Saturday, September 29, 2012
Recently, I've read some interesting posts about perspectives I peripherally knew but never really understood, much less stopped to take the time to really think about.
The first was a post about men and their experience with being sexy. I'd never really thought about it the way the poster describes it; the idea that men so rarely are told that they're attractive.
Then I saw this, which again seems to speak to the actual online inattention and invisibility given to the majority of men. According to this, even the (and I hate this phrase) "Plainest Jane" will catch at least some attention, but males who don't fit the standard and classic definitions of attractiveness receive none.
That is so sad.
As women, we have such a strange and unavoidable relationship with our bodies and the way those bodies are presented and accepted in the world. It colors every moment of our lives from birth to death. It's impossible for us to think about what it would be like to have that relationship seem invisible or denied.
Personally, I'm always a little wary of being told that I'm attractive. Like most women, I have that odd relationship with my body--knowing that while some men and women will find it attractive and appealing, I'll never, ever be completely happy with it, will never be quite at ease with it.
Being plus-sized, small-chested, short-limbed, and of color, I've grown up with the fact that I will never be what fashion and society considers standard and classically beautiful. There will always be people for whom I am always and already not their cup of tea. And, short of drastic, expensive, and damned near impossible means, there is nothing I can do to change it.
But, I also know that even if, in any given room with any given group of people, I will likely never be the most attractive person, I will also just as likely not be the least. What can I say? Sometimes, that thought is the only thing that keeps me sane.
But, to seem so invisible, as the posters seem to be... I can't even conceive of it.
It led me to post my own query (apologies to those who don't have a FetLife account) about how men can feel make themselves feel sexy. From the responses, yes, it is such a different experience from that of a woman's.
So, to all the sexy, attractive, gorgeous men in my life, I see you.
Friday, September 28, 2012
The Taming School
An Excerpt - Part One
SAF 25 SUB VIRGIN
That was all Kat Valdez had written in her online ad. It was all she’d had to write. Really, if that didn’t get people’s attention, she didn’t know what would. Tired of feeling like a spinster waiting to shed this staining status, Kat logs onto a BDSM forum to look for a way to lose her virginity.
Moderator of the forum, Peter Richards, knows that sex isn’t limited to just one act. That sensuality isn’t straight-up sex, that weakness isn’t submission, and innocence is not virginity. And, before he finishes with Kat, he’s determined that she’ll know that too. He'll make sure that she doesn't dismiss or discount herself anymore. Before they’re done, he will teach her to understand and love the full breadth of her virginity.
The more they explore kink and play together, Peter discovers something different—something special—stirring within himself. As he touches Kat in every possible way he can, her indomitable spirit touches back. During their time together, he can see her changing. Growing. Under his tutelage, he can see her becoming the stronger, more confident woman he knows she can be. The woman he hungers for.
And, for the first time in his life, Peter knows that this time he wants to play for keeps.
She liked his home. It teetered that fine line between the masculine and the feminine, leaning on the grace and beauty of both. She felt comfortable there—even in her nudity—as if she’d been there and walked its rooms countless times. It was nice.
Idly, she walked to the big round dining table, letting her fingers trail its edge. There, wrapped up prettily, was a box. She wondered what was inside. It looked expensive, expertly wrapped the way that it was. The glitteringly gold wrapping paper was perfectly creased and folded and the shimmery, deep green ribbon was tied in the kind of big, floppy bow that she’d never seen outside department store displays.
Kat had grown up lower-middle-class and unaccustomed to having luxuries—always scraping by paycheck to paycheck. The gift box alone looked too lavish for someone in her income bracket, never mind the gift inside. She was afraid to touch it.
But because Peter said she could—because he’d gotten it just for her—she did, carefully undoing the bow before rolling the ribbon neatly. Then she carefully turned the package over and scrounged around for the hidden strips of tape, before gingerly peeling back the paper from the box. She lifted the plain white cover and reached inside.
Kat practically moaned as her fingers grasped the soft silk that ran smooth like liquid lust through her hands. She pulled the forest green robe from the box and held it against herself. It wasn’t the polyester-blend synthetics that she’d admired in the stores. It was real. She’d never felt anything so sinful in her life.
She grinned as she slipped it on, letting the fabric drape over her before tying the sash around her waist. Unlike the long-cotton robes she’d tried on in the shops, Peter’s gift didn’t drag on the floor or pinch in the sleeves. It fit as if it’d been tailored for her, created for her.
She felt like a queen.
On a whim, she took the green ribbon from the table and wound it around her head, binding her long hair into a bun at the base of her skull.
She felt like a gift. She wanted to give herself to him.
With her mind on Peter, waiting for her in his office, Kat made her way up the stairs. Taking a deep breath, she knocked on the first door to the right.
Peter waited until he heard the door shut behind her before glancing up leisurely. He’d chosen his office as their meeting place for several reasons. It was the seat of power in his house. The place where he ran his lucrative technological securities business. The place where he was boss.
It also made for a great image. The wall behind him was almost all window, backlighting him with soft twilight, with a postcard-esque backdrop view of the ocean—making an otherwise stark, almost Spartan room seem like the frame to a magnificent work of art. His desk, the most prominent feature in the room, faced the door with the rest of furniture—all dark leather and polished mahogany—set around him, angled toward him, making it—and by extension, him—seem larger and more imposing. An elegant, older female client had once remarked that, if the ancient gods could have modern day offices, they would look like this.
But none of it compared to the vision she made standing in front of his desk in his gift.
Damn, he thought, trying his best to ignore his burgeoning erection.
He’d chosen the robe online the night he’d met her—while his mind was still full with the vivid memory of her—liking the color and cut for Kat. The deep leafy green draped over her dark brown skin, putting in his mind thoughts of Daphne and Diana, mythic figures whose virginity hadn’t made them innocent but instead made them strong.
He wanted to give her that strength, wanted to see her use it and own it. To wield it like a weapon against the world. Against him.
“Have a seat,” he said matter-of-factly, determined to make quick the usual niceties and agreements. Treat it like a business meeting. Quick and efficient. Because he had better things he’d like to do with her than converse. So he steeled himself, putting play out of his mind and focusing on the task at hand. He trained his gaze on her, feeling ready and calm.
But then she sat down. Settling deep into one of the cushy, brown leather chairs across from his desk, she’d let her robe part to frame her thin, but shapely legs like a curtain before opening act. He groaned, anticipating his own explosive denouement.
God, he could just imagine the feel of those legs, that looked just long enough to wrap around his waist, clinging desperately to him as he thrust deep and hard inside her. He swallowed roughly, his hunger a brutal thing raging inside him. Peter caught himself staring—leering—at the barely covered juncture between her exposed thighs before snapping his attention upward.
Damn, he thought again.
He’d chosen the robe’s long length because, while he planned for her to spend a good deal of their time together naked, there were times—in particular, this moment—where he needed both their minds clear, alert, and aware.
But just the way the robe dipped and flowed over her body, opening to reveal while still cleverly concealing, made his mouth water and his mind fog with lust. With toes barely scraping the carpeted floor, she crossed her legs primly at her ankles, the play of shadows between her thighs mesmerizing before disappearing into the close. Double damn.
He cleared his throat as he adjusted his glasses. “We need to discuss the rules of our arrangement,” he told her.
“Okay,” she said, her voice breathier and just a pitch higher than normal. She was nervous. To be expected, but in the midst of her nerves was excitement too. Peter could feel it coming off her in waves and his cock instinctively twitched.
“Thank you for the robe, by the way,” she said, fingering the soft material over her tanned, toned thighs. “It’s beautiful.”
“It suits you,” he said more gruffly than he’d intended, his eyes still following her fingers’ every flick over the silk. He felt his fist fiercely clench just to avoid reaching out to touch and grab and take.
Lord, he had to find his bearings. This was not the way this worked. Not the way he worked, turned so completely on by a robe! Albeit an expensive, designer, silk robe specially ordered to fit her precisely and to perfectly display her every asset, but still a scrap of cloth. Certainly nothing to get this excited over.
But it wasn’t just the robe. It was her. The whole package. Her small, sweet voice reminiscent of school-girl fantasies had him wondering if he had a ruler, one of those sturdy twelve-inch wooden ones, somewhere in the house. The way she sat with her hands folded on her lap, tucked between her knees, was unconsciously sexy—both pushing her small breasts together to reveal delicious cleavage between the folded halves of the robe and drawing his attention lower. Ever lower. Her features made every moment a test in restraint. Even her posture, deferring and dipped just a bit—making her already tiny form even smaller—made him feel huge and foreboding in a way that he’d never really experienced before with any other woman. The rush was incredible.
He shook his head and bit back a groan. Get it together, Richards, he ordered himself.
“The rules,” he started again, standing to stalk the room. “The first being that I am in charge.” He moved to stand at the back of the large, leather chair, standing behind her, over her. “Say it.”
She shifted to face him, but Peter laid his hands on her shoulders, keeping her firmly in place. He wanted her here, like this, for a little longer. Understanding, she settled back down, facing forward, her spine straightening into perfect posture. She nodded and stated clearly, “You’re in charge.”
“Good girl,” he said, soothing his hands over the silk before removing his hands. “I am in charge. Not you. You will do what I say, when I say it, and without question, because you want to please me. Don’t you, Katherina?”
“Yes, Peter,” she murmured emphatically, making him swell.
“In addition, you will not do anything without my express permission. Any deviations from my precise instructions will result in punishment. And I promise, you will not like it, is that understood?”
Again, she answered dutifully, “Yes, Peter.”
“You will give yourself completely over to me. Not just your body, but your mind—your thoughts, your desires, all of it—without hesitation. Do you have questions on any of this?”
“All right,” Peter told her, moving once again to face her with his arms crossed in front of him, the ridge of his erection scant breaths from her lips. “Your second rule, you will rid yourself of everything from your everyday life—clothes, jewelry, stress, worries—before you enter this house. I may leave you instructions that you will follow exactly. At the end of each of your stays, I may have more instructions for you. You will follow these guidelines perfectly, even while you are outside of this house. Do you agree to this?”
“Do you understand what this means, Katherina? Do you really?” he asked. “You will be mine in every way until our contract ends. You will do whatever I want whenever I want however I want or you are welcome to leave. Once you leave, you cannot come back. Do you understand?”
This time she paused slightly, understanding weighing heavy in her mind. He gave her the moment she needed in order to be sure. He saw her take a deep breath before answering. “Yes, Peter.”
“Good,” he told her, laying a gentle hand on her head. A glimmer of a smile played on her lips. Lord, his hand nearly shook with the need to pull her face a quarter of an inch further so her lips would lay flush across his fly. He imagined his fingers threading through her hair as his flesh parted her smiling lips on an impassioned “o.” Instead, he patted her head before crossing his arms again. “Moving on, tell me, do you know what a safeword is?”
She nodded her head, the tip of her nose just barely brushing the front of his bulging pants. In a breathy voice, barely loud enough to hear, she said, “It’s a word you say when you want to stop, when you’re hurt or uncomfortable with what’s happening.”
“It’s more than that,” he told her, staring down his nose at her sitting stiff and wanting with her gaze locked on his hard-on. “In BDSM, the mental games we play are just as important—if not more so—than the ones we play with our bodies. Often these games make us face parts of ourselves that we didn’t even know existed, tests the boundaries of what we thought we were capable of, within a safe space of our own control. In order to do that, you must give yourself completely over to that space, must commit to it fully, leaving everything else out. Safewords are the only things that exist outside that space. With those words, you can decide the fate of the game. You, Kat, have three.” Peter paused to tip her head back, letting his fingers glide over her hair until they cradled her skull, so she was looking into his eyes. Her black eyes were so wide, almost all dark pupil, and hazy with her own eager hunger. Her lips were parted, her breath coming out in quick, heated pants. “Green means you’re good and the game can continue as is. Yellow means you want the action to slow down, but the scene can still go on. Red means you want to scene to stop. Repeat this back to me.”
She swallowed, licking those full, pink lips before replying, “Green means I want the game to go on. Yellow means I want it to slow down. And red means I want it to stop.”
“Exactly,” he said with a curt nod. “If I ask for your color, you will respond with one of those words and only those. Any other response will be ignored or possibly penalized.” He leaned in close and, digging his hands into her bound hair, he gave a slight tug, just enough to hurt, to get her attention. He wanted to know she heard him. This was important. He pulled her head back to stare into her black eyes, sparking with hot-edged fear. He leaned in close and whispered, his voice a raspy rake against the soft curve of her cheek. “You could scream and beg for me to stop and it wouldn’t mean anything—not one thing, Kat. All the tears in the world wouldn’t protect or save you. You could strike back at me and all I would do is bind your hands and feet and punish you. Severely.” He gave one last tug, sharp enough to make her wince and suck in a harsh breath, before loosening his grip to gently massage the back of her head. Leaning back again, he watched as her eyes fluttered shut in response, practically purring at this small, tender gesture. “But with one word, either yellow or red, you can stop my hand, stop the game. So, Katherina, what’s your color?”
Thursday, September 20, 2012
The most creatively suggestive, perverted, or insulting book displays for Fifty Shades of Grey
My faves have to be the kids books and religious books right next to them. There used to be a FANTASTIC Atlantic Books in the Mall of America where they had what we called "The Holy Trinity." It was a spot in the middle of the store where you were in the middle of the best genre placement ever, where the children's literature section, the erotica section, and the religious section made a perfect triangle. I always wondered how much the porn sales were helped and hindered by the fact that you KNEW some holier-than-thou church lady and a mother with her toddler were watching you skim the titles.
It never did seem to bother us much though...
I just signed my novel The Taming School with Sizzler Editions. As celebration, I wrote this little teaser. Think of it as extra credit! It does happen after the novel so, if you like it, please check my novel The Taming School to discover how Kat and Peter got together. Please, enjoy.
Kat Valdez bit her lip as Peter Richards led her toward Donovan’s. It was strange—a little wrong—that it felt so uncomfortable and awkward coming here. It’s not as if she’d never been there before. In the nine months that they’d been dating, Peter had taken her to Donovan’s, a fairly trendy downtown bar and grill, on several occasions. They’d grabbed drinks there, had dinner and dates there. Hell, they’d even met there. It really shouldn’t feel so unfamiliar.
But, as she stared at the large, mostly untrafficked oak door in the back of the restaurant, Kat knew this wasn’t going to be like the other times before.
She took a deep breath and stared at that door. It looked heavy and old, stained a dark, glossy umber, and its thick, black hinges were beginning to rust. It held secrets, that door. Housed things few people ever got to see or know.
“Are you sure you’re ready?” Peter asked, turning to face her, his hazel eyes concerned behind his wire-rimmed glasses. “We don’t have to do this tonight.”
No. Kat scrunched her brows together. They did have to do this. Tonight. She’d put this off for too long. Peter had been a part of Donovan’s exclusive membership for years now—more than half a decade—but he hadn’t been to a party or an event for almost a year now.
Because of her.
Because she hadn’t been ready.
Tonight, she would be ready. Even if she wasn’t so sure she was at this very moment.
So she bit her lip and nodded. “I’m ready. Let’s go in.”
Peter smiled at her, calming her nerves instantly with just that simple but familiar gesture. He grabbed the strap of his toy bag, shoving it further up his shoulder before touching her cheek. He grabbed her hand in his larger, lighter-skinned one, squeezed—letting the familiar callouses and scars strengthen her—and opened the door.
It was a little disappointing that behind the Wonderlandian door was just concrete, gray and dully ordinary. She frowned as they made their way down stark, black metal stairs that trailed down in a helix. The stairs opened to a hallway, revealing a concrete cave making up the walls, ceilings, and floors.
Peter had told her that the parties were held in the bar’s basement. He had. It’s just that, she supposed, she hadn’t been expecting the party to be in—well—a basement. It was all just so plain for a playspace. So much more common than she imagined a kink party to be.
They were on the last few steps before she ever heard a sound, just a sigh, high-pitched and breathy. It existed in that very tremulous state between pain and pleasure. A place Kat knew well.
They stepped down onto the concrete floors and the smell of leather and sweat swept over her, an earthy aroma under the musty cellar smell. Suddenly, she could hear the mix of voices, a chorus of conversation accented by harsh strikes of wood or leather against skin and the sweet cries of ecstasy.
“Peter,” a man greeted as he held out his hand. The man was tall, broad, and very intimidating. A massive mountain of man, covered in tight, black leather like armor. Next to her Peter—who was so sweet-looking, an alter-ego Dom hidden in Clark Kentish, computer-nerd clothes—this man looked...a little frightening. “It’s been awhile.”
“Yes,” Peter said, taking the man’s hand in a friendly shake. “I’ve been a little busy,” he said, nodding toward her. “Rand, I’d like to to meet Kat.”
“Kat, huh?” the man asked, raising a curious eyebrow at her. He gave a decided, appreciative nod toward her. Kat shrank under his assessing gaze. For a second, she wondered if, maybe, Rand might be one of those men with a foreign fetish—those men who treated Asian girls like collector’s items. But then he grinned cheekily. “You’re first time in our little club?” he asked her, still looking her up and down.
She nodded. “Is it really that obvious?”
“You have that look,” he said with a bit of a mocking grin. “Like your not sure if you should bolt or jump right in.” His grin widened as she gave an acknowledged tilt of her head. “Let’s go grab a drink.”
Peter tucked Kat’s hand into the crook of his arm as he followed Rand through the throng of people gathered around the foyer area. They grabbed three cans of soda from a table in the back that held a tempting buffet of food and drink before making their way to another room off to the side.
Kat sucked in a deep breath as they entered the playspace.
She’d never played anywhere except at Peter’s house, bent over or tied up to his bed or his couch or a chair. Sometimes, if they were feeling daring, he’d take her outside in his yard, using trees or ladders or even the tall fence shielding them from his neighbors’ lawns.
She’d never seen anything like the massive structures feng shuied around the large open room for optimal usage and viewing. Even the ones she recognized—like the spanking bench in the corner with a woman bent over the padded velvet or the bamboo, ladder-like A-frame that had a man trussed to it—she’d never seen any of it up close or in person. Even the massage table looked unfamiliar, covered in black leather and studded with gleaming metal grommets with hooks and eyes.
Rand led them to a set of open chairs near a large, metal suspension frame, the crisscrossed scaffolding like an adult jungle gym, with a thin androgynous bottom held contorted in the air by a spider’s web of knots. Kat watched as the top, a woman whose face was tight in intense concentration, moved with dancer’s grace around her bottom as she wove the rope around and through in intricately deliberate patterns. It was beautiful. Like watching art in motion.
Kat bit her lip and wondered what a scene like that would be like.
“Hey there, handsome,” a sultry voice purred behind them. “How’s it hanging?”
Kat turned and blinked at a gorgeous, African American pin-up girl dressed up in a two-piece lingerie play at a Pan Am flight attendant. She was posed with her gloved, long-fingered hands squeezing Rand’s shoulders. She tilted her head and flashed a welcoming grin, her pill box hat cocked jauntily as she saluted him.
“With you here, Pip?” Rand asked, squeezing her ample ass underneath her short skirt, causing her to squeal and chuckle throatily. “Let’s just say that I’m in the full upright position and ready for take off.”
The woman just laughed harder, smacking him on the shoulder playfully with more confidence and surety than Kat was sure she’d ever felt in her life. “You are so crude,” Pip scolded with a shake of her head, her curly cloud of black hair bouncing about playfully.
“You love it,” he said, grabbing her around her thighs and pulling her close. “You going to play tonight or are you just here to cock tease the room?”
Kat watched the tall, leggy woman tip her head thoughtfully. Pursing her full, dark lips, Pip hummed, tapping a long, manicured nail against her angled cheek. “I can find the time, if you can,” she said with a smile.
Rand snorted and smacked her butt. “All right, Pipsqueak,” he joked as she jumped. He jutted his chin out toward the towering scaffolding. And the odd cross between a pommel horse, a step stool, and headless rocking horse seated next to it.
Kat saw Pip straddle the horse as Rand bent low to adjust the legs to her considerable height. Kat squirmed as she watched Rand place her heeled feet on the horse’s thin, rocking rests. Her gaze narrowed as Pip’s body jerked up just as it touched the row of vicious-looking edges carved into the horse’s body that bit into her flesh whenever she put weight on it. Kat stared as Pip tried to balance the now rocking horse as it forced her body back and forth against those cutting ridges, her wince half-way between a grimace and a smile.
Kat worried her lip as Rand trussed up Pip’s arms, forcefully raising her body taut and high to hang from a high bar on the frame. Cautiously, Kat scanned the room and saw other people stopping to watch the scene as well. The couple who’d been playing on the spanking bench, now sat curled up on the matted floor in a corner, cuddling as they enjoyed the show.
The Dom still working his sub over on the A-frame paused mid-strike as he heard Pip squeal at Rand’s smack to the back of the horse, causing it to again sway uncomfortably beneath her.
Even the couple playing on the frame with them were watching, grinning as they watched Pip squirm and sputter curses at Rand who just laughed and pushed or tugged at this and that.
“Now that I have you safely strapped in,” Rand chortled, “let’s see how you handle some turbulence.”
“So funny, Captain Jacka—”
Kat gasped as Pip’s foot slipped off its narrow rest, causing her to drop hard onto the horse. A loud, pain-filled yip escaped Pip’s lips as the ties on her arms pulled and her thighs crashed down on ridges. Kat winced at the mix of sympathetic moans and gleeful giggles aimed at Pip’s rocking, writhing, ranting form.
Kat’s lips thinned as she turned away. She didn’t think she could do that. Have a room full of people watch her while she was so vulnerable and helpless. Have them all smirk and laugh while she wrestled and panted, out of control and at the mercy of her emotions and sensations. Her chest tightened and her face paled as she heard all the twittering, expectant coos from the crowd when Rand pulled a long, harsh, leather crop out of his bag.
“Now,” he said with a menacing smirk, “sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight” He laughed. “If you can.”
Kat stood up as Rand pulled back his arm to strike the still struggling Pip, the room’s every sound and breath jeering in her ear.
“Kat?” Peter asked, touching her arm.
She shook her head and pulled away. She had to leave. She couldn’t breathe in here.
She turned to leave.
Ignoring his hiss, she rushed through the rooms, pushing her way through the people and up the spiraling stairs to get to the door. Shoving the heavy door open, she thrust herself out into the dark night.
“Kat,” Peter called as he stepped out the door after her. “Kat, what’s the matter? Where are you going?”
Kat covered her face as she kept her back to him. She shook her head. “I can’t do this,” she whispered into her hands.
“What was that?” he asked, coming close to place a hand at her waist.
“I can’t do this!” she repeated as she whirled away from him.
He sighed and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Aw, Kat.”
“I’m sorry,” she groaned, “but I can’t do this. Can’t be...” She paused, waving her hand toward the door. “That.” She wasn’t that girl. To do what they did in private, what was so intimate and personal as that, in front of all those people? She shook her head. “I can’t,” she murmured sadly. She wished that she could—could be the kind of girl Peter wanted, the kind of girl he deserved—but she just couldn’t. It just wasn’t in her. She just wasn’t strong enough. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered.
They stood there in the shadows of Donovan’s back lot, still and silent, for a long moment. Kat’s shoulders slumped under the weight of her own disappointment. She’d thought that she was ready. Thought that she’d come far enough to brave this.
Now she knew that she hadn’t.
And she just couldn’t see herself ever doing so.
God, that was just so pathetic.
“Kat,” Peter said, his voice low and thick, “look at me.”
She pressed her face further in her hands. She couldn’t face him. She just couldn’t. Not now. How could she ever face him again? Knowing that she was holding him back. Knowing that she was denying him the life that he wanted. Because she wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t experienced enough. Because she wasn’t enough.
“Kat,” he said, the warning and demand clear in his voice.
She took a deep breath before thrusting her hands back through her hair, pulling on the long strands before peeking up at him. She winced at the hard expression on his face.
“I asked you if you were ready,” he reminded her softly, matter-of-factly, even as he crossed his arms over his chest. “You said that you were.”
She bit her lips and nodded. She’d thought she was.
“I told you that we could leave,” he said. “That we could do this later, when you felt more comfortable.” He leaned back, resting his weight on his heels. “You told me that you wanted to come.”
“I’m sorry,” she said again miserably as she looked away. “I just—”
He held up his hand, cutting her off. “The offer still stands,” he interrupted. “I brought you because this is what you said you wanted. If it’s not,” he said with a shrug, “we’ll go.”
Kat turned back to him with surprise. Really? Her brow furrowed.
He shook his head as he stepped toward her. He touched her face, cupping her cheek as he brushed his thumb across her skin. “I,” he paused, his jaw locking on the words they’d both been avoiding for months now. “I care about you,” he settled on. “I care about who you are and what you want.” He pulled her close, wrapping her in his arms. He cradled her head against his chest. “I would give you anything you asked.” He kissed the top of her head sweetly. “So ask.”
Kat pressed herself close to him, breathing in the strong, woodsy scent of him, letting it and his strong arms around her soothe her. She stared over his shoulder at the door behind them. At the secrets it held. And the promises it offered.
That she could be what he needed, what he wanted, what he deserved.
That, somewhere in its depths, she could find a way to be his match.
“Come on,” he said, holding her tighter, “let’s go home.”
Kat planted her feet, holding them both in place as Peter tried to steer them toward the car.
“Kat?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
She bit her lip, staring—really studying—him in the parking lot’s dim light. “Do you know what I like best about you?” she asked him. Peter sighed and shook his head as he stood back. “You know just how to push me—”
“I don’t want to push you,” he insisted, shaking his head and frowning. “I should never have taken you here.”
“Encourage me, then,” she amended. She licked her lips nervously as she began to pace. “I get scared sometimes,” she admitted. “I can,” she sighed, rolling her shoulders, “get overwhelmed or panic sometimes. Over nothing, really.” She shrugged helplessly. “It’s just that I’ve been hiding this,” she said, gesturing to herself, to the club, to him, “my fantasies and desires, for so long. Facing them in front of other people, even in front of you—and myself, for that matter—can be hard sometimes.”
“I know,” he said, his voice rough. “And I am so proud of you. Always.”
Kat smiled, letting his words settle over her frayed nerves. “Thank you,” she said, her eyes beginning to water at little as her mouth wobbled. “You’ve been so patient with me,” she said.
“You’re worth waiting for,” he assured her as he stepped closer to her, stroking her arm. “And I’m not going anywhere. We have time; I’m in no hurry.”
“And I think that’s why I trust you so much,” she told him, placing a hand over his. “Because, whatever I decide, you’re there for me. Supporting me. You challenge me to do and try new things without ever making me feel like I have to. Without ever making me feel bad for hesitating or doubting.” No, he would never do that; she did that herself. She smiled and took his hand in hers. “It makes me want to do and try all those things. You make me feel safe enough to want to.”
He brought their joined hands to his lips, kissing the back of her hand. “What are you saying, Kat?” he asked. “Tell me what you want.”
Say the words. Kat inhaled deeply. “Wanna play?”
He grinned. “Always, Katherina,” he said, his voice a sexy rumble. “What do you want?”
The words. “I want to play,” she stated. “With you. Here. Now. I want to show everyone.”
“Show them what?” he asked, squeezing her hand.
“Us,” she said simply.