Read For The Love Of Sir Online
Authors: Laylah Roberts
Tags: #Erotica, #Romance
“Wow, you’re just popular with everyone tonight,” a light-hearted voice joked. “Smart. Who needs friends? They just get in the way with all that caring and crap.”
Alex sighed. Great, his night was getting better and better. He turned to look at the blond man standing at the bar. “Sam, what are you doing here?”
Sam raised his eyebrows. “My Master owns this club. I wasn’t aware I needed a reason to be here.”
Alex frowned. Sam was Roarke’s submissive, but he had a decided lack of respect toward any other Dom. He was irreverent and funny and usually ended up charming everyone around him. Alex had never envied Roarke the job of dominating him.
“Where is Roarke?” Alex asked. “You’re not here alone are you?”
Roarke didn’t like Sam and Ava being in the club without him. The one time Ava had come here by herself she’d nearly been hurt. By Sloan. It had been a set up and Sloan hadn’t meant to frighten her, but Ava hadn’t entered the club without Roarke again.
“My Master is here. Luckily for you he missed the show. He had to take a call in Dylan’s office. Although I’m sure someone will fill him in on the drama.”
“That someone being you.”
Sam just grinned.
Alex sighed. He absolutely detested being made a fool of. His ex-wife had done that often enough. Now it seemed he was doing it to himself.
“Hey, don’t worry about it, Alex. We all do stupid things when we’re in love.” The other man frowned. “Although, I don’t like the way you’re treating Tara. She doesn’t deserve to be taken for granted.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Yes, you do.”
A tall, dark-haired man stepped up behind Sam. Placing his arms around his waist, he pulled him close. Sam snuggled back against his chest with a familiarity that Alex both envied and feared.
“Causing trouble, love?” Roarke drawled.
“Always,” Sam replied.
“Hmm, perhaps it’s been too long since you were punished.”
Sam grinned and winked at Alex, letting him know he wasn’t concerned by the idea of punishment at all. Brat.
Alex decided it was best to come clean with Roarke before someone else did. He didn’t need this job. He earned a good wage as a software engineer for a computer company. He’d taken this job as a favor to Roarke, but he found he really enjoyed managing the team of submissives that worked for club Decadence. He respected Roarke and he didn’t like the thought of letting him down.
“Roarke, can I talk to you in private?” he asked.
Roarke looked at him. “This about the little scene you just had with Sloan?”
Alex raised his eyebrows. “Someone told you already.”
Roarke chuckled. “You should know by now that everyone here is a terrible gossip.”
“It was a matter of time before someone got in Sloan’s face. The man is a mouthy bastard. Didn’t expect it to be you, but then I didn’t factor in Tara.”
Alex frowned. “What do you mean you didn’t factor in Tara?”
Roarke sighed and looked down at Sam. “Stay here, Sam. And keep out of trouble, hear me?”
Sam grinned and winked. “Trouble? Me? I’ll be a perfect angel.”
Roarke gave him a stern look but Alex saw the amusement in his eyes. Alex followed him into Dylan’s office.
“You’re growing soft in your old age,” Alex said to the other man.
Roarke smiled as he poured out two drinks and handed one to Alex, who sat on an armchair. Roarke took a seat on the sofa.
“I’m happy. Sure, I was happy when it was just Sam and me. But Ava added the icing on the cake and now we have a baby on the way; well, life couldn’t get much better.”
Alex ignored the stab of envy, telling himself that he didn’t want that life. He was happy alone. Being involved with someone just led to pain and he refused to go through that again.
He took a sip of his drink. “You deserve it, old friend.” Roarke had his own demons he’d had to overcome to find happiness with Ava and Sam.
“How is Ava?” Alex asked.
“She’s tired. We left her sleeping. I want to get back to her soon. First, though, I want to talk to you about Tara.”
“What about her?”
“It’s obvious you care about her, Alex. Sloan likes to stir things up, but he never bothered you until he showed an interest in Tara. Some of the club members have told me that they’re reluctant to play with Tara because they feel like they’re stepping on your toes.”
Alex narrowed his gaze at Roarke. “I’ve never made a claim on her. She’s free to play with whoever she chooses.”
“So why did you nearly hit Sloan?”
“Because he’s a smart-mouthed asshole.” Alex finished off his drink and stood. He didn’t need the lecture. He opened the office door. “I need to get back out there.”
Roarke stood as well. “Alex, don’t let what happened with your ex color your feelings toward Tara. She’s not Simone. Tara is a sweet, loving person. It’s not fair to compare her to your ex-wife. If you don’t want her, then let her find someone else who does.”
“I’m not standing in her way,” Alex said stiffly, turning back to look at Roarke. “I’ve never said anything to Tara to make her assume otherwise.”
“I’m sure you haven’t. But everyone sees the way you stare at her. It’s the same way she watches you. Like you’re starving for her. No one wants to come between the two of you.”
Alex sighed. “Fine, I’ll stop staring at her. Are you happy now?”
“No,” Roarke said quietly. “I’d be much happier if you stopped being an idiot and went after what you wanted. I just want you both to be happy. You’re the Dom, take charge and make the first move.”
“Actually, Tara already made the first move.”
It might have been petty, but he couldn’t help but take pleasure in Roarke’s surprise.
“And? What happened?”
“It’s none of your business.” The memory of her devastated eyes still haunted him. He’d been unable to sleep that night, playing the conversation over in his head; the memory of her trembling voice as she’d told him that she cared about him. She’d asked him out for coffee and he’d rewarded her bravery by turning her down flat. Oh, he’d tried to do it kindly, but was there any way to reject someone without hurting them?
“Christ, you turned her down, didn’t you? It must have taken her weeks to work up the guts to ask you and you rejected her.” Roarke’s voice held a hint of censure and Alex had to take a deep breath before he spoke, certain he’d say something he would regret.
What was wrong with him? He had exceptional control over his temper. Even when he’d discovered that his ex-wife was cheating on him he’d remained calm and collected.
When it came to Tara, his control became frayed around the edges.
“Tara is looking for commitment. I can’t give that to her.” He wasn’t looking for a relationship.
“Proposed, did she?”
Alex sent him an exasperated look. “Of course not. But Tara isn’t a one-night stand, she deserves more.”
“For God’s sake, Alex, you’ve got to at least date a person before you dump them. Don’t you think you were jumping the gun?”
“I didn’t want to hurt her.”
“No, I’m sure she walked away from your rejection on cloud nine. Did you explain any of this to her or did you just show her the door?”
He’d beaten himself up about this enough; he didn’t need it from Roarke as well.
“This is my life, Roarke. It has nothing to do with you,” he said in a low voice.
“It does when it spills over into your behavior in my club. This isn’t like you, Alex. I can always rely on you to keep your head.”
“I’ve apologized,” Alex said stiffly. “If you want me to quit you just have to say so.”
Roarke sighed. “When did you get so sensitive? Of course I don’t want you to quit. But if you truly don’t want her then you can’t scare off the other Doms who want to play with her.”
Alex nodded stiffly as his stomach clenched into a knot. He knew Roarke was right. He didn’t intend to do anything about his feelings for Tara, but he didn’t want anyone else touching her. It wasn’t fair.
“Fine,” Alex said shortly. “If that’s all…”
Roarke nodded, looking tired. He held out his hand. “We still good?”
“I know you’re just looking out for Tara. I’d think less of you if you weren’t.” Alex walked out into the corridor, making his way toward the main play room. He frowned when he saw Carin in the corridor.
“What are you doing here?” he asked, his voice harsher than he’d intended. She looked a little frazzled, which was unusual for the normally over-confident sub.
“I came to see if you wanted me to start my shift earlier?” she asked.
He watched her suspiciously. Carin was one of the new waitresses they’d taken on. He didn’t know her well, but there was something about her he didn’t trust.
“No,” he told her.
“Oh, it’s just that Tara looks so tired. I thought she might like to finish early and go home to rest.”
“Tara will be fine. If she’s not, I will let you know. Aren’t you supposed to be doing a scene with Mitch?”
Mitch was one of the younger Doms. Carin wrinkled her nose, but moved away quickly without another word.
Alex put Carin from his mind as the entered the play room. He spent the next few hours talking to other Doms, watching over the wait and bar staff as well as helping a couple of the more inexperienced Doms with their technique.
He barely had time to think about Tara. Maybe this would be easier than he thought; he just had to keep himself busy.
He headed towards the bar, glad the night was growing quieter.
“Red! Hey, help. Over here!”
He turned at the loud voice and raced over, dodging people who didn’t get out of the way quick enough.
His heart nearly stopped as he saw Tara, looking pale and lifeless, slumped in Sloan’s arms. He moved toward them, wanting to snatch her out of the other man’s arms but worried that he might hurt her. Instead he reached out and cupped her face. She was freezing.
“What did you do?” he snapped at Sloan.
“Nothing,” Sloan snapped back, tension evident in his stiff body. “We were just warming up when she slumped over, unconscious.”
People were huddled around them, watching as Sloan carried Tara to a sofa and gently laid her down.
Alex crouched beside her. “Somebody bring me a blanket and some water. And find Nate.” Nate worked as an ambulance officer.
A blanket was quickly handed to him and he tucked it around her as Sloan crouched down beside him. He barely refrained from pushing the other man away.
Around him people murmured quietly.
“The rest of you get back to what you were doing,” he barked. The last thing Tara needed was to wake up and find everyone gawking at her.
They moved away just as Nate arrived.
“What happened?” Nate asked in a brisk voice.
“I don’t know.” Alex looked at Sloan accusingly.
The other man ignored him, addressing Nate. “Everything was fine. I checked in with her and she was all good then suddenly she just slumped over. I yelled for help then untied her and carried her over here.”
Nate was taking her pulse as Sloan spoke. He nodded. “Pulse is okay. She’s breathing all right. Looks like she probably just fainted.”
Alex stared down at her in worry. Why wasn’t she opening her eyes? She moaned quietly then opened her eyes, blinking rapidly.
All three men reached out to stop her from sitting up. Alex glared at the other two. Nate backed off with a grin. Sloan just glared back at him.
“This was my scene, my sub, so back off, old man” Sloan snarled.
Alex instantly saw red. “She is not yours.”
Sloan got in his face. “She’s not yours, either.”
“Both of you, shut up,” Nate snapped.
“Wh-what happened?” Tara asked quietly, looking at them with alarm. “Why are you both so angry? Did I do something wrong?”
There was a vulnerable note in her voice as she looked at them anxiously. Alex ignored Sloan, turning all his attention on her.
“You fainted, baby,” he told her in a low voice. “Are you in any pain?”
“I fainted? Where? Why?” Suddenly her eyes grew wide and she glanced at Sloan. “Oh, please tell me I didn’t faint during our scene?”
“Afraid so,” Sloan said. “Why didn’t you tell me you weren’t feeling well?”
Alex didn’t like the accusation in his voice. “This wasn’t her fault,” he snapped.
“Are you accusing me of hurting her?” Sloan snarled back.
“Jesus, will you two stop acting like juveniles and focus on the important thing,” Nate snapped at both of them. He placed two fingers under Tara’s chin, tilting her face up. “How are you feeling, darlin’?” he asked.
Guilt filled Alex. He really was acting like a child. He needed to get his act together. Tara was his responsibility.
“Umm, okay. A bit confused.” She was looking up at him and Sloan worriedly.
“When was the last time you ate?” Nate asked.
She frowned a little, thinking.
“If you have to think this hard then it was too long ago,” Nate told her.
“I had a sandwich for lunch,” she said defensively.
“Twelve hours ago?” Alex growled, angry that she wasn’t taking care of herself and that he had no right to make sure she did.
“I wasn’t hungry,” she said. She turned her gaze from him to look at Sloan. “I’m sorry I ruined the scene, Sir.” There was a wobble to her voice that immediately made Alex want to take her into his arms. “I can get back into position now.” She tried to rise. Alex quickly grabbed her.
“Stay where you are,” he growled. “No more playing for you tonight.”
“Alex is right,” Sloan said. “You need to rest.”
“I’m sorry I ruined things. Guess I made a real fool of myself.” Her cheeks grew red.
“No one thinks that,” Alex told her firmly. “But if you weren’t feeling well you should have let your Dom know.”
“That’s okay. I’m just glad you’re all right.” Sloan squeezed her hand. “I’ll drive you home.”
“That’s a good idea,” Nate said as she shook her head. “You need some food and rest. You should visit your doctor as well, to check everything is okay. You’re a bit too pale for my liking.” Nate stood.
“Thanks, Nate,” Alex told him. Nate nodded then left. Alex looked over at Sloan. “I’ll take her home.”