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Authors: Carolyn Faulkner

Kept

BOOK: Kept
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Kept

By Carolyn Faulkner

©2003

By CFaulkner / BacksideOfLove.com

This work is copyrighted under U.S. law.

NO duplication of any kind, including

(but not limited to)

electronic, digital or manual duplication, is permitted, except for personal use,

without expressed, written consent of the author ([email protected]) Violations of this copyright can be traced digitally, and will be pursued vigorously.

This work of fiction depicts
Adoring Discipline
, which entails one adult giving another the authority to punish them physically. Neither the author, nor BacksideOfLove.com, depicts, condones, or tolerates the inclusion of involuntary physical abuse in any activity depicted here. Adoring Discipline is a healthy, often therapeutic part of intimate adult relationships for those fulfilled by it.

For more information on
Adoring Discipline
, please visit http://BacksideOfLove.com

Tableau of Content

CHAPTER I........................................................................................... - 2 -

CHAPTER II........................................................................................- 13 -

CHAPTER III ......................................................................................- 23 -

CHAPTER IV......................................................................................- 36 -

CHAPTER V.......................................................................................- 46 -

CHAPTER VI......................................................................................- 59 -

CHAPTER VII.....................................................................................- 68 -

CHAPTER VIII....................................................................................- 79 -

CHAPTER IX......................................................................................- 90 -

CHAPTER X.....................................................................................- 101 -

BACKSIDE OF LOVE.......................................................................- 108 -

Carolyn Faulkner

Chapter I

he flight into Tampa from New Hampshire was interminable - crowded, stuffy . . . not to mention the T molestation prior to boarding. Trish adjusted her position again, cursing both the small airline seats and her own not inconsiderable bulk. Although the romance novel on her lap was the latest from one of her favorite authors, it held no interest for her. Painful, gut-wrenching scenes from the past months kept playing in her mind, bringing tears to already sore, swollen eyes until she finally shook her head vigorously to clear her thoughts.

But she was beginning to learn how useless that was, because the visions crept right back to huddle around her, smothering her usually optimistic personality in a shroud of depression.

Luckily, the jarring bump of the landing gear on solid ground brought her attention back to the mundane necessity of joining the herd of passengers as they crowded the center aisle to exit the plane. Uncharacteristically, her head was bowed as she walked into the airport, but an excited voice caught her ear.

"Trish! Over here!" It was her younger cousin, Maggie, jumping up and down and waving her arms in a manner that was most undignified for a woman of her advanced position. It was one of the few sights in this world right now that could make Trish smile broadly as she changed course and headed for the nattily dressed young woman in the Donna Karan suit.

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KEPT

The two women came together in a long, unselfconsciously affectionate hug, which only made unbidden tears spill down Trish's cheeks that much faster as her cousin held and rocked her, whispering, "I'm so sorry, honey."

Afraid that she would dissolve into a mindless puddle if she didn't assert some control over her wayward emotions, Trish was the first to move away, fishing an ever-present tissue from her pocket and handing a clean one to Maggie. "Sheesh, where are my manners?" Maggie was saying, although Trish was completely preoccupied by her own misery. "Patricia Barton, I was to introduce you to my boss, Reed Douglas. Reed, this is my infamous cousin, Trish Barton."

Trish shook the hand of a man who, had she been her usual self, would have made her eyes roll back into her head - he was drop-dead sexy. Not gorgeous in the traditional sense, but he fit her requirements down to a "t". Short feathered black hair, graying at the temples but not completely, framed disgustingly tanned skin.

Stark blue eyes missed nothing as he deftly assumed her carryon bag himself, turning the three of them towards the baggage area.

"Isn't he wonderful? Isn't he . . . well, sexy as hell?" her cousin gushed as they followed meekly behind the Adonis in Armani. Six-three at least, very broad shouldered, and not a spare ounce on him. Although she didn't chase men in the least, Trish was usually extremely appreciative of any male eye-candy in her vicinity, especially dark haired hunks, which were her preference -

although she often found in her own relationships that she was more attracted to personalities than looks.

"Mmmm." She gave the man no more than a cursory glance.

Maggie sighed. Trish's distinct lack of response made her even more worried than she already was.

- 3 -

BacksideOfLove.com

Carolyn Faulkner

Trish spotted her gray tapestry suitcase, with the handle wrapped with a bright pink ribbon, and was just in the act of trying to wrestle its overstuffed weight to the floor when a long, bulging, pinstriped arm reached past her and lifted it effortlessly away from her. "Thank you," she mumbled awkwardly.

"You're welcome," rumbled back to her ears as she set off ahead of him to fall into step beside Maggie.

Before she knew it, they were more than comfortably ensconced in the back of an impressively long limousine, Maggie and Trish on one butter-soft leather side and Mr. High-Powered-Executive on the opposite seat, facing them.

Maggie reached across and caught Trish's hand. "Are you okay?" she asked quietly.

The tears returned instantly, and she barely choked out,

"Yeah. I’ll live – it’s just not easy." Her tone did not invite further conversation as she stared out the window.

Reed took the opportunity to study her and make comparisons between the cousins. Physically, they were opposites, with exception of the fact that neither of them was as fashionably skinny as they were "supposed" to be. Where Maggie had shortish, almost silver blonde hair, her older cousin’s longer locks tended towards a darker blonde, with a lot of reddish highlights. Trish was a few inches taller, but was just as well-blessed with a lovely, ample figured as Maggie. He’d heard a lot about Miss Tricia Barton from his gushing right-hand woman, and he was interested to see if any of the advanced publicity held true.

~ ~ ~

- 4 -

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KEPT

When they arrived at her cousin’s house, Trish reached for her three heavy bags, but got "the look" from Reed until she backed off. Jeez, the man was potent, came the errant thought, even in a three piece suit! Maggie laughed and put her arm around Trish’s shoulders as they walked into the new colonial style house. "He’s a great boss, but everywhere except the boardroom he leans a little towards chauvinistic – in a good way," she hastened to add, chiding herself for saying too much.

Maggie and her husband, Kell, were blissfully in love and almost parental in their concern for their favorite relative, even though Trish was four years older than Maggie and tended towards almost rabid independence - especially since the messy divorce -

even to her own detriment at times. It had been Kell’s idea to invite her down for some R & R. Trish taught the fifth grade and generally adored it, but this past year had been hellish in more ways than one, and the cousins were frankly worried about her. Her mother’s passing after a long, debilitating illness threw her into a deep depression, and the lively, sparkling, funny person they adored was only just beginning to resurface.

Mr. Douglas seemed to know without direction exactly where to put her bags, so Trish took a moment for an all-over stretch, taking a deep breath in and out through her nose just the way Dave, her Yoga instructor, wanted her to and she – a confirmed, mouth-breathing asthmatic – rarely did. Maggie’s house was gorgeous and spotless, as usual, but somehow not sterile-feeling at all. It felt very much like home.

When Reed reappeared, Trish excused herself to change out of her pretty – but irretrievably wrinkled – travel clothes and into jeans and a flowered cotton blouse. A quick look at the mirror in the adjoining bathroom told her she looked only a little less worn and harried than usual, and could use a touch up of her light makeup since there was a disgustingly rich, eligible bachelor downstairs. Sometimes her Mother decided to pop into her head at

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Carolyn Faulkner

the most inopportune times. Instead, she wrinkled her upturned nose at her reflection and huffed as she turned away. She descended the stairs slowly and could hear quiet voices coming from the eat-in kitchen. " – never really been the same since her Mom died. She’s been so depressed lately. We’re worried about her."

A deep, firm tone suggested, "If you’re that concerned, then she probably needs professional help."

Trish frowned. Sometimes excellent hearing isn’t a good thing. Looking up at the ceiling, she lamented, "Well, Mom, I’ve only known the guy for five minutes, I’m not even my usual self, and he already thinks I’m a candidate for the loony bin! I think you can scratch him off the list of potential husbands, which is fine by me." Reed Douglas was just a bit too potent for her, she’d already decided, which was great because it meant the pressure was off for her to impress him, or even behave particularly well.

That thought – that she was, under normal circumstances, not the best behaved person – brought a genuine smile to her lips.

Maggie crossed over and hugged her tightly. "Well, that’s it. Tennessee agrees with you already – you’re smiling! You’ll have to stay the rest of the summer!"

Trish snorted. "I don’t think so! I’m not much fun right now

– I’ll probably be wearing out my welcome within the next five minutes!"

The conversation wandered aimlessly from there, with Reed only contributing slightly. He was busy watching Miss Patricia Barton as she moved easily about her cousin’s kitchen. It was obvious that these two were more than cousins – they were good friends. Both seemed to enjoy cooking, and dinner preparation was a team effort where the two women’s styles blended well. They finished each other’s sentences and added to each other’s recipes

- 6 -

BacksideOfLove.com

KEPT

with the casual familiarity of long time association. Once or twice, he even thought he caught an almost smile on Trish’s sad face, a quick flash of humor that couldn’t quite be suppressed. It lit her face from within, and Reed found himself wondering what she’d be like when she surfaced from beneath the shroud of melancholy she’d wrapped so tightly around herself. It surprised him to realize that he wanted to be there when that happened, and even try to help extricate her, maybe.

Hmmmmmmm.

Kell’s arrival was cause for more tears and kisses and openly affectionate hugs. Kell kept Trish by his side with a casual arm around her waist, and Reed’s hands clenched into fists involuntarily, so that he had to consciously relax them. It was the most unusual reaction he’d ever had to a woman, and he wasn’t at all sure he liked it.

Reed could afford to have pretty much any woman he wanted. Generally, they leaned towards world-weary socialites who had the same interest in commitment that he had – none – but who enjoyed the finer things in life and was used to having them. He could take them to the ballet or the opera or an exclusive restaurant and not worry that they were going to say or do the wrong thing.

And in bed . . . his sex drive was legendary; he wore out most of his partners, had them crying "uncle" well before he would have felt the need to stop. An overachiever in most things, Reed made damned sure that lovemaking was one of the things he excelled at.

No woman ever left his bed wanting more, or in any doubt that she was a desirable, beautiful woman.

Reed required monogamy from his women while they were together and remained entirely faithful himself for the duration of the relationship. Personally, he had always been a one-woman man, the result of having been raised by a wonderful, loving mother who was hurt too many times by her two-timing husband who seemed to

- 7 -

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Carolyn Faulkner

think that women – even his wife – were a convenience, like Kleenex, to be used up and thrown away. He’d left them when Reed was two years old. Although he had grown up in complete and utter poverty, he had always known that he was loved, and his mother had always told him that he could become anything he wanted. Reed knew from a very young age that the one thing he wanted to do in life was to take care of his mother in the way she should have been cared for, and he’d done exactly that. His mother had died several years ago, but not before he’d given her everything her heart desired – not that she’d ever asked for anything, the stubborn pain! She’d hated the cold, so he’d bought her a house in Florida, staffed it, took her on trips with him, made sure that, even the last moments of life she’d spent in his arms, were as comfortable as his buckets of money could make them.

BOOK: Kept
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