Undone Lovers, Book 2
Dancing. She wanted to be dancing. She did not want to be doing paperwork.
Lulu tapped her toes in time with The Hellacopters’ Carry Me Home. The solid soles of her navy blue peep-toe heels made a pleasant clacking sound on the unfinished concrete floor of her pocket-sized office in the back of Lulu L’Amore. The store was her pride and joy, a place she’d built herself and which encompassed all the things she loved.
She did not have the same love for financial recordkeeping. Humming and jiggling in time with the music, Lulu checked the credit card machine printout against the sales records in her bookkeeping software. Luckily, there were no discrepancies. This month.
When the door alarm dinged, she looked at the video monitor mounted to the wall on her right. The new customer was a dark-haired man in a white shirt and black vest. His head was turned away from the camera.
On nights when she kept the shop open late—something she was testing as her stretch of Melrose Avenue gave birth to new restaurants and accompanying late-night foot traffic—she could sit in her office and watch for customers. Since she was just testing out these new hours, she was the only one working. It was just her luck that at 8:45, fifteen minutes before closing, she’d get a browser and have to leave her office, which meant staying after closing to finish paperwork.
Patting her hair to make sure that after a fifteen-hour day everything was still in place, Lulu hurried out. The stockroom was even more packed than usual. She’d just gotten in a shipment and there were boxes everywhere. The only area that wasn’t a mess was the corner where her friend Addie designed and sewed gorgeous rockabilly and retro clothing. Skirting a box, Lulu fixed her smile in place before emerging onto the colorful sales floor.
“Welcome to Lulu L’Amore,” she called out. Her salesgirl smile took on a tilt of real pleasure as she looked over the place she’d built.
Lulu’s was the hip, zoot-suit wearing world of the barrio in 1940s L.A. crossed with a modern-retro aesthetic and enough masculine touches to bring in male foot traffic. The walls were concrete gray, brought to life with graffiti style pinup girls, flowers, palm trees, and cars. The larger than life-size images of pinup girls—some scantily clad—may have had something to do with that male foot traffic.
Out here the floor was wood, tossed with leopard-and zebra-print rugs. Merchandise tables were custom-built from shiny chrome car parts topped with rounds of glass. Racks of dresses, skirts, and shirts lined three walls, the register on the fourth. The small men’s section had shirts, hats, and wallet chains.
The customer was standing near the front corner of the store, examining a table of vintage-inspired bra and panty sets.
Lulu walked across the floor, heels clicking over wood, falling silent as she crossed carpet, then clicking again.
“Is there something I can help you—?”
He straightened and looked at her.
Lulu stopped, sucking air between her teeth.
She knew him. She’d seen him before. Black eyes glittered under raven’s wings of straight black brows. His expression was as stark and unforgiving as the black and white of his outfit.
More precisely, Master Alton.
Three months ago, her friend Addie had taken a modeling job for a BDSM book. She’d agreed to model with three different men, each of them sexual Dominants—Doms—and well known and respected in L.A.’s BDSM community. Addie had been reluctant at first, worried it was a pornography project in disguise. Lane, one of the Doms, had helped her see how elegant and empowering BDSM could be.
To Lulu it had sounded like a great adventure, a chance to be the pretty pinup getting a spanking from the stern man in the suit. It wasn’t fashionable, but Lulu loved strong men, loved how they made her feel. Or at least she imagined they would—so far she’d only ever met controlling assholes with mommy issues.
Addie, who looked like a Hispanic Bettie Page, seemed more likely to give than receive a spanking. But to Lulu’s surprise, Addie had fallen for Lane, and was now happily in love with a man who was sweet, loving, and a Dom.
Some girls had all the luck.
But Addie’s modeling gig hadn’t been without drama. She’d only worked with two of the three Doms she was meant to. Lane had stepped in and gotten her out of the contract, stopping her from working with the last Dom. Lane didn’t want Master Alton, who was apparently the strictest kind of Dom, touching Addie.
Lulu heard all of this secondhand, and had been enjoying the drama, until Alton came looking for Addie.
Lulu still remembered the day he’d shown up. It had taken her less than a minute to sense the danger that rolled off him in waves. Something about the dark-haired six-foot tall block of muscle simultaneously fascinated and scared her. When he declared that he was here for Addie, Lulu had wondered if she was going to be running to call the police as Alton kidnapped Addie and took her to his dungeon. Instead, Alton had accepted Addie’s declaration that she was Lane’s.
But as he’d left, he’d said something.
Something Lulu hadn’t forgotten. Months passed and nothing happened, so she’d stopped thinking about it every time the door opened. Stopped wondering why he’d said it, and if he’d meant it. Stopped waiting in fearful anticipation.
As he left, he’d said he’d be back…for Lulu.
And now, he was back.
Alton watched her swallow, her breasts rising firm and tempting above the top of her dress as she took quick breaths. She was wearing a dress, a proper dress with a big skirt, little sleeves, and a tight-fitting top.
Alton kept women naked, but that dress, or her in that dress, was undeniably appealing.
“Alton.” Her voice was husky. He caught a glimpse of wide blue eyes before she dropped her gaze.
“Yes.” The word came out as a growl.
“I said I’d come back.” It had been a stupid thing to say. It had been stupid for him to come looking for Lane’s sub in the first place. He’d come because he wanted to understand her choice to be with Lane. Lately he’d been feeling as though he didn’t understand what subs wanted, which went against his fundamental worldview. His conversation with Lane’s black-haired sub had only increased the unease he’d felt. But the trip hadn’t been a waste because he’d seen the redhead. Lulu.
She was perfect, like the old-fashioned Barbies his sister collected. Strong, poised, confident, and intensely feminine. He was good at spotting submissives, but she didn’t show any of the classic markers—she wasn’t overly aggressive nor did she immediately bow to his male authority. She didn’t seem like the kind of woman who needed a Master to unlock her sexuality.
Yet when he’d looked at her, she’d met his gaze, and then lowered her lashes. In another time, the expression would have been called demure, but he sensed it was more than that. Submissive. The woman was submissive.
And so he’d said he’d come back for her, and in that moment he’d meant it.
After he’d walked out, he’d barely restrained himself from banging his head against a wall. He was too deep in the BDSM culture if he was wandering around telling women he was going to kidnap them, all because he sensed she might make a beautiful sex slave.
He’d tried to dismiss her from his mind. She was a normal, not a BDSM insider. Not an experienced sub. He couldn’t have her.
But Alton’s world was off-kilter. For the past year the life he’d built felt gray and uninteresting. Training and punishing pretty little sex slaves wasn’t fulfilling anymore.
He felt out of control. That would not happen. He wouldn’t allow it.
What he needed was a new challenge. As soon as he realized that, he knew exactly what, or more precisely who, that should be.
“You came back for…” She watched him from under her lashes.
Alton’s hands twitched with the need to touch her, to master her.
Lulu didn’t know what to say.
She’d convinced herself Alton’s parting words had been an empty threat designed to save face, nothing more. Addie and Lane had assured her that while Alton was “hard-core” he wouldn’t really come back to the shop looking for her. Lane said he’d talked to him, and Alton’s response—utter silence—had led them all to believe he’d been joking, or just trying to scare Lulu and Addie.
But here he was.
Butterflies in her stomach had her pressing her hand against her abdomen. His dark eyes tracked her movement, the focus in his gaze intense.
“Why?” she asked.
He shook his head. “I won’t answer that.”
Lulu jerked in surprise. “What do you mean you won’t answer?”
He scanned her face. “What are you asking me? Why I said I would come back?” He stepped away from the display table, his bulk making her store seem small and cramped as his arms brushed against racks and displays. “Or did you want to ask ‘Why me?’”
Lulu waited for him to come to her. She wondered if she should back up, if she should run for a phone or the pepper spray in the cute leopard-print carrier under the counter. He stopped, close enough for his size to be intimidating, but not so close that he’d crossed the personal space barrier.
“What did you want to ask me?” His voice rumbled pleasantly and he smelled good, like spice and earth.
Lulu thought why me? but asked, “Why tonight?”
Now it was his turn to jerk in surprise. Clearly he hadn’t expected her to ask that question.
“It’s been months.” Lulu gathered herself, mustering her courage. “I started to wonder if you said it only to save face after Addie took you down a few.”
“I… You… She…” The Heathcliff-worthy, brooding Master was sputtering and it was seriously cute.
Lulu bit down on the grin, managing to turn it into a closed-lip smile. She checked the slim silver watch she wore. “Would you excuse me for a moment? I need to lock up.”
Lulu locked the front doors and turned off the lights above the front window displays, but left the main lights on, just in case. She crouched down behind the counter to reach the controls for the music system. Taking a moment, she braced her hands on one of the under-counter shelves, looking at her fingers, at the costume pearl ring she wore. What was she doing? Why didn’t she just call Addie and Lane? They’d rush over here and get Alton out of the shop.
That was exactly why she hadn’t called them.
She’d been waiting for him to come back. She was curious. She was intrigued by the sexual world Addie blushingly described. And he was right. She did want to know why Alton had said he’d come back for her. Why her?
Lulu rose, smoothing her skirt. “Please accept my apologies. The store closed at nine tonight.”
“Of course.” He’d taken a seat in one of the wingback chairs in a small seating area. A low table held artistically messy stacks of books and CDs—all for sale. The chairs were piled with price-tag bearing throw pillows.
He sat with a straight back, knees spread, forearms resting on the arms of the chair.
“I’m going to ask you a question,” he said.
“All right.” Lulu took a seat in the chair across from him, crossing her legs at the ankle and tucking them under. He raised a brow at her response, and she realized he hadn’t actually asked if he could ask her a question, he’d told her he was going to.
“What you just said implied that you were—” He leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his spread knees. “—waiting for me to come back.”
Lulu took a breath. “I was.”
A smile cracked the stone mask of his face.
Until that moment she wouldn’t have said he was handsome. His face was too severe, his features heavy and dark, his whole bearing almost military. But that smile highlighted his chiseled lips, made lines at the corners of his eyes crinkle, and he had a dimple.
“Well, hey there, good looking,” Lulu blurted out, an answering smile on her face.
The smile disappeared. He frowned.
“Has no one ever told you how sexy your smile is? You should really smile more.”
He examined her. “If you were any other woman I’d think you were being flippant or sarcastic, or trying to get a punishment, but you seem…genuine.”
Lulu’s breath caught at the mention of punishment. “I’m being honest. You have a really nice smile. You must not smile much if I’m the first girl to tell you that.”
“Women do not dare to make comments about my appearance.”
His words thudded down between them as if a block of stone had dropped. Lulu swallowed, pressing her hand to her stomach again.
“You mean because you’re a…Dom.”
His gaze was so intense that Lulu looked away, focusing instead on the hollow of his throat revealed by the unfastened buttons at the top of his shirt.
“Your employee told you what I am, what she is?”
“Addie, my friend, told me about the modeling job, about how she was supposed to model with all three of you but she never did with you. Lane stopped her.”
“Lane claimed her for his own. Once he did that, it was his choice.”
Lulu’s hackles rose at his comment. “No, it was Addie’s.”
“No. Once she became Lane’s submissive, she turned over control of her sexual life to him.”
Lulu felt her mouth drop open slightly. “But, but that’s…” She couldn’t decide between barbaric, horrific, or sexy.
When she didn’t finish Alton said, “Domination.”
“She should still have a choice.”
“She had a choice—Lane. She must trust that he will make decisions pleasing to both of them, assuming her goal is greater sexual pleasure and freedom and not sexual servitude.”
Lulu shook her head. “I don’t understand.”
“BDSM is complex. If you’re not trained as a Master or slave, there’s no reason you should understand.” He stood and crossed the space between them. “But I think you’d like to.”
He touched her, one thick finger under her chin. Lulu gasped as a shiver raced down her whole body. She stared straight ahead—at his belt buckle. Her hands—one on her lap, the other on the arm of her chair—curled into fists.
“Why?” she asked again.
“Be more specific.” He traced his finger from her chin along the line of her jaw and back.
“You’re sexually submissive.”
Lulu took a breath and closed her eyes. His touch and words aroused her. Her nipples were tight buds inside the cups of her bra and she could feel the slick moisture of her arousal in her sex. This man was a stranger and yet she was sitting here letting him touch her.
It should have made her angry, or disgusted. Several of the so-called “strong men” she’d dated in the past thought her mannerisms and style meant she was ready and willing to have them take over every aspect of her life, or that she should ignore any-and everything—including her own desires and dreams—to cater to them. They wanted her to be submissive, so hearing Alton call her that should have made her pull back. But he hadn’t just called her submissive. He’d called her a sexual submissive. That sounded decadent and naughty.
“I’ve never…” She didn’t know what to say, so she let the statement trail off.
“You’ve never been in a formal BDSM scene or relationship.”
“But you’re curious. You’re interested.” He cupped her chin, tilted her face up until their gazes met. “And you’re aroused.”
She licked her lips and whispered, “Yes.”
She hoped he would smile again, but the stern mask was firmly in place. He dipped his head in a slow nod, then took a step back so her neck was not craned at an uncomfortable angle in order to see him.
“I will train you.”
“Train me? To do what?” Lulu’s fingers were starting to shake with a combination of nerves and fear.
“Train you to be a sex slave.”
Lulu jerked back at his words, the contact broken. His hand hovered in the air for a moment before dropping to his side.
“No.” The word came out shaky, so she said it again. “No. I don’t want that.”
“You don’t know what it means.”
“I know a bit. From Addie, and from the Internet.”
He raised his eyebrows, but Lulu held her ground. Disappointment was settling like a stone in her gut. Story of her life—she admits to finding him arousing and the next thing she knows he’s talking about making her his sex slave. According to Addie, “slaves”—as opposed to “subs”—were men and women who lived the lifestyle full-time. They slept in cages and ate out of dog bowls and never wore clothes. Lulu petted her dress nervously.
“The term frightens you.”
“Sex slave?” She had to force the words out. “Yes, it does. I’m not that. If that’s why you came back, I’m sorry.”
Alton considered her for a moment. “I don’t know what you’ve been told about BDSM, or me. When you train with me, you will put aside all that and see what I show you. Experience what I do to you.”
Damn. A fresh shiver of fear-flavored arousal shook her.
“I’m not going to be a sex slave.”
Alton inclined his head. “Perhaps not.”
Tension slipped from Lulu’s shoulders, but she was no longer blinded by her desire. She had to remember what they’d said about him. Lane had told Addie that at any given time, Alton kept five women naked in his house, serving him or being trained. He was like a sultan with a harem.
Lulu had always thought she’d make a rather good concubine—she was sexy and savvy.
But that was a fantasy. This was reality.
Alton retreated to his chair and took a seat. He braced his elbows on his knees, leaned forward. “You would like to know more about BDSM.”
“You would like to experience sexual submission.”
She gave half a nod, then stopped. “Do you know how to do things besides the submission? Addie told me that BDSM stands for Bondage, Domination, and Sadism and Masochism. Do you know how to do stuff besides the domination?”
His brows started to climb his forehead.
“No sadism or anything like that,” Lulu hurried to say. “But the…toys and, um, well.” Why am I still talking? Shut up, self!
Alton looked away. His gaze scanned her store from the paintings on the walls to the books on the table in front of her. He pulled one from the stack, a collection of racy and nude pinup photos, including several of girls getting spanked. She held her breath as he opened the book and flipped through the pages.
When he reached the end, he carefully closed the book and set it on top of the stack before looking at her.
He smiled. “Yes, I know about more than just domination.”
Lulu turned onto a tree-lined street in Brentwood and whistled. It was a warm day in L.A. but she felt the temperature drop as the house prices climbed, as if the heat didn’t dare intrude on the wealthy elite.
She checked the dot on her phone’s map, and slowed as it hovered near the end of the line, studying the house numbers on the right side of the street. When she spotted the gold numbers on the front of a sleek, modern home, she pulled in to the curb. The house was dove gray with sharp corners and square construction, almost as if it had been made out of Legos. But it wasn’t ugly; the lines and proportions were graceful and tall, with narrow windows cut through the two-story front. The door was situated through a bush arch, also square, to the left of center in a section of the house that was only a single story.
To the right of the house was a black metal and opaque glass gate across the driveway. Clicking through her phone, Lulu checked the message Alton had sent her.
When you arrive at the house, come up the driveway. Enter the code 2376# on the keypad. Follow the driveway to the guesthouse at the back. Park in any open space.
Lulu backed up and turned into the driveway. Alton must live in the guesthouse. That made more sense than thinking he owned a house in Brentwood. Lulu assumed he had a job of some kind, but if he spent most of his time being a Dom it probably was just a job, not a career that would buy him a multimillion-dollar house like this, especially when he couldn’t be older than thirty-five.
She entered the code in the silver keypad mounted on a black metal post. The metal and glass gate swung in, exposing a surprisingly long driveway. Lulu eased off the brake. Once she was in, tall bushes rose on either side of the car. On her right, bordering the neighbors, it was plain box hedge, but on the left, shielding what she assumed was a backyard for the main house, was bougainvillea, the flowers a vibrant fuchsia. After 100 feet the driveway turned sharply to the left.
A small house built in the same ultramodern style as the main house sat at the end of the driveway. High shrubs and more walls of bougainvillea surrounded it, almost as if it were the prize in the center of a maze. Directly in front was a surprisingly large parking area.
The nerves she’d felt since agreeing to do this were now verging on full panic. Lulu parked next to an unassuming Toyota and climbed out. She smoothed down her skirt and blouse. Opening her black-and-white polka-dot clutch, which matched the bows on her heels, she added a dab of gloss to her lips. She knew her makeup would be perfect, from the pale eye shadow to the black eyeliner and mascara. She had long ago given up on drugstore brands and used stage makeup—it was easier to keep on, and they had nice matte colors, which fit her retro aesthetic.
Hesitantly, clutch pressed to her stomach, she headed for guesthouse’s shiny black front door. As she walked past the second car, a Lexus, she wondered if it or the Toyota was Alton’s.
It was Monday, the one day her shop was closed. She’d been surprised that Alton had wanted to meet during the day instead of in the evening, but maybe he worked in the evenings.
She’d nearly panicked when they picked an actual day and time—that made it real—until he told her that their first meeting would allow her to look and learn.
As she neared the door, Lulu looked back at the cars and wondered exactly who she’d be looking at. She rang the bell.
A naked woman opened the door.
Lulu sucked in a breath, then slowly let it out. The woman wasn’t precisely naked, as she was draped in bits of silver chain, but she certainly wasn’t wearing clothes. The woman kept her gaze down as she stepped back, holding the door open for Lulu.
She should go. She should run back to her car, jump in it, and get out of here.
Lulu walked in. The naked woman shut the door behind her. There was a small closed foyer with another door directly opposite the one she’d just entered. On her right was a bookcase with square openings, a canvas box in each compartment. The naked woman moved to the second, inner door, and placed her hand on the knob. She was mid-forties and good-looking, with a nice, if not toned, body.
Lulu wondered where all those chains went, what they were attached to.
They stood there for what felt like a long time. The woman seemed to be waiting for Lulu to do something.
“Excuse me,” Lulu said. “Is there something I’m supposed to do?”
The woman shifted, the chains tapping together like jewelry. No answer. Had Lulu missed a piece of instruction from Alton? Since they first spoke last week they’d exchanged five emails, and she’d read each message at least a dozen times. She hadn’t missed anything.
The inner door opened. The woman stumbled as the knob was pulled from her grasp.
Alton stood in the opening, wearing jeans and a black leather vest. The vest was unfastened, baring the hard muscles of his chest and belly from his neck to the top of his low-riding jeans.
The woman sank to her knees in front of Alton. She kept her back straight, her feet flexed so her toes were on the floor. She raised her arms and linked her fingers behind her neck.
Alton looked over her briefly, said, “Good,” and then brushed by her.
He just walked by her, as if it were completely normal for a naked, chain-draped woman to drop to her knees at the sight of him.
Because it was normal.
Lulu met his gaze, her eyes wide, then turned and fumbled for the knob. She couldn’t do this.
Alton took a step, reached out a long arm, and pressed his palm to the door.
“You’re welcome to leave, but don’t run because you’re afraid.”
Lulu held the knob with a death grip. “I can’t do this.”
Alton put his free hand on her back, his touch firm and warm. “Look at me.”
Lulu bit her lower lip and shook her head. His breath washed over her cheek as he sighed. He took his hand off the door and cupped her face, turning it to him. He was big, standing at least three inches taller than her, despite her heels, and almost as wide as the door. His hand on her cheek was large and warm.
“Lulu, look at me.” His face was stern, scarily so, but she remembered what he looked like when he smiled. “Come inside. You’ll see the things you’re curious about. Things no friend or the Internet could show you.”
“Why didn’t she open the door?”
She couldn’t read the expression on Alton’s face—if she had to guess, she’d say it was a mixture of surprise and consternation. Lulu realized she’d covered the back of his hand with her own, cradling it as he cupped her face. She dropped her hand, embarrassment stealing over her.
He ignored her question. “Only Doms and Masters may wear clothing inside.”
Lulu took in a long, slow breath. “I have to take off my clothes?”
“But… I… We just met. And you’re just guessing I’m submissive.” Lulu raised her chin. “Maybe I’m a Dom, too.”
He smiled. It grew, lighting up his face as it did. She had a crazy urge to taste his cute dimple with her tongue.
“You may keep on your undergarments, as you are not yet anyone’s sub or slave, but next time you enter you will be naked.” He dropped his hand from her face and stepped back. “Select an empty basket and place your clothes in it.” He motioned to the wall of cubbies behind her.
With trembling fingers, Lulu unbuttoned her white cap-sleeved blouse and slipped it off. She folded it neatly before pulling out a canvas basket, setting it on the floor and dropping the shirt in it. Next she unfastened her full skirt and stepped out of it, adding it to the basket. She took off her shoes and placed them on their sides on top of her clothes, then returned the basket to its cubby and faced Alton.
She was still wearing a cream silk-and-lace slip, bra, panties, garter, and stockings. The slip went to mid-thigh. The only problem was it was slightly see-through and the black-and-white polka-dot bra and panties she’d worn to match her shoes were probably visible.
Alton put his hands on his hips. The motion spread the vest, leaving him basically naked from the waist up. Maybe he was a physical trainer or something, because his body was unbelievable. Lulu normally went for slender, business-suit-wearing types, but she had a sudden desire to feel all those muscles against her, to know their power, his power, as he touched her.
“Those are your undergarments?”
“Yes. It’s a slip.”
“Yes, Master Alton.” The naked brunette twisted around, her knees thumping on the floor as she turned to face him. Lulu winced when she realized she’d almost forgotten about the other woman.
“Please look at Lulu.”
The woman on the floor—Cheryl—examined her quickly before dropping her gaze.
“Is she wearing undergarments?”
Chains clinked as Cheryl shifted before answering. “Yes, Master Alton. She is wearing an old-fashioned slip, which is meant to be worn beneath the clothes.”
Old-fashioned? Lula almost snorted. It was vintage-inspired.
“And why do you think, Slave Cheryl, that I have never seen a woman wearing one before?” Alton kept his gaze on Lulu as he spoke to Cheryl.
“Women no longer wear them, Master Alton.”
“And why would Lulu be wearing one, Slave Cheryl?”
Lulu was getting really tired of them talking about her. She propped a hand on her hip and met Alton’s gaze, wondering where he was going with this.
“She’s being defiant, Master Alton.”
Lulu whipped her gaze to Cheryl. What?
“That is what I think, also. Thank you, Slave Cheryl.”
Cheryl bent her body from the waist in a bow, then returned to her upright kneeling position.
“Defiant?” Lulu sputtered. “You think I somehow guessed that you’d make me take my clothes off and wore this?”
“No, I think Master Lane told you I did not allow clothes and you sought to circumvent my rules.”
“I didn’t tell them I was meeting you. I didn’t tell them you came to the shop.”
Alton’s brows rose.
“I knew they’d talk me out of it, tell me it was a bad idea. And they might have been right if my slip is going to make you paranoid.” Lulu motioned to herself. “I wear a slip because the art of dressing properly has been lost by women.” She glared at Cheryl, but it was wasted since the other woman was staring at the floor. “In a world of five minutes to prepare in the morning, I’ve made rebellion my business and put time, thought, and effort into my ensemble every day.” This was an argument, a call to arms, she’d said many times before, and the words were comfortable and powerful as they rolled off her tongue. “Also, vintage—” She stressed the word in Cheryl’s direction. “—clothes don’t come with built-in slips the way modern clothes do. The skirt is vintage, hence the need for a slip.”
Cheryl looked up, just a quick glance between Lulu and Alton, before looking down again, her eyes wide with shock.
Soapbox-y speeches were probably not common in this little foyer, but they’d started it, and seriously, Alton was far too paranoid if he thought her wearing a slip was some grand defiant gesture.
She looked at Alton, then reached for the hem of her slip and pulled it up and over her head. Holding it between two fingers, she pointedly pulled out the box, and dropped it in on top of her shoes. Nerves about revealing her body were gone; this was a point of pride now.
He was fucking this up.
Alton felt control of the situation slipping away from him. He’d mishandled Lulu and her response had shifted the power. Now she’d taken off more clothing than he’d told her to, power and defiance etched in the lines of her body, and even Cheryl had raised her head to gauge his reaction to the challenge.
He needed to correct this, immediately.
Jumping on something so small was the mark of an inexperienced Master, which Alton was not. It was also the sign of a nervous Dom. Lulu did make him nervous, and he wasn’t sure why. She was a submissive like any other—a challenge, true, but just a woman to be trained.
“Lulu, thank you for educating me. You are the first woman to enter my home dressed in this way. It is rare that I encounter something I’m ignorant of, but from now on I will make a point of taking note of your style of dress.”
Lulu nodded, her proud defiance deflating little by little as he spoke.
With the slip off, she was left wearing black-and-white spotted bra and panties, a black garter belt and thigh-highs. The panties and bra had more fabric than he was used to seeing, on those rare occasions he saw women’s underwear. He was reminded of the pictures he’d seen in the book at her shop and the curvy women in their half shirts and little shorts painted on the walls. She had curves to match those images, with wide hips, a narrow waist above her bellybutton, and full breasts. Her skin was creamy, with only a few freckles he could see on her shoulders and chest.
“I told you to leave your undergarments on. If that includes the slip, then you will wear that. It is important that you listen to me and follow my directions. Once we go through that door, you must trust me. There is nothing in there I do not know.”
He watched her, letting her decide how to interpret his words. When she plucked the slip from the box, he could see her fingers trembling. She was back to being scared, as she’d been when she nearly bolted. Now he needed her aroused and intrigued, as she’d been in the shop. So far, he’d done a shitty job of introducing BDSM. Some people were into it. Some weren’t. But the way he was explaining it, he figured even someone who might otherwise enjoy it, like Lulu, might be turned off.
As she shook out the slip, he interrupted her.
“You said that slip is vintage. If it is valuable either monetarily or sentimentally, put it away.”
Her fingers crushed the fabric at his words. Slowly, she turned and put it back in the box.
The series of easily followed commands had turned the tide of power, and the defiant set of her shoulders had relaxed.
He wanted to touch her but he knew he couldn’t, not yet. He’d promised that she’d start out observing. He’d never been tempted to break his word to a BDSM community member, but as he watched her chest rise and fall, her trembling fingers, he wanted to drag her in there and do things with, and to, her she’d never imagined. He’d touch her until she gave in to him and bathed him in the sweet sexuality he knew was just under the surface, begging him to never let her go.
With a mental snarl, he turned away from the thought.
He had a plan, and it was time to follow it.
“I never told you why Slave Cheryl greeted you, and why I didn’t provide either of you with further instructions.”
Alton touched the top of Cheryl’s head with two fingers.
“Slave Cheryl’s Master sent her to me for correction. She spoke back to him and refused him, several times. Because they are not only Master and slave, but husband and wife, Cheryl had forgotten her place, and when punished she did not accept her behavior correction as a slave should, but resisted and insulted her Master.”
He felt Cheryl tremble through the thin connection of his fingers on her head.
“One of the things she’s relearning here is silence. I needed to know if she would remain obedient and silent, even when you spoke to her.” He looked at Lulu. “Thank you for helping me to correct Slave Cheryl.”
She looked startled. “You’re welcome.”
“Slave Cheryl, how am I addressed?”
He met Lulu’s gaze. “Once you enter the house, you will address me correctly.”
Lulu nodded, gaze on the floor. Alton left Cheryl and went to Lulu, sensing that she would need his touch to take this step.
He cupped her cheek, raising her face to his. “Say it. Call me Master.”
He shook his head. “No, you are mine.” Her shocked gaze flew to his. He didn’t know what had made him say it—it was too early; she was here just to look and explore—but he couldn’t stop the words. “You are mine, so you will call me Master. Just Master.”
Something deep within him roared in triumph.
He stroked his thumb over her glossy lower lip. He brought his head to hers, losing himself in the possibility of kissing her. Her eyes closed, she sighed, her breath mingling with his. Alton stopped at the last moment, drawing away.
Her eyes flew open.
Alton stepped around Cheryl and into the guesthouse. He heard the clinking chains that signaled Cheryl was crawling after him and then, after a long pause, the inner door closing and the pad of footsteps. Lulu was inside.
Lulu’s heart was beating so fast she felt lightheaded. She didn’t know whether to look around or keep her eye on Alton—no, Master.
In the end, there was no contest; she couldn’t help but examine the room she’d walked into. She was in a large open-plan living room and kitchen. Or at least she assumed that’s what they were supposed to be. There was no recognizable furniture except a few chairs, and none of them matched—one was a ladder-back-style wood chair from a dining set, the next a simple padded chair with arms, the third a lush-looking wing chair.
The windows were coated with opaque film, letting in light but keeping anyone from seeing in or out. It was a good thing, because besides the chairs, there were some distinctly strange pieces of furniture.
She recognized a gymnastics horse, a prayer bench, and an ottoman, though the latter had large silver rings bolted into it. There was a huge X-shaped thing in the front corner of the room. Benches were positioned around it, almost as if it were in the center of a stage. The wall behind it was decorated with riding crops, a cat-o’-nine-tails, a curled Indiana Jones whip, and a fraternity paddle, among other things. The floor was covered in beautiful quartz tiles that extended from the front door right into the kitchen. The clearly unused kitchen was larger than hers. There was a heavy-duty pot rack suspended above the three-foot by four-foot island, but chains, not pots, hung from it. Shiny circular rings were bolted onto the base cabinets of the island.
Scattered rugs provided some relief for the crawling Cheryl, and Lulu watched her follow a path of runners from the door to a wingback chair. It was positioned against the far wall and had a small end table next to it, the only apparent normal seating in the room. The ottoman wasn’t far from it, but it was hardly normal looking, not with those heavy metal rings decorating the legs.
Unsure what to do and not willing to sit on anything, Lulu stood with her back to the door.
Alton seated himself in the chair. “Lulu, sit there.” He indicated the ottoman.
Lulu gingerly seated herself, crossing her ankles. She jumped when the cold metal of one of the rings touched her calf. Looping her finger through it, she gave it a slight tug. It was bolted into the wood and did not move.
When she looked up Alton was watching her. “Everything in this room can be used on a slave.”
Lulu nodded; she believed it.
“Lulu, how did Slave Cheryl cross the room?”
“She crawled. Oh, was I supposed to…?”
“Go back to the door.”
Fingers curling and uncurling, Lulu stood and walked back to the door. He’d said he’d teach her, show her, but he hadn’t told her she had to crawl. Then again, she’d watched Cheryl do it. Should she copy everything the other woman did?
“Crawl to the ottoman.”
Lulu dropped to her hands and knees. The quartz was cold and hard even through the rugs. It shouldn’t have surprised her, but as she started crawling across the room, she was shocked by how uncomfortable it was, how low she felt. She looked up. Alton was watching her. Their gazes met for a moment.
When she reached the ottoman, Alton nodded once. “Now resume your seat.”
Lulu was very grateful she got to sit, rather than kneel on the hard stone.
“You’re in training, so you will not be expected to remain on your knees at all times, or crawl from place to place.”
“Thank you,” she whispered.
“Tell me why you’re glad.”
“The floor is hard. And cold. I felt stupid crawling.”
“Did you feel your submission?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Did you ask yourself why you were crawling, something you would not normally do?”
“I… No.” She hadn’t.
“You did it because I ordered you to.”
Lulu remembered the feeling she’d had when she was on her knees and their gazes met. She shivered.
“Slave Cheryl has been here for two days. In that time her behavior has improved greatly. Hasn’t it, Slave Cheryl?”
“Yes, Master Alton.”
“What have you learned?”
“That I must never disrespect or talk back to my Master. When I accepted his collar, I accepted his dominance over my body and mind. I must not doubt his use of my body for his pleasure, which is my pleasure.”
“You are still questioning, though. I saw you look up when Lulu spoke back to me.”
Both Lulu and Cheryl sucked in a breath.
“You doubted my control of the situation, the same way you doubted and questioned your Master.”
Cheryl shook her head.
“You may speak.”
“Master Alton, I was only surprised at what she said.” The words were shaky.
Lulu’s stomach muscles clenched in response to the fear in other woman’s voice.
“Even if that were the case, you did not have permission to look up. Your Master prefers that you keep your gaze lowered. That behavior needs further correction.”
“Get me a crop.” At his words, Cheryl crawled toward the corner with the X thing. “Lulu, come here.”
Lulu jumped at his words, her attention having been on Cheryl, then slowly got to her feet. She had a moment to wonder if she was supposed to crawl again, but she really didn’t want to, so she walked over.
“Sit here.” Alton patted the arm of the chair. She carefully took a seat, twisting to look down at him.
“I’m going to punish Cheryl for looking up when she should not have. You’re interested in masochism. What you’re about to see is not that—there will be no pleasure for Cheryl. This is physical punishment to correct behavior. Masochism binds pleasure and pain together, and though they can sometimes look the same, punishment and masochism are very different.”
“Is Cheryl…okay with this?” she asked in a whisper. The other woman was headed back, a black riding crop in her teeth.
“What do you mean?”
“What if she goes to the cops and says you beat her or something? I mean, if it just hurts.”
If there’s real ouch hurting involved, I’m out the door, Lulu thought.
“Ah. I understand.”
Lulu’s hand was resting on her thigh and Alton touched the back of it. The touch was light and quick, gone almost before she realized it had happened, but she felt it along every nerve ending in her body. “When I say there is no pleasure I mean there is no immediate pleasure. She will not orgasm, I will not touch her in any way that could bring her sexual pleasure. However, Cheryl is a slave; she enjoys serving. If she were not punished when she did things wrong, it would mean her Master no longer cared about her servitude, and that would be the greatest punishment.”
Lulu couldn’t help but think “negative attention is still attention”, but she didn’t say that.
Cheryl deposited the crop across Alton’s knees.
“Slave Cheryl, tell Lulu what you are.”
“I’m my Master’s slave. I serve him in all things. When I come home, I shed the normal and live to please him.”
“And what does your Master do for you?” Alton picked up the crop and touched the folded leather tip to Cheryl’s cheek.
“He owns me. He loves me and takes care of me. He pleasures me and corrects me.”
“And who am I?” Alton’s voice was a low growl.
Cheryl shivered. “You’re Master Alton. You train slaves and punish bad slaves, and when a slave refuses to try something their Master sends them to you and you make them love it.”
“I’m the big bad wolf,” Alton said, so low Lulu almost didn’t hear it.
“Stand. Show Lulu your chains.”
Cheryl rolled to her feet in a surprisingly graceful motion, chains swinging softly.
“Tell Lulu why I put the chains on you.” He lifted one with the tip of the crop.
“The chains remind me of my status and my servitude. When my Master arrives to pick me up, you will—” Cheryl paused, taking a few breaths. “—you will tell him that he should keep the chains on and consider adding piercings.”
“You are a better slave with the constant reminder,” Alton told her. “Now step closer.”
She stepped between Alton’s spread knees. Lulu had avoided looking at the chains too closely, but as Alton’s strong fingers traced them she examined the web of body jewelry.
“The leather collar reminds her of her status. The two chains coming off it connect to the nipple clamps.” He flicked one of the delicate silver clamps. “Additional chains connect the clamps to her belly chain. If her Master adds piercings, I’ll suggest a belly ring, which would serve the same purpose.”
From the chain around her stomach he traced two more chains down between her legs. Alton casually tapped the woman’s pussy, then ordered her to move the ottoman closer and sit on it.
“Spread your legs.”
As she did, her hairless sex was fully exposed. Lulu gasped as she saw the clamps on her pussy lips.
“There are two chains on each labial clamp.” He leaned forward and tugged on the chain that came down from Cheryl’s belly, which lay slack along the seam of her thigh. Her pussy lip stretched, opening her even farther. Lulu felt her cheeks heat with embarrassment. She’d seen other women naked, but never like this.
“A second chain goes around each thigh, so when she spreads her legs, her pussy lips open.”
Thinking back over what he’d said, Lulu blurted out a question. “You’re going to tell her husband to pierce her there?”
Alton looked at her, his dark eyes and stern face making her wish she hadn’t said anything while at the same time a wave of arousal swept over her. Part of her, most of her, wanted to be Cheryl at that moment.
“I will not tell her husband anything. I will tell her Master than he should consider piecing her labia and, once healed, adding rings so he can attach chains like this on a permanent basis.”
Lulu shivered. This was real. This wasn’t a game to him.
She hesitated, then asked, “If Cheryl were your slave?”
“I would pierce her and attach the chains.”
Lulu and Alton stared at each other for a breath before she looked away. Lulu hugged her arms to her belly.
“Slave Cheryl.” Though Alton spoke to the other woman, Lulu could feel that his gaze was still on her. “Over the horse for punishment.”
Cheryl rolled off the ottoman and crawled to the gymnastics horse. She stood and draped herself over the top. She stretched her legs to the sides, spreading them wide as she balanced on tiptoe. She grasped a crosspiece below the padded bench with her hands.
Alton stood. Crop in hand, he approached Cheryl. “Slave Cheryl, you are being punished for raising your eyes. Your behavior standard is lowered eyes at all times unless you’ve been given permission otherwise.”
“Yes, Master Alton, thank you for the correction.”
“You will accept twenty strikes to the ass.”
“Yes, Master Alton.”
The crop slashed through the air and cracked against her ass. His arm had barely moved but a bright spot of pink appeared on Cheryl’s ass.
After the first five, Lulu had to look away. Not because it disgusted or upset her. The opposite. She rubbed her palms against her thighs, her sex so wet she was worried it would be visible on her panties. She wished she’d kept the slip.
“Slave Cheryl, release and follow me to the chair. You will take the last ten over my knee.”
Lulu watched the other woman’s pinked ass, framed by the chains at her waist and around her thighs, as she crawled after Alton. He swung the straight-backed chair into the center of the room and set it down, seating himself. Cheryl stood and positioned herself over his lap with her torso across his spread thighs.
Instead of the crop, he used his bare hand, spanking her already red ass. Cheryl made a muffled sound.
“You may cry out.”
Lulu took one step forward, then another, gaze following Alton’s hand as he brought it down in firm spanks on the other woman’s ass. The muscles in his chest and shoulder flexed, his other hand easily holding the yelping woman in place.
Lulu’s hands, pressed hard to her thighs, curled into fists, nails scraping her skin.
Vaguely she heard Cheryl say, “Thank you, Master Alton.”
“You’re welcome. Please return to your room.”
Cheryl climbed off Alton’s lap and crawled away.
Lulu took a step back, trying to get control of herself. She’d never been this aroused before in her life. It was a living thing inside her, demanding that she sate it, feed it. It was a feeling so powerful, it was frightening.
“Lulu, come here.”
“N-no,” she stuttered, falling back another step.
But she wanted to, she wanted to go to him. And if she did, she would change. Everything would change.
Maybe if she walked out the door right now she could pretend she’d never seen this, never felt it. But if he touched her…
“What’s your name?”
The question was so unexpected she looked at him. “Lulu.”
His dark gaze held hers. “Your real name.”
“Luanne, come here,” he commanded.
His tone and gaze were too much for her to fight. She took a step.
“I told you I wouldn’t touch you today, but I think you need me to touch you.” His voice was low.
“And I want to touch you.”
“I want it…too much.” She hugged herself.
“You’re afraid of what you’re feeling.” He rose from his chair, movements slow, as if she were a skittish horse.
“I’ve never been so aroused before,” she whispered it, ashamed. “I didn’t know it could be like this.”
His eyes flashed and he closed the distance between them. He didn’t touch her, but she could feel his body heat. Almost against her will, her arms dropped, exposing her body to him. When she realized that she’d swayed toward him, breasts lifted, she let out a soft cry and turned away.
“Don’t be afraid of what you’re feeling. Give yourself to me.”
“I don’t think I can do it.” Lulu closed her eyes, his heat at her back so enticing, so inviting. “I can’t be Cheryl, quiet and patient and obedient. You know what I want right now? I want to kiss you. I want to feel your body against mine. I want to touch you and then I want you to spank me and put those chain things on me and do—” She ran out of words, so she motioned vaguely around the room. “Things.”
Saying it out loud helped her resolve to leave. Now she knew—she was definitely sexually submissive, as he’d said, but she was fire and Alton was ice. Together they’d just be tepid water.
“I know you train slaves, but I can’t be that. I need to go, before we start something that will only upset us, me.” The words hurt as they came out.
“You want to touch me. Kiss me.”
It was a statement, not a question, but something about the way he’d said it held her in place, kept her from walking away.
Alton made a sound low in his throat. “Cheryl is not mine. The women I train…they’re not mine. You are mine.”
His. She felt him there, at her back, so close his breath fanned her temple. She closed her eyes.
“Luanne, ask me to touch you,” he commanded.
She didn’t hesitate. “Please, touch me…Master.”
His arms came around her, hard and unyielding as steel. One arm crossed her ribs, his hand cupping her breast. The other pressed her hips back into his, his hand cupping her pussy. They were fused together from knee to shoulder, his chest against her back.
Lulu cried out in surprise, in arousal.
“Accept this,” he whispered in her ear. “I am your Master and I will touch you whenever I want, whenever it pleases me.”
“Whenever I need it?” she asked, legs trembling with the need to grind herself against his hand.
He paused then inhaled deeply against her neck. When he spoke, his voice was a growl. “Yes.”
His hand slid up and then delved into her panties. When his thick fingers first touched her swollen, wet sex, she cried out in pleasure. Reaching back, she grabbed handfuls of his hair, arching herself against his fingers.
His thumb found her nipple in the cup of her bra, flicking it at the same time his thick middle finger found her clit.
With only a few strokes to the sensitive bud, he had her near orgasm. Lulu cried out, ready to come when he stopped, pulling his hand away.
“No, please!” She thrashed in his arms, grabbing his hand and bringing it back toward her sex. “I’m so close.”
“You must have my permission to come.”
Lulu could have screamed in frustration. She spun to face him. “Then give me permission!”
He smiled. That sexy, slow grin worked its way across his face.
Lulu grabbed his head, stood on tiptoe, and kissed him, hard. He tasted good. He smelled good. His hard body felt good against hers. When his tongue touched hers, then slipped into her mouth, she released his head to wrap her arms around his shoulders.
Alton grabbed her under the ass and lifted her. He carried her a few steps before setting her down. He jerked her thighs open wide, sliding one hand up toward her core. His thumb slipped under the edge of her panties to find her clit.
Lulu broke the kiss, throwing her head back as pleasure racked her. “Please, please, may I come?”
“Why?” she cried.
“I’m your Master,” he grunted.
She felt the ridged length of his cock rub her thigh. Yeehaw! He was hung. “Okay, then please, please fuck me.”
“No,” he growled. He grabbed the top of her bra and yanked it down, her breasts popping free.
“Address me properly.” His thumb had stopped working her clit.
Lulu’s mouth formed a little O of realization. “May I please come, Master?”
As soon as she said it, she knew why he’d insisted. The question added a layer of rich darkness to the moment. He caught and held her gaze as he cupped her bare right breast in his hand, thumb working the nipple as the other thumb touched her clit.
Lulu came, the orgasm shuddering through her with bone-shaking intensity. When it was done he kept going, kept touching her even as she stuttered out that she’d finished. When she tried to close her legs, he held them open with his own, then commanded her to play with her left nipple.
Shivering from the intensity of having her sensitive post-orgasm clit touched, Lulu raised her hand and gently pinched her untouched left nipple.
“Good girl. Now look at me.”
She met his gaze, her whole body trembling and tense.
“Let go. You’re tight, holding back. Release that, release the muscles low in your belly. Let go.”
Lulu frowned but followed his instructions. The moment she did, a second orgasm ripped through her. While the first had been deep and low, this was high and sharp, racing along the inside of her skin. She screamed and gasped in pleasure, pressing her head into the hollow of his throat.
Alton’s arms came around her, one at her waist, the other cupping the back of her head.
Lulu couldn’t believe what had just happened. She’d begged a man she’d known for barely a week to fuck her, to touch her, and in her arousal high, she’d agreed to be his sex slave.
“Don’t,” he said. “Don’t panic.”
Lulu stiffened, alarmed at how easily he seemed to guess what she was feeling.
“Once the arousal is gone, everything in here seems terrible and frightening,” he said quietly, his deep voice rumbling up from his chest. “Many Masters keep their slaves in almost perpetual states of arousal, rarely giving them release for that reason.”
Lulu grimaced at the idea.
“You’re worried and frightened and angry with both of us.” Alton lifted her down off the gymnastics horse where he’d set her to finger-fuck her. “Remember how it felt to see Slave Cheryl being spanked. Think about my touch. And imagine what it will be like when it’s you over my knee.”
And with those words, fresh arousal flooded her. Lulu gasped and ripped herself out of his arms, heat washing over her, adding to her embarrassment and panic. She met his gaze, seeing something there that might have been vulnerability, but she was too scared to stay. She turned and ran.
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