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Authors: Michelle Zurlo

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Chapter 2

Both of her jobs were located in Southfield. Sophia took a bag with a change of clothes with her, changing in the employee locker room of the club before letting the hostess know she was on the floor.

“On the floor” was the term they used when a Dom was available to see clients. Though many clubs that offered this kind of service were sex clubs, this one was not. Michigan was pretty strict about health codes, meaning most sex clubs lasted six weeks or less. They offered bondage and discipline, but that was all. If they developed outside relationships with some clients, that was something done on their own and not on Club property.

Most of Sophia’s clients were by appointment, and most of them returned regularly. These were easy jobs. She knew their bodies, she knew their needs, and she knew their limits. New clients were challenging because she didn’t know how much they could take. Ellen Kubina, her boss and the owner of the club, had new clients fill out surveys. They were helpful as long as the client was truthful. New clients were frequently ashamed of their fantasies and underreported their needs.

Tonight was both easy and satisfying. Sophia lost herself in the whippings and bindings as much as the clients did. There was something about the pinkening of skin and the sobs of agonized pleasure that made her feel whole.

Sabrina was her last client. She appeared every other Friday, sometimes more often. The first time they met was in the bar attached to the club. She was short and petite and uptight. She sat up straight and crossed her legs at the ankle. Long brown hair and big brown eyes dominated her classically beautiful face. Everything about her was perfect, from her makeup and hair

13

to the tiny stitches in her haute couture clothing. She looked like an ice queen.

If Sabrina was Sophia’s boss, she’d probably have hated her. She didn’t fit the type of woman to whom she imagined Jonas, her friend and mentor, would be attracted. But, as Christopher repeatedly showed her, strong people were often the best subs.

At the time, Sabrina hadn’t known her husband was a Dom. She thought he was a bartender. One of the first things she asked Sophia was if she was a prostitute. Sabrina had been in shock, wanting to know if her husband was having sex with his clients when she thought he was out bartending off the tremendous debt with which his ex-wife left him. She apologized profusely after Ellen set her straight.

However, it wasn’t until Ellen brought her to Sophia as a client that they became friends. She hadn’t filled out a survey. The dominatrix in her was a little glad because she wanted to test Sabrina’s boundaries herself. She half wanted to push her beyond them for implying Sophia charged money in exchange for sexual favors. Even when she brought subs home to the playroom in her basement, she didn’t always fuck them. Dominating wasn’t all about the sex. It was about the
control
.

However, she was tiny, and she was Jonas’s. Given the surly and generally sour disposition he displayed at work until Ellen fired him, and the woebegone waif Ellen had plopped in front of Sophia, she deduced Sabrina and Jonas were having problems. She had ordered Sabrina to strip, tied her down, and whipped her until she sobbed and turned to jelly.

Sophia had joined her and Ellen for drinks afterward. The pair had been close friends ever since. Now that Sabrina and Jonas were split up, Sophia was torn by her desire to keep one of the few close female friends she had and by her attachment to Jonas. He was her mentor and her friend, but she couldn’t talk to him the way she could talk to Sabrina. Jonas was singularly uninterested in fashion or other “chick” topics, as he termed them.

Sabrina was the last client of the day. One look from Sophia had her peeling off her clothes. The first time she came to Sophia, Sabrina hadn’t been wearing underwear. Now, she wore little thongs for her to work around. Sophia didn’t care either way. Sabrina was hot, but she was like a sister. Besides that, Jonas would murder Sophia in her sleep if she even tried
14

 

to entice Sabrina. She hoped they made up soon. Ellen was optimistic, but Sophia knew what a stubborn ass Jonas could be.

The thong and coordinating bra were pink lace. Sophia ached to make her skin match. She turned toward the stockade, where Sophia usually secured her. Sophia narrowed her eyes, hating when one of her subs found her too predictable. When they were out in the real world, they were friends.

Here, Sabrina was hers.

“No,” she said, catching the petite brunette by surprise. Leaning toward the wall behind her, Sophia pressed the button to bring down a hook.

Sabrina was too comfortable in this setting. It was time to change things up.

She watched the huge metal hook stop a little over a foot above her head. Those big mocha eyes darkened with fear. She trembled and tore her gaze from it, fixing Sophia with an anxious stare. From the corner of her eye, Sophia watched Sabrina wring her hands together. This was a good sign. She wanted her this way. Sabrina needed help relaxing, and Sophia was going to give that to her. It was in her power to do so.

“Hold on to it, Sabrina.”

She bit her lip, the fear and the need at war. “Sophia, I really like it when you tie me down.”

She couldn’t ask to be tied down. Jonas had trained her to follow orders or face the consequences. Sophia wasn’t that kind of dominatrix. She encouraged submissives to vocalize what they liked and what they didn’t like. Some of them liked to be bound, but not whipped. Others, like Sabrina, loved the whip. She fought it. Sophia loved that she fought it, but Sabrina would yield. It was what she needed.

Sophia closed in on her, crowding her in the large, empty space of the private training arena. Sabrina shrank into herself, but she didn’t move away. It confirmed her instinct to change things up. If she really didn’t want to do this, she would have stepped back or used the safe word. Sophia preferred to know her subs well enough that they didn’t have to use the safe word.

“Please,” she begged. Her pink tongue darted out to lick at her upper lip.

She was nervous, but so close to giving in.

Without a word, Sophia grabbed her wrists and forced them over her head. She was about five inches taller, so it was easy to stretch her out.

15

Some clients were so tall that this tactic would only highlight Sophia’s lack of stature, though, at five-seven, her height was average.

Sabrina’s hands wrapped around the hook.

“Don’t let go,” Sophia warned.

She swallowed and nodded, tears already glistening in her eyes. She trusted Sophia to give her what she needed.

Stepping back, Sophia pushed the lever the other way, forcing Sabrina to rise to her toes. Her head fell back. Her hair barely reached her chin, and this position did not put it in the way. Selecting a fuchsia cat, Sophia set to work, beginning with the stomach and thighs in front.

Sabrina settled into the rhythm too quickly. Sophia frowned. This wasn’t going to do it. If Sophia didn’t bring her kicking and screaming, she would never reach that place of inner peace she so desperately sought.

She switched the cat for a leather paddle, whacking rectangular patterns over her ass and thighs in back, careful not to mar her legs too low. She jerked away, and Sophia smiled, knowing she hadn’t expected this. Before too long, she cried out, unable to swallow the sounds. The smacks came faster, and Sophia was rewarded with screams and tears. They coursed down her face until her body lengthened, relaxing into the punishment.

Within seconds, peace came over her. It amazed Sophia how completely Sabrina changed during those moments. Everything about her transformed, from that false ice-queen front she wore as armor to something delicate and tender. If Jonas ever saw her like this, Sophia didn’t know how he could have let her go.

Sabrina nearly stole her heart, and that particular organ of Sophia’s was out of commission.

She met Sabrina and Ellen in the VIP lounge of the bar for drinks afterward. Dressed in a pink satin designer halter and a skirt that fell to mid-calf, Sabrina sat gingerly on the edge of the high-legged chair and nursed one of those fruity drinks she liked. Next to her, Ellen smiled brightly. Ellen dwarfed everyone, even Sophia. They were the same size, but Ellen’s forceful and dynamic personality made her seem so much larger. Plus, Ellen was curvier, but Sophia would never say that to her.

On the dance floor, Sophia spied Ginny and Lara, Sabrina’s sister and her wife. Ginny looked so much like Sabrina, Sophia found them difficult to tell apart after Sabrina cut her hair. In addition to being beautiful and petite,
16

 

they both had pixie cuts. The taller, sensual blonde glued to Ginny was the only telltale clue if one didn’t look close enough to notice that Sabrina’s hair was a couple inches longer. Well, that and the obvious soreness in Sabrina’s backside. Ginny even drank the same fruity kinds of drinks as Sabrina.

Sophia took the chair next to Ellen. Ellen frequently complained that hanging around with Sabrina made her look even bigger. Her little one was eighteen months old, but she was still upset about the extra curves that wouldn’t go away. Sophia didn’t know why. Ellen’s husband looked more in love with her now than he had when Sophia first met him. Watching the two of them together bordered on sickening. Unless an observer knew Ellen, nobody guessed she was a killer dominatrix.

A whiskey sour awaited Sophia. She smiled in thanks at Ellen, who shook her head, inclining it toward Sabrina.

“Thanks.”

“You’re quite welcome,” Sabrina said. She was uncommonly happy.

Sophia knew it was more than the recent whipping that caused her to look like she was about to erupt with sunshine and giggles. She was not the kind of woman who giggled.

“What’s going on?”

She burst. “I’m getting married, and I want you to be one of my bridesmaids.”

Flabbergasted, Sophia stared. “Married? I didn’t think you were even divorced yet.” More than that, she knew how much Sabrina was hurting from Jonas leaving. Who in the world would she marry on the rebound? She wracked her brain for a probable name.

“I’m not.” Her grin lit up the semidark of the bar. “Jonas finally came around, just like Ellen said he would. I’m making him do things right this time. Vegas won’t cut it. He got down on one knee and proposed. We’re going to have a big wedding, white dress, five-piece orchestra, and everything.”

Sophia slid to the ground, came around the table, and hugged her friend.

“Congratulations. I’m so happy for you.” Part of her was also unhappy. Did this mean she was losing two of her subs in one day? Granted, her relationship with Sabrina wasn’t sexual, but she really liked dominating her.

Sabrina grinned a while longer before adding, “You don’t have to, you know. You can say no, and I’ll understand.”

17

In her moment of self-pity, Sophia forgot the question. “Of course I’ll stand up in your wedding.” She turned to Ellen. “Are you a bridesmaid, too?”

Ellen shook her head, setting her brown hair skating across her shoulders. “I’m the best man.”

Sophia saw Ellen so much with Sabrina, she forgot Ellen was actually Jonas’s best friend.

“Best woman,” Sabrina corrected with a reassuring squeeze to Ellen’s wrist.

Ellen grimaced. “I spent almost a year calling him my maid of honor.

He’s been waiting a long, long time to do this to me.” Sabrina rolled her eyes and shook her head. Everybody knew better than to become involved in a dispute between Ellen and Jonas. Ginny and Lara joined them, and the conversation turned toward other topics.

Before they called it a night, Sabrina cheerfully reminded them there was a meeting for the wedding party at her house on Sunday. The wedding was in a little less than two months. She said she had waited long enough for Jonas to come around.

She would provide lunch and dinner. That meant it was a long meeting.

Sophia sighed. It wasn’t that she was opposed to spending a day at Sabrina’s, just that she felt uncomfortable around happy couples. They frequently wanted to include her in their brand of contentment, but Sophia had no use for that kind of relationship.

The only truly bright spot in the day was a last-minute text from a sub she hadn’t seen in several months:
Have a date tomorrow night. Love to
bring him over.

Sophia absolutely loved dominating couples. Livia had excellent taste in men, and she would expect Sophia to join in the sexual play.

 

 

18

 

Chapter 3

The doorbell rang at nine exactly. Livia had a problem with being on time until Sophia trained her. Too early and Sophia would stretch the punishment, making her wait an excruciatingly long time for what she wanted. Too late and she would send her away.

Many dominatrixes went all out, dressing in pleather bustiers or thigh-high boots. Sophia preferred for her subs to wear those kinds of things if clothing was going to be used at all. Mostly, she liked bare flesh. Something about the sight of naked skin set her juices flowing.

Sophia answered the door dressed in jean shorts and a maroon tank top.

Although the air conditioning was on, she knew her activities would make her work up a sweat. Still, she left her thick brown hair flowing freely instead of securing it out of the way. It was one of her best features, falling in waves midway down her back and drawing attention away from her relatively flat chest.

Livia smiled, her eyes sidling tentatively toward her date and back to Sophia. From the way she stood next to him, Sophia could tell that, although she found him attractive, she wasn’t sure about him, and she wanted her mistress’s approval.

Sophia refrained from frowning. If she wasn’t sure about a guy, she wouldn’t ask him to have a threesome with her dominatrix.

Was Livia angry with him and looking to settle the score? Livia wasn’t the nicest person in the world, and Sophia wouldn’t put something like that past her. She was a few inches taller than Sophia. With her heels on, Livia was a little taller than her date. He didn’t seem to mind.

They matched. That was the first thing Sophia noticed. Both of them had blue eyes and hair streaked blond by a professional hairdresser. Livia was pretty, and she took her punishments well. Her date was incredibly

19

sexy. He was one of those perfect-looking men who invariably had a bevy of women clamoring for his attention. It made them think they were better than they were.

Usually, Sophia was immune to good looks. However, something about him was magnetic. He mesmerized with raw sexuality. It exuded from every pore in his body, especially those full, pouty lips begging to be nibbled on.

Sophia wanted to push him down on the couch in the living room and have her way with him.

She struggled to resist. Tearing her eyes away, she motioned for them to come inside. Livia brushed past Sophia, her plastic breasts already pert and begging to be whipped. Her shirt showed a deep valley of cleavage, and her short skirt was slit to the top of her thigh. Underneath, she wore buff-colored leggings that matched her barely there blouse. Sophia wasn’t sure if Livia dressed to seduce Sophia or her date.

Hazarding a glance at his backside, she forgot to breathe. Clad in tight, faded jeans, his corded muscles stretched and bunched under the fabric as he moved. He had an ass made for cupping, for squeezing, and for raking nails across until he cried out.

For the first time in as long as she could remember, Sophia had to pull herself together. Livia had certainly outdone herself tonight.

The good little sub waited patiently just inside the living room, knowing she was not allowed to speak without permission. Sophia closed the door with a heavy whoosh and rounded them to stand in front.

First, she inspected Livia. It had been several months since she had last seen her. It looked like she had a new nose, and the faint lines around her eyes and mouth were gone. She was over forty, but she looked closer to Sophia’s age.

He couldn’t have been too many years older than Sophia. She estimated late twenties, and she wondered if he knew Livia’s actual age. If not, he wouldn’t learn it tonight. His hair was spiked with the kind of gel that didn’t leave the hair looking wet or coated. It stood up a couple of inches on the top before fading shorter on the sides.

A single tiny platinum hoop dangled from his left ear. Though he wore fairly snug pants that advertised the size of his penis, his royal blue button-down shirt was too loose to do more than hint at a broad musculature.

Sophia couldn’t wait to strip him naked.

20

 

“I’m Drew,” he said, shifting uncomfortably under the strain of silence.

He met Sophia’s eyes, though Livia remained with her eyes to the floor.

The smile Sophia gave him in response wasn’t welcoming. It was gleeful and predatory.

Livia’s breath caught.

“Drew,” Sophia said, testing the feel of his name on her tongue. “Has Livia told you why she brought you here?” He shrugged casually. “She said you were a dominatrix.” An amused smile played around the corners of his lips, peeking out but never fully forming. His eyes sparkled.

Sophia’s expression didn’t change or soften in the least. “And do you know what that means?”

Again, he shrugged. God, it was a sexy gesture, and the way he looked at Sophia said he knew she was attracted to him. “You’re going to tie us up, spank us, and tell us we’re bad.”

She shook her head. She never told her submissives they were bad. She punished and corrected, but she never talked down to them. Trust and respect were important in situations like this. Both had to be earned and reinforced.

“No spanking?” His tone was just derisive enough to reveal his relief at the idea. Was he afraid of the pain?

Sophia held his gaze and he stared at her. “Drew, do you want to be here?”

He shrugged again, as if it didn’t matter.

Regretfully, she shook her head. “Livia, take him away. You may bring him back when he’s sure what he wants.” Livia laced her hand through his arm, turning toward the door.

“No,” he said. This whole time, he never looked away from Sophia.

Something desperate came into his eyes. Already, he was submitting to her, and she reveled in it. “Wait. I’m sure I want to be here.”

“You have to be sure about what you want while you’re here, Drew.

There is no room for uncertainties. You either need to be spanked, or whipped, or tied up, or punished another way, or you don’t. When I ask you a question, I expect a clear, vocal response.” Her voice was harsh, but it had to be. Softness was for later, when he let down his guard.

21

Those clear, icy blue eyes dropped to the floor as he thought about it.

Finally, his eyes returned to Sophia. “I want to be here. I’ve never quite done this before, so I have no idea if I want to be tied up or whipped or spanked or anything else. I have trouble imagining what ‘anything else’

might look like. I’m willing to try this, all of this, whatever it entails.” She liked his voice and the cadence of his speech. It was just the right amount of husky and deep. She could listen to him speak for hours.

Combined with the sex appeal that oozed from him, he could have a brilliant television career ahead of him. She nodded once, indicating to Livia she could release Drew’s arm. She resumed her earlier stance.

“Rules,” Sophia said. “There are rules. First, you must be honest and clear. If you like something or if you want something, you must ask for it.

When I ask you a question or give an order, I expect a clear response, or I will stop whatever I’m doing. Second, if at any time you’re uncomfortable and you want the scene to stop, the safe word is ‘onion.’ Third, this is a scene, a play. It doesn’t imply a relationship between any of us. Is this clear?”

“Yes,” he said. “What do I call you?”

Sophia smiled, rewarding him for asking a good question. The hitch in his breathing told her so much. “You may call me Mistress.” Without waiting to see if he had more questions, she turned to Livia. “Livia, darling, take Drew into the basement and get into position. Leave his pants on, but get rid of the shirt.”

Dismissing them, she walked purposefully in the other direction. She headed to the kitchen to get a glass of water. It was more a stalling tactic to give them time to carry out her orders. Damn, he was hot. She chastised herself for being so attracted to someone else’s date. She wanted him to herself, which meant she couldn’t have him at all. Under no circumstances would she have sex with him because she knew it would only lead to wanting more. That man was instinctively and consciously a walking sex magnet. His extreme good looks didn’t even enter into it.

Sophia followed them about five minutes later, silent footsteps hiding her approach. The door to the specially constructed playroom in the basement was open, and she heard conversation drifting down the hall.

“I’m not kneeling on the floor.”

22

 

“Hush, Drew,” Livia hissed. “Mistress doesn’t allow speaking unless it’s to her.”

“This will earn a punishment?”

That was the tone and those were the words of someone who doubted her ability to dominate him. Unless he wasn’t a submissive at all, Drew was going to be a challenge. But why would Livia bring a date who wasn’t also a submissive?

“You’ve already earned a punishment.” Her laugh was full of delight.

“You spoke to her in the foyer before she asked you to speak. I told you to be quiet.”

“I introduced myself. It’s called manners.” He sounded a little petulant.

Sophia hoped it was nerves and not the sign of a spoiled brat. She didn’t mind disciplining those kinds of people, but she enjoyed them so much more when they weren’t jerks.

Sophia closed the door, startling them both as she had meant to do. The room was soundproof, so their screams wouldn’t be heard anywhere else, but that wasn’t very effective with the door open. “Only speak when you have permission from me, Drew.”

“Are you going to punish me?” he asked. Still on his feet, he had to angle his head down to meet her eyes. His fists were planted firmly on his hips.

His defensive question diverted her attention from the mass of lean muscle rippling over his chest and stomach. “Oh, yes,” she said, licking her lips in anticipation. She was in full predator mode. “I’m going to punish you.”

Uncertainty and the edge of fear marred his defensive position. He had the sense not to say anything further.

Livia knelt on the floor with her knees spread a little wider than the span of her shoulders. Her hands were laced behind her head, and her eyes were glued to the floor, awaiting orders.

Earlier, Sophia had laid out the paraphernalia she planned to use in the scene. Submissives had an easier time of things since the Doms had the responsibility of planning everything. It was one of the only “relationship” responsibilities she liked. Lifting a mass of leather straps, Sophia bade Livia stand.

23

Obediently, she rose to her feet. Sophia untangled the mass, winding it around her body. When she finished, lines of leather ringed Livia’s abdomen, her thighs, and her neck. Crisscrossed straps made it so that her breasts were plumped between triangles. The straps were strategically placed to cause a discomfort that would cause her to wiggle. That tiny motion would rub the straps against several erogenous zones, heightening her pleasure.

This was one of her favorite things. Tonight, Sophia used it as a reward.

On another submissive, the restrictive straps would be a punishment.

Drew watched intently. His mouth parted as his breathing sped up, and his pupils dilated. He was becoming aroused watching her outfit Livia.

“Go bend over the footboard,” Sophia said.

Livia complied immediately.

“I thought you were going to punish me,” Drew said, sounding both anxious and jealous. “I’m the one who broke the rules.” Sophia smiled at him. This time he swallowed in fear. She indicated a chair nearby. It was straight-backed and much more uncomfortable than it looked. “Sit, Drew. You need to learn to behave.” He narrowed his eyes but did as she instructed. Perhaps he thought he would get to watch two women having sex. Most men entertained that kind of fantasy.

Sophia left Livia alone, knowing the wait heightened the punishment/reward for her, and sauntered over to Drew. She straddled him, running her hands across his bare shoulders and down his arms.

She didn’t know where Livia found him, but Drew was either a man who worked out frequently or he had a job that required manual labor. This was not the physique of a man who sat around all day. Everything about him advertised a man of action—someone who was strong, decisive, determined, not the submissive she so badly wanted.

Logistics required she sit on his lap to do what she needed to do. A bulge strained against the denim of his jeans. Centering her pussy over it, she rested her weight on him. He groaned.

Grasping his wrists, she guided them behind the chair, and he didn’t resist. Her breasts grazed his chest, and she felt the sudden heat of him through thin cotton. He tensed, and she realized he felt the same jolt she felt at the contact. She used the distraction to secure the handcuffs.

24

 

The cold metal closed around his wrists, and his eyes widened in surprise. Her serene smile never wavered. She never made an effort to hide her toys. She dropped her voice so Livia couldn’t hear what she said. “Tell me what you want, Drew. Your wildest fantasies can come true.” He chuckled, the sound rumbling from his chest through the peaks of her nipples. “You’re not the first woman to say that to me.” Her answer might have been ill-advised, but he rattled her more than she cared to admit. “I’m the first woman who can really deliver.” He went still, and Sophia prayed to whoever was listening that she hadn’t crossed a line. His blue eyes darkened with desire, and he leaned closer, trying to capture her lips in a kiss. She leaned away and put a finger to his lips. There would be no kissing, either, not with the way he made her feel, not with the things she wanted to do to him. A very large, selfish part of Sophia wanted Livia gone so she wouldn’t have to share.

BOOK: Hanging On
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