The master, p.18
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       The Master, p.18

         Part #8 of Submissive series by Tara Sue Me
 

  He woke with her on his chest, his arms wrapped around her, their legs entwined. It had been inevitable, he knew that now. Looking back, he’d known probably as early as that first meeting in the coffee shop.

  She stirred against him and frowned. He bit back his smile. Someone was disoriented this morning.

  “No frowns allowed in my bed,” he whispered in her ear. “Gasps of pleasure, screams of ecstasy, and lusty begging only. No frowns.”

  Her eyes flew open, and he laughed.

  “Good morning,” he said.

  “Cole, Sir.” She rolled away from him and covered her face with her hands. “Oh, man.”

  “No regrets, either. I mean it, Sasha.” He watched as she peeked from between her fingers. “It was going to happen eventually, and we both knew it. Now drop your hands so I can wish you a proper good morning.”

  She moved her hands. “Good morning.”

  “There we go. Good morning.” Her movements had caused a lower part of his anatomy to stir, but they needed to talk before he took her again. With a groan, he sat up. “I’ll start breakfast and put clothes in the bathroom for you. Unless you’d like to wear the sheet to the table?”

  “No, Sir.”

  “Very well, we’ll save that for later.” He left the bed with her protests following him.

  When she joined him at the table half an hour later, she looked a bit sheepish. He nodded to a chair and poured her some juice.

  “I don’t have any coffee,” he explained.

  “That’s okay, you have pancakes.” She didn’t look at him, but reached for the butter and syrup.

  He let her prepare her food, but when several minutes passed and she still paid him no mind, he cleared his throat.

  “You’re not acting like yourself,” he said. “Is something wrong?”

  She put her fork down, took a deep breath, and finally met his eyes. “I don’t know how to act around you. This”—she waved her arm around the tabletop—“is confusing. Do I call you Sir or Cole? I don’t know what to expect or what you expect from me.”

  He could have kicked himself. He knew enough about her to know she needed everything defined. In the absence of guidelines she became stressed.

  “I’m sorry, Sasha. I should have said something sooner. I’d like for you to call me Cole. And as for any other expectations, we’ll discuss those after we eat.”

  As it turned out, she didn’t call him anything for the remainder of breakfast. In fact, she didn’t say a word. He finally ended up eating as quickly as possible and getting up to clean the kitchen. He told her to meet him in the living room in fifteen minutes.

  She sat in one of the armchairs waiting for him while he finished tidying everything up. Always before, she’d sit on the couch. He supposed she picked the chair so he wouldn’t sit next to her. He solved that problem by pulling an ottoman over, putting it in front of her, and taking a seat on it. She took an uneasy breath.

  He told himself to remain calm. “Before we discuss anything, I need to know what has you troubled this morning.”

  “It’s stupid.”

  “You haven’t said ten words to me since we woke up. If it’s upsetting you, it’s not stupid.”

  She looked at him with weary eyes. “I thought you’d say my training was over.”

  “I assure you that is not the case. Like everything else, we’ll discuss it when the time comes.” He tilted his head at her sigh of relief. “All good now?”

  She gave him her first genuine smile of the day. “All good.”

  “Are you ready to talk about the next phase of your training?”

  “Yes,” she said with an excitement she didn’t try to hide.

  “I have some thoughts on how we should set everything up, and I’d like your input.”

  She surprised him by leaning forward and taking his hands in hers. “Tell me what you have in mind.”

  He looked down at their clasped hands. It was the first time she’d touched him first. His heart felt like it was lodged somewhere in his throat. “Well,” he said softly. “After last night, I would like to remove the limit on sex.”

  She stroked his knuckle with her thumb. “It kills me how you can go from being all down and dirty like last tonight to all prim and proper. I would like to remove the limit on sex.” She recited his words in a mock British accent and a sassy smile.

  “Look at it this way: last night was the real me, and right now I’m just exercising an inordinate amount of control.”

  Her smile lost some of its sassiness. “Really?”

  “Would I rather be fucking you senseless right now instead of talking? Yes, of course.”

  “In that case,” she said in a sultry voice that made his cock ache, “we’d better finish our talk.”

  “I like the way you think, Sasha Blake. Perhaps I’ll even let you orgasm again today.” Pretending to ignore her muffled outrage, he continued. “I’ll need you to fill out another checklist. E-mail it to me by Wednesday so I have it in time to plan the weekend.”

  “I have a blank one saved at home.”

  “Excellent. Keep in mind if it’s not marked as a hard limit, I’ll not only test you, I’ll push you. And since it won’t be a hard limit, I expect you to try your best to take it.”

  “I understand.”

  “Using a gag on you is still a hard limit for me.”

  “Me, too.”

  A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts.

  Sasha looked over his shoulder toward the door. Cole frowned. He wasn’t expecting anyone and was slightly irritated his conversation had been brought to a halt.

  “I don’t know who that could possibly be.” He stood up and made his way to the door. “I’ll be right back. Let me get rid of whoever it is.”

  The chair squeaked as Sasha stood up. “Shit. It might be Julie. She probably saw my car stay overnight.”

  He’d almost reached the door, but at her words turned around. “She is aware you’re a grown woman?”

  “She worries.”

  “I’m not a monster, Sasha.” And he was trying very hard not to be offended, but it was growing harder each time Julie questioned him.

  The knock sounded again.

  “Just a minute.” He shot a look at Sasha and turned to open the door. He was so certain it was Julie, it took a long minute to recognize who it actually was.

  “Kate?”

  • • •

  Kate?

  Sasha craned her head around Cole, but he was too big. He obliterated her view of the front door.

  “Hey, Cole,” a soft feminine voice said. “Sorry for stopping by so early, but I wanted to make good time on the road.”

  Cole didn’t move or say anything.

  “Can I come in and put this down? Is Daniel around? It’s been ages. I’d love to say hello. Cole?” she said when he hadn’t moved.

  He jerked to attention and stepped aside. “Sorry. Come in. Let me get that box.”

  A dainty woman with long black hair handed him a wooden box and took two steps inside. She stopped cold when she saw Sasha. Kate’s gaze traveled over Sasha before looking around the rest of the house. Sasha knew the moment her eyes fell on the out-of-place chair with the cane still propped against it. She was also acutely aware she had on one of Cole’s shirts.

  “Damn it,” Kate said. “This is why I should have called first.”

  “Yes,” Cole agreed. “That certainly would have made this less awkward.”

  To be fair, Sasha thought, Kate appeared rather distressed at the situation she found herself in.

  “I’m so sorry. I never thought.” Kate rushed through her apology. “I didn’t . . . interrupt, did I?”

  Cole noticed the cane at Kate’s nod to the chair. He sighed. “You did, but not that.”

  Kate didn’t look convinced. “I can just leave.”

  “You’re already here. You should rest for a while.” He took a few steps to stand by Sasha’s side. “Sasha, Kate. Kate, Sasha.”


  Sasha shook her hand. “Nice to meet you.”

  “I’m sorry,” Kate whispered.

  She couldn’t figure out why she kept apologizing.

  “Don’t worry about it. That was yesterday,” Sasha said to try and ease her mind.

  “Sasha,” Cole warned.

  “What?”

  “It was?” Kate asked.

  Cole cleared his throat and Kate stiffened. “Sasha,” he said, handing her the box. “Will you go put this in the bedroom?”

  She really didn’t want to leave, but since she wanted to argue with Cole less, she took the box and carried it down the hall. It was heavier than it looked and she placed it on the floor beside the bed. She could hear Cole’s low voice coming from down the hall, but she couldn’t make out his words. By the time she made it back to the living room, Kate was sitting in the chair she’d recently vacated and Cole was sitting on the couch.

  Not knowing what else to do, she sat down beside Cole. Because he was toward the middle of the couch, her leg pressed along the length of his. His warmth was somewhat of a comfort, but she couldn’t relax, not like she had before. She sat with her spine rigid. Maybe if she didn’t touch Cole, it would be better. She tried to subtly shift away from him, but he put an arm around her and, with that sexy smile of his, pulled her close. At his touch, the tension left her body and he squeezed her shoulder when she leaned into him.

  She wondered if she should offer Kate something to drink.

  “This is cozy,” Kate finally said.

  Sasha snorted. “Awkward as hell is what it is.”

  “That, too,” Kate agreed.

  They were spared from further conversation by a knock on the door.

  “That will be Julie,” Sasha said as Cole stood to answer it.

  “Yes, I’m almost certain you’re correct.” He opened the door. “Julie, come in. We were just talking about you.”

  “Sorry.” Julie stepped into the house. “I only came by because Daniel needs your help down at the west gate.”

  Cole slipped his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels. “That would be why the phone was invented.”

  “I told him I’d come over. I saw Sasha’s car had been here all night.” She looked around the room and her face paled when she saw the cane. “I, uh . . .”

  “Worry,” he finished for her and waved her inside. “I know. Come see that she’s very much okay. This is Kate. She stopped by to drop off some of my things.”

  Sasha thought Julie didn’t seem to be impacted by the knowledge that Cole’s ex was sitting in his living room. She appeared to stop listening as soon as she saw Sasha wearing Cole’s shirt. Julie’s lips pressed together tightly.

  And Cole looked pissed, but he calmly asked, “Is Daniel already at the gate?”

  “Yes.”

  He nodded. “Kate, you’re welcome to stay until I get back. Sasha, we’ll take up our discussion later.”

  Some of the tension left with him, but even though Sasha had wanted to talk to Julie, she wasn’t going to do so with Kate in the room.

  Julie walked over and shook Kate’s hand. “Hey, Kate, I’m Julie.”

  “Nice to meet you. You must be Daniel’s sub.”

  Julie instinctively ran a finger along her collar and a satisfied smile covered her face. “I am.”

  “And you’re Cole’s trainee,” Kate said to Sasha.

  As perfectly clear by the lack of collar, wearing his shirt, and the cane in the next room? Sasha wanted to say, but refrained. This was Kate and though they were no longer together, she imagined the dark-haired woman was still important to Cole. Yet the fact remained, it was the morning after the best sex of her life and instead of basking in it with Cole, she was spending time with his ex and her own best friend. “Is it that obvious?”

  “No. He told me.”

  Sasha gave her a small smile. “Sorry I’m out of sorts. It’s just, this isn’t what I pictured my morning would be like.”

  Julie watched them both. “I probably should have called, but with your car here all night and knowing what was going to happen yesterday, I just had to see you. Are you okay?”

  “Yes, I’m fine. We’ll talk about it later.”

  “Don’t mind me,” Kate said. “I’ve been on the receiving end of his cane numerous times.” Her words were certain, but there was a question of sorts in her expression.

  “Canes are still a hard limit for me,” Julie said.

  Kate nodded in agreement. “Smart woman, keep it that way.”

  “I don’t know,” Sasha said. “There’s something cathartic about the whole thing.”

  Though she never would have thought it possible, the crying session she had after the cane had felt cleansing. It was like a burden she didn’t even know she’d been carrying had been lifted.

  “True,” Kate said. “I certainly see that. But when you add in the rules he puts in place, it counteracts the cathartic part.”

  Sasha assumed Kate meant the protocol he’d sent earlier in the week, but she didn’t have a clue as to what she meant by the rules. It didn’t seem polite to ask, though. After all, she’d just met the woman and from the look on Kate’s face, she regretted saying that much.

  “What kind of rules?” Julie asked, obviously having no such qualms about asking. “Is that different from the protocol he sent you, Sasha?”

  Kate shook her head. “I can’t . . . rather, I shouldn’t—”

  “It’s private, Jules,” Sasha said.

  Kate threw her a look of thanks, and Sasha gave her a small smile. She didn’t blame the woman for not wanting to talk about the details of her relationship with Cole. Not to mention, it wasn’t any of Julie’s business.

  “She’s the one who brought it up,” Julie argued. “I was just trying to see if he was different with you.”

  “It’s a totally inappropriate thing to ask,” Sasha said. “And it’s nothing that concerns you.”

  “I think if he’s got certain rules he expects you to follow, he should tell you.”

  “He does. Always.”

  “So these are in addition to those. Aren’t you the least bit interested?” Julie asked.

  She was. She was undeniably curious about the rules Cole had given Kate. But she told herself they’d had a much different relationship.

  “If Cole wants me to follow a rule, he’ll tell me. Bottom line. Drop it.”

  “Yes, but—”

  “Julie.”

  All three women turned at the sound of Cole’s voice. He stood in the doorway, arms crossed, with fury in his eyes and a look of pure displeasure on his face.

  “I have known Daniel for years and am well acquainted with how he expects his submissive to behave,” Cole said in a cold voice. “I find it difficult to imagine your Master would be pleased with your current conversation, regardless of how concerned you profess to be.”

  Julie’s face paled as Cole walked toward her.

  “You will apologize to Kate and Sasha,” he said. Sasha was glad those icy eyes weren’t focused on her. “And later today you will inform Daniel of this conversation. Trust me when I tell you it’ll go better for you if he hears it from you first instead of me.”

  “Yes, Sir,” Julie mumbled.

  Cole turned and made his way to Sasha and slipped behind her. She shivered as he ran his hands down her side and rested his palms
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