Undone Diva

Undone Lovers, Book 3

Lila Dubois

Chapter 1

Emory tapped the pages on the edge of his desk, and then slipped them cleanly between the flaps of a folder.

“Are you nervous?” Mary, his assistant, stood and took the folder. She stepped back, eyed the chair she’d been sitting in, and moved it half an inch to the left.

Emory’s office was small and exquisitely furnished with mid-century modern pieces and cool neutral tones. Everything from the furnishings to the location—just off Wilshire Boulevard near Rodeo Drive—was engineered to meet clients’ expectations. While traffic in the area, especially in tourist season, was a nightmare, part of him appreciated the art deco aesthetic of the building exterior. This place had life. His colleagues’ cookie-cutter faux mahogany desks and perfectly portioned private offices in the high-rises of Century City were more convenient, but lacked soul.

Emory noted a work stoppage in the legal timekeeping software that was always up and running on his computer. “No, I’m not nervous.”

“You sure? She’s very pretty.” Mary didn’t smile—that wouldn’t have been dignified or appropriate—but the corners of her eyes crinkled slightly with the faintest touch of amusement.

“She’s a client, and she’s an actor.” Emory held back a tired sigh. As an entertainment lawyer, he had his share of actor clients, but he rarely had to interact with them. Most of his work was done with agents, business managers, and assistants. Today would be a rare exception. In approximately—he checked the brass and glass clock in his desk—ten minutes he would have a face-to-face meeting with one of his biggest clients.

Sasha Brazil was a movie star in every sense of the word, though she certainly wasn’t the American sweetheart or the girl-next-door type. She was an action star and fashion icon. Her last action movie had held the number one spot for three weeks in the summer and, according to Mary, she’d single-handedly set the beret trend this past fall.

In the past five years, Emory had worked with Sasha’s agent and manager on contracts, clearances, and deals, but he’d never met her in person, or even spoken with her directly.

She was beautiful, rich, sexy and, by all accounts, a complete pain in the ass.

Mary stacked the file on top of the other papers she carried. “Is there anything else?”

“Do we have her beverage preference stocked?”

“I have it under control.”

“As always.” Emory smiled. “Thank you, Mary.”

“I’ll buzz you when they get here.”

Emory turned to his computer as the door closed behind Mary.

Sasha’s manager hadn’t provided specifics as to why they requested the meeting. All he’d said was that it was an emergency. Emory had done his due diligence, but as far as he was able to determine, all her current contracts were in order, with no consequential deviations to any of her standard riders for trailers, food, and points. He highly doubted whatever they were coming in for was something that a reasonable person—a legal standard that had no bearing in Hollywood—would consider an emergency. In the real world, the fact that Sasha’s dressing room hadn’t been stocked with the correct brand of mineral water or granola wouldn’t be an issue, but in entertainment law those were crises of the highest order.

With a few minutes to spare, he did a quick image search for Sasha Brazil. His screen filled with images of movie posters, paparazzi shots of her in sunglasses and caps holding coffee cups, and photographs from glamorous red carpet events. He clicked on one of her in a short black leather dress.

There was no denying she was beautiful. In this particular image she had short black hair framing her cheekbones and perfect lips. Her skin was sun-kissed golden, her eyes deep brown. In the photo she posed with her back to the camera. Part of a tattoo showed over the back of the dress—a pinup girl in a catsuit. He’d seen photos of the tattoo before, and negotiated the digital removal clauses in her contracts that kept it from showing up on the big screen.

His desk phone beeped discreetly—Mary’s signal that the client was in reception. Emory blanked his computer screen, checked to be sure his desk was clean, then stood and took his suit jacket from the hanger inside a cabinet on one wall. He buttoned the top two buttons of the jacket and adjusted his tie.

Everything was in its place, just the way he liked it.

There was a short rap on the door, then it opened and Sean Christie—talent manager, otherwise known as a glorified babysitter—steamed in. It was a little odd that he’d been the one to call, rather than Sasha’s agent, but there was little point in speculating when the client was walking in, and Emory would have his answers shortly.

Sean held the door open and waved his hand a few times. Agitation came off him in waves.

In contrast, the woman who walked in behind him was a picture of calm. Not the calm of sunlight in a meadow, but calm like the ocean at night—dark and dangerous.

She wore the requisite oversize sunglasses. A fedora was tipped at a rakish angle over her shoulder-length dark hair. Her body was neatly displayed in skintight jeans and a corset-style top under a black leather jacket.

Emory gave her a quick once-over, not as her lawyer but as a man. Pictures might show her beauty, but no photo could capture her presence. She exuded power and sexuality as if it were perfume.

“Emory, this is a disaster.” Sean dropped heavily into one of the visitor chairs. His jeans were distressed, boots had too many buckles, and his T-shirt was perfectly fitted and looked soft as a cloud.

Sasha calmly removed her sunglasses and hat. She ran her fingers through her hair, then looked at Emory.

Their gazes met and Emory had to bite down on his reaction. She was beautiful in the way goddesses were beautiful—exquisite and terrifying. Adrenaline surged through him, a primal reaction driven by need—the need to touch her, feel her skin against his. Emory prided himself on being in control at all times, and yet he was reacting on a nearly biological level to her. He hadn’t had such a visceral reaction since he was a teenager.

Emory took one long, slow breath. When he let it out, he had himself under control.

“Ms. Brazil, it’s a pleasure to meet you in person.”

“Mr. Setter.” She nodded but didn’t offer her hand.

“Sasha, we don’t have time for this.” Sean tapped his fingers on his leg, then gestured repeatedly at the second chair. “Sit down.”

Sasha looked at Sean with contempt, her upper lip curling slightly before she sat, crossing her legs and showing off her knee-high boots.

Emory circled and took a seat on the opposite side of the desk, thumbing open the buttons on his jacket as he did.

“What can I help you with?” Emory flicked his gaze between client and manager. Whatever was going on, it was clear that Sasha and Sean weren’t on the same page about it, and that was never good.

“We have a problem and we need you to make it go away,” Sean said.

Emory held back a sigh. Celebrity “problems” were never like normal people’s problems.

“What’s the problem?”

Sasha shifted, the skin around her mouth tightening. It was the first sign of discomfort he’d seen from her.

“She,” Sean said with an almost accusing glance at Sasha, “made a sex tape.”

Emory’s first thought was that as her attorney, he’d definitely need a copy of that.

“All right,” he said, “I assume you’re here because somehow you’ve been excluded from any profits?”

“Excuse me?” Sasha’s voice was icy.

Emory raised a brow. “If you made a sex tape with someone, I assume you have plans to profit from it?”

“You think I did this on purpose?”

“Yes, I do,” Emory said calmly. As of yet, he had never heard of a sex tape that hadn’t been planned either for profit or publicity, no matter what the public story was.

“Well, I didn’t. I wouldn’t.”

Emory nodded slowly. “I’m sorry for my misunderstanding. Perhaps you could give me a more robust explanation. Then I’d be better able to help you.”

But Sasha dropped her gaze and said nothing. Sean was watching her and he sighed.

“She’s being blackmailed.” Sean pulled a thumb drive from his pocket and passed it over. “This could ruin her career.”

Emory’s heartbeat sped up. Blackmail was a far more serious problem than he’d anticipated. “I fail to see how a sex tape could damage your career. Though it would provide a brief period of higher notoriety, your reputation—”

“That’s exactly the problem. What’s on this tape will destroy her reputation.”

Emory examined the thumb drive, intrigued despite himself. He looked again at Sasha, who kept her head down. Something was not right. There was one way to find out exactly what that something was.

*

Sasha bit the inside of her cheek as her lawyer plugged in the thumb drive. The whole situation was that much worse because Emory was smoking hot, in a repressed lawyer kind of way.

He had the interesting features and skin tone that said mixed race, though his dark hair was cut and combed in that boring side part that screamed lawyer or accountant. His skin was a yummy caramel but he had bright-blue eyes. He wore a navy suit with a pale blue shirt and regimental tie. Very modern while still conservative.

How she could be focusing on the man’s clothes at a time like this she didn’t know.

She would have given every cent she had, every piece of designer clothing, each of her expensive cars, to keep from having to show anyone, especially her hot lawyer, this video.

But that was the problem—if she gave in to the blackmail, that is exactly what would happen. She’d give everything she had, everything she’d worked for, and the video would probably still be released.

“I have the video up.” Emory’s voice was smooth and modulated. He was completely unruffled by the fact that they’d waltzed in here with a sex tape and a blackmail scheme and dumped both on him. From his reaction, or lack thereof, she could almost believe there was a way out of this mess, though she knew there wasn’t.

Sean, the obnoxious little twit, circled the desk to stand beside Emory’s chair and watch. If not for the fact that Sean knew what she liked and needed, she’d fire him. He was awful in a crisis.

There was a crackle of static, then the background hum of the video filled the office. Unable to sit still, Sasha rose, fiddling with her hat and glasses as she paced the small room.

“What are you?” The man’s voice on the tape was low and harsh, just what she’d wanted.

Her own voice was faint. “I’m naughty.”

“And what happens to naughty girls like you?”

“They get spanked, Master.”

Sasha winced as she heard herself. The video was a violation worse than anything she’d ever experienced—and she’d been through some bad things. It was bad enough that she had this shameful need, worse that now it might expose her for something less than what she’d turned herself into.

“That’s right. Do you need a spanking?”

“Yes.”

“Beg for it.”

“Please spank me, Master. I need to be punished.”

Acid rolled in Sasha’s stomach. How could she have been so stupid as not to realize it was being taped? All these years she’d been so careful, and now the whole house of cards was about to fall.

“Do you see what I mean?” Sean was moaning and gesticulating wildly. “It’s not even some normal sex tape. This goes against the image we’ve spent years building! This can’t get out, the studio will replace her in the next Wood Strike movie, she’ll never get another female fighter role, and her image will be ruined.”

All those things were true. The thought of losing her career, her identity as Sasha-the-action star, was sickening, but that wasn’t the worst of it. If he found out… Sasha shuddered.

Emory watched in stunned silence as a masked man hogtied Sasha. The video was dark and grainy, Sasha’s skin a strange green color indicative of a low light or “night vision” camera. Despite the grainy quality, her naked body was clearly visible, her limbs long and supple. There’d yet to be a good shot of her fully nude, but there were plenty of her face. The video had started with her on her knees, head bent, though she was visible only from the shoulders up. There’d been a quick shot of her breasts as she stood and bent over a chair to have her ass paddled, and now she was face-down on the bed as the man looped rope around her wrists and ankles.

She was a BDSM sub. If he hadn’t seen for himself, he would never have believed it. Sasha Brazil was tough, smart, stylish, and in control, not submissive—sexual or otherwise. No wonder they were worried.

“I’ve seen enough.” Emory paused the video. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Sasha’s shoulders sag in relief.

“We’ll all be ruined!” Sean circled back to the other side of the desk and dropped into his chair.

“Sean, perhaps you could wait outside.” Emory was tired of the other man’s near hysteria.

“Why?”

“You’re not helping,” he said frankly.

“Okay, okay, I need some tea or something anyway.”

Sean touched Sasha’s arm as he walked past. She had yet to turn around.

The door closed behind Sean, and Emory got to his feet. Sasha turned. Her shoulders were tense, her face expressionless.

Emory couldn’t believe it. She was a sub.

Of all the women in show business, she was the last he’d expect to be a submissive, which, he now understood, was exactly the problem. She was known for being tough-sexy, not submissive-sexy. Her roles as the ball-busting action-movie heroine would dry up if this tape got out.

Then again, it was possible that she wasn’t really a sub, but had simply been experimenting.

“I understand your concern.” Emory chose his words carefully. “This is not fitting with your persona.”

She snorted delicately, her hat mangled and crushed in her right hand, giving evidence to her anxiety.

“Please describe the circumstances that led to this video being made.”

Sasha paced his office side to side, her long legs eating up the distance in only a few steps. “I made arrangements to spend time with a…with the man in the video. I didn’t know he was taping it, and I didn’t tell him who I was. Yesterday I received this copy of the video with a demand for one hundred thousand dollars or the tape would be given to the media.”

Emory bent to make a few notes on a sheet of paper.

“And when did the events in the video take place?”

“The first of this month.”

“And where?”

“Columbus, Ohio.”

That surprised him and he looked up.

“Why were you in Columbus?”

“For that. To meet with him.”

Emory rubbed his thumb against his lips. There were still a lot of questions, a lot of gaps in this story, but he had a suspicion about what had happened.

And if he was right, it would mean that she wasn’t just playing at submission as part of a kinky sex game.

“You’re not being entirely truthful with me.”

“I’ve told you everything you need to know.” Her eyes flashed with dark fire as she faced him down. “Do your job. Make this go away.”

“It’s more complicated than that, and we both know it, because there’s more than this video, isn’t there?”

Her chin notched up. “Deal with the video and everything will be fine.”

Emory came around to the front of the desk and leaned back against it. “There are two possibilities as far as I see. The first is that you’re enjoying some casual sexual experimentation and decided to try some BDSM.”

She jolted when he said “BDSM” and Emory grew more certain he was right.

“The second is that you’re a true submissive.”

Her lids dropped. It was only a split second before her fierce gaze met his, but Emory had caught it, her instinctive submission, evidenced in nothing more than the lowered gaze.

“All I want,” she said, voice a mix of silk and steel, “is to know what you plan to do about my problem.”

“And what problem is that? The tape or—” He pushed off from the desk and walked toward her. “—your need to be dominated?”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I don’t?” They were face to face, so close Emory could see the flecks of gold in her irises.

“Step back. You get one warning.” Sasha’s tone was cool and she radiated aggression and danger.

Emory circled until he stood at her back. She kept facing forward but threw her glasses and hat onto a chair as if she wanted her hands free. Emory grimaced. If he was wrong he was probably about to get his ass handed to him by a girl.

“I know what you need, what you want.” Very carefully, he slid his fingers under her hair and touched her nape. She started to turn and he wrapped his hand around the back of her neck, holding her tight. All she had to do to break free was take a step forward. She could easily get away.

But she didn’t. Sasha oh-so-slowly bent her head. He pulled the collar of her jacket down and pushed her hair aside, exposing bare flesh.

“You’re a submissive.”

She let out a long breath but didn’t say anything.

Emory delicately tugged her jacket off her shoulders, pushed it down her arms until it dropped to the floor. His focus was absolute, every bit of his attention on her, searching for a sign or signal that he was headed down the wrong path. “Are you a submissive?”

She didn’t answer, but when he put his hands on her shoulders and applied gentle pressure she dropped smoothly to her knees. Emory sucked in a breath. He’d never seen anything so arousing as this beautiful, powerful woman kneeling. Even fully clothed she was more alluring than any other woman he’d come into contact with.

“Sasha, answer my question.”

“You know the answer.” Her words came out through gritted teeth. Emory circled to her front and tipped her chin up with one finger. Her eyes were flashing fire and the muscles in her jaw working. Her fingers curled into fists and uncurled. From the back she’d seemed calm and accepting, but that was far from true.

She was at war with herself; he could see it in her eyes, read it in her body language.

He had his answer.

Emory held out his hand. Confusion flitted across her face. Gingerly she put her fingers in his. He pulled her to her feet, then turned back to his desk. He took a seat in his chair and focused on his computer, giving her time to compose herself. That was a mistake, because he still had the video up. The Sasha on the screen was naked and ready. The masked Dom had one hand between her legs, the other on the ropes that bound her.

Emory took a moment to compose himself before turning his attention back to her. She’d taken a seat in the chair across from him. Her jacket was back on and her face was a cool mask, only her eyes showing inner turmoil.

Emory smiled blandly—his client smile—and pulled his notepad and pen toward himself. “Perhaps we could be more honest about the situation surrounding this video and the extortion attempt.”

“You seem to know a lot about it.”

“About the video? No, all I have is supposition.”

“Not about the video. About…me.”

Emory steepled his fingers, pressing his thumbs into his lower lip. He studied her for a moment, then said, “Though I don’t normally discuss my personal life with clients, in this case I think it’s only fair. I am an active player in the BDSM community. I’m a Dom.”

Sasha licked her lower lip, then leaned back in her chair to study him. “I can see it. You as a Dom.”

“I tell you only because it seems fair that you understand where my knowledge base comes from.”

“Is that how you talk when you’re topping? All studious and boring.”

“That’s not relevant to this conversation.”

“It’s not? You just got me on my knees. I think I’m entitled to be a little more personal.”

“My apologies for that. I needed to confirm my understanding of the situation.”

“And what is your,” she crossed her legs, dark eyes flashing, “understanding of the situation?”

“You’re a high-profile woman. Your sexual needs are the antithesis of your brand. I can only assume that in order to meet your sexual needs you’ve been seeking out professional Dominants, or men you trust not to tell your secret. Since that trust has been betrayed, I further assume you put your faith in the wrong man, or that he realized there was more money to be had through blackmail rather than merely the payment you gave him for services rendered.”

“I didn’t hire a hooker.” Sasha snarled the words. “You think I need to pay for my needs?”

“It might be safer to have involved a professional. If you didn’t hire a sex professional, then how did you meet the man in the video?”

She uncrossed her legs and sighed. For a moment her fierce expression slipped and she looked tired and a little scared. Emory blinked in surprise. It was the first time he’d really thought of or seen her as a person, rather than a client. Unexpectedly, his heart clenched for her.

“I found him on a message board. I never told him my real name. I had Sean run a background check on him before I went out to meet him.”

“Why Columbus?”

“That’s where he is. I lied and said I lived nearby. I always leave the state. Usually people will say that I remind them of someone, but no one has ever figured out who I am. Until now.”

“We’ll put aside how dangerous it is to meet men out of state, without your bodyguards, and focus on the situation at hand.” Emory made a quick note of what she’d told him so far. “What concerns me is what may be out there besides the tape itself.”

Sasha’s brows drew together in confusion for a moment, then her eyes widened. “Oh fuck.”

Emory nodded grimly. “You signed a BDSM contract, didn’t you?”

“Of course I did. I thought I was being smart.”

“It’s the responsible thing to do.”

“Until you get blackmailed. Fuck!” Sasha smacked her hands on the arms of the chair and pushed to her feet.

“Do you have your copy of the contract?”

“No, I threw it away. I assumed I was done with it.”

“We can assume he retained his. Did you fill it out by hand?”

“No, we negotiated the contract and the contents of the session online. But I signed it.”

“With your real name.”

“No. You might not believe it, but I’m not stupid.”

“I would think you’re stupid if you hadn’t negotiated or signed the contract. What concerns me is that even if you signed a false name, it will be possible to match your handwriting. If this were to go public, someone would go to the trouble of matching your handwriting, were he to sell not only the video but also the contract.”

“It’s not just the contract. I also signed a Risk-Aware Consensual Kink form.”

“Appropriate.”

“Stupid. God, how could I be so dumb?”

She pressed her fists to her forehead and paced.

“Sasha, please remain calm.”

“Easy for you to say.”

“Tell me about the man in the video.”

“His name is Don, Donald Sawatsky. He’s been part of the scene in Columbus for ten years. I emailed one of his regular subs, who said he was a good Dom. Like I said, I had Sean do a background check. He’s an insurance broker or insurance adjuster. Something boring.”

“Did he give any indication of having identified you when you were with him?”

“No.”

“How was the blackmail threat delivered?”

“It came to Sean’s office. He said it just came in the mail.”

“So he identified you, then found the address of your manager.”

“Yes. There was the flash drive and a demand for $100,000. He said I had three days to pay and he wanted the money transferred to his account.”

“An offshore account?”

“No idea. It was…ten digits I think. I stared at it plenty.”

“I’ll get that information from Sean, but that sounds like a domestic account. I don’t think this man is a professional blackmailer who intentionally sought you out.”

“And again, fuck. I never even thought of that. If that were true, it would mean that people knew, that people could find out…” Her voice trailed off.

“There’s no need to panic, as it seems that it’s not the case here. It sounds like our Mr. Sawatsky was being opportunistic.”

Sasha braced her hands on the back of the chair she’d been sitting in and bent at the waist, bowing her head. Her position was vaguely reminiscent of how she’d been in the video—bent, ready to be used. Emory wanted her like that. He wanted to protect her, and fuck her, to have her spread-eagled on a bed and to hold her close while promising everything would be all right. They were violently contradictory feelings. With no time to examine his reactions further, he turned to the issue of the day.

“This problem is solvable.” Emory already had a few ideas of how to make this go away. All of them legal, none of them ethical.

“It is?”

“Yes. I’ll need everything Sean has, but I anticipate that we can take care of this. Please do not worry.”

“Right. That’ll be easy to do. My whole life hangs in the balance, and your advice is to relax.”

“There’s nothing you can do. You came to me. I’ll take care of it now. As your attorney, I’m advising you to have no contact with Mr. Sawatsky.”

Sasha met his gaze. There was a tense moment when he could see she was battling to control her fear and anger. She nodded and dropped into the chair.

“I’ll keep my distance.” She picked up her glasses from the other chair and fiddled with them. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Emory glanced back to his computer screen and the frozen grainy image of her naked body. He closed the paused video and faced Sasha once more. “I have another piece of advice, which you’re not going to like.”

She raised a brow.

“You cannot have BDSM sessions anymore.”

Sasha tensed. “I’ll be more careful.”

“No. It’s too risky. You’re lucky you haven’t faced this issue earlier. If this video were made public, I can only assume that anyone else you’ve been with, especially if they remarked on your resemblance to the actress Sasha Brazil, would come out of the woodwork, looking for their 15 minutes of fame.”

“If you’re really in the scene, then you know I can’t just…put away my feelings, my needs.”

“I completely understand, but unless you have the luxury of living the lifestyle full time, you need to protect your vanilla life. For you, the only foolproof way of protecting Sasha Brazil is to keep the needs of Sasha,” he had to search his mind for a moment for her real last name, “Menezes as secret as possible.”

“I have no desire to be some full-time house slave.” She sneered the words.

“That’s your choice, but not the point I was trying to make.”

“I know your point. You think I have to be some kind of nun.”

“No. I’m saying you need to find someone trustworthy, maybe a full-time partner—”

“No,” she shouted the word, nearly coming out of her chair. There was fear in her eyes. “I won’t do that a—”

She cut herself off, turning her face away, but Emory was sure she’d been about to say “again”. Perhaps she’d had a bad experience with a regular partner, or in mixing a relationship with BDSM play.

“There are several men in L.A.’s BDSM community I know and trust. I could introduce you.”

“No. I don’t play in L.A.”

Interesting. He’d have to find out more about her past.

“Sasha, you need to understand—”

“I do understand, I’m the one being blackmailed. You don’t seem to understand.” She threw her glasses against the wall where they fell to the ground, broken.

Slowly, Emory rose. “Control yourself, Sasha.”

She glanced toward him. Their gazes met. No words were exchanged, but Emory saw her need and knew what she wanted.

She was going to throw a tantrum, let out the anger and fear she was feeling. She was going to do it so he’d have a reason to punish her.

This sub needed a spanking.

Chapter 2

Sasha whipped around, need, anger, and fear all roiling and bubbling inside her in a chaotic mix. The past few days had been a nightmare and she had nowhere to put those feelings. She wanted, needed to be touched. To be dominated. And right now she wouldn’t settle for just anyone. She wanted her sexy lawyer’s hands on her.

It was quite the coincidence that her lawyer, whom she’d never even met before today, was a Dom. But then again, if there was one thing Hollywood had taught her, it was that people were always darker and more fucked-up than they pretended to be. Everyone had a secret, and hers was in jeopardy.

“Control yourself, Sasha.”

“Don’t tell me what to do. You work for me.” She was taunting him, hoping to goad him into giving her an outlet for these terrible feelings.

“No, I don’t work for you. I’m your attorney, not your housekeeper.” He was standing in front of his desk, hands casually in his pockets, the sides of his jacket pulled back. He was buttoned up, so prim and proper, but he looked good enough to eat. His shoulders were broad, his waist trim.

“Well then, do your fucking job.”

“Sasha, enough.”

“No, not enough.” Sasha stalked toward him. She hoped he couldn’t see that inside she was scared. All she wanted him to see was the anger, the brattiness she couldn’t seem to help.

“Sasha, if you need something—”

“What I need is for you to do what I pay you for, and not just stand there telling me how to run my life.”

Her face was inches from his. She could see the ring of darker blue around the outside of his irises. He smelled good, a cologne she couldn’t place on top of the smell of man.

“Don’t raise your voice to me.”

“Or what?” Sasha raised one hand, prepared to shove him.

She never got the chance.

Emory grabbed her wrist. Stepping away from the desk, he jerked her forward. Sasha grunted as she stumbled, but Emory turned her arm, pulling it up behind her back. His other hand went around her waist. He pulled her close and whispered in her ear, “You’re getting a spanking.”

In the next breath he’d forced her down over his desk. He grabbed her other wrist and pulled it to the small of her back, shackling both wrists with one hand. The wood was smooth and cold against her cheek. Sasha closed her eyes when he reached under her and undid her pants. A voice in her head said she should protest, she should push him away and fight a bit to mask how great her need really was. But she didn’t want to fight, she wanted to be dominated.

He jerked her pants off her ass, pushing them down around her thighs where they bound her legs together. Sasha jumped when Emory touched her bare bottom. His fingers skimmed along the edge of her panties, which looked modest, but were cut high in the back to show off the bottom of each ass cheek. Then he explored the seam down the middle, running his fingers back and forth along the crease of her ass. His fingers paused to stroke the rosette of her anus through the fabric, rubbing her until she was trembling with arousal.

All pretense of fight left her. She relaxed against the desk, her fingers limp. “Yes. Please,” she whispered.

He jerked her underwear, pulling the fabric hard against her sex, then roughly gathered each side of her panties to the center, exposing the cheeks of her ass.

“You will thank me after each strike.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“You will not move from this position.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“We begin.”

The first spank landed, the slap loud and sharp in the otherwise quiet office. Sasha exhaled as the tingling pain spread through her bottom. Oh yes, this was what she needed, wanted.

“One, thank you, Sir.”

The second, third, and fourth blows landed. Her ass filled with heat. Each breath she took smelled of paper, furniture polish, and man. She licked her lips, her cheek rubbing against the polished wood of the desk. Her “thank you’s” fell from her lips in quiet puffs of air.

After the tenth spank, he rested his hand against her ass.

“I’m going to touch you, intimately. Because we don’t have an understanding or a contract, I want to ensure that you’re amenable to being touched this way.”

Sasha smiled to herself, amused that she’d been right—he did talk all prim and proper when he was topping. But the thought, and the amusement, were fleeting. The more important feeling was that her emotions had morphed from a frenetic need to be dominated to belly-deep sexual arousal.

“Yes, I’m…amenable.”

“Very well.” He released her wrists. “Reach up and grab the edge of the desk. You’re not to let go.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Sasha grabbed the opposite edge of the desk. He pulled her panties down around her thighs, the fabric dragging over her abused skin. Emory switched to her other side, his right hand resting on the small of her back. His left hand rubbed her thigh, her ass. Grumbling with frustration, Sasha arched her back, pressing her belly into the desk and tilting her hips, trying to entice him to touch her wet, needy core.

He didn’t take the bait, didn’t obey her. His fingers continued their slow exploration of her exposed ass. Only when it seemed that she’d go mad with need did he give her what she wanted.

His hand skimmed the inside of her thigh, up to her sex. Two fingers slipped between the lips of her pussy, then pushed deep into her. Sasha moaned in pleasure, her body arching. His fingers were buried in her, his thumb stretched up to rest in the cleft of her ass, pressing on her anus while the knuckle of his ring finger rubbed her clit.

He pulled his fingers out, then thrust them deep.

“Yes, please. Yes,” she begged.

He worked his fingers in and out of her. Pleasure slithered and twined in Sasha’s belly. She was gripping the desk so hard her fingers hurt. She couldn’t hold still, she didn’t even try.

Smack.

He slapped her quivering ass as he finger-fucked her. The small, sharp blows filled the air with the sound of flesh-on-flesh contact, the sounds barely louder than her gasps of pleasure. That bit of pain pushed her over the edge.

Sasha pushed up on her elbows, hands curled into claws against the wood as a deep orgasm shuddered through her. He kept pumping, his knuckle now rubbing her clit in quick circles. It kept her on the edge of orgasm, dancing that point between pleasure and ecstasy. She wanted to scream in pleasure, but she settled for a low moan. It seemed to go on forever, the pleasure like a fire inside her burning away her worry and fear.

When there was no more in her, she collapsed on the desk, panting heavily.

“Beautiful.”

Emory worked his fingers in and out of her a few more times, though he stayed away from her too-sensitive clit. The reminder that he could do with her body as he pleased sent a fresh shudder of pleasure through her.

Finally, Emory withdrew his fingers. He pulled her panties up over her ass.

“You may dress.”

Sasha took a moment to gather herself before pushing off the desk. She turned her back on him, not wanting to face him. She pulled up and fastened her pants, hissing between her teeth when the fabric touched her abused ass.

She was sweaty and sticking to her clothes. She shed her jacket and folded it over the back of one of his guest chairs, tracing the stitching in the leather with two fingers as she forced her sub deep down inside where she kept her hidden. It always took her some time to come back to her public persona after a session, even one as brief as this. Uncomfortable moments like this, when she was neither movie-star Sasha Brazil nor needy-sub Sasha, were scary for her.

“Sasha.”

“I need a minute.”

“No. Face me.”

Sasha wavered, still caught between her need to obey a Dom and her need to tell her lawyer to go fuck himself.

Choosing the easy path, she turned to face him, gaze lowered.

“You’re a beautiful submissive.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“Until I’ve taken care of the issue you brought me today, I’d like you to be as discreet as possible.”

Sasha’s lips twisted with distaste at his words, but he wasn’t done.

“That’s why I’d like you to come to me.”

She looked up for a moment. Their gazes met and held.

“Come to you…as a sub.”

“Yes. I believe we would enjoy each other, and it would protect you from another situation like the one you’re in.”

Sasha blinked, not sure how to feel. Sexually, she wanted him to touch her again, but the cold-blooded proposal was off-putting.

“Thank you, but I will be more careful.”

“If you found our session just now distasteful then say so. Otherwise I’ll be the one meeting your BDSM needs.”

He left no room for argument or dissent. Sasha shivered as his will, his command, washed over her.

“Yes, Sir.”

“Good. Now I want to maintain the boundaries between our professional and sexual relationships—on a going forward basis.”

“Good idea.”

“Then I’ll formally end our session. Come here.”

Sasha took a few steps, until they were close enough that she could feel his breath on her face.

Emory caressed her cheek, tipped her chin up, and kissed her.

Sasha melted into his arms. The spanking had been all fire and burn, like whiskey. This was champagne—bubbly and intoxicating.

He pulled away, their lips clinging until the last second. She blinked her eyes open in time to see something that might have been surprise, might have been confusion, in his pretty blue eyes.

Then his gaze shuttered and he pulled away. He walked behind his desk and took a seat.

Sasha turned, touching her lower lip wonderingly. She shook herself and forced the feelings down. It was time to be Sasha Brazil.

With a deep breath, she locked away her sub, then returned to her chair. She pulled on her jacket and sat, smoothly crossing her legs.

Emory picked up his phone. “Mary, send Sean back in, but before you do, please confer with him on his schedule. We’ll need to meet tomorrow at his office. Also check in with Ms. Brazil’s assistant.” Emory looked at her and Sasha tensed. “I’ll need a meeting at her home on Saturday.”

* * * *

Sasha took deep breaths as her Pilates instructor hooked her feet into the straps and helped her roll up until she was balanced on her shoulders, her body in a giant C that required a huge amount of core control to maintain.

“Engage your core. Now push against the straps. Feel it in your glutes.”

Sasha’s concentration wavered as the mention of her glutes made her think about being bent over Emory’s desk getting a spanking. Her left foot slipped out of the loop. Her instructor, a lithe former ballerina, caught her leg in strong hands.

“That’s enough for today.”

“Sorry, I lost focus,” Sasha said as she disengaged from the Pilates machine.

“You got in a solid workout.”

“Thanks.”

Her instructor took Sasha through a series of cooldowns and stretches, then left. When she was alone, Sasha took a bottle of water from the fridge in her home gym. Leaning against a weight machine, she turned the bottle between her palms.

Emory.

He certainly hadn’t been what she’d expected. There was no doubt that he was very lawyer-y, with his precise words and three-piece suits, but he was also more commanding than she’d expected. And that was before he’d dominated her.

Setting down the half-drunk bottle, Sasha flopped down on a large exercise ball, lying on her back to stare at the ceiling.

As wonderful as their session had been, the further she got from it, the more mixed feelings she had about it, and about what was to come.

The arrangement made sense—he was a Dom, she was a sub, and right now she needed to keep that fact a tightly held secret. What could be simpler than having someone who now knew her secret, and who had a vested interest in keeping her secret, be her Dom?

And that was the problem. The whole thing was too practical. It was boring.

If there was one thing Sasha hated, it was boring.

His cold precision had been exactly what she’d needed that day in his office, but she worried what he would be like in a longer session. Even as a sub, she was not particularly patient. For her, there was a fine line between extending the scene for the sake of sexual tension and taking too damn long.

Emory seemed as though he might be one of those Doms who’d spend hours and hours examining her hair. Boring.

Then there was the fact that she felt, well, easy.

To the uninitiated, a submissive was by definition easy, but that wasn’t true. Most Doms had to work for it. Once they had her, yes, she was theirs to do with what they liked, but she’d learned, after some very hard lessons, to protect herself. At least, she’d thought she had. Most men told her how lucky they were to have her, if even for a night.

Emory had just…topped her and then declared that she was his. He didn’t work for it. Part of Sasha couldn’t help but wonder if he really wanted her as a sub or if he was protecting his client, his investment.

It was more likely that he’d been so excited to discover his hot actress client was a sub that he’d wanted to box her in before she could get away.

But that didn’t seem like something her calm, cool, and collected lawyer would do.

Which brought her right back where she started, and left her with the conclusion that he didn’t really desire her. She was just a sub he was willing to top, for her own good.

Grimacing, Sasha rolled off the ball and looked at herself in the wall of mirrors on one side of the room. She twisted to the side to check her ass, her breasts, in profile.

She was hot, she knew that. She was known for it.

Disgusted with herself, Sasha headed for the stairs up to the main floor of her house. This was why she didn’t like having men in her life; she spent time she didn’t have obsessing.

At least obsessing about Emory and their upcoming session had stopped her from worrying about the blackmail.

“Jayne!” she yelled as she came up the stairs.

Her assistant appeared in the doorway to the office. “How was your workout?”

“Good. I’m feeling restless.”

Jayne’s eyes widened. “Oh shit.”

“Aww, don’t be like that,” Sasha said with a grin.

“You seriously don’t have space for any more cars. Or clothes.”

“There’s always room for more clothes. Plus, you know you love organizing closets.”

“Damn, you know me too well.”

“I’m going to shower and change and then we’re going to go recklessly spend money on frivolous things.” Fuck the blackmailer—she wasn’t going to close herself up like a hermit and count her pennies in case she had to pay him off. She was going shopping.

“You’re borderline insane,” her assistant said, phone in hand to notify Sasha’s security team and driver.

“Trust me, I know.”

* * * *

Emory rolled his neck, trying and failing to relieve the tension at the base of his skull and in his shoulders. This day’s work had left a bad taste in his mouth, but he did what he needed to do to protect his clients.

Mr. Sawatsky was in debt and behind on his child support payments. That explained the blackmail attempt. The insurance adjuster seemed boring on paper, except for his BDSM predilection, which was not exactly secret because he paid for his Kink.com subscription on his debit card.

One effective way of neutralizing a blackmailer was counter-blackmail.

Though he disliked doing it, Emory had gone after the man in what he assumed was his weak spot—his child.

He’d found a YouTube video of Mr. Sawatsky’s teenage daughter playing the starring role of Peter Pan in her high school musical. After that, it had been a simple matter of making sure Mr. Sawatsky realized that he was in far over his head.

Emory had Sean send an email to the principal of the daughter’s school, informing him that Mr. Sawatsky had nominated his daughter for movie star Sasha Brazil’s Strong Young Woman award. Miss Sawatsky had been selected as first runner-up and would receive signed merchandise from Sasha’s latest movie, a plaque, and her school drama department would receive ten thousand dollars.

In the letter, he’d been sure to mention that Mr. Sawatsky’s application had included a video on a flash drive. He’d also included a consent form, which both parents and the principal had to sign. Emory had no doubt that Mr. Sawatsky would be showered with praise and thanks by his daughter and friends, and that signing his name on the consent form that formally and legally acknowledged his daughter’s award would scare him. Signing things usually scared people, as it should.

If all that didn’t have Mr. Sawatsky backing off, there were more direct, and more forceful, actions Emory could take.

For now, this was a start.

It was late, long past dinner. The drive from Beverly Hills to his home in Marina Del Rey seemed endless, though at this time of night it should take no more than thirty minutes.

Leaning back in his chair, Emory opened a browser and, with a vaguely guilty feeling, typed “Sasha Brazil”.

A flurry of pictures and blog entries popped. Dated today, there were paparazzo shots of Sasha shopping on Melrose. She was dressed in ivory-white pants, strappy heels, and a flowing shirt that had a few straps where the back of the garment should have been. The tattoo on her shoulder was ebony against the gold of her skin. Judging by the bags both Sasha and the woman with her carried, she’d been on quite the shopping spree. The title of one of the blog posts was “Hollywood’s Most Badass Chick Goes Badass Shopping”. Emory smiled to himself when he saw a shot of her coming out of Lulu L’Amore, a rockabilly boutique. He just so happened to know someone who worked there. For such a large city, L.A. could be dangerously small.

Soon, he’d have his hands on her.

Closing his eyes, Emory pictured her bent over his desk, her sweet ass exposed for his pleasure. She’d been warm, wet, and tight when he slipped his fingers into her.

It still amazed him that she was a sub, but after the soft way she’d looked at him, her ready obedience, and clear need for domination, he had no doubt. Deep inside an otherwise confrontational, aggressive woman was one of the softest, neediest subs he’d had the pleasure of touching.

She was too good to let go.

He winced as he remembered the way he’d told her that she’d have her sessions with him. He’d had no right, and he should have waited until she was out of sub-space to say anything. But he’d worried that once she’d scratched her itch, she’d build up her defenses and shut him down.

Everything he’d said was true—she needed to be careful, she needed to stick with someone she knew and could trust. The obvious solution was him. But all that logic didn’t touch the truth of the issue, which was that he wanted her.

She was a riddle he couldn’t solve, a puzzle he wanted to piece together, a woman too enticing to be resisted.

Emory just hoped she never found out that the real reason he’d demanded she partner with him for her BDSM needs was not for her own protection, but to satisfy his lust.

* * * *

The next day he pulled up outside her house. He was nervous.

He was an experienced Dom who’d played with dozens of subs in a variety of locations and scenes, and he was nervous.

Emory pressed the button on the call box and identified himself to Sasha’s assistant, then rolled up the window, and waited for the gate to open. Sasha lived in Santa Monica. Not the usual choice for a celebrity of her status, it was nonetheless one of the most expensive zip codes in the country. A junior partner in Emory’s firm lived not far from here, but it was in a one-bedroom condo about five blocks farther back from the beach and cost twice that of Emory’s condo in Marina Del Rey.

He didn’t want to know how much this had cost.

The stone driveway took him through a beautifully manicured front yard that included mature orange trees and man-height birds of paradise. He got his first good look at the house—a sprawling mansion with a modern Spanish aesthetic. Emory turned to park in front of the house, not sure if he should follow the straight leg of the driveway under the arch and all the way back to what he presumed was the garage. Erring on the side of caution, he parked on the curved drive in front of the house.

Going to his trunk, he selected a small duffle bag, leaving the larger case of toys. He mounted the steps, bag in hand, and rang the bell. The door was opened almost immediately by a blonde holding a tablet and two cell phones. It was the same woman he’d seen in the photos of Sasha’s shopping trip.

“Mr. Setter?”

“Yes. You must be Jayne.”

“Yes. It’s nice to meet you.” She opened the door and let him in, then held one of the phones to her ear and said, “Guest is confirmed.”

“Are you speaking with Sasha’s security?”

“She has two full-time security people who have guest quarters with me.” She blushed. “I mean in the back.”

“Do they travel with her?”

“Sometimes. Other times Sasha prefers to travel alone.” Now Jayne looked wary, and Emory wondered how much she knew. He assumed that she had to know Sasha’s secret, but if she didn’t, he wouldn’t tell her—just as she clearly wouldn’t tell him.

“That’s not advisable.”

“Well then, you tell her that.”

Emory raised a brow. “I will.”

“I’m sorry, I just worry about her.”

“Understandable.”

“Her appointment before you is running late.” Jayne checked the phone, then the tablet, expertly juggling the electronics. “You can wait in the front living room or get set up in the dining room if you need a table. The office isn’t really set up for guests.”

“The dining room will be fine. Thank you.” Testing the waters, Emory said, “I expect our meeting will last late into the evening.”

“Sasha said that. You’re blocked out on her calendar from now until midnight. Her schedule is open tomorrow too, except for a few hours to work out. I’ve prepared a room in the guest wing if you need it.” Jayne led him through the house to a massive dining room with a table large enough to seat twenty. “I have the night off, but I’m not going anywhere—I’ll be in the back house all night. If you or Sasha need anything, call this number.” Jayne fished a card from her pocket. “Or pick up the house phone and hit the button that says ‘Jayne’.”

“Simple and effective. Thank you again.” Emory placed his bag and briefcase on the glossy wood table. Though it was polished, the wood was old and battered, the surface of the table not perfectly flat. The chandeliers above were delicate iron rather than glittering crystal.

“Sasha will meet you here as soon as she’s able.”

Emory nodded and took a seat, pulling out his phone to check his email. When the door closed behind Jayne, he put the phone down and looked around. The house, what he’d seen of it so far, was much different than expected. He’d thought to find either sleek modern pieces and lots of glass, or opulent expense. The Spanish-style decor seemed out of place with either the tough movie star or the sexy submissive.

It was entirely possible that she’d either bought the house furnished, or simply had a designer do it.

Emory rose and walked the length of the room, examining the art and sculptures. As he wandered, he started to see Sasha represented, when only a moment before he hadn’t, though the space reflected her. A bold modern painting in teal and graphite black was as intense as she was. A six-foot sculpture of a woman emerging from stone was as interesting, while a seascape in bold blues and greens was as beautiful.

The door opened and Emory turned.

The fading daylight struck her, highlighting the gold of her skin and streaks of amber in her hair.

Nerves and curiosity both died away to be replaced by a desperate longing. He wanted her.

“Were you waiting long?” She closed the door, sealing them in together.

“No. Your home is lovely.”

“Thank you.”

She took a step but paused. Her eyes were unsure, almost wary.

“Sit.” Emory’s tone was the same, but the word was hard and demanding.

She pulled out a chair, easing gracefully into it. Returning to the table, Emory selected a chair of his own. Though they weren’t even in touching distance, there was an intimacy growing between them. An understanding of what would happen made the air thick and close.

He took a few documents from his briefcase.

“We’re going to identify our mutual interests and set ground rules before this proceeds any further.” Emory set a BDSM sex checklist in front of her on the table, then placed a pen precisely on top of it.

She didn’t move.

“It’s my own version, and includes some items not commonly seen elsewhere.”

Still no response.

“Sasha, you will—”

She shoved the papers across the table. The pen rolled off the edge and clattered to the floor. “I don’t need your stupid form. If you’re not man enough to do this, then just say so.”

Emory’s shoulders tensed. A sharp retort was on the tip of his tongue when he caught himself. Just as she was clearly wavering on the cusp of giving in to her sub, he hadn’t fully allowed his Dominant self to emerge. If he had, he would have immediately recognized what she was doing.

Like that day in his office, she was trying to push him to dominate her now. She wanted to excuse herself from the uncomfortable beginning of the scene and skip right to the good stuff by pushing him to put his hands on her and punish her.

That was fine for that day in the office. She’d needed it, and they’d had limited time to deal with the issue. Today was different. He would not allow her to top from the bottom.

Emory picked the pen up off the floor. Rising, he circled around behind her chair and placed the pen in front of her.

“You will complete the checklist. Now.”

She turned to look at him, searching his face. He stared at her until she dropped her gaze. A shiver ran down her back, and she picked up the pen and pulled the papers back into place. He returned to his seat.