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Authors: Roni Loren

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary

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BOOK: Caught Up in You
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Wyatt leaned his head back on his chair, tipped his glasses up, and ran a hand over
his face. Part of him wondered what would happen if he stood up and walked out. Quit.
The fact that his father would even consider giving someone else the CEO position
was enough to tempt him to do so. He had enough money to live whatever the hell kind
of life he wanted. He didn’t need to be here.

But even the thought sent a gash of loss through him. He loved his job and fed on
the play of numbers, on the win of making the right decisions, on the high of knowing
he had the answers where others couldn’t see them. This
was
his life.

If he walked away, what would be left? He didn’t even know who he was outside of this
place.

No, he needed to figure this shit out. The socializing aspect of business had always
been his Achilles’ heel, but it wasn’t an unlearnable skill. At least he hoped it
wasn’t. He could figure out how to play the game. And if he had a beautiful woman
with him who did have some social finesse, all the better.

And he had just the woman in mind.

That is, if he could fucking find her.

Wyatt picked up his phone and hit the speed dial.

“A call in the middle of a work day from the suit? Is the building on fire? Have zombies
taken over the city?” his brother, Jace, asked, grin evident even over the phone.

“Is there such a thing as a work day for you?” Wyatt lobbed back. “Or do you just
sit around while your staff waves you with giant fans?”

“Hmm, there’s a thought,” Jace said, something squeaking in the background. “I’m actually
working very hard trying to get the lighting right on a display of high-end glass
dildos. Important stuff.”

“Clearly.”

Jace chuckled. “So what’s going on? I know you didn’t call to shoot the shit.”

“How do you know that?”

“Come on, Wy.”

Wyatt frowned. Was he really that bad at the social thing? Even with his brother?
Probably. Yes. “Remember back when I helped you out with the Diana situation, and
you said you owed me?”

“Of course.”

“Well, I’m ready to take you up on that.”

“Name it, brother. If it’s in my power, I’ll do it.”

“I need you to help me find Kelsey LeBreck.”

FOUR

Kelsey stared down at the sweat-glazed back of Hawk
Nichols as he sucked in a deep breath, bracing for her next blow. She strolled around
to stand in front of his prone form, making sure he heard her boots clicking deliberately
along the cement floor of the dungeon room. She’d strapped him down on all fours along
a padded spanking bench about half an hour ago, and he was already flying high. Keeping
the braided leather cat in her right hand, she touched Hawk’s fingers with her left.
They flinched slightly, still warm. Circulation was good.

She had to watch it with this kid. The twenty year old was the star receiver on his
college football team, so pain was part of his daily existence. And he craved the
edge of being under her hand, the place the pain would bring him. But she couldn’t
trust him to call his safe word if she went too far. Once he slipped into subspace,
the bulky athlete was as vulnerable as a kitten. She ran a hand over his damp hair,
and he nuzzled her palm and moaned—the simple touch her reward to him for taking so
much.

“You still with me, sub?”

“Yes, Mistress. Please,” he whispered, his voice hoarse. “Please.”

She knew what he was begging for. Her flogging hadn’t gone to the intense place he
needed yet. He was still hovering on the precipice, waiting to lose himself to it
all. “You’ve done well tonight, sub. You know you’ll be rewarded.”

“Thank you, Mistress.” His fists flexed and released, flexed and released, the need
quivering off him. His cock hung heavy and hard between his spread thighs despite
the boot laces she’d used to bind his scrotum and the base of his penis, and she knew
he had to be desperate for relief by now.

She ran her fingers along his spine as she made her way around him. He really was
a beautiful guy, though still a little lost. They were only separated by a few years
in age, but she felt lifetimes older. Hawk had this unvarnished innocence that she
doubted many had seen. Big and intimidating in looks, most people probably gave him
wide berth and never looked deeper. But he was as gentle a soul as she’d ever met.
A gentle soul who craved a bit of brutality.

His father, of all people, had dragged Hawk into The Ranch a few months ago when he’d
discovered his son had been burning himself with candle wax while masturbating. One
night, Hawk had used the wrong type of candles and had used them too close to his
skin. He’d ended up with second-degree burns in hard-to-explain places, and his father
had dragged the information out of him.

Most parents would’ve probably hauled the kid into a therapist, thinking he was sick
and self-harming. But Hawk’s father had been part of the scene in his past and, after
talking with his son, had recognized Hawk’s behavior for what it was. He’d made the
kid promise that if he took him to a place where he could get what he needed that
he’d never play like that alone again. The next week he’d brought Hawk to The Ranch
and had plunked down the hefty membership and session fees without a blink.

Ever since, Hawk had been a weekly client for Kelsey, and she’d grown quite fond of
him. Though, her heart still broke a little each time she saw the guarded look in
his eyes. She knew that besides his father knowing, this was a big secret for Hawk.
Even his girlfriend, who he seemed to adore, didn’t know. Kelsey knew what it was
like to keep those heavy secrets and wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

But she couldn’t fix that for him. She didn’t have that kind of power. But she could
at least give him this. She released Hawk’s right hand from the leather cuff and drizzled
warmed lubricant into his palm, then she squared herself up behind him, her heart
picking up speed beneath the laces of her corset. She reached down and removed the
bindings from the base of his cock. “You have permission to touch yourself, sub. But
you’re not allowed to come until you’ve taken all ten of my strokes. You understand?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said, his voice now shaking with anticipation.

Kelsey took a steadying breath. This was always the hardest part for her. She enjoyed
the power and rush of being a top, but unlike many of her fellow doms, sadism wasn’t
in her blood. She didn’t derive pleasure in giving pain for pain’s sake. She administered
the pain because it was her job, and her satisfaction came from giving a sub what
he or she needed. And for Hawk, seeing him let go for a few moments, getting some
catharsis, would make it worth it.

She raised her arm high and then, using all her strength, lashed Hawk’s backside with
the cat. The braided leather strips striped along his back and buttocks, the sound
of leather meeting flesh filling the cavernous space and mixing with the thudding
rock music she’d put on in the background. Hawk tried to rear up, the bench rattling
a bit from his brute strength, and he moaned loud and long. His fist slid harshly
up and down his cock as she landed the next blow.

She worked him hard over the next few minutes, her arm aching from the exertion and
her skin going damp and prickly. Hawk jerked and writhed in his bindings, a caged
beast on the verge of losing his fight for control. But the sounds he made were pure
ecstasy, the intense pain launching him to that plane of nothingness he craved.

Kelsey landed the last hit and watched in fascination as her sub exploded at the precise
moment she’d ordered, his body going stiff, his hips thrusting forward, and his release
spilling over his fist as he fucked his hand. A man lost to himself and to the world
for a few exquisite seconds. Freedom.

Beautiful.

For some ridiculous reason, she had the urge to cry. She dropped the cat to the floor
and sank against the wall, sliding to a sit, exhaustion sapping her. She knew she
should stay on her feet, stay in the position of power, but he couldn’t see behind
him, so he’d never know. She pulled her knees to her chest, her body throbbing and
aching with unmet need, but not for Hawk. She never slept with her clients. She didn’t
even allow them to touch her. But seeing the intensity of another reach their sexual
bliss often left her craving her own.

And tonight there was something even uglier pressing at her. Jealousy.

It wasn’t an emotion a domme should feel toward her sub. She was supposed to gain
her satisfaction from his submission. And Hawk had submitted beautifully tonight.
But as she watched Hawk lying there bound, breathing hard, and blissed out, she felt
the ugly emotion creep up.

“Lady K?” he whispered after a few quiet minutes, snapping her from her souring state.

“Yes.” She pushed herself to her feet, turned down the music, and started unfastening
the rest of his bindings. “You okay?”

“Yes, ma’am. Thank you.” He cleared his throat. “I was just wondering, how long before
the marks go away?”

She frowned and ran a gentle hand along the angry red stripes on his back. “You know
I wouldn’t leave you with anything long lasting, sweetheart. I’ll never betray the
contract we set up at the beginning. Do you need me to stop leaving even temporary
ones? There are other things I can do that won’t leave any evidence.”

“No, please don’t stop,” he said quickly. He turned his head to find her, his eyes
still a little glazed and his hair flopping over his forehead. “I like seeing the
marks. Sometimes . . . sometimes I jerk off again later after a session while I look
at the markings in the mirror.” His face flushed at the admission. “But I’m . . .
I’m going to see my girl tomorrow night.”

Kelsey sighed. “Sit up for me, Hawk.”

He followed her directions, and she handed him a towel to clean himself up and another
to drape over himself.

Once he was covered and seemed to be coming back into his head, she asked, “Is this
girl important to you?”

He kept his eyes down as he cleaned the evidence of what had just happened off his
hand and thigh, shame obviously creeping in. Kelsey hated that, hated that he was
still struggling so much with this part of himself, that the beast of guilt was such
a relentless one. She wished she could just snap her fingers and take that hurt away
from him. But she knew that road was going to be a long one for him.

“Yes, ma’am. I think I love her.”

She sat down on one of the chairs by the wall and braced her forearms on her fishnet-covered
thighs. “Look, hon, I know you’re hoping I can beat this out of you, but that’s not
how it works. You need to consider that these desires may not go away.”

His head dipped and his blond hair fell farther down his forehead, shielding his eyes.

“And I know there are people who manage to walk both sides of the line.”
Like me
. “But living a double life is not a fun option. Have you ever considered talking
to your girlfriend about this? Feeling her out? You never know, she may be open to
it.”

He snorted and shook his head. “Christina is majoring in elementary education and
barely even curses. We didn’t sleep together until after we’d dated for six months.
She’s sweet and innocent and . . . she’d be repulsed by me if she knew.”

“Maybe you’re not giving her enough credit,” Kelsey said gently.

He hauled himself to his feet and walked over to the hooks he’d hung his clothes on.
He pulled on his boxers and jeans, then gingerly eased his
Got Beer?
T-shirt over his head, wincing when the material hit his back. “No disrespect, Lady
K. But you don’t understand. You live in this world. I don’t. I
won’t
. I want a normal life with a normal girl.”

Kelsey tried to keep her expression placid, though the implication stung like little
pieces of glass in her skin.
I don’t want to be a freak like you.
“I see.”

Hawk halted, his face falling, then he was crossing the room, getting to his knees
at her feet. “I’m so sorry, Mistress. That . . . that didn’t come out right. I say
stupid shit sometimes.” His expression turned earnest. “You know how thankful I am
for what you do. I would never—”

“Shh,” she said, caressing his hair. He instinctively lowered his head and gave her
invitation to stroke him. She knew Hawk hadn’t meant it to insult her. He was scared.
And frankly, he was right. She didn’t have a normal life and never would. This week
had been proof positive of that. She couldn’t even maintain an imaginary “normal”
relationship without it getting fucked up. “It’s okay. And you’re right, I’m the last
person who should be handing out relationship advice. I suck at them.”

Hawk lifted his head, his eyes a little wide. Probably because it was the first piece
of personal information she’d ever shared with him—or any client for that matter.
She was usually good at keeping the boundaries clear when not in a scene. “Is it because
of this? What you do?”

She smiled. If only it were that simple. “No, hon. Not because of this.”

His lips parted as if he was going to ask more questions, but her look must’ve warned
him off. He gave a little nod, bent all the way to the floor to kiss the top of her
boot, then rose to his feet. “Thank you for tonight, Mistress.”

“My pleasure, Hawk.”

He gave her a shy smile, then before walking out the door he pulled something from
his pocket and set it on the table by the door. Money.

A tip.

Even after all that happened this week, the simple gesture gutted her, cut right through
her, letting everything spill out. She’d tried to have a real conversation with someone,
and he’d paid her for it.

She didn’t know what was more depressing—the blatant reminder that she was only a
hired hand or the fact that she couldn’t afford to turn down the cash. She leaned
her head against the wall and tapped lightly.

But she wasn’t left alone in her ruminating for long. The door squeaked open a few
seconds later and Marc, one of the managers, poked his head in. “Hey, Kelsey. Grant
said to send you up when you were done with your session. He set aside a few minutes
to talk to you.”

She blew out a breath and nodded. She’d made a request earlier to talk to her boss,
but she hadn’t expected him to free up time so quickly. She wasn’t exactly looking
forward to the conversation, but hopefully, this would solve her immediate problem.
“Thanks. I’ll be right up.”

Kelsey sat in the cozy waiting area outside the office of
Grant Waters, owner and operator of The Ranch, and tried to keep her nerves in check.
She’d worked part time at the BDSM resort for the last six months and had experienced
nothing but great interactions with Grant, but she still couldn’t stop her knee from
bumping up and down. The man was downright intimidating, and she knew what she was
about to ask was outside the rules.

A few minutes later, the door on the other side of the room opened and filled with
the impressive outline of the tall cowboy. His girlfriend, Charli, stepped out from
behind him, a little flushed-faced and sending an apologetic smile in Kelsey’s direction
before turning back to Grant. She pushed up on her toes and gave him a quick kiss.
“We’ll finish this . . . discussion later?”

“Count on it, freckles,” he said, tugging one of her red locks, his adoration for
Charli like rays of warmth beaming off him. “Meet me in the barn when you get home
from work.”

“You got it, cowboy.” A visible shudder went through Charli, giving Kelsey a good
idea of what the barn would entail. Grant wasn’t considered the Master of The Ranch
for nothing. He hadn’t played publicly since he’d gotten together with Charli, but
Kelsey had heard stories of how intense of a dominant Grant could be.

And though she had a fair dose of jealousy over the couple in love, Kelsey couldn’t
help but smile for them. She’d met Charli when Charli had first come to The Ranch
and had liked her instantly. And she knew both Charli and Grant had gone through a
lot to get to this point.

When Charli turned around, she headed Kelsey’s way and gave her a quick hug. “Hey,
gorgeous, haven’t seen you around in a while. We should grab dinner soon.”

BOOK: Caught Up in You
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