Authors: Eden Bradley
Copyright 2013 Eden Bradley
Cover Design by R.G. Alexander
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Table of Contents
This could not be him.
This man… he could not be the man who would strip her bare, put her on her knees and do unspeakable things to her. Lovely, wicked things she had only ever imagined in the darkest corners of her mind. He was too perfect for the role, as if he’d stepped out of her fantasies. But she knew the moment he stepped into the café and she caught the first stunning glimpse of his face that he was the man she was there to meet.
When she’d posted her ad on the bondage.com website her cousin Esme had told her about, she’d imagined finding a man with an air of command. A man who lived by the ‘Safe, Sane and Consensual’ credo. A man who could guide her through this experience with practiced, capable hands. He was all of those things, she knew, from their two weeks of communicating via email.
Confident. Commanding. Intelligent. Kinky. And he came with the best possible references from others who knew him in the kink community. He had it all, on paper. And in person…he was almost too beautiful to be real. Like some fallen angel with his evil-looking goatee, his sharply-honed bone structure, the way his dark hair, worn a little too long, fell into his eyes. She watched as he approached, broad shoulders shrugging their way out of his black wool coat. Adam Dunne had an enormous, palpable presence that mirrored his size—she swore she could feel it emanating from him.
Power. That’s what it was. Power and a stark male beauty that made her breath catch.
Pull yourself together. He’s just a man.
Except that he was so much more. She knew it in that very first electric instant.
She took in a breath of the coffee-scented air and forced her fluttering pulse to calm as she pushed her long hair from her cheek.
He stepped closer and as he pulled his coat off she saw him shiver a bit at the damp San Francisco cold. Perhaps he was human after all.
He was beautifully dressed in a way that seemed almost European to her: black slacks that looked as if they’d been custom-made, a thin, dark wool sweater, a gray scarf looped casually around his neck.
He spoke her name in a low voice that felt like a caress. “Skye.”
Certainty in his voice. She had a feeling this man never doubted himself. That no one ever doubted him. A Dominant through and through. What had she heard this kind of man called in her research on the Internet? A ‘true Dominant’?
He smiled crookedly, just a small quirking at one corner of his mouth. There was a scar on his lush lower lip, which made her want to reach out and touch it, just trace it with her fingertips.
Of course, she would never do such a thing. Definitely not with a man like him.
She curled her fingers around the handle of her tea mug as she looked up into eyes that were a dark, dusky blue framed in thick lashes. “What? Yes. You must be Adam.”
He nodded, took her free hand as he slid into the chair across from hers. He held on a few moments too long, the lambent heat of his touch making her wonder if she wanted him to let go. Making her want to yank her hand back to safety at the same time.
She had never in her life thought herself to be in over her head with any man. Until now…
A waitress came as though summoned and Adam let her hand go.
“I’ll have an espresso. Double shot. Very hot.” He smiled at the girl and Skye watched her blush and bite her lip. “Will that be a problem?”
The waitress made a small fluttering motion with one hand, then tucked her short, curling hair behind her ear, a nervous smile on her face. “No, sir. Of course not. I’ll see that it’s hot.”
“Excellent. Bring it right away.”
He turned back to Skye, who had watched the exchange with interest. Interesting the way the waitress had responded. Interesting that some part of her knew she’d probably have responded the same way. His presence demanded it.
She turned her full attention back to him and noticed that he wore thick steel rings in both ears, eight gauges, maybe. And just as with the scar, it made her want to touch them, to run her fingers over the hurting spot where the needle had gone through.
“Do you want something else?” he asked her, making her realize the waitress still hovered at their table. “More tea? A pastry?”
“Oh, no. Thank you.”
Adam dismissed the waitress. It was clearly a dismissal, though done with absolute politeness. How did he manage that?
God, she was too much in her own head. Time to pull herself out and really pay attention.
“It’s good to finally meet you.” He smiled once more. Gorgeous white teeth.
All the better to eat you with.
She put her hands in her lap, twisted her napkin between her fingers. “It’s good to meet you, too.”
“Am I the first Dominant you’ve met with?” he asked.
“I…didn’t expect that we’d get right onto this conversation so quickly.”
“It’s what we’re here for, isn’t it?”
“Yes. I guess we are. It’s just that it’s…” She paused, shrugged.
He arched a dark brow. “So public? But no one can really hear us. No one is listening. And if they are, then they deserve whatever earful they get, don’t you think?”
There was a wicked glint in his dark blue eyes.
She hadn’t expected to feel this, hadn’t thought it would be necessary. She understood now that it would
to be part of the equation. How could she have imagined doing this otherwise?
She smiled, relaxing a bit, accepting that this element of the dynamic would exist between them. That already did. “Yes, I suppose so.”
The waitress brought his espresso and set it before him and Skye swore the woman actually made a small bow as she backed away.
He lifted the cup and sipped, seemed satisfied. “So? Am I the first?”
“There have been several others but they…I don’t know. I just wasn’t comfortable with any of them.”
“Are you comfortable with me?”
It felt like a trick question. Her pulse was racing a thousand miles an hour.
“I don’t think I can answer that yet.”
He took another sip from the small white cup. “I’m glad to see you’re being honest with me. That’s important. We’re here to get to know each other. To see if we’ll work well together.” He set the cup down in its saucer and leaned forward, folding his hands on the table. “You’ve said in your e-mails that you’re interested in exploring what it’s like to be a submissive. Interesting to me, the way you phrased it. It seemed…detached. As though this interest is something outside of yourself. As though you don’t think of yourself as a submissive.”
“I don’t. I believe this is simply one small corner of myself. That this one experience will purge this…yearning from my system.”
“I’m not sure that’s a healthy attitude to have going in.”
“You don’t think my attitude is healthy?”
He nodded, his expression thoughtful. Enigmatic. “You seem open to the idea of exploring kink, but I have to wonder about your motivation given that you’ve put this kind of limit on something you haven’t even tried yet.”
“I think exploring even our darkest sides can be a healthy way to express repressed desires and needs,” she argued. “Once expressed, the need often disappears. It’s the symbols that count, what these things represent to people. What it represents to me.”
He sat back in his chair, sipped his coffee as he studied her. “You truly believe that?”
Skye shrugged. “I’m an artist. I believe very strongly in symbols.”
“That’s not what I meant.” His grinned a little crookedly, making her heart race. “But you know that. Are you at all willing to have your mind changed?”
Why the sudden flutter in her stomach? She picked up the cup of Darjeeling tea she’d ordered before he’d arrived, sipped, found it cold. She set the cup down again.
He leaned closer, until he was only inches from her. The warmth of his hand slid over hers. He said quietly, “I think I can challenge your theory. But that’s not why I want to do this with you. You intrigue me, Skye. I’ve worked as a trainer for ten years. I’ve learned to read people. I can read you. So strong on the outside. So controlled. You need to break that control. To let it go. That’s why you’re really here, isn’t it? You recognize that need, symbols aside. I can do this for you. But only on my terms.” He rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb, and a startling heat seeped into her skin. “You are, of course, free to accept or not.”
She swallowed hard. Her whole body surged with need for his touch. She shook her head to clear it. “What exactly are you suggesting?”
“That you give yourself over to me.”
“That’s what I’d intended. For one night—”
“One night won’t work. One night is warm-up. This is a process, Skye, not an event. That’s not how the human mind works. And as much as this experience will be physical the most important part happens in your head. Brain chemistry, psychology, your personal history. Symbols, as you said. It all comes into play. Did you really think you could do all that in one night?”
“I thought…I don’t know…” She shook her head.
Her mind was spinning. She
thought that. Foolish, she could see now. But could she do what he was suggesting? Losing control for one night—that she could manage. That she could excuse. But more?
He slid his hand up her arm, leaving a trail of sensation even through her cashmere sweater. When it came to rest on the bare skin at the back of her neck her legs trembled, went weak. His hand was absolutely burning on her skin, her body flooding with desire. Physical desire, yes. But also an inexplicable desire to please him. This stranger with the smoky blue eyes that seemed to see right through her. Eyes like the misty February sky outside.
Her heart hammered in a strange sort of panic. She wanted—needed—to understand why Adam was making her feel like some trembling virgin with starry-eyed fantasies flashing through her mind. The same images that had plagued her since she was a teenager. Fantasies she had finally decided to live out.