Holy crap, did I need to get out of there! I would have bet everything I owned that I couldn’t move him off me, but I would have lost that bet with myself. Apparently, those stories about gaining extra strength in stressful, emergency situations—mothers lifting cars off babies, etc.—were true. Who knew?
But I managed to wiggle my not-so-little ass out from under him, jump out of bed and get halfway dressed. Okay, I was wearing a skirt and a shirt that I wasn’t even sure was mine, but who the hell cared, at that point. All I needed was to be halfway decent long enough to get into, then out of—preferably, before he rolled over and sat up. Too late, as always with him, it seemed.
“Where do you think you’re going, little girl?” he rumbled. I’d like to say his tone was playful, but it was much closer to say that it was scolding and distinctly dominant. More than enough so to make me contract—hard—dammit.
And the “little girl” had my head jerking up in not good surprise, but at least I was able to stop myself from looking at him.
I had a feeling that, if I looked at him, full on, it was going to be the end for me.
“I would have thought that it would have been obvious to even the most casual observer that I’m going home,” I answered flippantly, searching for and finding my shoe laying against the wall across the room. I blushed when I remembered that it had gotten flung mindlessly off in the midst of all the intense storm of orgasms he’d brought me to with his mouth, first thing, before moving on to totally wreck the rest of me. Enough that I was so in tune with him, so lost within myself, that I said what I did when the time came.
When I came…
Unfortunately, when I straightened from picking it up, I could feel that he was behind me, those arms closing around me gently, and I knew I was trapped again.
His deep rasp whispered right into my ear, “You know you don’t need to run from me. Or what you said.” His hands were stroking my hair, damn him. He knew that was only one step removed from brushing it, which was one of the most soothing things he could possibly do for me.
“Wrong,” I stated forcefully. “Wrong, wrong, wrong.” I tried to move to the end of the bed so I could put my shoes on, but I was going nowhere until he allowed it.
“Let me go.” I hated—translation: usually loved—having to ask him—okay, tell him—to do that, and I never knew which way he was going to go, either, although I thought it was likely he was going to ignore me this time.
And I was right.
Instead, he pulled me even further back against him—one thick arm lying diagonally across my chest between my breasts, the other settling around my waist, holding me quite tightly to him. That criminally arousing mouth of his settled at the juncture of my neck and my collarbone, which he knew damned well and good was another gesture that was probably going to tip the scales in his favor.
But I couldn’t allow it to. No, not after what I’d said in the heat of passion.
“I’m not kidding, Mane. Let me go.” I was quite proud of just how flat and emotionless my voice sounded, and I could feel that it got to him. He paused in the ministrations that were shortly going to have me broken down into a puddle of ugly crying goo, so I pressed my advantage, surging determinedly against his arms. And, slowly, with great reluctance, they gave way, his fingers remaining on my skin as long as they possibly could until I moved far enough away from him that we were no longer physically connected in any way.
And I could feel the loss deep within me, so piquant that I had to swallow hard, and his next words didn’t help that any.
“Tahlia, stay. We need to talk about it.”
His coaxing tone was almost worse than his Dom one, but I still managed to cram my feet into my shoes, not bothering with the niceties of buckles and straps, standing as quickly as I could, feeling at a distinct disadvantage, even though he wasn’t hovering over me. He’d stayed right where he was, across the room by the bureau, although he’d turned to watch me, and I thought I detected a slight touch of amusement in his expression, as if he thought I was blowing this entirely out of proportion.
And perhaps I was, but I was so embarrassed that I felt I couldn’t possibly remain in the same room with him any longer, and pretty much nothing was going to deter me from leaving.
When my hand finally grasped his bedroom’s doorknob, he spoke again—definitely closer, but not right behind me.
“All right. I’ll give you some time to wallow in shame unnecessarily, but I’m going to want to see you tomorrow night.” Soft but firm, he continued, “I expect you won’t ignore my attempts to communicate with you in the meantime, honey.”
It was a subtle warning, but a warning, nonetheless, and one I would heed no matter how ambivalent I felt.
I’d gotten angry with him and refused to answer his multiple texts one time—giving him the cold shoulder for about twelve hours.
He’d arrived on my doorstep the next morning and about seven seconds after he’d entered my place, he’d given me a very hot version of a very different portion of my own anatomy—enough so that I’d never done that again. He’d sent me nine unanswered messages, more, at first, of course, until he realized what I was doing, then just the occasional warning that I was not going to be happy with the outcome of my childish behavior.
And boy, was I not!
Ten smacks with the paddle for each unanswered message brought me around very quickly to using my words, instead, as he’d suggested while he was setting my butt on fire.
So, I sighed and opened his bedroom door. “Yes, Sir.”
* * *
“You called him what?!”
“DAAAAAAAADDDDDDYYYYYYYYYYYY!” I managed a reasonable imitation of myself, if muted, since we were in a crowded restaurant.
That got me the absolutely stunned look I was going for. She put down her French fry and sat back. “You. Did. Not! Really?”
I nodded my head as I fed a thin, crispy onion ring into my mouth. “Full on. Not even the slightest hesitation. He was on top of me—I fucking screamed it in his ear, with every bit of whatever lung power I had left—you know how heavy he is. I shit you not. The perv in the next apartment probably heard me.”
“Then, what happened?” Bette now looked entirely too eager to hear my tale of woe, but then, she was probably getting off on it, too.
I nearly snorted the mouthful of margarita I was washing the onion ring down through my nose. “What the fuck do you think? I got the fuck out of there as fast as I could!”
“I thought he was your Dom—sort of, anyway. I know you guys are taking it slow. He let you go?”
“Yes, he fucking well did! Jesus, I was not going to have that discussion with him—ever. Much less, since I blurted it out during sex!!”
She seemed to be thinking—which was never a good thing with Bette. There was no telling what was going to come out of her mouth. “That’s—that’s very telling about how you feel about him—if unconsciously—isn’t it?” she asked, being unusually intuitive.
My hand went immediately to the gold heart necklace at my neck, and I fiddled with it reflexively, as if in a trance, saying stubbornly, “I don’t want to talk about that.”
“Okay. Did he stop?”
“Stop what?” I asked, forcing myself to take a bite of my barbecue bacon cheeseburger.
“What do you think? Fucking you? When you said it? Did he, you know, stop and look down at you or what?”
A surprisingly apropos question. “Yes—no—I’m not sure.” I frowned.
Always desperate for details—since she was stuck in a vanilla marriage—she urged, “Well, think! I have to have something to masturbate to later!”
My frown became deeper and more pointedly aimed at her. “TMI.”
“Oh, please. Compared to what you tell me, that was incredibly boring. So?”
“You’re on your own, girlie girl! I was too busy drowning in humiliation and mortification to notice.”
But Bette wasn’t about to be deterred. “Try to think back. Might be an interesting clue as to how he feels about it.”
“Uh huh,” I agreed skeptically, but then I decided she might have a point, so I scrunched up my face, thinking hard. What had he done?
I knew what I’d done—in the midst of one of the hardest orgasms I’d ever had in my life, as it seemed they all were with him, for some reason—I froze.
Well, most of me did, anyway. Parts of my body hadn’t gotten the message and were still clenching away around him. I remember feeling the continued pleasure almost from a distance, as if I wasn’t really experiencing it.
As a matter of fact, he hadn’t missed a beat. He’d raised himself up by extending his arms, catching my eyes for the barest second before mine slunk away to stare anywhere but at him as he continued to stroke heavily into me. Then he reached down and hitched my legs even further up his waist, spreading me more open for him, growling slightly as he began to fuck me even harder, the finger that had been dancing on my clit continuing to swirl around it.
“Stop—oh, fuck—you’ve got to stop!” I pleaded.
Although his voice was rough and husky from panting, his response was silky smooth, and unmistakably dominant, “Oh, I don’t think so, little one.”
I knew he’d never used that particular endearment with me before, and my eyes widened, but not for long—he was too damned good. He effortlessly roped me back in, bringing me across the finish line another three or four times—utterly against my will—before issuing a long, low groan and slamming himself into me one last time.
I relayed all of these memories to Bette, of course, and she sat there, spellbound, as if I was telling her a not-safe-for-work bedtime story.
And I kind of was, I guess. I had absolutely no doubt that—while she was flicking her bean tonight, she was going to be replaying my experience—attentive, overachieving boyfriend and all.
I’d bet my life, it wasn’t the first time she’d done that; nor would it be the last—although it might well be the last time she pictured my boyfriend doing it. But I couldn’t begrudge her that. I knew she wasn’t after him—she wasn’t that kind of woman and we’d been friends too long. Her husband was an over-achiever everywhere but the bedroom, unfortunately.
Luckily for me, Mane brought all of his usual enthusiasm for pretty much everything—and a sincere belief that if he was going to do something, he should do it well—into the bedroom, and Bette at least got a second-hand thrill she badly needed.
“Oh, man, did you hit the jackpot with him or what!” she sighed, slumping back against the booth and sounding utterly sated already.
If she asked me for a cigarette, I was going to have to smack her.
“Hmm,” I answered, noncommittally. I was of the opinion that I’d probably seen the last of him after what I’d done. For all of his phenomenal talent in the sack, Mane could be somewhat conservative and old fashioned.
Being in the military would slap the free-spiritedness out of almost anyone, but I don’t think they had to go too hard on Lt. Commander Mane Campbell. He could be a stickler of a straight arrow, at times. Honest and hard working as the day was long, he didn’t much put up with anything else from anyone else around him. And that included me, especially the honest part.
He could pretty much have been a poster boy for the Navy and was a Boy Scout—Eagle Scout, actually—from way back, and he upheld all of the best of both of those institutions. At six-two, he was pretty much the perfect height, tall and muscular but not in an overblown way. He was no muscle bound lunkhead, but I could attest to just how strong he was by the way he handled me—in bed and out.
And he was smart, too. He hadn’t come from money, but he’d wanted to go into the military since he was young, so he’d gone in and gotten them to pay for his education. Now, he was an officer on the rise, having been promoted twice “below the zone”, which meant well ahead of schedule, before he should really have been up for consideration, attaining a new rank each time.
The last time, he had me do the honor of “pinning it on”. At least, I did one shoulder. His mom—whom he adored unabashedly—did the other.
He had a great job; he was intelligent; he was kill me good in bed, and he loved his mom. He checked off pretty much every box I had. I’m really not that fussy, and I’m very happy on my own, so I can be quite selective when I want. And that’s much more about personality than looks. I can hardly demand anything in the looks department, since I was far from typically pretty.
The Daddy thing was part of a set of preferences I usually kept well hidden from pretty much everyone, as a result of having had not so good experiences with mentioning it in the past that ranged from befuddled looks to ridicule to literally being kicked out of a guy’s bed/apartment/life.
So, I was a bit gun shy, to say the least, and had pretty much decided that I was never going to tell him. Hell, with the internet, I really didn’t need to. He travelled a certain amount for his job and we didn’t live in each other’s pockets—so I would have more than enough opportunity to take care of that particular interest on my own.
I hated being in this position, because I really, really, really didn’t want to lose him. Really. Didn’t. Want. To. Lose. Him.
But I had figured that—despite how open and up for anything he seemed to be in bed—I just wasn’t willing to chance it. Surprise! Apparently, my subconscious hadn’t gotten the memo, and it opened my big mouth all on its own. Son of a bitch.
Just then, the text tone I had assigned to him—a ship’s bell—went off. His ringtone was Anchors Aweigh, of course, both of which he thought were hilarious.
Mindful of the fact that I was required to respond to him, I replied, Just fine, thanks.
I’m glad. I know you’re going to think that it’s too soon, but I warned you. I want you to come over tonight.
“Shit, shit, shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit,” I chanted as reverently as if it was a prayer that I hoped would get me out of this predicament.
“What?” Bette asked.
“Three guesses, and the first two don’t count.”
She gave me an evil grin. “He wants to see you.”
“Yes, he wants to see me,” I imitated nastily back at her.
“Oh, please. I don’t want to hear it from you. Your man wants to see you. That’s more than I can say about Evan.”
“Yeah, well, you didn’t yell out a very deep, personal secret as you came, either.”
“Because I don’t get any sexual pleasure that I don’t give myself. Jesus, even if he did touch me, I swear that I could confess I was a Russian spy who was over here stealing U.S. secrets and who rooted for the Army at those stupid football games, and he’d just grunt once and roll over.”
“I wish Mane would do that—at least this once.”
Another—somehow more insistent—ding-ding!
I could hear him saying my name inside my head in that warning tone of his, and the butthole knew it, too.
Sorry. Bathroom. I lied outright. He knew my personal rule about using my phone in the bathroom—I would die first. Get sucked down the toilet, slip on soap—I’d just scream for help. But my phone would remain either in my purse or my pocket.
Oh. Okay. I would have bet that you were just bellyaching to Bette about the fact that you didn’t want to come over.
Fuck. The man knew me entirely too well, which was reason enough to get out of this relationship. On top of my sexual faux pas, I should really be giving him the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech about now. Although not over text. I am not an animal. And I definitely didn’t want to do that, anyway. I had fallen for the man—hard. I was pretty much in love with him—had been since I’d met him at one of Bette and Evan’s shindigs, last summer.
I just didn’t want to talk to him about this. He hadn’t yelled at me, he hadn’t kicked me out or acted as if it was icky to him, but then, he’s not the type to do any of those things, anyway, and I was too busy throwing myself out. And the unadulterated truth was that I wasn’t sure I could handle it if he did.
A Daddy was the Holy Grail, as far as I was concerned. I’d had Doms before. The last one—prior to Mane coming into my life—was absolutely perfect for me, I had thought, and we had even made plans to marry. But he just couldn’t handle that aspect of me when I revealed it to him.
Tom was wonderful about it, but I could tell immediately the night I had told him that the confession was going to be the end of us. And, when I finally began to recover from the loss of him, I realized that he was right to simply break it off, no matter how hard it was for me.
But I still wore his collar. It was a comfort thing now—there was nothing between us. He’d gotten married and had a beautiful baby girl, and he deserved to be happy. I couldn’t quite get myself to take off the necklace he’d given me, though. It represented safety and security to me, and I found myself unable—or unwilling—to part with it.
Surprisingly, Mane—as wonderfully possessive as he was about me—had never asked me to remove it.
I shook my head to clear myself of the daydreaming I’d been doing. I knew he wouldn’t wait forever for me to respond, especially since he’d already prompted me once, when he didn’t usually do that.
When? I sent quickly.
Such enthusiasm! he joked. Why do I get the feeling you’re about as happy to come see me as you would be to face a firing squad?
Oh, gee, I wonder why!
I know you, so I know you won’t believe me, but you’re worried about nothing. How about I’ll cook dinner for you? I’ll swing by and pick you up when I’m done with work? About five or so?
That would leave me carless when I was pretty sure I was going to end up bolting out of his place again—for the second time in two days. Nope. That didn’t work for me at all. How about I drive over to your place about five thirty? I suggested instead.
There was a pause before he responded, as if he was in front of me, a slight frown on his face as he looked down at me, which, in either case, meant that I was not going to get my way.
How about you be ready for me to pick you up at five, Tahlia.
No question mark, because it wasn’t a question. It probably wasn’t a question before, either, but I preferred to ignore that possibility. That was another way he’d earned points with me from the start. He—like me—texted in full sentences, complete with correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Maybe I was getting old—getting? I chided myself. I was looking at middle age in the rearview mirror! But, as much as I would have loved to have banged a younger man—just for the fun of it—I don’t think I would have been able to tolerate all of the abbreviations. And I fucking hate emojis. Such are the pitfalls of being an English teacher, I suppose. My cross to bear. The young folks’ll just have to pry my Oxford comma from my cold, stiff, and dead hands one day.
Another pause I knew was deliberate on his part.
I sighed heavily, even though he couldn’t hear me. The bastard probably knew that I was doing it, anyway. Yes, Sir.
Good girl. I can’t wait to see you!
And I’d rather wear hornets’ nests for shoes while a thousand cockroaches and spiders crawl all over my naked body than…oops. Damned autocorrect! Can’t wait to see you, too!
He knew how much I hated any kind of insect—he ought to by this time, anyway. I’d made him my personal bug assassin since practically our first date. We ended up vacationing in Maine during black fly season last year—which overlaps viciously with mosquito season, especially if you’re in the woods, which we were. And before we’d even opened the car door at our destination, we were surrounded by both types of insect, pounding on the windows trying to get in to make us their meal. There were literally hundreds of them buzzing around the car. He’d reached into the back seat and handed me a present, and it was the best present I have ever received in my life—one of those bug-net hats and a pair of gloves.
“That oughta at least get you inside the cabin, hmmm?”
I swear, there were tears in my eyes as I looked up at him and whispered devoutly, “I have never loved you more than at this moment, I swear to God.”
He laughed at me then, and I knew he was laughing at me now, and his next text proved me right.
LOL. Then he sent, Take a deep breath, hon. Really. Take a deep, slow breath. Everything is all right, I promise you. I love you. See you soon. Out.
Bette sighed as I read it out loud to her. Then she frowned. “Have you still not said it back to him?”
I frowned in return. “He knows I have a lot of baggage that makes it hard for me to say that to him as easily as he does to me. He doesn’t push about things like that.”
She snorted. “Obviously not, since you’re still wearing another man’s collar, too.” Bette shook her head. “Do you know what you have in him? He’s absolutely unreal. He does housework without having to be asked—you’re the messy one, for fuck’s sake! He cooks for you and packs a lunch for you when you’re going to work from his place. He was the first to say ‘I love you’. I know I’ve asked you this before, but does he have a brother?”
“Uncle? Father? Step-brother? Nephew? Second cousin, twice removed? I’m not picky—I’m desperate, here!”
“You’re married!” I pointed out to her as I always did when she asked this question.
“But I’m not dead! I can dream, can’t I? Evan hasn’t quite killed those yet, and that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Do you know how long it’s been since he said ‘I love you’ before I did? And he’s never either cooked me a meal or put a dish into a dishwasher in his life. I owe a big thank you to my bitch of a mother-in-law for that.”
“Yes, you do.” I leaned towards her. “Now, what kind of drama is going on in your life? And, more importantly, are we ordering dessert?”