The Dom Around the Corner

The Dom Around the Corner, by Christine d'Abo
eBook ISBN: 
978-1-62649-325-4
eBook release: 
Jun 15, 2015
eBook Formats: 
pdf, mobi, html, epub
Word count: 
27,600
Page count: 
111
Type: 
Cover by: 

This title is part of the Escape universe.

Ebook $2.99

Simon is jaded. His bookstore is failing, his personal life is nonexistent, and he’s tired of the local scene. He’s desperate for a change, and hopes to find it at Escape, the hot new BDSM club in town.

What he finds there is Gavin. One look at the sexy submissive is all he needs to know that his trip to Escape was the right decision. And their night of no-holds-barred kinky sex feels like only the beginning . . . until his promising new sub vanishes with the dawn.

Then Gavin walks through the door of Simon’s bookstore—for business, not pleasure. To both of their surprise, he’s the consultant Simon hired to help save the store. As they work together, Simon realizes that he might have another shot at happiness, if only he can convince Gavin that he’s worth sticking around for.


Publisher's note: This title is a heavily revised re-issue of a prior story, Commanding Acquisitions, originally released in 2010. 

This title comes with no special warnings.

Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish.

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Chapter One

The pounding in Simon’s head made it nearly impossible for him to remember the code to the store’s security system. After two aborted attempts of entering the wrong numbers, his brain finally kicked in and he managed the correct sequence before the alarm sounded. Thank God, because he really didn’t need to deal with the cops today.

With a soft growl he pushed away from the wall, squeezing the mass of envelopes and flyers he had in hand as he cursed his stupidity. He couldn’t be bothered to look at the letters; he knew full well at least half of them were bills, and the remaining junk would do little to help pull his business out of the downward spiral it had started on several months earlier.

Moving through the floor space, dodging the book displays Jocelyn had put in the wrong spot, he flicked the switch to turn on the overhead lights before escaping through the back office door to his haven. The buzz of the fluorescent lights made him reach for his bottle of aspirin the second he got to his desk. Swallowing the pills dry, he tossed the mail onto the pile already precariously balanced on the corner. He’d deal with it later, when he could concentrate on work. Right now, he needed to clear his mind or else the rest of his day was done for.

Last night had been a complete bust.

Club Onyx had been full of idiots more interested in wearing leather and trying to look shocking than being seriously into the scene. He wasn’t surprised, but he was so over that. Sure, everybody had to start somewhere. He was a Dom and had no issues about bringing someone new into the lifestyle—he’d done it before. Russ, his first and last long-term sub, had been new to the scene, wanting to understand his need to submit to another person. And he’d been cute, and smart, and funny as hell. Perfect, right? An English professor and a guy who owned a bookstore—obviously they were meant to be. Except that Russ “wasn’t ready to settle down.”

It had been just over a year since Russ had gone, giving Simon a quick kiss to the cheek as he left. The last he’d had heard, Russ was living in Florida 24/7 with some Dom he’d met at an academic conference. The pictures on Russ’s Facebook feed were indication enough that he had been ready for a romantic relationship. Just not with Simon.

No matter how hard he’d tried, he’d never found the right guy, someone who fit with him both as a submissive and as a partner. He wanted someone permanent like that in his life, but Russ had been his final attempt. For some people, it was just a mistake to try to mix kink up with the real world.

Damn, he was tired.

Fucking tired of everything.

If he hadn’t sunk so much of his life and savings into his store, he would have run from the not-quite-big-enough city long ago. The club scene in St. Andrews was slowly being infiltrated by kids who thought body piercings were edgy and tattoos the ultimate sign of rebellion.

Some of the subs were hot, but none of them looked promising beyond a quick flogging. How good a Dom could he be if there was no one for him to discipline, no one for him to guide and no one’s limits to push? The mutual satisfaction of getting to a place where the mind was as big an erogenous zone as the body—God, he missed that. It wasn’t as if he were ancient or unattractive. At thirty-seven, he was in the best shape of his life. And he was good at what he did. Hell, he could have had his pick of anyone at the club if he’d been so inclined. If an hour of play with no strings had been what he wanted.

Instead he stayed long enough to get annoyed, only to return home alone and frustrated. Half a bottle of Jack later and he’d passed out facedown on his bed.

It had been weeks since he’d last beaten anyone, and six months since he’d last gotten laid. Six months of stress and investors pulling out of his bookstore. Six months of questioning if he really should bother trying to make his dream happen.

“Simon?”

Pinching the bridge of his nose, he released a sigh. Of course she’s early today. “Back here, Joce.”

A rustle of clothing, punctuated by a yelp and the loud thud of books falling, drew a smile from him. He loved his baby cousin like a sister, even if she was the most uncoordinated and absentminded person he knew.

In an explosion of black and purple cotton, Jocelyn shoved the door open. Grinning, she crossed her arms and cocked her eyebrow. “Well?”

“Well what?” He grabbed the top section of his mail pile and did his best to look busy. “You’re here early.”

She snorted. “I’m here to get the dirt before we open. For some reason my boss doesn’t like to talk about his personal life during business hours.”

“That’s because it’s unprofessional.”

“Except you work like eighty hours a week, so that means I never get to talk to you about your personal life.”

“Ever think that’s because I don’t want to talk about it?”

“No, I think that means you don’t actually have one.”

He stared intently at a flyer ad that screamed out about the amazing two-for-one pizza deal he could get. Maybe for supper. “I have a life. I just choose to focus it on getting my store back on its feet.”

“Simon, you’re going to kill yourself if you keep going at this pace.”

“You’re not getting rid of me that easily.” Changing his mind, he tossed the flyer in the recycling bin and picked up the next piece of mail. Utility bill—wonderful. “Besides, if I don’t get some money into this store soon, you’re going to be looking for a new boss.”

Jocelyn crossed the small space to his desk, pushed the pile of mail toward the center of the blotter, and sat on the desk’s edge. He was forced to acknowledge her when she plucked the envelope from his fingers and held it above his head.

“Hon, I’m worried about you.”

Defeat threatened to weigh him down. Instead, he smiled and leaned back, trying to look relaxed. “Sweetie, I’m fine. So I have to work a bit harder for the next few months. It’s not like there’s a lot going on for someone like me in this city anyway. I’m not missing out on much.”

“You went to Onyx, then?”

This time he couldn’t stop himself from slumping in his chair. “I did.”

“And there was no one?” Jocelyn huffed as she tightened her ponytail, making her blonde hair look more severe than necessary. “I mean, I heard it was a good place. Lots of . . . you know . . . people for you to play with.”

Jocelyn was one of the few family members who knew about his lifestyle. It had been hard enough coming out to his dad when he was twenty; he didn’t want to confuse the old man by having to explain that he enjoyed tying men up and dominating them. Jocelyn may have been eight years his junior, but she was the closest thing he had to a sibling. It had seemed natural when she’d come to him wanting to know about sex and how to go about getting some. It didn’t mean she was completely comfortable talking to him about his particular needs, though.

“I promised you I would go and give it a fair try. It was fine, but the crowd was a bit younger than what I’m looking for. I had a few drinks, watched a few people, and was in bed by eleven.” Passed out.

“God, that makes you sound like my parents.”

“Bite your tongue.”

“I wasn’t sure that was going to be the right spot for you. But I’m not giving up.” The glint in her eyes made him cringe. “I was talking to my friend at Delights— You know, the sex shop? Anyway, he was telling me about a new club that’s just opened up in town. You have to call to get on the list, but he said that’s not a problem for you. Here’s the card with the number and—”

“Jocelyn, stop! I appreciate you trying to help me out, but honestly, I’m fine.” When all else fails, lie. “Really, I can’t even begin to think about looking for someone when I’ve got to get the store sorted. After that, I promise I’ll drive wherever the hell you want me to go.”

She groaned as she jumped up from the desk, but not before tossing the card onto the pile of papers. “Dude, you’re never going to get anything fixed if you don’t start to relax. You’re wound up tighter than I’ve ever seen you. You don’t need to go out and find a life partner, you need to get laid. Find some young guy, tie him up, screw him senseless, and then worry about the store. It’s not like the creditors are standing at the door with a foreclosure sign.”

“They might as well be.”

“Then ask for help! Shit, you don’t have to be the indestructible Dom every second of your life. You’re an entrepreneur too. I’m sure your dad would be happy to—”

“Absolutely not.” He loved his father, but the last thing he wanted to do was give him any reason to worry. His health couldn’t take the stress.

Jocelyn rolled her eyes. “Fine. Then talk to someone about the market, or get a consultant to come in and see if they can find a way to fix things.”

His stomach flipped from the frustrated anger that flashed through him and sent his pulse racing. Letting his feet fall to the floor, he sat straight up in the chair and leveled his iciest glare at her. “I’ll consider a consultant. Maybe.”

“Good. And call the number on that card. Your personal life could—”

“I will get to my personal life when I am ready to. Now unless there is something else, we need to get the store opened.”

He ignored the watery look in Jocelyn’s eyes. He couldn’t afford to give in to her meddling, and he could manage on his own. Still, he needed to get his shit together soon or else he’d be no good to anyone. And he really shouldn’t be taking it out on her.

Sighing, he pinched the bridge of his nose again. “Joce, I’m—”

“Well, boss, I appear to have a headache. Sorry, but you’ll have to run things on your own. I’m taking a sick day.” She spun on her heel and marched out of his office.

Son of a bitch.

He couldn’t help but stare at the now empty office doorway, his mind whirling through everything. He didn’t move until the bell above the shop door jingled, signaling Jocelyn’s departure. Only once he was sure he was alone did he lean forward to rest his forehead on his desk.

Fuck, he really needed to get himself in line.

Rarely had he asked for help with anything in his life. Hell, he’d worked three jobs so he could pay his own way through university, not wanting to take any of his dad’s hard-earned money. He didn’t get all this way to just to go crawling at the first sign of trouble. Despite what Jocelyn thought, he knew he could get the store out of this little dive. It would be hard, but he’d manage.

Tomorrow he’d apologize to her and let her know that he had in fact already booked an appointment with a business consultant. He’d been intending to cancel it, but Jocelyn was right: he needed to get a fresh opinion.

Rolling his head to the side, he caught sight of the clock. Eight thirty-seven. He had some time before flicking over the Open sign. With luck, Jocelyn would calm down enough to come back in around lunch. It would give him a chance to go through the bills and make a plan.

He was good at plans.

He sat up and grabbed the toppled mail pile, trying to reorganize the mess after Jocelyn’s careless assault. He quickly started sorting things into two sections—junk mail and to be dealt with. Bedding sales and diet pills were removed from the phone bill and supplier statements, until he’d nearly reached the bottom. Thankfully, the to be dealt with pile was far smaller than he had anticipated, giving him a glimmer of hope that this month wouldn’t be too bad.

Picking up what looked to be an invoice, he noticed something stuck to the back side. He flipped it over, only to come face-to-face with the card Jocelyn had waved under his nose a minute ago. Escape. Although he didn’t act on it, his first impulse was to rip the card in two and toss it away. While he loved Jocelyn dearly, and he knew she meant well, the chance of this club being different from any of the previous ones he’d visited was unlikely.

He pulled the card away from the envelope, and set the latter aside while he examined the former. Shaking his head, he tossed the card into the recycling and returned to sorting his mail. He managed to get through two more pizza ads before his gaze drifted down to the bin by his feet.

Escape.

The name shone up from the center of the card. He looked away with a huff. The envelope in his hand crinkled as he squeezed it, the bunched-up paper digging into his fingers and his palm. Closing his eyes, he took a breath and set the envelope carefully on the pile, smoothing it flat.

Really, it’s just a stupid phone number of a kink club. While Jocelyn might be a bit of a pain in his side at times, she did mean well. And even if he didn’t want to admit it, she knew him better than most people. Finding a guy to dominate for a night was something he’d needed for ages now. The thought of another disappointing outing wasn’t quite enough to dampen his curiosity.

Casting another quick glance at the clock, he reached down and snatched the card from the recycling bin. Setting it dead center on his desk, he placed a hand on either side of it and stared.

He could always hang up if he didn’t like what he heard.

He didn’t actually need help.

Reaching for his private line, he dialed the first four numbers before hanging up. Fuck.

“Don’t be such a fucking coward.”

This time when he picked up the receiver he didn’t hesitate.

The phone rang twice before it was answered by a woman with a low, sultry voice. “Hello, this is Dru.”

“Hello.” He paused, pressing his lips together.

Dru chuckled. “Not much for small talk, I see. May I ask how you got this number?”

“My cousin gave me your information. She got it from some guy at Delights.”

“Adam’s been a busy boy. I’m going to have to give him a bonus.”

“Does everyone but me already know about this place?”

“From your tone I have to assume that you’re not entirely certain about Escape? Let me assure you we are discreet. What happens at my club stays at my club. You have my promise as a business owner.”

That was something he could appreciate. “Thank you.”

“Now, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you’re a Dom. A bit presumptuous, I know, but I’m rarely wrong.”

It was Simon’s turn to chuckle. “That obvious?”

“Like a punch to the face. A consensual punch to the face, of course. I can promise you we have a diverse clientele in attendance. I also have certain standards. I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for here.”

“I don’t . . .” The words died off as he looked up and out into his still-empty store.

He was all alone. His business was slowly dying from beneath him, and he was alone.

“Please, I’m here to help. If you talk to me and let me know what you need, then I can see about matching you with a submissive for an evening. But if you don’t, there’s nothing anyone will be able to do.”

His lips were clamped shut, but the strain of keeping them like that made his face ache. This was a mistake. He didn’t know who the hell Dru was, or what she considered to be diverse clientele. But there was something in his head, something whispering to him to trust her, to tell her what he could barely admit to himself. Maybe a mostly anonymous voice was what he needed to make things a little bit better.

Closing his eyes, he let out a soft breath. “I’m lonely.”

There was a brief pause before he heard a very sincere, “I understand. How about we start with something simple. May I have your name? A scene name is fine if you’d prefer.”

“Simon. Master S., but Simon is fine for now.”

“Okay, Simon, you’re looking for a submissive. Male or female?”

“Male.” The knot in his chest loosened slightly. “Don’t suppose you can find me a sub with a business degree? I’m having business issues too.”

Another pause, only this one was a bit longer. He cocked his head and tried to pick up any sounds on the other end. Finally, Dru came back with a soft laugh. “You’d be surprised the people I know. So, are you familiar with the old warehouse district in the east end of town?”

“Yes. There isn’t much down there.”

“That was one of the appealing factors of the location. We’re located at 185 Carrington Avenue. I have to admit, you’re not going to think much of the outside, but appearances can be deceiving and all that. We have valet parking and proper security, so don’t be concerned about yourself or your car.”

He couldn’t help frowning as he quickly jotted down the address. “Got it.” He tapped the pen against the stack of papers in front of him. “I’m still not sure I’m going to come.”

“Your name will be on the list. Come or don’t. Tonight or another night. We’ll be here for you.”

“Thank you.”

“My other line is ringing. I hope we see you soon, Simon.” And with that, the call ended and he was on his own once more.

What the hell had he agreed to?

A loud knock on the front door made him jump in his seat. Shit, he’d been on the phone a lot longer than he’d realized. The store had technically opened ten minutes ago.

“Coming!”

Thoughts about clubs and strange phone calls would have to wait until the end of the day. At this point, he wasn’t sure he’d even go. He certainly wouldn’t do anything without checking a few things out first.

Escape.

It could be the first step to making things better in his life. Or a whole lot worse.

Unfortunately, there was only one way to find out.

 

Chapter Two

Simon stood back as the bouncer turn away a group of people who couldn’t be any older than nineteen or twenty from the club. Simon been standing in the shadows for a solid twenty minutes, watching the bouncer and what looked to be a hostess manage the crowd.

From what he could tell, entrance to Escape had little to do with the outfit and everything to do with the list the small woman held close to her chest. He recognized several of the people who’d been let in, and just as many whom the hulk of a bouncer had chased away. None of the rejects were people he wanted to be with, and several had caused problems at some of the other clubs in town.

Maybe this place was going to work out after all.

Running a hand through his hair, he pulled out his sunglasses and slipped them on. He’d decided to wear his leather pants, black silk shirt, and knee-length leather jacket. He knew exactly the image he painted when he had it on—easily blending into the background, yet once noticed, people weren’t able to look away. It had been one of Russ’s favorite outfits for him to wear.

As he walked across the street toward the club, excitement grabbed at him in a way he hadn’t felt in ages. Maybe Jocelyn had been right, and he’d been too wound up recently.

He could relax and enjoy this.

He slowed his approach as three men in the line ahead of him bitched and moaned, trying to bully the hostess. The bouncer stood like a wall behind the much shorter woman. This close, he was able to see she was quite beautiful, with goth-pale skin, and long black hair spilling across her shoulders. If he weren’t very sure of his sexuality, she’d be the type of woman he’d go after. Assuming she was a sub, of course; he couldn’t read her kink proclivities from her mannerisms or the street clothes she wore.

“I don’t care what your list says, I know you want to let us in there.” The kid in front of him held out a wad of bills, with the intention of either impressing or buying her off. “I think your boss will appreciate it.”

“I am the boss, children.” Her painted-on smile wavered for a second as her gaze skirted across the youth to land on Simon. She cocked an eyebrow as if to say, Can you believe these punks? before waving her hand at the man behind her.

“Hayden here hasn’t eaten today, boys. I don’t think you want to piss him off, or else he might start to feel peckish. Now, if you’d please move along, I have actual customers to let in.”

“You heard the lady. Move it, assholes,” Hayden barked, collecting the three youths to push them out of the way. Their shouts were slowly drowned out by the beat of the music flowing from inside the club.

Steeling himself, Simon stepped forward and clasped his hands behind his back. “Fun crowd.”

The woman smirked. “You know what it’s like. A new, very selective club opens up in town, and everyone wants to have a look. I’m sure you’ll appreciate we have to be careful. My name is Dru, and I’d like to welcome you to Escape.”

“Thanks. Simon Matthews.”

“Simon!” Her smile brightened. “I’m so glad you decided to try us out.”

His heart beat just a little faster. “I still might not stay long. It’ll depend on what I see.”

Dru reached out and squeezed his forearm. “You do what you need to. But give yourself the opportunity to have a good time. I thought you were stressed, from the tone of your voice on the phone. Now, looking at you, I can tell I was right. When was the last time you were out?”

“Last night. I didn’t find what I was looking for.”

She cocked her head. “Would you have even seen it if it was there?”

“I—” He snapped his mouth shut.

“Give tonight a chance. Give yourself a chance. Ah, Hayden is back.”

The giant, bald man quietly took up his position behind Dru. The muscles of his arms bulged from beneath his black T-shirt as if the sleeves weren’t enough to contain them. Hayden stared down at him—something he wasn’t used to. Being just over six two, he rarely had to look up at anyone.

“Evening.” Hayden’s voice was low, and he sounded less than impressed.

“Let him in, please.” Dru’s soft tone made the giant man jump to do her bidding.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Please enjoy your evening. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

Me too. He nodded, keeping his face as passive as he could manage, and stepped inside.

The dark hallway caught flashes of light as he made his way toward the main room. With each step, he felt he was moving toward something important. He found himself hoping for the first time in months that the club could give him something special.

The music had a low, steady beat that echoed deep in his gut as he walked into the main section of the club. A bar—currently being tended by a good-looking, redheaded woman—took up most of the room along one of the back walls. There must have normally been more than one person working there. The small crowd of people waiting for drinks dissuaded him from approaching.

Leather chairs were set up in various configurations around the room. Each grouping gave him a different view of the evening’s activities. In one corner, a woman was being whipped by her Dom. The red lash marks glowed under the brighter spotlight focused on the area. Her naked ass remained untouched, but Simon knew it would meet the same fate soon.

In another area, a young man stood suspended and spread-eagle, clamps on his nipples and a blindfold over his eyes. A woman walked around him, her nails leaving a trail of marks across his skin as she moved. The man’s cock was hard and leaking, pre-cum dribbling down his shaft. Intrigued, Simon found a chair close by and sat to watch the woman work.

The two had clearly been together for a long time. She knew exactly where to press, to tease, how hard to slap his ass or cock—the man moaned, sighed, bucked, wanting more. Simon’s body responded, his cock now half-hard as he watched the man. Maybe she would be willing to share for a night.

Movement from the corner of his eye caught his attention. A man stood on the opposite side of the bar from the rest of the group. He looked down quickly as Simon made eye contact, telling him what he needed to know: the man was a sub. The lighting was dark enough to prevent him from seeing many of his features, though from this distance his half-naked body was fit enough for Simon’s tastes.

Not wanting to appear interested, he turned his attention back to the show before him. The woman now had a riding crop in hand, and carefully was landing swats against the man’s skin. Love taps, nothing serious. As she moved to stand behind her sub, her gaze landed on Simon. She smirked and nodded her head in acknowledgment. He returned the nod and wished he had a drink so he could fully appreciate the entertainment.

“Hey, excuse me.”

He looked up as a tall young man bounded into his field of vision. Somehow, this one was the size of Hayden, yet less bulky. The man was grinning wide and toothy, and appeared as though he wanted to invite Simon out for a beer and barbecue rather than come on to him in a fetish club.

“Hello.” He really didn’t want to be rude, but the last thing he needed tonight was to have a chat with someone.

“I’m Jared, one of the bartenders. You’re new here, and I see you’re drinkless. I was about to head back over to the bar. Would you like me to get you anything? Though if you’re thinking of doing a scene, it will have to be nonalcoholic. And liquor service ends at ten.”

A sharp crack of leather against flesh, followed by a cry from the suspended man, filled the silence while he tried to get his brain to catch up. This place had everything he’d been looking for in a club, including perceptive staff.

He would never drink if he were going into a heavy scene, so it was nice to see the club shared a policy similar to his personal beliefs. “Club soda.”

Somehow, Jared’s smile managed to grow brighter. “Awesome. I hope you find someone to play with tonight.”

Hopefully, things will go my way for once. “How much?”

“First drink’s on the house. After that we can put it on your tab and you can settle up with Ginger at a later time.”

“Business must be good.” He should have opened a bar instead of a bookstore.

Jared chuckled. “We do okay. I’ll send someone over with that drink.”

“Thanks.”

“Enjoy the show.”

He couldn’t stop from checking out the kid’s ass as he made his way over to the bar. Not that Simon was getting the gay vibe from him, but if nothing else panned out tonight, maybe he could convince Jared to join him for a few games as a walk on the wild side.

Don’t play with the straight boys, Simon.

The woman had changed her stance behind her sub. Feet wider than shoulder width, she was bringing the crop down in a series of increasingly harder smacks. She was striking him with the shaft of the crop, and was clearly an expert, landing each blow exactly where it should be. The man’s body shook, but he wasn’t pulling away. Ah, those looked to be little more than warm-up hits, love taps even.

“How many is that?” The Domme asked loudly enough for Simon to hear easily.

“Thank you, Mistress. Twenty, Mistress.”

“Not nearly enough.”

“No, Mistress.”

“I think you’re ready for something more.”

Spinning on her heel, she marched over to the table close to the wall. He couldn’t see the instruments waiting for her use, but when she came back with a long, thin cane, he knew he wanted to take a serious look.

“I don’t think you’ve been good at all. I think you need to be punished.”

The man sobbed, his hips bucking out. “Yes, Mistress. If it pleases you.”

“It does.” Simon didn’t miss the gentle caress of her fingers along her sub’s back. Reaching up, she slipped her fingers into his, and Simon smiled as she received a reassuring squeeze.

The moment was over as she stepped away and, with lightning reflexes, landed a blow across both his ass cheeks. The crack was louder than anything else in the room. The corresponding gasp and moan from the man was all Simon needed for his cock to go rock hard.

He was sitting there, mesmerized by the woman’s mastery with the cane, when he felt a presence approaching from his side. Half-expecting Jared and his drink, he was surprised when he saw it was in fact the sub from the bar.

The man dropped to his knees like a rag doll abandoned by a child. Eyes and head down, he held out the glass, filled high with clear, bubbling liquid, and silently waited for Simon to take it.

Immediately, he looked back to the scene unfolding in front of him and did his best to ignore the newcomer. It had been a long time since he’d had someone offer himself like this. He was jaded enough to know that nine times out of ten the person wouldn’t be a good fit for him. Either their personalities wouldn’t click or the sub was after something that he wasn’t comfortable doing. Still, the guy by his feet was hitting all the right marks, and Simon couldn’t help but hope this would lead to some playtime.

“How many now? You better still be counting.” The Domme had moved to stand directly in front of her sub, gripping his chin. “Answer me!”

“Thank you, Mistress. Twenty, Mistress.” The answer was given in a far shakier voice than before. Clearly she hadn’t gone easy on him.

There was a pause as she examined his face, turning his head from side to side. “Not enough yet. You’re still fighting me.”

“I’m sorry, Mistress.”

“If I truly believed that, things would go much easier for you. Ten more. I want you to count out loud after each one.”

“Yes, Mistress. Whatever pleases you.”

Simon cocked his head, looking out of the corner of his eye at the man kneeling by his chair. He hadn’t moved. The drink was still being offered, though Simon could see the slight shake in his arms. With a bored sigh, Simon took the glass.

The familiar, pleasant, fizzy tickle of the soda made its way down his throat, and eased the dryness of his mouth. He took another sip and held his glass out. The sub reached for it, taking it neatly from him.

A loud crack was followed by a sob. “One. Thank you, Mistress.”

He took the glass again, ignoring the tiny rush of electricity when his fingers brushed against the sub’s. Fuck, he hadn’t even studied the man yet and he was ready to tie him up.

“Two. Thank you, Mistress.”

He knew he wouldn’t be able to put things off too long. If he wasn’t going to play with the boy, then he needed to cut him loose sooner rather than later. It wouldn’t be fair to waste the poor guy’s whole evening.

Crack. “Three. Thank you, Mistress.” Gasp.

“I bet his ass is red now,” Simon said softly. It could be brushed off as him speaking to himself, but he knew the man at his feet would hang on every word.

“Five. Thank you, Mistress.”

“I bet the welts are nice and white. He won’t be able to sit down for hours.” He sipped his drink. “I wonder if she’ll fuck him or if she’ll leave him to suffer.”

“Seven. Thank you, Mistress.”

Not wanting to wait any longer, he looked down at the man at his feet.

He didn’t appear to be much younger than Simon. He was shirtless, wearing leather pants, and his feet were bare. Brown hair fell forward to cover his eyes, which Simon inexplicably wanted to know the color of. His long, lean arms were now at his sides, knuckles pressed to the floor. God, he looked like a swimmer or runner. Someone who took the time to exercise and look after himself.

In short, he was gorgeous.

“Nine. Thank you, Mistress.”

The sub at his feet was breathing a bit harder now. Simon liked that he was affected by the scene going on. Not that they would be able to do something like that now—not without setting limits at least.

“Think he’s going to make it? She’s been pretty rough on him. Answer me.”

“Yes, Sir. He will.”

The deep baritone sent a pleasant vibe through him. He pulled his sunglasses off at that point, tucking them into the inside pocket of his jacket.

“You’re being so good,” the Domme cooed. “Just one more. One more and you’ll make me happy.”

“Yes, Mistress. Whatever you want.”

“That’s right. Whatever I want.”

The final crack had the sub breaking into sobs as he collapsed. The restraints took the whole of his weight as his Domme came up beside him, stroking his body.

“Good boy. You did so well.”

Simon snorted. “Seems you were right.”

The sub didn’t answer.

Unable to hold himself back, he reached out and lifted the man’s chin. He still didn’t raise his gaze from the floor.

“Look at me.” He made sure the command had enough quiet steel embedded in it to compel an immediate response.

There was something reflected in his rich brown irises that had Simon’s chest tightening. Careful not to give anything away, he cocked an eyebrow at the man. “Name.”

“Gavin.”

“I’m Master S. And do you work here, Gavin? Is this how Escape treats all new customers?”

“No, Sir.”

“Then what do you want?”

Gavin’s lips tightened, but he didn’t respond.

“I’m not in the mood to break in a new toy. Especially a difficult one. Either tell me what you’re looking for, or I’d suggest you find someone else.”

He turned his attention back to the Domme. She released the last cuff and was forced to catch her sub as he stumbled, trying to maintain his balance. Simon would have offered to help, but knew it wouldn’t be welcomed.

Gavin hadn’t moved from his position. Simon took another large sip of the soda. Shit, he shouldn’t get his hopes up that things would work out between them. That normally didn’t end well for him.

“Sir, I’m looking for someone who can help me forget for a while.”

It was hard not to smile. The sub was soft-spoken, but had a rich voice that easily reached him. “Forget what?”

Gavin closed his eyes for a moment. “Everything. I tend to think too much.”

He’d seen the expression on Gavin’s face before, many times in the mirror. Life had a way of wearing a person down, and inevitably that began to show. Gavin looked the same way he did after dealing with bills and complaints, business forecasts and contingency planning. They both needed an escape. “I can help you.”

from Joyfully Jay (by Kris)

[W]hat this story has is a clear voice, a concise narrative, and a really pleasant style that sucked me in and carried me along. Add to that the chemistry and connection between the MCs and I barely even moved until I’d read the whole thing.  Recommended.

from Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

[T]ouching and heartfelt . . .  Simon and Gavin are perfect for one another.

from T.A. McKay

A quick hot little story with a nice ending!

from The Way She Reads

If you’re in the mood for a well plotted hot story about two men who clearly belong together and the journey they need to take before they are able to admit that, you’ll enjoy The Dom Around the Corner.

from JJ's Kinky Books

[A] sweet story with a good amount of spice added by the kink. The storyline is fairly straightforward, but  the fabulous characters bring it to life.

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