Authors: Tawny Taylor
Tags: #Erotica, #Romance, #Erotic Romance, #romantica, #domination and submission, #erotica for women, #domination and submission romance, #erotic bondage
She was relieved when he didn’t push it, try to change her
mind. She actually felt the air moving in and out of her lungs freely again.
How long had she been holding her breath?
He walked to her, stopped within reaching distance but
didn’t touch her. Not a reassuring pat or a squeeze of the hand. Nothing. “Now
go home. Get some rest. I’ll call you after I’ve had my little talk with
Becker. I’ll let you know how it went.”
This time, despite the heaviness in her chest, she had no
problems getting into her car and driving home.
* * * * *
Kyler slid into the booth opposite Becker. “This is cozy.”
Settling into his seat, he eyed the place, an Italian restaurant with a dark
atmosphere and tables covered in floor-length burgundy tablecloths. “I half
expected you to stiff me.”
“I thought about it. But I what the hell? You were singing a
song I liked. I wanted to hear the rest.”
The man was shit. It turned Kyler’s stomach having to be
even this close to Matt Becker. And God help the company if this kind of
asshole was going to be VP. The missing money, which Becker had almost pinned
on him, was the half of it.
“So, I’d like to know, how are you going to cover your ass,
Becker waved a hand at the waiter and ordered his dinner and
an expensive bottle of wine, speaking perfect Italian. “I’ll manage.”
Interesting. Becker wasn’t exactly what he’d call cultured.
Nor was he Italian. There was more to the slimeball than Kyler knew. Much more.
The waiter turned to Kyler.
Kyler shook his head. “
” He didn’t
exactly have a stomach for
trenette alle vongole
tonight. “If I resign on Monday, you’ll forget everything you
know about the office manager.”
After a long moment and several swallows of wine, Becker
smiled. “I could be…convinced…”
The bastard was looking for more? Fuck that.
Disgusted, Kyler stood. Leaning over the asshole, he
whispered, “Two can play this game, you fucking piece of shit. You want to make
an innocent woman’s life hell by dragging all her skeletons out of her closet,
then I can do the same. Your closet isn’t exactly uninhabited, is it?”
Something flashed in Becker’s eyes. Fear, perhaps?
If things didn’t go his way tonight, he’d get in touch with
the detective again, see if he could dig up more details about this guy. He was
Dammit, if he’d had more time, this conversation might have
gone very differently. In fact, it might not have gone at all. Instead, he
might have been talking to the police right now, giving a statement.
Eyes narrowed, Becker set down his wine glass. “How about
you sit down and we talk about this?”
“Last chance.” Kyler sat, crossed his arms over his chest.
“Give me the proof I came for, tell me you’re going to forget you’ve ever heard
or read anything about the office manager, or I’ll take what I have and go to
“If you had anything, you wouldn’t be talking to me right
now. Giving up your job.”
Kyler shrugged. “Maybe I was tired of playing the sales and
“I don’t buy that. So, the question I want answered is why
would you give up your job for the secretary? She’s nobody.”
No, that was just it. She wasn’t nobody. Not to him. But
admitting that would only make things harder for her. “Yeah, she is nobody.
Like I said, I’m not giving up anything for her. What do you care, anyway? By
Monday, I’ll have my resignation handed in to the Board of Directors and by
Tuesday, they’ll be interviewing new applicants for my job. We both know who’s
on the top of their short list for the position. So, what’ll it be? Vice
president? Or state’s ward?”
Becker thought about what he’d said, reached into his jacket
and pulled out a manila envelope. “How do I know you won’t take this and forget
about our deal?”
“Because I’m not the double-crossing shit that you are. I
actually keep my promises.” He swept up the envelope, crammed it into his
pocket and left the restaurant as fast as he could.
That was one conversation that left him feeling sick. It
would be a long time before he’d be able to enjoy another Italian meal without
his stomach lurching into his throat. A damn long time.
When he returned home, he called Elena. She didn’t answer,
so he left a short message, saying that things had gone well, and he hoped she
had a good week at work.
Even though the situation had more or less been handled, he
spent the next few days pacing his house, feeling caged-in and twitchy,
restless. What was that bastard Becker trying to hide? The detective was still
working on some things.
Stacy called to check on him a few times. He didn’t answer,
just let the voicemail pick up. She left a couple of messages, saying she was
worried about him, hoped he was doing okay and letting him know that she’d
heard through the rumor mill that he’d quit and Becker had been named VP. Would
he please call her?
Instead, he spent his nights tossing and turning, thinking
about a certain pretty little office manager. And he spent his days sitting in
front of his computer, staring at his resumé and trying to decide what to do
about a job.
It would be a piece of cake calling his old man and taking a
job at Pierce Holdings. But Kyler knew he’d never be satisfied if he did that.
For one thing, he hated investing.
No, he needed to find another job on his own. Something he
could feel proud of. If he had to, he’d start at the bottom, roll up his
sleeves, and sweat his way to the top, just like he had before. Yes, that was
exactly what he’d do. In fact, maybe he’d go apply with his former employer’s
biggest competitor, AVR Manufacturing. Wouldn’t it be convenient if they had an
opening in their sales department? Hell, he might even like a job in Quality
Control. He wasn’t above getting his hands dirty.
Finally, he had a plan in place, a sense of purpose.
He printed out a handful of copies of his resumé and hit the
pavement. Only after he had found himself a new job did he let himself think
about Elena again. It had been almost a month since he’d last seen her. Instead
of easing up over time, his feelings for her had only intensified. He wanted to
know how her brother was doing. How Becker was treating her at work. If she had
anyone to shovel the snow off her car after the first big snowstorm of the
season. And if she would have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with. Somehow, he
had to make things right. If she’d let him.
God only knew he didn’t deserve a second chance, but that
was exactly what he wanted—the opportunity to start over.
It took him another week to convince himself to ask her.
Despite the fact that it was only twenty degrees outside,
his hands were damp with sweat as he drove to her place, a cute little bungalow
in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Her car sat in the driveway. He hurried up
the un-shoveled front walk and rang the doorbell. A blistering north wind
whipped through his hair.
Finally, the door opened.
Kyler dragged in a long, deep breath. He knew he wouldn’t
stop thinking about this woman, no matter how long it was before he saw her
again. This was it. His chance. He would kick his own ass if he fucked it
* * * * *
“W-well, hello Kyler,” Elena stammered, so stunned to see
him, she could have been blown over if he sneezed. What was he doing here?
Standing on her front porch, he looked at her long and hard
for a few minutes, and she felt her face flaming again, like it had the night
he’d blackmailed her. “I‘ve been thinking about what happened between us.” He
tipped his head, his expression guarded. “I want to start over again. I’d like
to get to know you better.”
“I—I…” Oh, God! Was he asking her on a date? He was, wasn’t
he? She leaned against the door for support. It had been over a month since
she’d left his house. Every night, she’d lain in bed, wondering how he was,
what he was doing, if he ever thought about her. And every morning—as insane as
it was—she secretly hoped she’d see him again. They lived on opposite sides of
town. An accidental meeting was about as likely as being struck by lightning or
winning the lottery, but in some ways she’d always been a hopeless romantic.
She’d looked for him everywhere—gas station, party store, delicatessen.
Even this hopeless romantic hadn’t imagined he would come to
her house and ask her out.
“Oh hell.” He shook his head and backed away from the door.
“This was a bad idea.” He started to turn around.
Stop him! “N-no.” She lurched forward and grabbed the first
piece of his anatomy that came into reach, his elbow. Awkwardly, she gave it a
tug. “Sorry. I was just caught by surprise. I mean, it’s been a long time, and
I didn’t hear from you. I thought…”
“Let me take you out tomorrow. On a real date.”
“Sure. I feel like such a shit for
how I treated you. That’s not me.”
She hesitated, not sure if she wanted to believe what was
happening. This was what she’d hoped for. But could she really trust him?
“Okay, sure. One date. But that’s all I’m agreeing to for now.”
For just the briefest of moments, that thick veneer he’d
been wearing since she’d opened the door cracked and a flurry of emotions
played over his features. “Hang on to your hat, sweetheart. Tomorrow, you’re in
for the night of your life. I’m taking you on the date of your dreams.” He left
her with a twinkle in his eye and a promise that she wouldn’t be sorry for
giving him another chance. “By the way, what size dress do you wear?” he asked,
just before strolling back to his car.
She couldn’t wait to see what he had planned.
* * * * *
Kyler put his car into park, cut off the engine and fisted
his keys. He’d known that sooner or later he’d have to have a heart-to-heart
with Stacy. He’d avoided it for too long. After all, he didn’t really have a
solid reason for giving her the silent treatment. Sure, she’d given him some
false information, back during that thing with Becker. But despite paying the
detective good money, he had never discovered anything proving it was
intentional. If anything, he figured she’d been used by Becker. Who knew what
that bastard had been thinking?
The bottom line was they’d been friends for too long to hold
a misjudgment against her. She might have believed the wrong person’s lies, but
she had been, after all, trying to protect him. He headed up her front walk to
her porch steps, eyeballing the car in the driveway, which, coincidentally,
looked a lot like the Lincoln his former employer had leased for him.
Could be Becker’s. Or it could belong to someone else. It
wasn’t as if all black Lincoln Town cars ever built were leased by TK
She answered the door wearing a robe, her Domme platforms,
some heavy makeup, and a blush. “Oh, Kyler. Hi.” She didn’t invite him in. In
fact, she shuffled out and pulled the door shut behind her.
“Hey, I’m sorry if I’ve come at a bad time. I owe you an
apology for not returning your calls.”
She glanced over her shoulder before giving him a flat
smile. “It’s okay. I was just worried. You know how I can be.”
He’d never seen Stacy act this nervous before. It wasn’t
like he didn’t know she had a social life. Hell, they’d gone on double dates
together. And occasionally played in the same dungeons. She was a Domme, he a
Dom. Their social circles tended to overlap. “Sure, I know how you can be. I’ll
get going. We’ll talk later.” He started down the steps
“How are you? Have you found another job?” she called after
He turned again, catching her tugging on her robe to cover
what looked like a strip of black leather. It didn’t take a genius to figure
out she was playing in her dungeon with someone. And for some reason, she
didn’t want him to know who that someone was.
The question was why? He’d never been a jealous friend.
They’d never kept secrets from each other. There was never any reason to.
He forced a smile he didn’t feel. “I sure did. Thanks. And
thanks for looking out for me, you know, with that Becker thing.”
Something flashed in her eyes, but he couldn’t read what
that something was. “I’m relieved to hear you landed on your feet. And you’re
welcome. I couldn’t sit by and watch Matt scheme against you and not say
something. It just stinks that you ended up losing your job instead of him.”
“I didn’t lose my job. I quit.”
“That’s right. You quit.” She nodded, pushing the door open
and backing inside. “I’ll call you later, okay? Maybe we can have lunch next
“Sure. Lunch.” He walked to his car, checking the Town Car’s
license plate number as he passed. Yep, it was his former leased car, which
should have been turned over to the new VP of Sales and Marketing upon his
Kyler got in his own car and drove around the blocks a few
times. After about fifteen minutes, he turned back down her street.
The Lincoln was gone.
What the hell was Becker doing at Stacy’s house?
* * * * *
Oh my God. The dress. It was gorgeous. Black, long, elegant
and slinky, it skimmed over Elena’s curves just right. Not too tight. Not too
loose. The straps—if they could be called that—were chains of sparkling clear
stones. Backless, the dress boasted several more chains of glittering jewels.
They draped across her skin, tickling her as she moved.
She felt beautiful wearing this dress.
And there was more. Three boxes—two jewelry boxes and a
shoebox—had also been delivered today. Inside the two jewelry boxes she found a
gorgeous choker made of white gold and more clear stones and a pair of dangly
earrings to match. And in the shoebox she found a pair of genuine Manolo
Blahnik shoes. She’d never even seen a pair of Manolos in person, only on