Theirs to cherish, p.11
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       Theirs to Cherish, p.11
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         Part #8 of Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black
Page 11

 

  He’d miscalculated tonight, ranking his desire for Callie above everything else. He had a feeling that by fucking her, he’d roused the competitor in Thorpe. The man didn’t intend to lose.

  “Too bad, asshole. That goes double for me,” he mumbled.

  Tossing the folder back on the desk, he paced to the front door and back again. It only took eight steps.

  Shoving his hand into his pocket, he yanked his phone out and dialed Callie. Immediately, her voicemail greeting chimed in his ear. Sean cursed. Either his lovely hadn’t remembered to charge her phone again . . . or she wasn’t speaking to him.

  Whatever the reason, he couldn’t afford to let this silence between them fester or grow. But he also couldn’t go back to Dominion tonight. After the right cross to Axel’s eye, he figured that not only was he off the club’s membership roster for a while, but he’d better watch his back. Normally, Sean would break into the club. Though challenging, it wouldn’t be impossible. But if he got caught, Thorpe would throw him out for good and everything he’d worked eight months to build would swirl down the toilet. Things weren’t dire enough to risk that yet.

  Still, he had to find some way to reassure himself that Callie was all right.

  The one silver lining was that Thorpe had prevented her from fleeing Dominion—at least so far. She intended to. Of that, Sean had no doubt. He really hated to give Thorpe any credit, but he had to since the man had cuffed her to her own bed and taken her car keys. Sean knew he would probably have opted to reason with her and shower her with affection first.

  He wondered now if that tactic would have backfired.

  She requires a firm hand.

  Thorpe’s assertion echoed through his head. Damn, but the sly bastard might be onto something.

  Now that Sean had taken note, he wouldn’t let Thorpe undermine him again. He was here for Callie. He intended to stay for her. And no man, not even the Dungeon Master himself, was going to get in his way.

  Armed with an idea to outfox the fox, he scooped up his car keys and headed out the door. In less than an hour, he’d have Callie all to himself once more.

  Chapter Five

  AS Thorpe waltzed out the door, Callie fumed. He’d walked away from her, after he’d promised not to. He’d utterly humiliated her—again. All that pleasure he’d poured on her, all those shiver-worthy words about never letting her get away . . . Then poof! He’d gotten up and left.

  If he didn’t have so much of her heart, she’d gleefully smack him upside the head. As it was, she didn’t know how she was going to look Thorpe in the eye again without being completely mortified that she’d thrown herself at him. Seeing that it hadn’t been at all difficult for him to leave her naked and ready only hurt worse. She was tired of the constant pain of his rejection.

  And then there was Sean. He’d said he loved her—without hesitation, out loud, resounding with total conviction. But he wasn’t going to rest until he knew every one of her secrets.

  It was definitely time for her to leave Dominion ASAP.

  The feelings blooming in her heart for her sexy Dom were too big, too much, too overwhelming. Was that how Thorpe felt? Callie sighed. Was Sean even speaking to her anymore? The thought that he might not tore everything out of her chest.

  How the hell could she be foolish enough to fall for two men, especially when they couldn’t stand one another?

  Crap, her head hurt from all the circles her thoughts were turning.

  When she’d asked earlier, Lance told her that Sean had been forcibly and indefinitely removed from the premises. Callie winced. She’d bet that had gone over well. And she could only imagine what he was thinking. Did he know that Thorpe had given her more than a spanking? It wasn’t a stretch to imagine that her helpful boss had volunteered the information.

  Somehow—and soon—she had to talk to Sean. If she intended to rescind his collar, she should have the moxie to do it to his face. She owed him that much before she slipped out of his life for good. No idea how to start that conversation. I’m so sorry I almost boinked my boss after having sex with you. She snorted. Brilliant idea.

  The comforter Thorpe had thrown over her earlier shielded her from Lance—not that he cared. Nope, he stood over her, all leather and gloating smiles. He was enjoying being Thorpe’s right hand. He’d always said she lacked discipline. Since he was a big believer in corporal punishment, she could just imagine what he had in mind.

  Been there, done that already tonight. Her backside still throbbed. She didn’t need more from a guy whose palm itched because he hadn’t yet had the chance to spank his boy’s ass.

  “You don’t have to stand over me, you know,” she pointed out.

  With a shrug of his shoulders, his leather vest skimmed his leanly muscled torso. “I enjoy pissing you off. ”

  He always had. A practical jokester and a big tease, Lance’s laughter was infectious. It would be funny someday that he was poking fun at her. Just not today.

  “Gee, thanks. I assume I’m allowed to eat something. ”

  Lance gestured her toward the door. “Feel free. You know where the kitchen is. ”

  Callie tugged at the cuffs holding her to the bed frame and sent him an expectant expression.

  “Picky, picky. I’ll get the key from Thorpe. ” He grinned at her. “Don’t go anywhere. ”

  “Lance, I swear I’m going to throw something at you. ” She heaved a big sigh.

  “Try it. Want to guess what will happen?”

  Someone would paddle her good, probably Lance himself. Pass . . .

  “Hurry. Please. I’m really hungry,” she lied.

  He took pity on her and stopped teasing. “Okay. I’ll be right back, little vixen. ”

  As the door closed behind Lance, she waited impatiently. Thorpe seemed determined to separate her from Sean . . . but she didn’t understand. It wasn’t as if he really wanted her. Why be so hell-bent on keeping her at Dominion if he had no intention of making her his own? Probably because he enjoyed giving her the ultimate mindfuck. All the more reason to leave.

  Moments later, Lance appeared with the key and uncuffed her.

  “Thorpe says you’re free to roam the premises. No leaving and no socializing. You get something to eat, see if there’s anything pressing that needs your attention, then you come back here. Understood?”

  Callie resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “Sure. ”

  “I’ll be watching you on the floor. ”

  She didn’t doubt Lance meant that, especially when he wandered out of her room, pointing a pair of fingers to his eyes, then to her own.

  “I got it!” She sighed impatiently.

  “That’s almost insolent,” he cautioned.

  “Sorry. ” Long fucking day. “Hunger doesn’t bring out the best in me. ”

  “I’ll let you slide this time. Don’t do it again . . . ”

  “Yes, Sir,” she murmured to placate him, throwing in a bat of her lashes. He would probably miss the finer points of that gesture, but just in case.

  Lance burst out laughing as he left the room. “Oh, Thorpe has his hands full with you. ”

  Once she was alone, Callie reached onto the floor, fishing in her purse to find her phone. Then she hesitated. What was she going to do, just call Sean and apologize? Maybe it would be better done face to face. As she was severing their bond? Very classy . . . What if he didn’t want to see her again? Or even talk to her? Soon, it wouldn’t even matter. She’d get another phone in a new town—a different number with a blank slate of contacts. Start over once more in a place where she knew no one. Winter was coming. Phoenix might be good . . .

  She was still trying to decide how to proceed when she glanced at the little device. Dead. Crap, she really needed to remember to charge it once in a blue moon.

  Depressed as hell, she plugged in her phone, then tossed on her robe and marched down to Thorpe’s office. She tried the handle. Locked.
And he didn’t answer a single one of her banging knocks or demands to be let in. True, he might not be inside, but it was also possible Thorpe was completely avoiding her. Callie’s money was on the latter.

  She still planned to be gone from Dominion no later than tomorrow, but the bastard had her car keys and suitcases. And a chunk of her heart. She had to retrieve at least the first two and move on.

  With an agitated shake of her head, she wandered out to the dungeon floor and cleaned up after a few customers, wiping down after some others. She gathered dirty towels and put them in the laundry room, then distributed fresh bottles of water to the coolers. She stocked bins all around with fresh blankets for Doms to wrap their subs in when it was time for aftercare. A hopping Friday night . . .

  Axel had glared at her from across the concrete floor, scowling around what looked like a developing black eye. She didn’t have to ask how he got it. His growl about her “asshole Dom” when he passed by said it all.

  Suddenly, Lance strode toward her with a disparaging glance. “Your pizza is here, vixen. Or should I say your highness?”

  “Pizza?” She hadn’t ordered one. In fact, she hadn’t thought about food at all once Lance had let her go.

  Who the hell would imagine that she’d want food when her entire life was in turmoil? Not Thorpe. He knew better. Had someone pulled a practical joke on her? The first person she’d suspect, Lance, wore an expression of disapproval, not mirth.

  “Yes, and the delivery guy is at the back door, insisting that he give it to you personally. ”

  This could be a trick. What if it was some police ploy? But why a pizza delivery man when they could come in with badges flashing and guns blazing, then just arrest her? Yeah, that was a more likely scenario. Which meant the pizza had probably been sent by someone who couldn’t readily talk to her.

  Sean?

  “Sure. Let me get my wallet. ”

  Lance sighed. “It’s paid for. I tried, but he said you’d given him a credit card over the phone. ”

  Probably Sean.

  “Right,” she agreed readily. “I’m so hungry that I totally forgot. Food. Let me get that. ”

  Shaking his head, Lance walked away.

  Callie ran to the back door. Sure enough, a gangly, pimple-faced teenager stood there with a pizza box in hand. The smells of basil and oregano wafted from the cardboard as he shot her a smile.

  “Callie Ward?” He looked her up and down with a leer.

  “Yes,” she said cautiously, self-consciously drawing the edges of her robe closer together, making damn sure everything was covered.

  “For you. From a ‘friend. ’” He winked.

  Definitely Sean.

  With a stupid grin, she took the box from the boy, noting that one side was a bit heavier than the other. He turned away without another word, so she shut the back door, then headed to her room.

  Locking herself inside her private domain, she lifted the lid. Inside, half a warm pizza lay, brimming with cheese, pepperoni, pineapple, and mushrooms. Her favorite. Sean had remembered. Despite the dim day, that made her smile.

  The other half of the box was another story. Partitioned away from the pizza by a piece of cardboard lay a white rectangle shrink-wrapped in plastic. She stared at it, blinking a few times. A yellow sticky note on top had almost blended in with its background, but as soon as she flipped on a light, she saw that the left half said Eat Me with an arrow pointing to the pizza. The other half said Open Me.

  What was this, Alice in Wonderland?

  Callie lifted a piece of the pie to her mouth and took a bite, surprised to find that she was hungrier than she’d imagined. She moaned as the flavor burst on her tongue. So good . . .

  But curiosity was killing her.

  She plucked the plastic-wrapped bundle out of the other half of the pizza box. Immediately, the size and weight told her it was a computer. Why would he send her one? She owned a laptop. It was old, but it worked.

  She pulled the device from the industrial plastic protecting it. A brand-new shiny silver unit with a familiar piece of half-eaten fruit on the front. Over that was another note that read Turn Me On.

  Was this his roundabout way of sending her a message, despite Thorpe throwing him out of the club?

  With a careful nudge of the unit’s top lid, she opened it, taking just a moment to revel in how gorgeous it was. This had to have cost him a small fortune.

  Peering intently at the machine, she hit the button to power it on. Someone had already gone through the setup and registration process for her. It came up with a desktop picture of a flower. The profile name matched her own.

  Another sticky note across the keyboard read Three Guesses . . .

  She’d never seen Sean’s playful side and she liked it.

  With a smile, she bit her lip and pondered. What would Sean have used as a password. She tried his name. The operating system didn’t recognize that. Then another idea came to mind, and she typed it in.

  L-O-V-E-L-Y.

  That did it. Seconds later, she was in. A familiar Internet video chat program tried to load. Quickly, she tapped in the club’s Wi-Fi password. A second later, the software began calling Sean. He answered immediately, looking wrung out and worried, his tie loose, his hair messy as if he’d dragged his fingers through it a million times.

 
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