Book III of the Knights of the Board Room Series
Released February 2010
Available as a standalone ebook or as part of the print anthology Laced with Desire.
When not called up by the National Guard, Peter Winston is a successful businessman, part of the K&A management team. Like the other four members, he’s also a sexual Dominant, adept at bringing a woman to pleasurable surrender. The night before he heads out on his second Afghanistan tour, he meets Dana, a sexual submissive who gets into his head and heart the way no woman ever has. But Dana is also an Army sergeant. It will be over a year before they see one another again, and when they do, she’s suffered injuries that took her sight and will to live. With the creative use of a corset and the talents of the other K&A males, Peter sets the stage for another special night for them, knowing that only a submissive’s willingness to trust her Master will bring her back to love and life again.
© Copyright 2009 - All Rights Reserved
“I can’t believe you broke out the 1939 Macallan.” Peter examined the bottle of whiskey. “You must think I’m going to die this time.”
Ben slanted him a grin. “Well, it is your second tour. Two strikes.”
“Man has that much luck, it’s got to run out,” Lucas agreed. The athletic CFO dodged Peter’s affable punch, leaning back in the spacious VIP booth that allowed plenty of room for the five men, all at or above six feet tall, with shoulder spans to match.
“You guys are terrible,” their waitress decided, a dark-eyed Spanish beauty with a name tag that said Maria. With extreme pleasure, Peter noted the lushness of her breasts, presented with mouthwatering appeal over the tight hold of her velvet blue corset. Nothing got him going like a corset, the way it held a woman’s body, the subtle implications of restraint. The guys knew him well. There was no better place than an upscale BDSM club to bring him the week before he shipped out.
“Honey, where you going?” she asked.
“Iraq’s too tame for him,” Matt put in. “He’d be bored.”
“He’ll get slack, cozy up to some doe-eyed beauty with an IED under her burka. One a lot like you, gorgeous.” Ben raised his empty glass, giving her a lazy, appreciative look.
She snorted delicately at the green-eyed, dark-haired lawyer and flipped a corkscrew out of her short apron. “I better get a good tip from a group guzzling down Macallan. This goes for about ten grand, last I heard.”
“Yeah, but he blew his entire wad on it,” Jon said. “He’s trying to compensate for spiritual emptiness with material goods.”
Even as Jon spoke, Peter noted the engineering genius of their five-man team was gazing absently around the club, which probably meant Jon was solving physics equations, creating the next great invention, and meditating on the meaning of the universe, all while determining which woman he’d take to Nirvana with him tonight.
“Bullshit,” Ben snorted. “You can be right with the universe and enjoy the finer parts of it. Like our gorgeous server. Want to share a sip with us, darling? There’s room on Peter’s lap, though you’ll find far more to satisfy you on mine.”
Peter kicked him under the table, but Maria laughed, expertly removing the cork. “Tempting, but not allowed, precioso. Do you like toffee?” she asked Peter.
As he nodded, she poured a draught and handed it to him. “Must be why your friend chose it. Despite his mierda, I think he knows a lot about you.”
Ben raised a brow. “You’ve had Macallan before.”
“You think you’re the only high roller who’s ever come through, precioso? This is The Zone, the most upscale fetish club in the South. And I do drink. When I’m off duty, and if the company’s worthwhile.” She gave him a saucy look, checking him out just as outrageously. “We’re delighted to have you here. You call me if you need anything.”
As she sauntered away in the skin tight latex black pants, a diamond pendant dangling provocatively at her nape from the choker she wore, Ben leaned out. Peter gave Jon a nod and he shifted right, hard. Too late, Ben grabbed for the table, ending up on his ass on the floor as the men burst out laughing.
“All right, keep it up. Next time you guys get yourself in a legal snarl, this lawyer’ll keep his mouth shut.”
Matt Kensington, their boss, but as much a part of their group as the alpha wolf was part of the pack, bared his teeth in a grin. “You might not have a job for long.”
“I know too much about all of you.” Ben, unimpressed, put himself back in the booth with retaliation in his gaze. “Plus, no one else will put up your shit. What do you think, soldier?”
Peter had taken a swallow. He closed his eyes. “Hell, Ben. This is the shit.”
“I beg to differ. It is definitely not shit.” But Ben smiled, poured for himself and the other three men. When they lifted glasses and brought them together, for awhile nothing further was said, each contemplating the whiskey and why they’d brought Peter here.
None of them would talk about it tonight. Nothing serious, anyway, because Peter wouldn’t want them to. They worked together in Baton Rouge as the management team of Kensington & Associates, the manufacturing acquisition company Matt Kensington had founded and made successful through their combined talents, but an unshakable bond existed between them whether they were around a boardroom or poker table.
There were a lot of things that went into that—shared experiences, ups and downs—but the fact that every one of them were experienced sexual Dominants, preferring to use control and varying levels of pain to bring a woman mind-boggling pleasure, was the one that would hold the upper hand tonight.
That bond had only grown stronger when the dynamic changed. Lucas and Matt were both married now, but Peter wore a St. Christopher’s medal that Matt’s wife, Savannah, had given him for his last Afghanistan tour. He always wore it, like a favor from his monarch’s queen. No one at the table would laugh at the thought. It didn’t matter that they were hell and gone from those part-fantasy times of medieval chivalry— there was a code of behavior they exercised in business as well as personal life. A female journalist for one business magazine had picked up on it, coining them the Knights of the Board Room. Or Soul-Sucking Predators of the Bayou, depending on who wrote it. Suppressing a smile, he glanced around the table.
Matt Kensington was every inch their leader, with his hawk features, dark piercing eyes and powerful build. Savannah, who of course was not present for this guys’ night out, was a golden match for him, delicate as a princess but a tough-as-nails CEO herself, such that Matt had had to employ all their sensual talents to take her down and make her his. After he cut his heart out of his chest and offered it to her as a fair trade.
Lucas, K&A’s CFO, was hell on wheels with numbers and identifying unprofitable acquisitions which could become moneymakers. He was also an amateur cyclist, which had stumbled him over Cassandra Moira on a cycling trip a year ago. He’d conducted her takeover as relentlessly as any Peter had seen him implement on their unfortunate targets, only his methods had been far more pleasurable and persuasive.
He envied both men their happiness, but was glad for them. Maybe the proximity of all that marital bliss was a contagious disease that couldn’t help but make a man think about the possibility of permanence with a woman. But hell, you needed the right woman for that, and he believed in fate. He didn’t worry about making it happen.
Jon would agree with that. He was the most spiritual of the crowd, into ancient history and philosophies, Tantra and meditation, despite their merciless male ribbing about stretchy shorts and yoga sessions. He would be amused to find Peter had such a Zen take on relationships, but there it was.
Recruiting a family wasn’t in his immediate future, anyway, because being in the National Guard, seeking overseas assignments, was one of the ways he’d decided to give back. He didn’t care if people thought it was old-fashioned or misguided honor bullshit. He liked bringing and enforcing the peace necessary for people to self-actualize. Having a front row seat when and if they learned not to live in fear, seeing their kids play in the streets without being blown up…it made it all worthwhile.
He’d have time for a family or he wouldn’t, but he was living the life he wanted to live. And Matt was more than supportive. Peter had no qualms about saying the men at this table were his family, Matt most of all. Peter’s parents had died when he was in his teens. He’d had a rough time of it, but had entered the army young, done a three year stint, and then, when he’d sought his degree, Matt had interned him at his burgeoning company, bringing a kid with blue collar manufacturing aptitude and white collar business systems understanding into this interior circle, an unconditional acceptance that he’d needed when the bottom fell out of his life.
Ah, hell. He hadn’t drunk enough to be getting this sloppy sentimental. Shifting his thoughts, he focused on the prospect of comfortably slaking his lust on a willing submissive. As Ben made another smart ass comment and Jon came back with unruffled transcendentalism, Peter lifted the Macallan to his lips with a smile.
* * * * *
Dana stood in the shadows to the right of the bar as Maria returned. When she glanced at the waitress, Maria gave her a smile, following the direction of her interest. “They’re something, aren’t they? Every one of them handsome as sin. Flew in from Louisiana to give their buddy a send off. He’s going to Afghanistan next week.”
“The one at the end.” Dana noted the military hairstyle, the way the dark-blond man held himself upright, even as he enjoyed the male companionship.
“Appears so.” Maria gave her a considering look. “They’re all Doms, sweet. If you’re looking for a hook up, you could do a lot worse. They wouldn’t be allowed in here if they weren’t decent guys, but my impression is they’re a cut above decent. The two on the inside are married. Wearing the rings and everything, and made it crystal clear they’ve just enjoying the view and here for their friend.”
Dana nodded. The waitress’s reassuring tone suggested she saw how nervous Dana was. But it was stupid, because she’d blown a wad of money on a temporary membership to The Zone for her two week leave. She’d looked forward to this night for awhile. It had been her decision to come alone. Not really the smartest idea, going to a new fetish club by yourself, but The Zone’s rep was untarnished. Security inside and out, an intense vetting process that had taken the temp membership a couple months in advance to be approved, and she wore a slim bracelet that told staff she was new, so they’d keep an extra eye on her, help her know the ropes. Her lips curved. A good metaphor for a BDSM club. Her newness might be another reason Maria was giving her the pep talk.
She’d been a sexual submissive since her teens, but of course it had taken some mistakes and tears to figure it out. Once she did, she’d discovered the scene and never looked back. Though unfortunately, accepting and exploring her own sexual nature hadn’t led to the immediate relief of frustration she’d hoped. It was a lot harder to find a compatible Dom worthy of her trust than she’d expected. Ironically, the same thing that made her crave a man’s dominance was the same thing that made her keep them at arms’ length. Most didn’t put off the right vibe, or left her lukewarm. Subs at her club back home in Atlanta had told her it was like dating. You had to try on a few Doms, see what worked, what didn’t. You couldn’t keep holding out for the perfect one, the one that would take command of her senses from the very first second. You had to work at it.
So she’d tried harder, with fairly disastrous consequences. The Doms close to what she wanted were rife with those who could take it too far. Not because they were bad men, but because what she wanted was a lot like Goldilocks – rough, but not too rough. Her wants and needs were a moving target. She’d know it was right when it felt right. She couldn’t describe it. She wanted to be completely taken over, but she resisted it at the same time. While she knew that was unreasonable, it didn’t make it any less true.
Well, this was the freaking best fetish club ever, from what she’d heard. She had nothing to lose tonight. Because she’d chosen to come alone, no one knew her. What happened here would stay here, so she should stop skulking and do something, right? So—deep breath. She’d just let her inhibitions go and…retreat while she still had a scrap of personal dignity.
C’mon, Dana. Get your shit together.
Her eyes went back to the soldier. When his hair grew out, did the sun lighten that wheat color? His eyes, thanks to the angle of the club lighting, showed storm cloud gray, which might could become steel, like the line of his jaw. He was on the end, probably not only because he was trained to be readily mobile, but because he had the widest shoulders and longest legs. Not one of her absolute requirements for a good Dom, but man, it sure added to the fantasy. The white shirt he wore with his jeans had to be tailored for those shoulders. As Maria had said, all of them reeked money. And a man who sat like that had to be an officer. But she wasn’t after the boy’s cash. Just one night of his time. If she ever got up the courage to leave the corner.
“Are you having a good time?”
She started out of her mental struggle to find herself facing another tall and powerful man. He had dark, close-cropped hair and intense amber eyes that fairly screamed Dominant, causing a shiver to run over her skin. She could tell he noticed, but he remained smooth, professional. “I’m Tyler Winterman, one of the owners here. I just wanted to make sure we were treating you right.”
“Yes, sir.” Only hours with a drill sergeant made Sergeant Dana Smith manage not to stutter the response. The ‘sir’ was an instinctive deference to his status here that he seemed to take as his due, which everything about him said he should.
“Good.” He ran a light, reassuring hand down her arm. “You look beautiful. A fortunate person should be very happy to meet you tonight. Would you like an introduction to someone?”
“I…um. Well, he might not… I don’t know him.” Her gaze flickered, just a brief flash. Still, Tyler shifted and determined exactly who she’d been looking at.
“Hmm. Why don’t I leave it in his hands then? You chose well, Dana. Let us know if you need anything.”
He moved onward, leaving her gaping like a trout because he’d known her name. That surprise didn’t keep her from noting he had a fine, fine walk. Slacks fitted right, shirt tucked in, thank you Jesus. As a rep of the female gender, she was obligated to watch that tight ass, the predatory grace of a sex-on-Gucci-soles prowl.
Stopping at one booth, he stroked a proprietary hand over the moonlight-colored hair of a tall blue-eyed woman there. From the way her gaze warmed, whatever he said to her was obviously intimate. The amber eyes flamed in response. Giving a lock of her hair a tug, he moved away. Straight toward the table where Dana’s blond soldier was sitting.
“Oh, no, don’t. Don’t you dare…” She stood, mesmerized, as he put a hand on her guy’s shoulder, spoke low to him. If every man at that table turned around and stared at her, she was going to respond as if a grenade was hurled in her proximity. She’d dive behind the bar.
The blond stilled, glancing up at Tyler. Then he shifted his gaze right to her.
In those few milliseconds, Dana turned over thoughts of whether to meet his eyes, not meet his eyes. Smile, not smile. Oh, crap. This was what she always did. Worried about what she should or shouldn’t do, when all she wanted was to be completely swept away, where no choices were hers, except the one where she needed to say good night at the end of the incredible experience and head back to her real life. Even if she found her fucking romance novel, she had no delusions that it could be more than a one night only engagement.
This guy was perfect, because he had nothing in common with her—white, wealthy, likely an officer—but there was that irresistible vibe coming off of him. Drawing her like a bug to a zapper, which meant she might get disastrously burned. She wasn’t complaining – I promise, Grams – but nothing in her life had been a fairy tale. Was it too much to ask for one solitary night that was like one?
She got her answer when his eyes locked with hers. While she knew she was standing by the bar, people moving past her, and music was vibrating the floor beneath her feet, dim light strobing, it all disappeared. She’d had that spark of sexual connection with Masters before. It was always thrilling, a toe curling delicious shot of anticipation. But this…her breath went short, and she suddenly wanted nothing more than to be near him. It was scary as hell. And yet she stood stock still, like some dumbass golden-haired princess, waiting to see if the prince would take command, bring her out of stasis into full, vibrant life.
* * * * *
“There’s someone worth your attention at your two o’clock.”
When Tyler Winterman, part-owner of The Zone, put his hand on Peter’s shoulder, bent and murmured that statement into his ear, Peter blinked. There’d been plenty of available women hovering since they arrived, and of course Ben had hinted they had someone special lined up for him. While Peter was down with that, he knew Tyler wouldn’t draw his attention to just anyone. So he looked. And the glass of Macallan he’d been lifting to his lips stopped halfway there.
For a moment, he thought he was looking at Ben’s special arrangement, but because Ben knew Peter’s tastes, he wouldn’t have arranged for this girl. Not unless he’d reached ass deep inside of Peter and pulled out some unconscious dream he hadn’t realized he had. All the attributes that Peter usually sought weren’t obvious in this one. In fact, she wasn’t anything like the women who usually attracted his attention. Yet here he was, unable to look away.
She was a black woman, for one thing. While the beauty of dark skin had teased his gaze before, he’d never felt pulled toward it as he did now. He had the taste of toffee on his tongue, making it easy to imagine her skin tasting like a complementary caramel, or a swirling chocolate. Or perhaps something spicy, exotic.
He liked his women tall and well endowed, with tits that he could fuck with his cock, lubricated with his pre-come. Or watch the curves move with generous abandon while he fucked her from behind, in front of a wide, well lit mirror. This woman was petite, with an athlete’s lean, hard muscle. The elegant slimness of her bearing made him wonder if there was Ethiopian in her background. She had a proud slope to her high forehead, the suggestion of sculpted cheek bones and a precise chin, though the rest was hidden beneath a mask. When light strobed over her face, he saw the mask was deep purple and green with dangles of amethyst and emerald beads framing the delicate jaw.
A simple, short sheath covered her body, the black fabric translucent, fluttering as she breathed. Despite the fabric and dim light, he could tell her breasts were a small but pretty set, the curves likely a good fit for his hands. She wore a jeweled harness that included nipple clamps, such that he could imagine those stimulated peaks pressing into his palms. A chain ran between the clamps, down to a navel glittering with a temporary catch bead that hooked another delicate chain low on her hips, traveling around to the back. The scrap of dark thong made her look almost naked until he took a closer look, and lingered in that tempting shadowy area.
When he eventually raised his gaze, he took it to her neck. All available subs wore a collar of some form, with an attached ring so that a Master might leash and claim them for the night, if both parties were willing. Hers was a high neck ring collar, triple stacked, with a single steel diamond-shaped loop on it for the attachment.
As she waited, obviously knowing she was being evaluated, her eyes glittered behind the mask. Her lips parted. Slowly, she pivoted on one high heel. The five inch stilettos made him bare his teeth in a feral smile at her clever attempt to add to her height. As she turned to face the wall, light shimmered across skin dusted with glitter powder. The sheath had an open back, draping down so he saw the delicate waist chain dropped a single teardrop pearl in the tender dimple of her tight, round ass. But it was what was tattooed across the small of her back, as precisely curved and sweet as a porcelain teapot, which got him to his feet. "Guys, I really appreciate the girl you got me, but there's been a change of plans."
As he moved across the room, he couldn't take his eyes from it. The boldness of the tat was too masculine for her feminine frame, but it showed well against her copper skin in the dim club’s light. A twisted American flag, held in an eagle’s talons, with a script beneath it.
Your freedom, my life. Armed services ink.
When he reached her, he stepped in close. He could say it was because the music was loud, but he wanted to be damn sure that signal was for him. Keeping her cheek pressed to the wall, she left her lashes lowered in that shy invitation. As he moved in, she shifted her legs apart. Offering to be evaluated further. Peter suppressed a growl.
She had short, close-cropped hair, and that high ring collar went from the base of her neck to the point of her skull. It limited her head’s mobility, requiring an upright posture and dependence on a Master’s direction. That, and the automatic spread of her toned, lean legs which tilted up her delectable backside, confirmed she was an extreme player, firing his blood further.
Peter knew a woman gave up a piece of her soul every time she gave her body. Usually he let them decide how much of a piece to give, because his desires ran toward the more hardcore, the ones who had it deeper in their nature than just adding kink to their lives. But getting into the mind of a full natured sub meant tapping into more-than-inside-the-club-walls fantasies. So he usually settled for a club-only sub, had a good time fantasizing about the possibility of more, and then went on his way.
Until this moment. For some reason, this slim creature made him think of what really fired his blood—a woman that was all his, for always. A woman whose submissive nature was a match for his Dominant one.
Drawing a steadying breath, he touched her nape, drifted down her spine toward that marking that had called to him, though he noted she had a couple other tattoos as well, shadowed by the sheath. Trembling under his touch, she made a quiet noise. He leaned in, pressing his thigh against her ass, the sensitive crease, the hint of his knee finding treasure between her parted thighs. Her breath caught.
With that closely shorn hair, he could see the shape of her ears. Delicate and perfect, like the rest of her. "So what's your rank, sweetheart?"
He'd meant it as a jest, assuming the tattoo to be a leftover from an ex-boyfriend. At least he hoped so, because he didn't mess with a woman who was still attached. But as he glanced over her again, he registered that the body he was looking at wasn’t aerobically fit. It was combat fit. "Well, seeing as I'm a captain, I outrank you."
A smile teased her soft, full mouth, so moist from a burgundy lip gloss it made him think of an entirely different set of lips. "Yes, sir," she murmured.
Unable to resist and wanting to test, he didn’t ask. He slid a hand between her spread legs. Soaking wet against the panel of those nearly non-existent thong panties. She let out a harsh gasp, and his eyes sharpened. “Not used to a man just taking you over, are you, sweetheart? But that’s what you crave.”
She closed her eyes, biting her lip. Nodded, and his blood went to full boil.
"I want you tonight.” He usually had more finesse, but he made it a rough demand, no question, request or games. The urgency that gripped him now had nothing to do with the limits of time. “I want that collar off. It’s not mine."
When she removed it, laid it on the bar for an efficient Maria to tag and place beneath it, she lifted her chin. Peter slid his fingers over the fragile network of arteries pumping at an accelerated rate and tightened slightly, creating a collar of flesh and bone, Her pulse elevated. “Good. Look at me.”
She did, and he was caught by that gaze, a pale green like summer grass, quiet lagoons and women’s springtime lawn dresses. Overwhelmed by dark, hungry pupils.
“Give me your hands.” He took out the short tether he’d been given as a guest Dom at the club and unwound it.
She held them out, but as he looped the tether around her wrists, the slim fingers found him under his untucked shirt, hooked in the waistband of his jeans, knuckles brushing his abdomen intimately. His lips twisted. “Interpreted that order in your own way, didn’t you? That’ll earn you some disciplinary action.”
When her eyes sparked, he knotted the tether to bind her to him. She kept her fingers where they were, and his aching cock was already chafing, straining toward that touch. Maybe she felt his heat, but her rising desire was as palpable as his own. He wasn’t going to take her back by his table, but straight to a room where he could see how much of a fight she liked. If her need to make a man work to be her Master matched his desire to prove he could acquire that target, it was going to be a hell of an experience.
“Is this a first time for you, sweetheart?”
Her voice was throaty, velvet sin. “I sure hope so.”