Authors: Sheryl Nantus
Tags: #romance;domme;submissive;love;red hot;bdsm;kink;contemporary
You can lead a Domme to love…but you can’t make her fall.
, Book 1
Kate Dubois is a Domme-for-hire for the highly exclusive Hooded Pleasures, a service offering private BDSM sessions to those who can’t—or won’t—risk appearing in an actual club.
Lately, though, she wonders if professional burnout is causing her to have painful flashbacks to a past heartbreak. When her boss insists her next client will be a breath of fresh air, Kate reluctantly agrees to an interview.
Alex Hanson dominates the world of computer game programming, but secretly he suspects he might be a sub in the bedroom. There’s only one good way to find out—hire a professional to show him the ropes.
Their first meeting puts both of them to the test—Alex’s self-control, and Kate’s realization she might just like him a little too much. But there’s no denying their emotions are inextricably entangled…a dangerous step Kate’s not sure her heart is prepared to take.
Warning: Contains a hard-core computer geek with a tender side, and a Domme who can’t afford to expose her greatest weakness—him. Geekery combined with flogging. Enjoy!
For my husband, who never lets me doubt myself, doesn’t mind ordering pizza when I’m on a writing roll, and who loves to do hands-on research.
Thanks to my agents, Rachel Brooks and Louise Fury, who know how to take a lump of coal and turn it into a diamond. Love ya, ladies!
And my thanks to Linda Ingmanson, who helped to polish this to a blinding shine—I couldn’t ask for a better editor or a more patient one!
Kate Dubois was bored.
She looked down at the man nuzzling her bare ankle. She’d let him strip off the leather boot after he’d pleaded for the privilege, begged for ten minutes.
His lips ran over her ankle, soft kisses caressing her skin. He sighed as he worshipped her body.
A memory resurfaced of Carl, kneeling at her feet and doing the same. It’d been different, felt different—his body tensed up like a watch wound one twist too tight.
He looked up, and she knew it was over.
“Mistress?” Dan looked up at her with wide eyes. “Am I doing something wrong?”
“No, pet. You’re perfect.” She reached down and patted his head before tangling her fingers in his long black locks. A gentle tug brought a moan from the kneeling man. “But I don’t recall giving permission for you to speak.” Kate ran her fingers along the leather collar. “Do you?”
The momentary flash of panic in his eyes warmed her heart.
She tapped the leather paddle she held in her left hand against her leg. “I thought not. I think a few strokes should remind you of your manners. Continue your venerations while I make my decision about how many you’ve earned with your disobedience.”
He shook with a mixture of need and fear before bending down.
Kate switched the paddle to her right hand and eyed the already pink skin on Dan’s exposed behind. She’d worked him over for a good half hour, bending him over his couch like an errant schoolboy.
He could take ten more strokes.
Dan gasped as the black leather snapped against his sensitive skin, but said nothing, continuing to lick and kiss her bare foot.
Nineteen to go.
The soft chime from her phone reminded her she had fifteen minutes left. Kate smiled and continued the count.
Never leave a good job unfinished.
Never leave them fully satisfied.
She’d pulled on her track pants and sweatshirt while Dan was in the washroom, trading her boots for a pair of comfortable sneakers. Most times she could slip her trench coat on over her attire and leave, but it was a bright and sunny day outside and the coat would only raise more questions than it’d quell.
Dan met her at the door, wearing a pair of shorts and with a damp towel around his neck. The leather collar was gone, safely tucked away. He was still munching on the chocolate bar she’d given him during their post-session hugging. His pupils were focused and clear, showing her he’d come back to himself after the intense emotional trip.
“Thank you.” He held out his debit card. “Really needed this today.”
She smiled. “Glad I could help you.”
In another life, Dan was a high-priced lawyer, one of the best in the city. He ran his law firm with an iron grip and was famous for his vicious verbal attacks in court that eviscerated lesser lawyers and their clients.
Here, he was a bad boy needing to be punished and put in his place for imagined slights.
Dan couldn’t go to a regular BDSM club—the danger was too high he’d be recognized. Thus he’d become a client of Hooded Pleasures, the company Kate worked for.
In retrospect, she wondered why no one had thought of doing something like this before. Safe, sane, consensual and all within the privacy of your own home. There were plenty of men and women who wanted the experience but couldn’t or wouldn’t go to a club. Or who wanted the thrill without the relationship.
This was perfect.
She ran his debit card through the slot on her cell phone and handed it back to him. “Two weeks from now, then?”
He nodded, his steely blue eyes a thousand miles away from the meek sub she’d had at her feet earlier. “I have a big murder case coming up. Definitely need the time.”
“I understand.” Kate hefted the duffle bag onto her shoulder, the leather paddle safely tucked away with her other toys. “Please call the switchboard if there’s any change. I’ll see you then.”
He opened the door to let her out. “Nice sweats.”
Kate smiled, going with the joke. “Feel the burn.”
“Next time, then.” Dan raised his voice as Kate walked out into the hall. “Need to work on my cardio.”
It wasn’t for her benefit.
Kate nodded at the nosy little old lady neighbor who peeked out from two doors down.
Mrs. Henderson never missed a chance to eavesdrop on what happened on her floor.
Good thing Dan enjoyed the ball gag.
The woman scowled at her and shut the door, her regular routine accomplished. Kate resisted the urge to wave at her. There was a chance it might lead to a conversation, and she couldn’t risk it. Her cover story was good, but a dedicated busybody might try to poke holes in it, and that wouldn’t turn out well.
As far as anyone knew, Kate was a private trainer, coming to work Dan hard for two hours every two weeks.
Which she did, with pleasure.
Which he paid for, with pleasure.
Everyone got what they wanted.
Another success for Hooded Pleasures.
Her phone rang as she strolled out onto the sidewalk. She looked at the display and saw HP’s number come up.
Kate frowned. This wasn’t usual.
She’d sent her safe-word text to let Dispatch know she finished her appointment and was free to leave right after caring for Dan. It was mandatory at the end of every appointment without any exceptions, keeping both of them out of trouble.
Safe-words worked on both ends of the equation.
“Kate. Tracy here.”
The head dispatcher. The one woman who, aside from the owners, knew who was where doing what to whom across the board. A powerful position, which was why Kate was very sure Tracy’s name wasn’t actually Tracy.
“Wendy wants you to come in for a meeting.”
Kate jaywalked across the busy street, hopping over the streetcar tracks. Toronto might have a great mass transit system, but she didn’t need to twist her ankle trying to avoid the thick metal strips.
Her car sat around the corner in a public parking lot, one of many set around the downtown core. There were few visitor spots at Dan’s apartment building, and she didn’t want to take one up on a regular basis.
“Is everything okay?” she asked. For a frantic second, she considered her last few minutes with Dan. “Are there problems?”
If he called and complained—
“No, no. Nothing like that. She wants to discuss a new client with you.”
Kate popped the trunk of her Ford Taurus and dropped the bag in. “I’m not interested in taking on anyone new. I’m happy with the workload I have now.” She resisted the urge to look around and see if anyone was listening.
“It’s a special case, and Wendy wants you.” The tone in Tracy’s voice left no room for argument. “Tomorrow morning at nine would be good.”
A Saturday? Must be special.
“I’ll be there. Thank you.”
“Thank you,” Tracy smoothly replied. “Dan called in and put a nice tip on your bill today. You must have been good.”
Kate laughed as she fumbled with her car keys. “Only he’ll ever know.”
The sky was a lovely combination of reds and blues, the cool breeze coming off of Lake Ontario racing through her open car windows. It was a lovely drive with little traffic and it wasn’t long before she pulled into her condominium’s underground parking.
The elevator let her off in the main lobby in front of the security desk, a necessary evil to keep the building as secure as possible.
She nodded at the security guard as she moved to the second set of elevators, the ones leading to the suites. He stared back, a stoic statue. Three years and he’d never said a word to her, never offered to call the elevator for her when she had packages, never looked curious when she came in at odd hours of the day and night and he was on duty.
He did his job and nothing more, nothing less.
The condo was a present from her parents, a graduation gift.
Guilty compensation for her years spent at boarding schools, far away from her mother, currently on her third marriage, and her father—last time she had heard from him he’d been dealing with yet another divorce, his second. They only got together for weddings and funerals, and there had been too many of the first and not enough of the second, in her opinion.
She tapped the light switch upon entering her home and toed off her sneakers to kick them against the wall. As she headed for the shower, she stripped off her clothing and tossed it into a nearby hamper. The condo offered laundry services, and she fully intended to take advantage of them as she always did.
Of course, some things she wouldn’t trust to the industrial-strength washers and dryers downstairs.
Like the leather corset in her duffle bag. Or the elbow-length lace-and-leather gloves that fit perfectly. The fishnet stockings.
And of course, the equipment.
There was a time when Carl had taken it on himself to clean it. Hand wash the delicate clothing and make sure the leather stayed supple and soft where it needed to be, stiff and unrelenting when it called for it.
Now she took care of it herself.
For the other intimates, there was a private dry-cleaner around the corner who didn’t ask any questions and delivered wonderful service.
The steam swirled up around her as the hot water washed off the last of Dan’s touches and heightened her annoyance with herself. She’d zoned out during their appointment, and that wasn’t good.
Zoning out itself wasn’t the problem. A good sub drifted into subspace, a good Domme into a glorious mindset where it all came together in a perfect fusion of mind and body, feeding off the gift her devoted sub gave her. Even if he was only hers for an hour or two, it was her job to be all she could be for him, to steal a popular phrase.
Flashing back to a failed relationship wasn’t acceptable.
It wasn’t professional.
It wasn’t healthy.
Dan deserved better.
She ducked her head under the spray and reached for her special shampoo before hesitating.
She shouldn’t use it, considering her failure with Dan. Her mind warred with itself, making arguments pro and con.
Pro won out. After all, he had left a tip instead of filing a complaint with Tracy.
She’d only received one complaint in her year of working for HP. A client who not only had whined about not getting his money’s worth but demanded a refund and extra for the loss of his expensive time.
He’d been stripped from her client list and, Tracy had whispered to Kate during the debriefing, dumped from the company after a second and third issue with the staff.
Kate hadn’t been his first Domme, but she’d been his last from Hooded Pleasures.
She scrubbed the peppermint-scented shampoo into her long black hair. The smell was lovely, a present to herself after every appointment.
After a good half hour of searing her skin, she stepped out and snagged a soft white robe off the waiting hook.
What is Wendy thinking?
Kate rubbed her hair with a towel as she padded into the kitchen to select a snack. She’d eaten dinner before meeting Dan, but her stomach was growling, and she knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep without something in her tummy.
She looked over the fast-food containers before picking out the remains of a steak burrito she’d had yesterday. All it needed was a few seconds in the microwave, and she’d be chomping down on a nice fat bundle of meat and rice.
I have a full schedule. Wendy knows that.
Tracy would have let me know if there’d been a problem with anyone else. Had there been, and she’s hiding it so Wendy can yell at me?
The inner dialogue continued on through her snack, an hour of late-night television, and followed her into bed.
Did I mess up again?
Like I did with Carl?
She forced the thought out of her mind. There was no reason to bring him into this.
No reason at all.
Kate fell into a troubled sleep, wondering how she’d managed to screw up this time.
“You got to be kidding me. A blind date?” Alex shook his head at the talking head on his computer screen. “No way.”
Mike was a good friend and a decent brother-in-law, but there was no way Alex was going to let him play matchmaker.
Hell, the guy couldn’t even make it to level ten of
With the cheat codes.
Mike took another sip of his soda. “I’m only trying to help you out.” He leaned back in the office chair and pointed at Alex through the screen. “You’re going to go nuts sitting there all day and night working. You need a break.”
“And going out to a club with some bimbo who only wants me to put a ring on her finger is the only option?”
“Whoa.” Mike put up his free hand. “I said nothing about bimbos. Jane and I know a lot of nice women who aren’t out to snag a husband on the first date. And who don’t want to go to clubs with a man who doesn’t dance. A nice restaurant, a nice evening out, maybe go see a movie. There’s plenty of lovely ladies out there searching for a good man.” He leaned in toward the screen. “Don’t paint them all with one brush because you had one bitch back in college bust your balls.”
“Madeline.” The name burned his lips. “Yeah, I know.”
His stomach churned as if he’d had five espressos in a row.
“She did you wrong,” Mike continued. “No one here disagrees with that. But you can’t let something that happened years ago keep you from finding happiness.”
Alex chewed his lower lip. “Yeah but—” He waved a hand at the computer monitors around him, the 3-D images swirling and dancing. “What woman is going to want to talk about computer games, much less date someone who helps make them?”
“Are you kidding me? You know well enough there’s plenty of women playing games online. The geek force demands it. And there’s plenty who would find coding damned sexy, or so I’ve been told by your sister. Not to mention you’ve been running your own business for years and rank right up there with the best when it comes to freelance programmers.” Mike pressed on. “But you won’t find anyone by sitting in your house all day. You’ve got to get out, find others who think the way you do.”