The flirtation, p.24
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       The Flirtation, p.24
 

         Part #10 of Submissive series by Tara Sue Me
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  “I wasn’t entirely truthful, before,” he said.

  For the life of her she couldn’t imagine what he was referring to. “When?”

  “When I broke up with you and I said you weren’t a submissive.”

  “Why did you say that?” She’d always wondered. “It confused me for the longest time.”

  “There’s really no excuse for it. We met online and the attraction was there. But you looked so young and you were so inexperienced. I feared I’d corrupt you if I told you everything I needed in a relationship. Or that I’d change you and you’d end up hating me for it.”

  “So you thought lying was better?”

  He winced. Yup. She’d nailed it. “In my mind, I was only stretching the truth. Saying I didn’t think you were a submissive was easier than admitting my own predilections were too intense for most submissives.” He squeezed her shoulder. “I’m sorry that my actions led to confusion on your part.”

  It would be easy to get angry with him. She could allow herself to be wounded and upset. Or she could be thankful they had a second chance and could look with excitement toward the future they were building. Besides . . .

  “I think it worked out for the best that way,” she said.

  He cocked an eyebrow. “How’s that?”

  “If you’d told me up front what you needed, I probably would have run away. I was too new and scared. But having it happen this way, I’ve learned on my own, without being influenced by anyone or anything, that I am a submissive. And you have to admit, living with Nathaniel and Abby hasn’t hurt either.”

  A slow grin came across his face. “No, it probably hasn’t.”

  “It’s like it all came together the way it did for a reason.” She gave his cheek a kiss. “So no dwelling on the past, okay? Only today and the future.”

  “I can’t think of anything better than dwelling on the future with you. In fact.” He turned and reached into a bag beside the bed. She remembered he’d had it with him before they’d started the scene. He turned back around and held a small black velvet pouch. “I know you’re going to be teaching school, so I didn’t want to get anything that would call attention to itself. Lynne, will you wear my collar?”

  Her hand flew to her mouth. His collar? She’d hoped maybe one day he would offer it, but she hadn’t expected it so soon. It wasn’t what she normally thought of when she thought of a collar. It was a thin platinum chain with a puzzle-piece charm.

  It was quirky and just a little crazy for a BDSM collar. She loved it.

  She threw her arms around him. “Yes!”

  He pulled her close, and when his lips touched hers, she could see it so clearly: her future with Simon, todays and tomorrows filled with laughter, love, and dirty, dirty sex.

  Epilogue

  Abby

  One month later

  I gave Nathaniel a kiss and shooed him out of the house. Dena, Julie, Sasha, and Lynne were over, and we had put a very strict “No Doms Allowed” rule in place. The architect Nathaniel and Luke had hired was coming over to chat about design ideas from a sub’s perspective.

  I had to admit, I was a bit on edge. Nathaniel just happened to bring up in a very by the way kind of tone the night before that it just so happened the architect was Cole Johnson’s ex-slave, Kate.

  “It’ll be fine,” he assured me as I stared at him in disbelief before he left. “Sasha’s met her.”

  “You are such a man,” I said. “Sasha may have met her. That doesn’t mean she wants to be around her.” I wasn’t as close to Sasha as Julie, but what woman wanted her significant other’s ex in her business?

  “You don’t give Sasha enough credit.”

  “Nathaniel.” I put my hands on my hips. “How long have we been married?”

  “Is this a trick question?”

  “No, but it’s been a long-ass time, right?”

  He nodded.

  “And yet even though we’ve been married a long-ass time and have two kids, and I love you with all of my being, I still don’t want to sit down and chat with your exes.”

  “Cole recommended her.”

  I rolled my eyes. Honestly. “Cole is also a man.”

  “Be glad I shot down his idea to have her over with Sasha serving tea.” I must have looked horrified because he kissed me softly. “Nothing we can do about it now. Just keep them both away from any sharp objects.”

  Currently, everyone was gathered in the living room while we waited for Kate to arrive. Far enough away from the kitchen that the knives should be safe. And though we were all trying not to, it was obvious everyone was keeping an eye on Sasha.

  “Jesus, would you all chill out?” she finally said. “I am one hundred and ten percent secure in my relationship with Cole, and this is not a big deal. In fact, we actually had Kate over for dinner last night.”

  “Oh my God.” Julie was sitting beside her and punched her arm. “You did not. You guys had dinner with me and Daniel.”

  “Right, it was the night before.”

  I didn’t believe for a second Kate had had dinner with Cole and Sasha, but Sasha did seem to be taking everything in stride and didn’t appear the least bit anxious. In fact, it might have been my imagination, but she had a look on her face that gave the impression she knew something the rest of us didn’t.

  I didn’t have a chance to call her on it, because the doorbell rang. Okay, maybe Sasha was fine, but I was more than a little curious about the woman who’d been Cole’s slave for eight years.

  For as long as I’d been in the lifestyle, I still had an overactive imagination, and it was a bit anticlimactic when I opened the door to find a very ordinary woman. Granted, she was very attractive, tall and willowy, with pale skin, black hair, and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen.

  “Hi,” she said. “I’m Kate.”

  She looked every bit the professional with a leather briefcase and a tailored suit I knew must have been handmade.

  “Hello, Kate.” I opened the door so she could come in. “I’m Abby. Come on in. Everyone’s in the living room.”

  “Thank you.” She stepped inside and looked around. “Beautiful home.”

  “Thanks.”

  I led her into the living room and only had to introduce her to Lynne, since she knew everyone else. She said hello to Julie, oohed and aahed over Dena’s infant daughter, and shocked the hell out of me by giving Sasha a hug.

  “I knew he’d get his head out of his ass eventually,” she said. “And is that his collar . . . ?”

  Sasha flushed and fingered the priceless family heirloom Cole had collared her with over the summer. “Yes. It’s been in his family for ages.”

  “I’m so happy for you guys.” And by the tone of her voice and the expression on her face, I believed her.

  As Kate settled into a nearby chair and started pulling out papers, it struck me that not only was she gorgeous, but she was smart as hell, too. She’d walked into what could have been an awkward situation and immediately defused it. And in doing so, she’d won the respect of every woman present.

  She went over her proposed ideas for the club, and we all bounced a few things around. Kate took notes on everything we suggested and offered a few ideas of her own. She told us she’d been to Germany recently and had visited a club there. While drawing up the plans, she had incorporated several ideas.

  “You know,” I told her. “If you’d like to join a club while you’re here, you’re more than welcome to join this group. If that’s too awkward for you, Nathaniel and I could recommend you for our New York club.”

  She looked uncertain for the first time since she’d walked into the house. “Thanks, but I’m not in the lifestyle anymore.”

  “What? Why not?” Sasha asked, voicing what the rest of us were thinking.

  “I’ve decided it’s not for me.” Her voice sounded certain, but she wouldn’t meet anyone’s eyes.

  “I didn’t know you could turn it off like that,” Sasha said dryly.

 
But Kate refused to be goaded into saying more. She crossed her legs, and as she did, I caught a glimpse of red soles on the bottom of her shoes.

  “Nice shoes,” I said in an attempt to both change the subject and lighten the mood of the room.

  Kate grew wistful. “Thanks. They were a gift.”

  “Wow,” Julie said, eyeing the shoes in question. “That’s like Christmas, birthday, and anniversary all bundled up together.”

  “Let’s just say the gift was a reminder of a very special time.” Kate still had the wistful look, but unless I was mistaken, there was a hint of sadness in her tone as well. Yet just as suddenly as it showed up, it was gone, replaced by a smile. “I think that’s everything I needed. You guys have my number if you need me or if you have any questions?”

  “I’ll make sure they have it,” I answered. “We’re going to go over some group topics, and I’d invite you to stay, but since you’re not in the lifestyle anymore . . .”

  Kate was already packing her things up. “No, that’s okay. I need to drop by the office.”

  I walked her out, and we set up a tentative lunch date for the next week. I had been thoroughly impressed with her, though I was a bit perturbed to share that with Nathaniel.

  I had no problems sharing it with the other women. Everyone agreed she was perfect for the job. Everyone except Sasha, who was unusually quiet.

  Julie picked up on it first. “Tell us what the problem is,” she said. “I know that look.”

  For a few moments I didn’t think Sasha would answer. She sat on the couch, her fingers tracing her collar. Finally, she sighed. “If Cole finds out I told you, he’ll think I was gossiping, and that won’t go over well, but hell, I can’t help it.” Her eyes danced with mischief. “I know who gave her the shoes.”

  “Oh?” I said, wondering where this was going.

  Sasha nodded. “Yes. Cole’s mentor, Fritz Brose, called him a few weeks ago wanting to know Kate’s shoe size. Cole thinks they hooked up briefly while she was in Germany.”

  “Wait a minute,” I said, trying to sort out the details. “Cole’s mentor and friend, the one who did your collaring ceremony, hooked up with his ex?”

  “Cole said he’s had a thing for her forever,” Sasha added with a smile. “But here’s the interesting part—”

  “It gets more interesting?” Dena asked. “Because it already sounds like a soap opera.”

  “Trust me,” Sasha said. “Abby, do you remember who the contractor is for the new club?”

  I shook my head. “Nathaniel just said it was some . . . Oh my God.” I gasped as I remembered. “Some German guy.”

  “Yup,” Sasha said. “And I don’t think either Fritz or Kate knows they’ll be working together.”

  Julie giggled. “Damn. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when that meeting goes down.”

  Don’t miss the second book

  in Tara Sue Me’s

  Lessons from the RACK series,

  Headmaster

  Available in January 2018.

  Winnie’s Journal

  I saw him as soon as he walked into the room. How could I not? He was by far the hottest man at the party. The way he strolled in, with that swagger only the most confident of men have. I’m sure if I had been able to look anywhere except at him, I would have seen other women similarly obsessed. His dark hair, dark eyes, and that mouth? Hell, that wasn’t even taking into account his hot-as-hell, fuck-me-all-night body.

  But when I had a chance to look around at something else, it wasn’t at other women; it was at Marie, and I knew I was in trouble. We’d never wanted the same thing before.

  The one thing Mariela could count on to never let her down was dance—it was one thing she could turn to and lean on. The one thing guaranteed to make a day better or to take away all her stress. Through thick and thin, ups and downs, it had always been her rock. Until today, when the rock crumbled.

  She took a deep breath, moved into position, and jumped and turned in a coupé jeté en tournant. Finding her technique lacking, she repeated it again and again until, exhausted, she leaned against the barre and let a string of curses fly.

  “Bad day?” someone asked from the hallway.

  Mariela lifted her head and forced a smile at Andie Lincoln, the RACK Academy’s newest chef. “You could say that.”

  “In that case, I came just in time. Come with me; I need someone to try my icing and tell me if it sucks.”

  Mariela pushed back from the barre and wiped the sweat from her forehead with a nearby towel. “Isn’t that what we have the men for?”

  “Yes, well, that and sex. But Fulton always likes everything I make and Lennox just kind of looks at me like I grew a second head and says he doesn’t understand why I feel the need to improve upon perfection.” She tilted her head. “So now that I think about it, nah, that’s not what we have men for. We only have them here for sex.”

  Mariela laughed, glad that Andie had shown up to drag her away from a disappointing ballet session. “Okay. Let me clean up and I’ll be right there.”

  “Just come like that. No one’s here yet.”

  Mariela looked down at her leotard and tights. Not really dining room appropriate, but then again, the students for the fall session wouldn’t arrive for another week. She threw her towel back over the barre. “You’re right. What kind of icing are we talking about?”

  Andie started chatting about buttercream versus cream cheese, and to be honest, Mariela zoned out a bit. Cooking and baking were not her things. That’s what chefs were for.

  Andie pushed open the two wide wooden doors that led into the dining area. “Okay, you go have a seat and I’ll bring the samples out to you.”

  Mariela looked around the area and breathed a sigh of relief at finding there was no one else in the dining area. And by no one else, she meant the headmaster, Lennox MacLure, who, other than Andie and Fulton, was the one other person on the island that housed the academy. The other staff members would be arriving tomorrow.

  Unfortunately, she hadn’t been sitting for longer than two minutes before Lennox walked through the door. She dropped her head and pretended to be horribly curious about something in her lap.

  She expected him to ignore her. After all, that’s what he did best. But even with her head down, she could feel him approach her.

  “Marie,” he said, calling her by the nickname only he used.

  She looked up and, like always, he took her breath away. Dark and dashing were the words her best friend, Winnie, had once used to describe him. She had been right. With his black-as-sin hair and gray eyes, he looked like he belonged between the pages of a historical romance, starring as an evil pirate or maybe an unrepentant rake.

  “Lennox,” she said, cringing because she knew her raspy voice gave her away.

  “You are aware the dining hall has a dress code?”

  She waited for him to smile and tell her it was a joke, that of course he wasn’t going to enforce the dress code when there were only four people on the island. But the smile didn’t come, and neither did the “Ha-ha-ha, I’m just joking” line.

  “What?” she finally asked.

  “The dress code,” he snapped. “You’re in violation of it.”

  “Oh my God. You’re serious.”

  “We have rules and regulations for a reason.”

  “Right, but since there are only four of us here . . .” She trailed off, assuming her intent would be clear.

 
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