Master professor, p.1
Part #1 of Lessons From the Rack series by Tara Sue Me
There’s something altogether freeing about writing a new series. You don’t have to remember what color someone’s eyes are or if they said something three books ago that doesn’t jive with what you have them doing now. You get to create an entirely new universe and YOU GET TO DO ANYTHING YOU WANT IN IT.
But as freeing as it is, it’s also daunting because you have to decide what color everyone’s eyes are and you have to try to imagine if what the characters do now will come back to kick your ass three books from now. Plus you have to create an entirely new universe and when you get to do anything you want, sometimes, you’re afraid to do anything at all.
But if you’re very, very lucky, you’ll be surrounded by incredible people like I have been. Here are a few:
To the people of Portland, Oregon: You guys are the best. You are welcoming and friendly and don’t mind us curious East Coasters. I love you and your city and can’t wait to see you again.
To Elle Mason, my travel in crime partner: I still can’t remember if it was “Bitches off grid” or “Off grid, bitches” but either way, it was a blast. Let’s do it again Real Soon. Deal?
To Tiffany Reisz: You have no idea how much our chat over veggie burgers helped me. I owe you one. Or five. Maybe ten. Probably twenty.
To Mr Sue Me: Thank you for two thousand things it would take another book to cover.
In the history of dumb and stupid ideas, Andie Lincoln couldn’t shake the feeling that her current endeavor was the dumbest and most stupid of them all. She stood beside the arched glass window in her Portland, Oregon, hotel and wondered when exactly she’d lost her mind.
She shouldn’t even have been in Portland. She should have been spending her summer interning as a chef in a Seattle restaurant like she’d told her parents. It still bothered her that she’d lied to them. But seriously, what was the alternative? There was no way she could tell them she was entering an exclusive BDSM school or that she’d begged Terrence to find a way to get her in.
Hell, half the time, she didn’t believe it herself.
And they would never believe that it was her idea. Oh no, they’d think he had somehow brainwashed her into going. They would never have understood that she actually wanted this. Wanted to be trained in the BDSM world as a submissive. Even Terrence had only agreed to talk to his friend, who was also the headmaster, because she’d asked him to do so. Repeatedly.
Her phone rang, pulling her away from the window and thoughts of her parents. She smiled when she saw the display.
“Hey, Terrence,” she said.
“How’s my girl?” he asked.
The multiple voices in the background confirmed he was still on set. He must have had a break and used it to call her.
She sighed. “I can’t believe I’m here on the West Coast—finally, I might add—and you’re on location in Pittsburgh.” Since he lived in L.A. and their hometown was Atlanta, usually she was the one on the East Coast.
He laughed. That softly seductive sound that never failed to make his audiences swoon. She pictured him raking his fingers through his blond hair and her heart sped up.
“I swear, if it wouldn’t upset the production team and put the entire thing behind schedule, I’d be in Portland with you right now.” His voice was deep and determined and she had no doubt he was speaking the truth.
“I understand,” she said, because she did. “Besides, it’s not like I’m going to be here long anyway. Tomorrow morning I head over to the academy.”
“And how awful is it I’m not there for you?” He sighed. “Damn it, Andie. It’s not right.”
She loved it when his protective side came out. The side of him she knew would always put her first. It was a big part of the reason she asked to be trained for him.
They had been friends forever. When she was seven and he was nine, his family had moved across the street, and before too long, they were inseparable. Even after Terrence left for Hollywood and became a household name at nineteen, their friendship remained strong. And as time went on, it grew into something more. He said he loved how she wanted him for him and not for his celebrity status. And she loved him because he was kind and patient and made her laugh. But still, they were just friends.
Then, six months ago, during her winter break, that night had happened. The night they went shopping for a Christmas tree and went out for coffee after. He’d disguised himself with an old hat and baggy clothes, and they were laughing at a shared memory. He took her hand and looked in her eyes, and the laughing stopped as they both realized that something had changed.
To this day, her stomach got all fluttery when she remembered the way he’d lightly stroked her cheek and then leaned in for a kiss. It was then they both knew that not only had things changed, but there was no going back.
They went out a few more times and though it was nice, getting to know him in a way she hadn’t before, she couldn’t shake the feeling he was hiding something from her. It was in the way he’d start to say something and then stop himself. Or the look of intense concentration he’d get.
Finally, one night she confronted him, asked what was wrong. He looked momentarily taken aback before he’d sat her down and said he had things to tell her. Things he must tell her before they went any further.
He’d confessed he was a Dominant and wasn’t going to give up that part of himself. She’d heard of the term, but had no idea what it really meant, so later, when she was alone, she did her own research and gave her vibrator a workout and a half. It wasn’t a lifestyle she’d considered before, but once the initial shock wore off, it sounded hot as hell.
“You can’t help it,” she assured him. “I know you’d be here if you could and I completely understand why you aren’t.”
“It still doesn’t sit well with me that I’m not the one to train you.”
“In that case,” she teased, “I’ll allow you to make it up to me the next time you see me.”
“That I’ll do.” He laughed. “Call me tomorrow when you get settled.”
“How are you feeling? Are you nervous?”
That was another thing; ever since he’d brought up being a Dom, he was always asking how she felt and what she was thinking, like all the time. About everything. It took some getting used to. At first she thought he was asking just to be nice or because that’s what he was supposed to do. Eventually, though, she realized he really wanted open communication.
She let out a deep breath. “I’ve moved beyond nervous but I’m not quite at the scared-shitless stage. It’s just hard to wrap my head around the next few months. I mean, I’m not a prude, but I am a virgin. And when I think about what enrolling at the academy will mean . . .”
Another one of those what the fuck am I doing? thoughts hit her, but she shook it off. When she took the time to really think about enrolling in the academy, she was more excited than anything else. Thoughts of submitting to Terrence fueled her fantasies. She dreamed of the day she could give her whole self to him.
She and Terrence had agreed that while she was at the academy, she should feel free to explore her sexuality with no strings attached. That was when she brought up remaining a virgin. She’d never planned to be a virgin at twenty-three; it had just sort of worked out that way. But, she told Terrence, she didn’t want to lose her virginity at a BDSM academy, so they agreed that would be the one thing that was off-limits. Terrence said he knew that in order for the training to work, she couldn’t feel inhibited or guilty about what she would be doing. She appreciated the freedom, but it made her feel a bit apprehensive as well. Would she feel like she was cheating on him the entire summer?
She’d asked Terrence what would happen if she ended up hating b
“Are you having second thoughts?” he asked, concern in his voice. “You don’t have—”
“I know. I want to.” How many times would she have to reassure him? “I think it’s completely normal to feel anxious, but I’m not having second thoughts.”
“I’ve known Lennox for years,” he said, speaking of the academy owner and headmaster. “He’s a great guy, and I trust him and his staff completely. I’d have to or else I’d never even think about you being there.”
She twisted the curtain covering the window. “I know. And it makes me feel safe and protected when you say that.”
“That’s my job,” he said. “Even though we’re apart, I want you safe and protected.”
There was a slight murmuring over the phone and she knew before he spoke that break time was over.
“I have to get back to the set,” he confirmed. “I’ll call you tonight before it gets too late.”
“Okay. I’m going to go for a walk and grab something light for dinner.” Maybe she’d call her parents, too. Assure them she was fine and everything was covered. That way maybe she could go a few days without calling again. She didn’t want them to suspect anything.
They said their good-byes and Andie slipped her phone into her purse, determined not to let her nerves get the best of her.
• • •
FULTON MATTHEWS KNEW he was going to have to tread carefully with his boss, Lennox MacLure. After all, the man had just promoted him a month ago. At the time, Fulton had been thrilled with the new responsibilities, but he was starting to see they came with their own set of problems.
The door to Lennox’s office opened and his boss waved him inside. “Come have a seat, Master Matthews.”
Without waiting to see if he’d listen, Lennox walked over to his desk, sat down, and templed his fingers. Fulton crossed the room and took a seat in the leather chair across from his boss.
“I know why you’re here.” Lennox nodded toward the papers Fulton had brought in. “Those are the papers I gave you yesterday, aren’t they? Andie Lincoln’s application packet.”
“Yes.” And that was one of the questions he had. He was in charge of the new enrollees who would be arriving tomorrow and one of his duties was to create a tailor-made curriculum for each student. Why had Lennox waited until the last minute to give him the information?
“Go ahead,” Lennox said.
He was a smug bastard—Fulton gave him that. Of course, he had reason to be. He’d single-handedly made the academy into what it was today: an elite BDSM learning center, known and respected throughout the kink world. Lennox himself was just as respected, although Fulton had never seen him participate in a scene. He’d once asked another staff member why that was and the person shook his head and told him to leave well enough alone.
“My first concern is why I was only given this yesterday,” Fulton said. “The other enrollees have had their curriculum set for months.”
“I have my reasons. And I know you’ll have her curriculum ready by the time she arrives tomorrow.”
Not if I can help it. But he kept that thought to himself.
“What else is bothering you?”
“To be perfectly honest, I’m wondering why she’s here. She’s not our typical student and several red flags came to mind when reading through her file.”
“You’ve heard of Terrence Knight?”
Fulton frowned. “The actor?”
“Yes. Terrence and I go way back. Miss Lincoln is to be trained to be his submissive.”
The situation was worse than he thought. He tried to think of a way to discreetly tell Lennox he had a potential fucked-up mess on his hands, but he couldn’t come up with one. Not one that wouldn’t get him fired, anyway.
He decided on: “It appears to be a really bad idea.”
“All of it.” He took a deep breath. If Lennox wanted reasons, he was going to give him reasons and damn the consequences. “Miss Lincoln is a virgin with zero BDSM experience. And apparently she’s only interested in submission because her Hollywood hotshot boyfriend is a Dominant.”
It was a disaster waiting to happen and he feared the fallout when it struck. To take on someone who might not be submissive? Fulton’s thoughts ran from harassment lawsuits to worse.
“Is that all?”
Was that all? Hell, he was serious. “Isn’t that enough?”
“No, unfortunately, it’s not.” Lennox pushed back from his desk. “Miss Lincoln arrives tomorrow. I want you to do her initial interview and assessment. And I’d like to see the curriculum you design for her by five o’clock today.”
And just like that, he was being shown the door. Heading to his own office, he resisted the urge to crumple up the papers he still held in his hand.
Though Andie had seen pictures of the academy, they in no way prepared her for seeing the real thing. It was a castle, for lack of a better word, located on a private island. Terrence told her RACK Academy was known internationally as an elite BDSM training facility. Whenever she felt anxious about actually stripping down and participating in BDSM scenes with strangers she reminded herself that it was considered an honor to be selected to attend.
She knew there would be no penetrative sex, and that fact brought her comfort. Her enrollment would require touching, but she told herself it would be clinical and feel sort of like going to the doctor. To be honest, she didn’t think she would enjoy it at all.
The entire place had an eerie feel. She tried to attribute it to the low fog that surrounded the boat taking her to the island, but it was more than that. It was almost as if it were in the very air.
A representative from the school had met her at the docks this morning, after she’d checked out of her hotel and taken a cab to the coast. She’d read that there would be other students at the academy, but so far, she hadn’t met anyone else. That probably wasn’t helping the creepiness factor.
She stepped away from the boat railing and sat back down. The representative, who had introduced herself as May, was busy on her laptop, and the only other person on the boat was the captain. He didn’t look like he was in the mood to chitchat.
She checked her phone for the twelfth time in thirty minutes only to verify that there had been no word from Terrence. And since she’d sent him a text when she checked out of the hotel, she didn’t want to send him another for fear of being that girl.
He was busy filming. She didn’t want to be a distraction. With a sigh, she put her phone down and tried to comprehend that the imposing structure before her was going to be her home for the next three months.
“When we arrive,” May said, making her jump, “I’ll take you inside and show you to Master Matthews’s office. He’ll take over from there.” The other woman looked down at her watch. “I have to go pick up more students.”
“How many are you picking up?”
“Three more today and five tomorrow. There’re ten in your group, five men and five women. You’re the second to arrive today.”
“Do you pick us all up individually?”
May nodded. “Except, of course, for the couples. You’ll have three couples in your group.”
Andie drank in all the information she could. Out of ten, six were couples. It made her feel better knowing there would be other singles. Although technically, she wasn’t single. She resisted the temptation to reach for her phone again. Probably didn’t get good reception out here anyway.
“Is it always this creepy?” Andie pointed out to where the fog nearly touched the water.
May gave a half smile. It was the most emotion Andie had seen yet. “Yes, actually it is. Master MacLure said he bought the property for that very reason.”
Master MacLure sounded like a nut job, but Andie kept that opinion to herself.
They fell into silence as the boat approached the academy’s dock. Andie couldn’t take her eyes off the building. It looked even bigger up close. Massive might have been a better word. Built with gray stone and solid wood, it looked every bit like something she’d find in a history book.
The low fog hugged the dock and she almost felt she could get
Master Professor by Tara Sue Me / Romance & Love have rating 3.9 out of 5 / Based on51 votes