryan says he’s a well-trained Dominant, but I don’t give out Master rights like candy. I need to see it, which means he needs a sub.”
She shook her head because there was some kind of mistake. She wondered if Jill had told them a lie to get her the job. “I’m not a sub.”
Both Charlotte and Ian snickered a bit.
“Ashley!” Ian growled her name.
Ashley immediately looked away. Damn it. That didn’t mean a thing. It meant Ian Taggart was a scary guy. She forced her eyes to meet his. “I’m not a submissive. I hope that doesn’t mean I can’t work here anymore, but the truth of the matter is I’m only here for the job. I don’t…I don’t do the sex stuff.”
Taggart snorted. Somehow he made it sound regal. “You don’t do the sex stuff? Don’t you have a kid?”
He had a point. “Fine. I don’t do that kind of thing anymore.”
“You don’t fuck anymore?” Taggart asked. “Look, the fact that you called it ‘sex stuff’ makes me want to help you out.”
She felt herself flush. “I’m a mom. I don’t have time for sex.”
Ian stared at his wife. “You’re never having babies.”
Charlotte frowned Ashley’s way. “Don’t talk like that in front of him. He’s scared of tiny humans.”
“I am not.”
“You ran away from Carys last night.”
“That’s because I’m scared of poop, not tiny humans. Although tiny humans make an enormous amount of shit. And then they play in it. It’s horrifying. If we have a kid, it can’t poop.”
“I’m going to work on that, babe.” She turned back to Ashley. “This isn’t about sex. D/s doesn’t have to be about sex. It can be about figuring out who you are, and if you honestly believe you aren’t submissive, then maybe you should be talking to Eve and not Ian.”
“I don’t see how you think I’m a sub.” Eve was the resident shrink. Ashley didn’t think she really needed a professional.
Charlotte hopped off her husband’s lap and walked around the desk. She leaned on it, looking down at Ashley. “Honey, you do everything anyone asks of you. Just the other day Adam asked for Dos Equis and the bar didn’t have it, and you went out on your own and found it.”
She didn’t like to disappoint people. “It didn’t take me too long.”
She’d had to drive three miles in terrible traffic and it took two stops to find the correct beer. But that was her job, right? It wasn’t like she always did what people asked of her. She had a sarcastic sense of humor. That meant she was all independent and sassy. A sub couldn’t be those things.
“You should have told him no. Adam is a pussy. He’ll take anything you give him,” Ian replied. “But Charlie is right. Tell me how many times in a day you give up the things you want and need because someone asked you for something. It doesn’t even have to be something important. You never want to say no. You never want to let anyone down. You struggle to even say no to people you don’t like.”
“So you want me to sub for this guy because you think I’m some kind of pushover?” She didn’t like the implication. Somehow when Taggart put it that way, she sounded pathetic. She was trying to be nice, trying to make things easier for the people around her.
But he was right about one thing. She ended up sacrificing all too often.
Her mind went back to her boyfriend. She hadn’t wanted to have sex, hadn’t been ready for it. He’d whined and argued and sulked and she’d given in.
Taggart shook his head, a short, sharp negative. “No. I don’t think you’re some kind of pushover. I know you’re a doormat.”
Charlotte sent her husband a look that should have killed him. “God, you’re such an asshole.”
He simply shrugged as though he got that a lot. “And that’s twenty, baby.”
Charlotte’s eyes rolled, her attention going back to Ashley. “What he’s trying to say is you don’t necessarily understand the dynamic a D/s relationship can take. You’re seeing the sex and the spankings and how nice it is to kneel at some hot guy’s feet and let him pet you, but there can be more to it.”
Taggart grinned, a look that lit up his normally dark face. “Don’t forget the blow jobs.”
Charlotte ignored him. “What we’re trying to do is give you the opportunity to explore the lifestyle in a safe setting with a Dom I’m pretty sure is a service top.”
“Service top?” She’d heard the terms top and bottom but had never heard there were different types.
“Doms get into the lifestyle for different reasons,” Charlotte explained. “Some are complete buttfuck assholes who want to have absolute control over every aspect of a woman’s life and can’t accept anything less.”
“We prefer the term total power exchange to buttfuck assholes.” Ian didn’t crack a smile this time.
Charlotte continued. “But some Doms actually get their pleasure in the exchange from serving their submissives.”
“Like the aftercare stuff?” She was definitely fascinated by the way Doms who had spanked their subs would turn tender, softly caring for the flesh they’d recently smacked.
“Among other things. But the important part here is that some Doms like to take subs like you and make them stronger. They aren’t happy with a sub who simply serves them because they serve everyone. They want to earn the sub’s trust and that means helping the sub to be a stronger individual.”
“You’re talking about therapy.” They were back to her being crazy.
Ian shrugged again. “Think of him as a life coach with a flogger. You’re not crazy, Ashley. You simply need to see that you’re worthwhile, too.”
Tears popped up, sudden and unbidden because he was right. She’d spent the last several years hating the position she’d put everyone in. Her mother had died disappointed in her, but then she’d never been able to make her mom happy. She would have been mortified that her younger daughter had gotten pregnant out of wedlock. Jill had been forced to sacrifice in order to pay off Ashley’s medical bills.
And Trevor had walked away. One day he’d been sweet as pie, planning their wedding, and the next he’d left her with nothing but a note explaining he wasn’t ready to be a dad or a husband.
He’d never seen their daughter. After one attempt to talk sense into him, he’d even left the town they lived in. She’d tried to find him, but his parents wouldn’t tell her where he was or how to call him. His father had very smugly told her that his boy had finally come to his senses and she should go and take care of the problem.
They offered to pay for her abortion.
“Honey, are you okay?” Charlotte was kneeling in front of her, a sure sign that Ashley had drifted again.
She’d never gone back after that. Never fought for her rights or tried to force Trevor to pay child support until Jill had stepped in and hired one of Taggart’s men to do it for her. She’d cried and walked away. “How would he do it?”
“Do what?” Taggart asked.
“Teach me I’m worthy when I’m so damn sure I’m not.” Wasn’t the first step in solving any problem admitting she had one? She’d read that somewhere.
Ian and Charlotte exchanged a long look and then Charlotte leaned forward, taking over the conversation.
“Oh, I think he should be the one to show you, but I can tell you a bit.” Charlotte patted her hand and started to explain her new role.
* * * *
“Does Ryan know about this?” Keith asked, forcing himself to stay cool. The last thing he needed was Ian Taggart thinking he was an insanely eager pervert.
Even though he pretty much was. He was insanely eager to get really perverted with the woman in question. Ashley Paxon—his best friend’s sister-in-law.
Taggart sat back in his chair. “I discussed the situation with him before he left. He knows Ashley is submissive.”
“And he approved?” Somehow he couldn’t imagine it. Ryan had to know how unworthy he was. Ryan knew how he’d conducted his relationships in the past. Hell, Ryan would laugh at the idea that he knew the meaning of the word relationship.
He’d never told Ryan about what happened when he was twenty-two, but the man was smart. He knew a bad bet when he saw one.
“He doesn’t actually have to approve. You do understand that she’s an adult?” Taggart watched him through half-closed eyes as though the proceedings were about to put his ass to sleep. “She’s perfectly capable of making her own choices. Ryan is aware that if the chance for her to explore came up, I was going to offer it to her. Ryan knows what his sister-in-law’s problems are.”
Ashley’s problem was that she was too sweet, too gorgeous. Being in the same room with Ashley got him hard as hell. Fuck, thinking about her was causing his dick to stir.
Ashley was also far too young and needed way more than he could give any submissive.
Ashley needed a husband and that was so not going to be him. He knew it and he’d stayed as far away from her as possible. He walked out of a room when she walked in. When she was working the bar here at Sanctum, he suddenly wasn’t at all thirsty.
“I don’t think it’s going to work.”
Now he had Ian Taggart’s attention. “Really? So you can’t flick a whip unless your heart’s engaged? Or do you only like to top attractive women? Is it because she has a few pounds on her?”
Keith kept his temper in check. He wasn’t stupid. Taggart was going to push him, prod him, try to get at his soft center. He knew it because it was exactly what he would do were he in Taggart’s shoes. His first instinct was to go over to the desk and explain to the fucker that there was no way Ashley was anything but perfect, but then Taggart would know far too much about him. “I think she’s a lovely girl. I simply worry that she’s my friend’s sister-in-law.”
He could practically see the wheels in Taggart’s brain working, looking for a weakness he could exploit. “I wasn’t aware you and Ryan were that close. I know you had lost touch for a couple of years.”
Because Ryan had gotten into trouble and wouldn’t let anyone help him out until very recently. There were other reasons he and Ryan weren’t as close as they had been when they’d worked together. Ryan was married and already talking about kids. Ryan was going to a place that Keith was never going to go.
He liked being married to his job. His job never told him he was inadequate. His job didn’t lie to him. His job wouldn’t die on him if he fucked up.
“We’re as close as I get to anyone, Taggart.” He wanted to play here. Sanctum was by far the best club in Dallas, but he wasn’t going to open his head and let Taggart play around in it. “Ryan has referred me for membership. If you’re not accepting anyone right now, I would prefer you told me now so I don’t waste my time.”
“Touchy. I didn’t say I wasn’t going to let you in on a provisional basis. I was only trying to get a feel for how close you are to Ryan. Sanctum is a place for my friends and family to play, to relax. Ryan has become a friend, so I’m willing to give you a test ride, but I want to see how you work with subs. We’re more on the play end of the lifestyle. What type of sub are you looking for?”
“I’m looking for a casual play partner. That’s all. This is how I relax.” He spent all his time at work, buying and selling companies, stocks, funding new ventures. It was high pressure and stress. He needed to blow off steam, and D/s was how he did it.
Though the first time he’d seen Ashley, he’d thought about what it would be like to have a woman living in his house again, knowing that she would be waiting for him at the end of every day.
“So you’re not looking for any kind of permanent relationship with a sub?”
“No. If you’re trying to pair me up with a sub, you should know that I don’t believe in marriage. I’m not that man. I want a casual relationship.” It was all he could handle. It was absolutely all he deserved.
Taggart slapped his hand on the desk, the sound echoing through the office. “Excellent. All my guys are mushy assholes. They’re all getting married and spitting out kids. It’s disgusting. We need some manly men around here.”
“Didn’t you recently get married?” Ryan had told him about the collaring ceremony the big boss had participated in with his wife a few months back. It had followed some kind of vow renewal.
A groan came out of Taggart’s mouth before he sipped his coffee. “Nope. I got married a long time ago. I was way stupider then. I got lucky because she died, but then she came back. What the hell am I supposed to do? The only reason I let her back in is she buys me lemon donuts.”
Keith was pretty sure the guy was fucking with him, but with Taggart, he couldn’t be certain. “Well, I’m not interested in getting married.”
“Good because once my guys got married, they handed their balls over to their subs, and now I have the distinct problem of needing a couple of Doms who are available as play partners. I expect to lose Jesse at any moment. All a sub will have to do is offer him a sandwich and he’ll be hers forever. Seriously, the kid can eat and he’s got attachment issues. He attaches to everyone, and we can’t get rid of the little fucker. We have five regular subs who like to play and struggle to find a Dom for the night. Simon can’t tie them all up and Damon won’t work with more than one at once. Claims he can’t pay them proper attention or some shit.”
“If you’re looking for someone to play with the regulars, why are you asking me about Ashley? She’s not a submissive, much less a regular.” Now that he really thought about it, Taggart wasn’t making a lick of sense. The couple of times he’d come in as Ryan’s guest, he’d watched her and she’d never left the bar. “I’ve never seen her play so why is she involved at all?”
What the hell would he do if he had to watch her with some damn Dom? He wouldn’t be able to look away if she was naked. He would stand there and stare at her like a Peeping Tom.
“Because Ashley is an employee and if I choose to take you on, you’ll spend the first six weeks playing with her and her alone. Until I’m certain you’re trustworthy, you’re not allowed to play with the club members. Ashley is a newbie. The rest of the regulars have been in the lifestyle for a while. I want to see how you train a new sub.”
Training Ashley? God, it had been a terrible idea when he thought it would be a single encounter, much less weeks and weeks of having her at his command. Yeah, that was very likely a horrible idea. If he trained her, she would be under his direction, available to him. He would be responsible for her behavior, for her discipline, for her pleasure. He would have to touch all that sweet, soft skin. That ridiculously vulnerable skin. Young skin. Yes, she was too fucking young for him. He would have to remind himself of that every single time he looked at her. He was on the slow slide to forty and she was twenty-freaking-five. There was a whole decade between them.
And she had a baby. She was a baby with a baby.
All very good reasons to not train her.
“It would be a completely up-front relationship,” Ian explained, his words continuing even as Keith’s brain exploded with all the reasons why he shouldn’t listen to Mephistopheles in leather. “You’ll sign a training contract with her. She understands that you wouldn’t have any kind of relationship with her outside of the club.”
He stopped his inner diatribe. “Ashley knows about this?”
“Of course. I wouldn’t be here asking you if Ashley hadn’t already agreed to it.” He slid a piece of paper across the desk. “She’s already signed the contract.”
Holy shit. Ashley Paxon had actually signed a goddamn BDSM contract, and there was his name sitting right alongside hers. There was no way she was expecting someone younger, fresher, less jaded. She was expecting him.
He stared down at her signature. Her handwriting was pretty and feminine, like the woman herself.
He scanned the verbiage, each word meaningful to his trained eye. Taggart knew how to write a contract, and Keith wondered if he’d gone to a professional for it. He would love to see some of his tight-assed colleagues dealing with a D/s contract.
In short, the contract gave him rights to train Ashley, but only on the grounds of the club. For the brief time that the contract was to run, he could see her off grounds if she needed him for anything, but there would be no sexual contact outside of the club. He got to the part of the contract that read This means no touchy touchy.
No. Taggart definitely wrote this himself. No one who had spent three years and a couple of hundred grand on law school would ever write that.
Of course, it also left sex open to them as long as they had it at Sanctum.
He could fuck Ashley and it would be all right because she wanted to explore. He could fuck her and then maybe his head would be on straight and he could stop thinking about her twenty-four seven. Maybe when they were done, he could fuck someone else.
He knew he needed a sexual outlet. He’d kept several submissives over the years, letting each one go after the terms of their contract were over. He’d never written a contract for more than a few months and he never, ever extended one. He often found them new Doms, and several had married the men he’d found for them.
It should have been just another day in his life, but when he’d seen Ashley at Ryan’s house, he’d been hit with a bolt of lust like nothing he’d ever felt.
He hadn’t touched another woman since that moment, hadn’t even wanted to. He’d been celibate for six months, and it was slowly killing him.
Ian Taggart was handing him the keys to the kingdom. He could have her and see that she was like all the other women in his life, and he could send her happily on her way.
“What about her baby?” He thought the child’s name was Emily, maybe Emma. He didn’t like to think about the baby. Ashley’s youth, her inexperience, her innocence he might have been able to handle, but he couldn’t handle the child.
I can’t believe you didn’t know. You should have known.
A vision flashed through his head. Soft, perfect skin, cold to the touch. How could anything so perfect be so cold?
He forced himself to look back at Ian. He wasn’t going there. He wasn’t ever going there again. Years were between him and the memory, but when he allowed it to, the remembrance came back as sharp and achingly bitter as if it were happening in the moment.
“You want to bring her baby into the D/s relationship? I have to say, uhm, I’m probably not going to allow that. Babies aren’t permitted in the club and when they try to sneak in, I have a long talk with their parents about their very bad behavior.”
Keith rolled his eyes. God, the woman who put up with this dude’s shit probably deserved a medal. “I was wondering how she was going to handle childcare. Club hours are late and her sister works here. She doesn’t have any other family.”
Somehow, he hadn’t thought Ashley would be irresponsible.
“So she should give up her sexuality because she bore a child? This seems to be a recurring theme of the day. It makes me want to have a vasectomy.”
It really wasn’t any of his business what went on with Ashley’s daughter. If she wanted to pawn the kid off so she could play at D/s, that was her problem. “Never mind.”
Taggart sighed. “You’re no fun. She works here three nights a week. She goes to school during the day. I think she’s getting some kind of degree in business. Ryan would pay for all of it, but Ashley insisted she needed to pay her way. This was their compromise. Ryan and Jill pay for her school. She lives in their guesthouse. She pays her car payment and all her household expenses. That’s why she works here. She can work here while Ryan’s mom watches the kid.”
It was a damn near perfect setup, the kind he liked. He could step in with an offer of his own. He could put her through school, take care of her, make her his submissive. Their relationship could be purely transactional. He could probably convince her. She was curious, and he’d been a Dominant for a very long time. He knew how to draw a pretty sub in. She could be installed in his home by the end of the week, learning how to please her Master.
Except for the problem of the baby. He couldn’t ignore the baby. It wouldn’t be fair to either one of them.
Taggart was staring at him, a deep frown on his face. “If you have a problem working with a woman who has a child…god… This is where I’m supposed to say something about how I’ll find a more suitable submissive, but what I really want to do is punch you in the face because I find you offensive.”
Keith held on to his temper. “I don’t have a problem playing with her. I simply know I’m not ready to be involved with a woman who has a child. It’s a serious responsibility and one not to be taken lightly. If you find that offensive, then maybe this isn’t the right place for me.”
Maybe it had all been a mistake.
Taggart held a hand up. “I misunderstood. I find the idea that a woman has to give up her sexuality when she becomes a mother offensive. I don’t have a problem with you knowing you don’t want to be a dad. Here’s the great news. No one is asking you to. All you have to do is walk a potential sub through the world to see if she likes it. But you seem to prefer someone other than Ashley. I’ll ask Simon to do it. I would ask Jesse, but I can’t handle another wedding. They make me vomit.”
Simon Weston. He’d met the man when he toured Sanctum the first time. Weston was a big Brit. He’d been dressed in leathers, but it didn’t take much imagination to see him in a perfectly pressed suit. Weston was younger than him. He was smooth and cultured. Weston was probably perfect for Ashley.
The idea of Weston touching her silky skin, introducing her to the pleasures of D/s, made him want to rip the fucker’s perfect male-model head off his body and kick it to the street.
“I’ll do it.” He signed his name to the contract before his brain could take over. His dick nearly sang a hallelujah chorus.
But signing the contract didn’t mean they would have sex. There were plenty of Doms who played with subs without spreading them wide and dipping their cocks into that sweet, soft pussy. Plenty of Doms would flog a sub without ever forcing them to their knees and pressing their cocks to pretty pink lips.
Yeah, he didn’t have to have sex with her, but he was damn straight going to try.
He stood up and shook Taggart’s hand.
“Welcome to Sanctum,” Taggart said. “And when you walk out, if you happen to see a stunningly gorgeous strawberry blonde about five eleven—she’ll have an anxious look on her face—well, if you see her, do a guy a solid. Lie.”
Keith turned, eager to leave the weird world of Ian Taggart. Two days. He would start Ashley’s training in two days and after the six weeks was done, he would have gotten her out of his system one way or another. He’d either screw her until the need passed, discover she wasn’t the sweet sub he thought she was, or he would realize that he needed to let her go.
One way or another, he’d be free.
He’d barely shut the door behind him when the blonde Taggart had mentioned showed up.
“Was he an asshole? He promised me he wouldn’t be an asshole,” the blonde said, a worried look on her face.
“He was a complete dick.” Keith smiled on the inside as her face froze in a mask of feminine outrage.
Keith chuckled as he walked away, feeling more excited about the future than he’d felt in forever.
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