Finding Master Right - Inventory Clearance Paperback!
It's all fun and games until somebody falls in love.
Chase has just arrived at a much anticipated leather convention, and he’s about to lose his mind. Not only is his ex attending, but Chase is also rooming with Derek, a submissive he’s been dying to top. Although Derek is in search of a Dom, he made it painfully clear when the two of them hooked up for a very hot — but very vanilla — night just before the convention that he wasn’t interested in submitting to Chase.
Derek isn’t stupid. No matter how desperate he is to submit to Chase, he wants no part of a rebound relationship. As long as Chase is still pining after the sub who broke his heart a few months ago, Derek’s keeping him at arm’s length. Besides, there’s another Dom at this convention, the gorgeous Master Raul, who Derek is determined to attract.
But when Chase and Derek are confronted with all their kinks, from ropes to leather, bondage to flogging — not to mention each other — they can only ignore their mutual attraction for so long.
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This title comes with no special warnings.
Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish. Click on a label to reveal its content.
Kinks: biting, bondage, collaring, exhibitionism, face-fucking, flogging, flying, impact play, nipple clamps, orgasm denial, power exchange, predicament bondage, public play, rimming / anilingus, rough sex, sadomasochism, spitroasting, voyeurism
“I never thought I’d say this,” Derek said, adjusting his backpack strap on his shoulder, “but I am really glad everybody’s not wearing leather right now.”
“No shit.” I scanned the hotel lobby’s thickening crowd as I tapped out my impatience on the upraised handle of my suitcase. This time tomorrow, the entire building would smell like a saddle shop, and there’d be enough leather visible to make the collective membership of PETA faint. Just the thought would normally make my mouth water.
Right now? Not so much, because it was ninety-seven degrees outside and the hotel’s air conditioner had picked this afternoon to crap out. Though I wouldn’t have guessed it prior to this moment, I realized then that if there was anything worse than standing in a long, slow-moving line, it was standing in a long, slow-moving line in a sweltering lobby surrounded by sweaty men in hot leather.
For the time being, there were a few people in leather, but mostly shorts and T-shirts. More shirts came off as more people crowded into the lobby; between the growing crowd and the thick black curtains covering all the windows to prevent passersby from seeing anything offensive this week, the temperature was rising by the minute.
Taped to a post, a photocopied sign tried to placate us: We apologize for the inconvenience. We are working to correct the faulty air conditioning as quickly as we can.
Might want to step it up, boys, I thought as the revolving doors deposited another half dozen or so attendees into the lobby. At least most of us could improvise if the heat lingered tomorrow. It would still be unpleasant, but we could just strip off layers until no one was wearing anything but bondage harnesses and hot pants. Half the guys would be almost naked most of the time anyway. Well, except for the guys who’d be demonstrating gimp suits. They’d be miserable. And oh, God, the poor furries . . .
The line inched forward, so we shuffled after it, stopping about three inches from where we’d been for the last ten minutes.
“Ugh.” Derek shrugged off his backpack and dropped it at his feet. “It is too. Fucking. Hot in here.”
And God damn him, he peeled off his white T-shirt.
I didn’t have to look. I did look, of course, but it wasn’t like I’d never seen him without his shirt. Smooth pecs, flawless abs, some elaborate Celtic knots tattooed across the left side of his ribcage. Not a single bruise or welt, though, which just twisted my gut a little tighter. He was a submissive and a masochist. Sex left marks on a man like him.
Except last night. Because last night, he’d insisted on keeping things vanilla.
“I just want to fuck tonight,” he’d said somewhere between the first kiss and the first condom. “Just fuck me, Chase.”
He must not have realized that I’d distinctly remembered all the times he’d said sex wasn’t worth having unless someone drew blood or left a mark. And now, the morning after we’d finally hooked up, he didn’t have a single welt on him. Ouch, Derek. Ouch.
I definitely could have done without nine hours in the car with him on the way here. Hooking up last night meant I’d spent all damned day today obsessively wondering why a kinky sub like him was fine having plain vanilla sex with me, but nothing more. Having him right beside me while I gnawed on those thoughts was . . . less than comfortable.
Correction: Standing in a slow-moving line a sweltering lobby may have sucked, but it didn’t get any worse than checking into a week-long convention that promised to be as sexually charged as they ever were, during which I’d be sharing a room with the submissive I’d fucked last night but hadn’t actually topped, even though I’d wanted to. And I was still licking my wounds from my last sub deciding he’d rather . . . anyway. Whatever.
Oblivious to my inner grumbling, Derek gasped. “Oh my God,” he said in a stage whisper. “There he is!”
Didn’t need to ask who. It wasn’t hard to pick the guy out—even surrounded by other tall, hot men with broad, inked shoulders, the blond goatee and long ponytail gave him away. And heaven knew I’d seen enough pictures of him recently to pick him out of a lineup. Who else but the infamous Master Raul could make Derek flush more than an overheated hotel lobby already had?
Correction again: It didn’t get any worse than being too-recently single, checking into a week-long, sexually charged convention, rooming with a submissive I was dying to top, and knowing that said submissive had made it his mission to put himself on the radar of that guy.
And suddenly I realized why he hadn’t wanted me to leave any marks.
Fuck my life.
The line continued inching forward at glacial speed. The revolving doors kept whisking more people into the lobby than the desk clerks were whisking out, and the temperature kept rising along with the volume of voices. Derek’s shirt stayed off and his attention kept drifting toward that blond, ponytailed piece of distraction he’d come all this way to pursue. The only thing missing was my ex, and as far as I knew, he was still planning on attending, so every time that revolving door went around, I cringed.
A woman’s voice cut through the noise: “I can help whoever’s next.”
“Oh, that’s us.” Derek picked up his backpack and grabbed his suitcase.
At the desk, I set my own stuff down and reached into my pocket for my wallet. “Reservation for two. Last name’s Martin.”
She tapped a few keys. “Chase Martin?”
“Yes, ma’am.” I slid my credit card across the polished granite desk.
“And you’re here for the convention?” Her smile was friendly and genuine, but her eyes said nothing if not, Oh my God, is this really happening?
I nodded and returned the smile, trying not to look too amused. If she thought this was an unusual crowd, she hadn’t seen a thing yet. Poor girl. She wouldn’t know what hit her tomorrow.
“Okay,” she said, “I have you down for a non-smoking room with two queens—”
Derek snorted. I threw him a look, and he glared at me, but then cleared his throat and muttered an apology.
The girl’s cheeks darkened, and she offered a shy laugh before she went on, “Non-smoking room with two queen-sized beds, checking out on Sunday afternoon. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” I said.
She typed something else into the computer, then printed my receipt and handed us our room keys. “You’re in room 387. Elevators are down the hall.” She ran us through everything else—where to park, where to eat, the usual hotel spiel—and sent us on our way.
As we left the lobby, Derek said, “Think she’s ever worked a con like this before?”
I laughed. “Probably not.”
“Ooh, my.” He whistled, shaking his head. “It will be an enlightening week, won’t it?”
“Aren’t cons like this always enlightening?”
“Well, yes. But for someone who’s— Oh, good lord.”
I was about to ask what had caught his attention, but even before I turned my head, I’d answered my own question.
The great, coveted, ponytailed Master Raul. Much closer now, shirtless, leaning casually against a chest-high planter and talking with some other perspiring attendees as they all waited to check in.
“Why don’t you go talk to him?” I asked. Because I could use a break and a chance to catch my breath.
Derek glanced at me. Then he shook his head and kept walking. “I think I’ll wait until I’m not sweating like a pig, thanks.” He looked down at himself and wrinkled his nose. “Right now, I need a shower. Stat.”
I didn’t say anything, and tried like hell not to picture Derek showering in our shared bathroom. Oh, yeah. This was going to be a long week.
The elevator took us up to our floor, and when the doors opened, we were greeted by a rush of pleasantly cool air. Apparently, at least some of the A/C in the building was working, and we were so caught up in basking in the luxurious coolness the doors started to close, but I caught them.
Our room was a few doors down from the elevator. Close enough that it wasn’t stupidly inconvenient, far enough that we wouldn’t be disturbed when people came and went at all hours of the night. Perfect.
When we stepped into our room, it was actually cold enough to warrant turning down the A/C.
Derek sprawled across the bed closer to the windows. “Oh, thank God. Some cool air.”
“And we don’t have to sleep in that horrible heat.”
“Uh-huh. And so help me,” he said, almost groaning, “if the A/C isn’t working down there tomorrow, I’m spending the entire con up here.”
I laughed. “You? Stay up here and miss all the boys and toys?”
He quirked his lips. “Hmm. Good point. Okay, so I’ll just come up here to cool off every now and then.”
“Hotel room’s not usually a place I’d go to cool off, but whatever turns your crank.”
Derek didn’t throw back one of his customary smartass comments. In fact, he didn’t say anything.
I unzipped my suitcase, and he still hadn’t spoken. “Something wrong?”
“No, nothing’s wrong.” Derek sat up and rested his hands on the side of the bed while I pulled things out of my suitcase. He cleared his throat. “But, um, since we’re sharing a room . . .”
My hands stopped moving. I glanced up. “Yes?”
“Well, I mean . . .” He lowered his gaze to the floor between the beds. “Look, we’re two single guys. Everyone here is kinky. So, I mean, you know . . .”
Oh, be still my beating heart . . .
Before I could say anything, Derek took a deep breath and met my eyes again. “And especially after last night, I . . . I just want to make sure I know where we stand.”
“Where we stand?”
“Yeah. You know.” He shrugged with one shoulder. “Like, is it cool if we bring people back to the room? Or should we go to their rooms?”
It took every last ounce of restraint I possessed—and I was a Dom, for fuck’s sake—to pretend he hadn’t just verbally kicked me in the balls.
“Um . . .” I turned around and pulled open one of the dresser drawers below the mirror and TV. “I guess we could, uh, play it by ear.” I turned, glancing at him in the mirror as I put the stack of neatly folded clothes into the drawer. “But maybe it would be better if our default is to take it to other people’s rooms.”
Something unreadable flickered across Derek’s face, tightening his lips and furrowing his brow for a fleeting second before he shrugged again and pushed himself to his feet.
As he headed for the door, I stepped in front of him. “Wait.”
He halted. “What?” His tone was flat, but laced with impatience.
I hesitated. “Look, talk to me, Derek. Is something wrong?”
He held my gaze, and from the set of his jaw, there was definitely something wrong. But then he shook his head. “Nothing’s wrong. Don’t worry about it.”
“Sure about that?” I tried not to sound defensive. “Because we’ve—”
“Look, if you’d rather I stay somewhere else,” he snapped, “I can find another room to crash in. Just say the word, all right?”
“What? No, I don’t want—” I paused. “What gave you that impression?”
He raised his eyebrow and tilted his head in classic Derek “fucking really?” fashion.
“Am I missing something?” I asked.
Derek rolled his eyes again. He folded his arms over his chest. “What did we talk about in the car today?”
I thought back to the drive in. “I . . . don’t think we talked about much of anything, did we?”
“No, we didn’t,” he snapped. “Didn’t that strike you as a little odd?” His eyes narrowed. “You’ve barely said two words to me since you got into my pants.”
I blinked. “I—” Running through the last twelve or so hours or so in my head, I realized with a sinking feeling that he was right. I hadn’t been ignoring him, not by any means, but I hadn’t been talking to him either. “Jesus, Derek, I’m sorry. I . . .” Couldn’t even breathe around you? Was afraid I might say something that would make this entire week awkward as fuck? Even more awkward? “I was preoccupied. It had nothing to do with you.”
He eyed me skeptically.
Okay, so he was right to question me. My silence had had everything to do with him, but not for the reasons he must have thought. Certainly not because he’d done anything wrong.
“I’m sorry,” I said again. “It was nothing you did. And it wasn’t because I’d gotten into your pants and then decided I had no use for you.”
“Then why?” All the fury in his voice and posture evaporated, replaced by a palpable hurt. “One minute we were all over each other, and the next . . .” He shook his head and lowered his gaze. “The next you acted like you didn’t want to be anywhere near me.”
“It wasn’t that at all.” Quite the contrary. But how to tell him I wanted more when he’d made it so clear that he didn’t? “I think last night, it just . . . it kind of came out of the blue, you know?”
“Tell me about it.” Now his tone betrayed nothing. No regret, anger, hurt. Nothing.
“But I don’t want things to be weird between us.”
Derek exhaled, and his shoulders relaxed a little. “I don’t either. I’m just worried they already are.”
“They don’t have be,” I said quietly. “Maybe it was a mistake, but we’ve been friends way too long to let something like this ruin that.”
His lips tightened. “True.” He looked me in the eyes. “So we should just put it behind us, then. Pretend it never happened.”
Ouch again, Derek. “I don’t know what else we can do. I mean, I don’t regret it, but—”
“Neither do I,” he said softly, avoiding my eyes.
I wanted so badly to put a comforting hand on his shoulder, but how much contact was welcome in a conversation like this? Touching him to reassure him while we agreed we couldn’t touch? Too conflicting. Mixed messages. Too goddamned tempting to—
“We don’t necessarily have to pretend it never happened,” I said. “We just can’t let it happen again. So we don’t screw this”—I gestured at him, then myself—“up again.”
Derek nodded. “I can live with that.”
“Good. Me too.” I think.
“Okay.” He nodded toward the door. “Anyway, I stink. I’m going to go grab that shower.”
He brushed past me.
The bathroom door closed, and I released my breath. I nudged the drawer shut with my hip and met my own eyes in the mirror above the dresser.
A week. At a leather con. With Derek. In the same hotel, but maybe not always the same hotel room.
Once again, fuck my life.
The shower in our room actually had decent water pressure. Hot water, too. Like, really hot. The way it’s supposed to be, goddammit. I’d stayed in enough cheap, crappy rooms that the novelty of water stinging my skin—from both heat and pressure—had seriously not worn off.
But damn if it wasn’t tempting to get out of this shower, grab my crap off the bed, and walk down the road to the cut-rate shithole where all the overflow attendees who hadn’t made their reservations in time were staying. Give me a trickling, lukewarm shower, a stale continental breakfast, and a four-block, scorching hot summer walk between my room and the con; just get me the fuck out of this room.
Didn’t matter how proudly I waved the masochist flag. I had my limits just like everybody else. And this? This was my fucking limit.
Sharing a room with Chase was going to drive me insane before the end of the week. Any idiot could see that. And any idiot would have not taken Chase up on the offer to share his room. Come to think of it, any idiot would also have backed off last night before things got so amazingly hot, which would have eliminated the inevitable morning-after tension.
God. What the hell was I thinking?
Okay, so it really had come down to either sharing a room with someone or not coming to the con at all. Yay, being broke and procrastinating on that whole reservation thing. But Chase hadn’t been the only potential roommate. I knew other guys here. I would’ve slept on a floor, a rollaway, or a damned armchair if I had to, but come hell or high water, I was coming to the con.
Getting to share a room with Chase had just been a bonus.
So I’d thought, anyway.
Last night had fucked everything up. I’d had no idea we’d wind up together in Chase’s bed. One minute, we’d been talking about the con and I was helping him pack a few floggers and toys. The next, things had taken a racy turn. And then he was kissing me, and I was in heaven because, hello, how long had I wanted a piece of Chase action? I’d been fantasizing about him for three damned years.
Sighing, I picked up the soap and started scrubbing away all the sweat from standing in that lobby.
I couldn’t decide if I should be kicking myself for keeping things vanilla last night, or if I’d dodged a bullet. I’d told myself last night it was because we’d both needed some sleep before we hit the road this morning. Chase’s scenes could go on for a long, long time. And of course that excuse made perfect sense in light of the fact that we’d been up until almost two, Chase fucking me in every position imaginable until neither of us could move.
On the one hand, talk about a missed opportunity. On the other, for fuck’s sake, if he was going to cold-shoulder me for hours on end the next day, then it was just as well we’d kept it to some vanilla—but admittedly hot—sex and nothing more. Otherwise I’d have been extra pissed off at him. And at myself.
I let my head fall forward so the water could massage the back of my neck, hoping to melt away some of the tension that had taken up residence on the way here and hadn’t quite eased even after we’d discussed things. Damn, that had been a hellish drive. If I’d had to suffer through one more awkward, silent mile, I’d have thrown myself out of the fucking car. Nine hours of that shit. Nine goddamned hours of Chase making it abundantly clear that I was the last person he wanted to be around. Thanks a lot, dick.
But he is newly single, I reminded myself for the fifty-seven thousandth time since we’d left at ass-fifteen this morning. Maybe last night had been too soon for him. Maybe being at a leather con was salt in an open wound for him. If my last Dom and I had ended things that badly and that recently, I supposed a sex-saturated festival of pain and leather wouldn’t be very appealing to me either.
Oh, who was I kidding? If somebody dumped me like Ian had dumped Chase, I’d want to be thrown into a room full of horny, naked men with paddles, floggers, and a few buckets of lube until I forgot all about the jerk. But maybe Chase didn’t cope quite the same way. Weirdo.
I turned off the shower and picked up a towel. Once I’d dried enough, I put the towel around my waist and got out.
Leaning over the counter, I wiped the steam off the mirror, and then stared at myself for a moment. I was going to enjoy this con. If Chase was depressed over Ian or insisted on being an ass over last night, then so be it. I’d paid a lot of money to be here, the Dom I coveted was here, and it was my first vacation from my salt mine of a job in a good long time. No way in hell was I going to be miserable all week.
Holding my own reflected gaze, I squared my shoulders and took a deep breath. Yeah. Definitely going to enjoy this week. If Chase wanted to be miserable, then fuck him. He could sulk while I found someone to top the hell out of me. And maybe I’d get really lucky and find a lift back home when the con was over.
I pulled on a pair of jeans and left the bathroom.
Chase was on his bed, laptop propped up on his knee, and he looked at me over the top of the screen. “Want to go grab some food?”
Not necessarily with you, but . . .
“I could eat.” I pulled on my shirt. “You?”
“Definitely.” He closed his laptop and set it on the bed beside him. “Preferably something that isn’t truck-stop food.”
I forced a quiet laugh. “Well, I don’t see any truck stops around. I think we’re safe.”
“Good.” He gestured toward the bathroom. “I’m going to get a shower myself first, though. You okay with waiting a few minutes?”
I shrugged. “Sure.”
At least he was a bit more pleasant now. He’d barely said two words on that purgatorial drive here. Normally, I could make a drive like that with only as many stops as the gas tank required. This time, I had counted down miles between rest stops and found excuses to stop almost once an hour. I was almost surprised Chase hadn’t asked if I needed my prostate checked or something after the fifth piss break in four hours, but asking would have meant, like, talking to me. And aside from “How are we doing on gas?” or “Mind if I change the radio station?” he hadn’t seemed interested in that whole communication thing.
And I was going to put up with this for a fucking week? Seriously? Jesus. My first time ever at this convention was off to a fabulous start.
Oh, well. I was here, and once the con kicked off tomorrow, we could avoid each other. I could grin and bear it until then. Or maybe we could settle this over dinner, and get back to being friends before the con got rolling.
A few minutes later, Chase came out of the bathroom with only a pair of jeans on. His dark hair was still mussed from the water and the towel, and a few stray drops held onto his chest and washboard abs as if to say, “We can touch him and you can’t, punk!”
I’d had my chance. I’d touched that chest and those abs last night, just not as a submissive. Maybe that was why Chase was pissed, though it sure hadn’t bothered him last night. Or if it had, it hadn’t been enough to keep him from putting his dick in me a few times.
Once we were both dressed, we headed back downstairs.
The lobby was still sweltering, and about fifty times more crowded than we’d left it. More shirts were off than on, and sweet mother of God there were some beautiful men here. I’d never been to this particular convention, and so far, busted air conditioner and grumpy companion notwithstanding, it was living up to its hype. When everyone broke out the leather and leashes tomorrow, I’d be in heaven.
Then Chase groaned. “Oh, that’s just fucking awesome.” He said it just far enough under his breath to make my teeth grind.
For fuck’s sake. Now what?
Something across the room had caught his eye, so I followed his gaze.
Oh. Okay, I could totally see why he was grumbling. If my ex was strutting his barely dressed self right in my line of sight, flirting with anything that moved, I’d be pissy too.
Naturally, Ian looked good. Of course he did. He always did. Thanks to the heat, he didn’t have a shirt on, but knowing him, he wouldn’t have had one on anyway. Who could blame him? If I had abs or shoulders like that, I’d want them as exposed as humanly possible too. His black hair was growing out now, creeping toward his ears and the back of his neck; Chase liked his subs with longer hair, so Ian had shaved his head as an act of rebellion near the end. It was still a little too short now, but Ian could have made a damned mullet look good.
So, yeah. He looked good. Really, the only thing he was missing was a set of tracks from a well-aimed eighteen wheeler.
Well, that and the padlocked collar he’d worn for the last two and a half years. Not that I minded the fact that Chase was single, but Ian had worked him the fuck over, and now Chase was miserable. And Chase’s mood would no doubt be even more sour now that the little shit he used to top was here. Fucking hooray.
“I thought he wasn’t coming,” I said.
Chase scowled. “Registration was nonrefundable. Guess he found someone to room with.”
“How fortunate,” I muttered.
“Yeah, really. Let’s go find something to eat. Outside the hotel.”
“Sounds good to me.”
We went out one of the side doors instead of crossing the crowded lobby. Mercifully, outside was much cooler than the lobby. Still hot, but not as unpleasant.
We found a bistro a few blocks from the hotel. I could have eaten a whole side of beef just then, but the thought of walking back with a full stomach in that heat made me settle on a salad and ice water for the moment. Chase got a sandwich, and we found a table by the window.
While we ate, Chase was still quiet. Quiet and distant. He didn’t seem all that interested in his food, eating with all the enthusiasm I’d have mustered for a cold bowl of plain oatmeal. I’d been taking his silence personally all day, but had a feeling it wasn’t me this time.
As I chased a dried cranberry around my plate with my fork, I said, “You okay?”
He nodded. “Yeah. I’m good.”
He eyed me. “Why?”
“Because you’ve had that thousand-yard stare ever since you saw Ian in the lobby?”
Chase lowered his gaze. “I’m fine. Guess I just wasn’t ready to see him. Thought I was, but . . .” Trailing off, he shook his head. “I don’t know.”
“He worked you over. If I were you, I probably would have read him the riot act right there in the lobby, so you’re one up on me.”
Chase actually laughed, if a little halfheartedly. “Guess it’s a good thing it was me, then.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
Neither of us said anything further. The quiet tension that had ridden between us on the long drive was settling back in, though it was . . . different now. Not comfortable, but not hostile. Picking at my salad, I felt guilty for busting his chops in my head all morning. On top of all the tension we’d had to hash out, he’d probably known all the way here that he was on a collision course with that little prick. Fucking me—and quite possibly regretting it as much as I did—probably hadn’t helped with whatever complicated chaos was whirling around in Chase’s mind.
Then he broke the silence.
“There isn’t a whole lot going on tomorrow, so I was going to check out the vendors in the morning. Before it gets crazy crowded.” He lifted his eyebrows. “You want to go?”
I almost choked on a cherry tomato. “Uh, yeah. Sure.”
Chase cocked his head. “What?”
“Nothing.” Coughing, I reached for my drink. “Just”—didn’t think you’d want to spend any more time with me than you had to—“got something down the wrong pipe.” I coughed again, then took another swallow of water to clear my throat. When I met his eyes again, I couldn’t begin to decipher his expression—he always had been a difficult one to read—and had no idea if he bought the lie or not.
After a moment, he said, “Can I ask you something?”
I raised my eyebrows. You’re asking me permission to ask a question? What the hell? “Um, yeah. Sure. What’s on your mind?”
He regarded me silently for a moment, twin creases deepening between his eyebrows as my question hung in the air. Finally, he took a breath and leaned toward me. “I’m just curious about something. From last night.”
I swallowed. “Okay . . .”
Another long pause. “You wanted to keep things . . . vanilla. Was there any particular reason?”
His scrutiny made it difficult to sit still, and I focused on picking at the salad I suddenly didn’t feel like finishing.
“Derek?” He leaned closer, and I half expected him to reach across the table and put his hand on the back of my arm. “I’m just curious. I mean, I enjoyed last night. A lot.”
I looked at him again. “Really?”
Chase nodded, a half-smirk pulling at his lips. “You didn’t think I did?”
“I wasn’t sure, to be honest.”
The smirk faded. “I did. Just so we’re clear.”
“Okay. Good to know.”
“I just haven’t been able to figure out why things . . . why we did things the way we did.”
I didn’t have an answer for him. Last night, it had made sense. At least, I thought it had. In the moment, all I’d been sure of was that I wanted Chase, but couldn’t kneel for him. Which was weird in hindsight because I’d always wanted to submit to him. Before last night, I’d have sold my soul for him to dominate me for even one scene.
But when the moment had come, and a mind-bending kiss was about to bring three years of fantasies to life, I’d put my foot down and kept things tame.
And sitting across from him, faced with that question now, I didn’t have a goddamned answer. Not for him, and not for myself.
I moistened my lips. “I guess I just wasn’t in the mood for more than that. And we had to, you know, get up in a few hours to drive.”
“True,” he said quietly. “I guess we did.”
And there it was again: that uncomfortable silence.
“Well.” Chase cleared his throat. “There’s a cocktail hour at the hotel bar at seven.” He glanced at his watch. “Want to go?”
I forced a smile. “Sure. Why not?”
Word Count: 45,700
Page Count: 169
Cover By: L.C. Chase