Suburban Dominants #3
The amulet Lindy wears to the club’s Halloween party is imbued with a love charm intended to snag the attention of the man who’s most right for her in the room. She’s looking for a really masterful man, and she’s convinced Rick Lowery is the one. Rick does respond to her, but so does his friend, Kyle Harrison. Is she woman enough to handle submitting to both of them? And what will happen when she has to confess to them what she’s done?
Five Blue Ribbons! Romance Junkies “In less than fifty pages CHARMING THE MASTERS successfully drew me into Lindy, Rick and Kyle’s tale and held my attention through to the end. They’re all struggling with their own worries and insecurities which endear them to readers while their sexual escapades heat up the pages. Katherine Kingston satisfies readers’ desires for that little something extra in a shorter storyline and leaves you wanting more. Hopefully there will be a follow up story to CHARMING THE MASTERS because I’d love to know what happens after this one ends.” By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Chrissy Dionne * Read the Full Review *
Grade A (Outstanding!) Simply Romance Reviews “Ms. Kingston handles the daunting task of ménage and BDSM with a skill that is often lacking in similar stories. She manages to create a subplot of an insecure in her appearance woman capturing the man of her dreams with a brush of genius. Each character is well defined and with enough internal conflict to keep each unique, and endearing. Definitely a book to add to your must read list.” ~Reviewed by Stephanie * Read the Full Review *
Fallen Angels Reviews “…this book turned out to be really good. I can’t wait to read more books by this author.” Reviewed by: Cheryl * Read the Full Review *
Music blared from speakers set into the wall. Crowds of people filled the room, squeezing Lindy as she tried to make her way through them. The aromas of perfumes, drinks and arousal combined to make her head swim. Even though she wore the amulet, Lindy had to fight an urge to find a nice, quiet corner where she could hide. She was so not a party girl in any circumstances and this was so not an average party.
The dungeon didn’t need additional decoration to give it an eerie ambiance. Hundreds of gas candles shone from sconces that lined the gray walls above head-height and from cast-iron chandeliers that hung from the ceiling. They provided the only light in the room, more than adequate to see by but casting a bizarre array of flickering shadows throughout the area. The décor also included displays of whips, crops, floggers, canes and rods. Enough to give shivers to anyone.
It gave a special kind of shiver to people like her.
Of course, most of the crowd here tonight got that same frisson, but it didn’t change her attitude about the scene. The crush of people squeezing into the area made her feel lightheaded in a different kind of way.
The whole scene added to her doubts about the supposedly magical properties of the amulet she wore. She closed a hand over the piece, a heavy disk of gold-colored metal on a gold chain, and touched the odd symbols incised around its edge, rubbing her fingertip across the facets of the aquamarine in the center.
It might be imbued with a charm to make her more attractive to the men in the room—at least according to her friend Bethany it was—but that didn’t make her any less shy. So far, it wasn’t obvious that the thing worked. A few guys had given her a bit more than a once-over but none had approached. Just as well. There really was only one man in the room she wanted, and he wasn’t likely to give her a second look.
She shouldn’t have come. Why had she let Bethany convince her this was a good idea? Lindy appreciated the thought when Bethany had given the amulet to her. It was a pretty piece and a sweet gift, but Lindy still felt stupid about allowing her friend to convince her it would help attract the man she wanted. Magic belonged in fairy tales and children’s stories and she’d left those behind a long time ago. And even if magic could happen… No.
Whether the amulet worked or not, it wasn’t right to draw a man’s attention and interest through magic.
She didn’t want to stay, but when she looked around for her friend, the other woman was nowhere in sight. Bethany had driven them here. Lindy didn’t mind getting a cab, but she hated to leave without letting her friend know.
Turning to scan the crowd, she nearly collided with a tall man holding a drink. His free hand shot out to help support her when she wobbled, and a few drops of the drink splattered his cotton knit sweater.
“Oh. I’m so sorry!” She blushed and tried not to stammer. “I wasn’t looking where I was going.” She had to force herself to look up at his face and meet his amused gaze.
“Not at all,” he answered. “I wasn’t paying attention or I—” The grin turned to surprise. “Lindy? Good grief! What are you doing…? I mean, here? You know what this is all about? Have I seen you here before?”
“Rick?” She drew a steadying breath and forced her mouth to snap shut. Fortunately he’d ascribe her surprise to just seeing him here. “I wasn’t expecting… No, it’s only my second time.” He hadn’t seen her, but she had seen him here on her previous visit, just a day after her company had finalized the deal for his company to market the new software she’d helped develop. He was probably celebrating landing the account.
She dared not mention that, nor could she tell him how he’d entranced her as he and a friend had put on a demonstration of clever flogging techniques with several submissives.
She stared up at Rick Lowery and tried to keep her jaw from hanging open in an unbecoming way. Or drooling. Drooling would be so tacky.
The tight jeans and close-fitting green sweater outlined a body that would make most women pant. Tall and lean, with good shoulders and narrow hips, his build was more graceful than bulky, the muscles tight and strong though he wasn’t thickly padded with them. His swimmer’s physique was almost too attractive to be real. He moved with a supple, controlled athleticism that proclaimed him in charge wherever he went and whatever he did.
He wasn’t a beautiful man, but the strong, rugged lines of his face were more appealing to her than bland prettiness would have been, especially with his unusual coloring. Gray-green eyes seemed to change shade depending on his thoughts, the ambient light and what he wore. His thick hair was a deep cinnamon that was neither brown nor red, but somewhere in between. He kept it neatly cut but just a little long. Most of the time it remained in place, swept to the side, but strands tended to fall forward onto his face during physical activity.
Above a strong, square chin, his mouth could look hard and cold, as it had several times during the negotiations, but when he relaxed, the well-cut lips became sensually inviting. His smile showed two gorgeous dimples bracketing his mouth.
“Did you play on your first visit?” he asked.
Stop staring, she warned herself. The grin she summoned to meet his smile felt forced. It took an effort to push up enough air from her lungs to answer. “A little. Nothing too heavy.”
“With anyone in particular?”
This wasn’t how she’d envisioned a meeting with him going. He was supposed to be enchanted with her. Bowled over by her beauty. Right. Sure. “A friend of a friend.”
“Is he here tonight?”
“I don’t think so. Haven’t seen him.”
“Does it matter?”
“Not much,” she admitted. “He was just a guy.” And you are so not just a guy. She looked down for fear he’d read the sentiment in her eyes.
“What did you think about playing here?”
She shrugged. Keep it cool. “I’m here again.”
“Good answer.” Gentle amusement threaded the words. “Have you done it before? Other places?”
She shook her head. “Just in my imagination.”
“Ah. You had those kinds of fantasies growing up?” he asked.
“Those kinds of fantasies?”
“The ones you didn’t dare tell anyone else about? The ones you were sort of embarrassed about. The ones that would amuse some people and horrify others?”
“Oh, those. Yeah.” Heat flamed in her face.
He laughed softly. “Amazing to meet someone who can still blush. Lindy…since the deal’s been signed, sealed and delivered, and we’re not in negotiations anymore, I’m thinking there’s no reason I can’t offer to buy you a drink.”
A thrill shot through her but she did her best not to sound too enthusiastic when she answered. It was just a drink. “I don’t see why not.”
“Good.” He guided her to the bar and got the glass of white wine she requested. Along the way, another man approached them, eyes fixed on her, but he turned away when Rick glared at him. Once they were settled at one of the small tables crowded into a corner beside the bar, he continued. “So you’re a novice but intrigued. When we were negotiating the deal for our companies, I never guessed that this lurked under the cool, poised exterior.”
“I could say the same about you. You seem… I don’t know…different here.”
“I do let my hair down occasionally, you know. Good to know that you do too. And in a way I approve of.”
The sparkle in his eyes—more gray than green in the dappled light of the faux dungeon—was doing dangerous things to her pulse and respiration. So maybe the amulet did have some kind of magical effect. A pang twisted her stomach. If it was true, was she being fair to him to ensnare him this way? It would only last until midnight, according to Bethany. Surely she could be forgiven for grabbing a few hours of pleasure with a man who’d haunted her dreams from the moment she’d met him. Surely.
They talked for another ten minutes about work and other things they liked to do with their leisure time. She knew already that she was attracted to Rick, and she respected his ability as a businessman, but those few minutes surprised her with the discovery that she liked him as well, and they had a number of interests in common.
While they talked, two other men came over to their table and tried to strike up conversations. Lindy vaguely remembered one of them from her last visit, though she couldn’t recall him seeming so eager to meet her then. The other one was an acquaintance of Rick’s. Subtly, but unmistakably, each made clear their interest in her. Rick was polite to both, while still managing to convey that he had dibs and planned to exercise the option. It quickly drove the interlopers away.
He sipped at his drink as they talked, but when he finished it, he paused and hesitated, almost like he was nervous about his next words. The grin slid off his face, leaving it looking strained and tense.
“Lindy…” He stopped to swallow. Definitely nervous. “If you think this is impertinent or might be a problem in our business relationship, feel free to tell me so. Since this is the point of being here, I thought, maybe… If I were to ask you to wear my collar—just for tonight—would you consider it?”
“Wear your collar?”
His lips twisted into a wry expression. “Basically that means you agree to be my sub. Play with me exclusively. Just for tonight.”
“Oh. I… I think it might be interesting. But what… What would it mean? How far would…?”
“As far as you want and no further,” he said promptly. “If there are things you don’t like and don’t want me to do, just tell me.”
She glanced around the room, spying a few vignettes of dungeon activity through the milling crowds. Over near the far wall on the right, a man sat on a chair with a big-bottomed young woman draped over his lap. He delivered a series of spanks on her rear that echoed off the ceiling so loudly Lindy could hear them even over the hum of the crowd. The recipient’s response, if any, sank into the general buzz. A little farther down a man stood with his scantily clad sub kneeling beside him, her hands tied behind her back. As Lindy watched, the man put a morsel of food on a plate sitting on the floor, gestured at it and the sub obediently bent down to eat it using only her mouth, while her Master helped her balance by holding on to her hair.
Lindy shuddered in horror. “No public display. No humiliation. I’ll do most things—as long as they’re not too gross or vile—in private, but not in public.”
“Thank heaven.” He sounded sincere, even fervent. “I’ve done a few public displays—more for education than anything else—but I’m not much for it either.” He studied her face with a serious expression as he reached across the table to brush his fingers over the back of her hand.
The contact sent a sort of electric shock through her, followed by waves of heat. She hoped she wasn’t blushing again but thought it likely he could see the color.
“What do you want to do?” he asked. “Anything you’d particularly like to play with?”
“You.” Lindy felt her face flame even hotter. She couldn’t believe she’d actually said that.
A smile broke across his face. “I’m flattered, although that wasn’t exactly what I meant.”
“Oh, I know. I’m sorry if—” She broke off because another man was approaching. She didn’t recognize the newcomer, but he clearly knew Rick.
Rick followed her line of sight. “Kyle!” He stood up to shake the stranger’s hand. “Haven’t seen you here in a while. How are you doing?” This was a different sort of greeting from those he’d offered others who’d approached earlier, much warmer and friendlier, with more than a hint of concern.
“Still taking it day by day,” the other man said. “But I’m getting there. You?”
Lindy studied Kyle while the two men exchanged greetings. He looked to be a few years older than Rick, maybe in his mid-thirties. He wore khaki pants and a dress shirt with the neck open and sleeves rolled up to his elbows, was shorter than Rick by an inch or so and probably would be more thickly muscled, except that he looked like he’d lost considerable weight recently. His face was thin, the skin pulled tight over good, strong bones. Shadows clouded eyes that should be a brilliant, vivid blue. Harsh control kept his face in a neutral expression at the expense of carving deep lines around his mouth and nose. Something bad had happened to the man, something he still hadn’t recovered from. Rick turned to introduce her to Kyle Harrison, “a very good friend I haven’t seen in far too long”.
Kyle extended a hand to her. “Delighted to meet you, Lindy.”
When he smiled, it showed a brief flash of the kind of charm that could light up a couple of counties for a month or so. It stayed only briefly, subsumed right away in the severe neutrality.
“Join us for a drink?” Rick asked.
Kyle hesitated, looking from Rick to Lindy and back. “Probably better not. We can catch up some other time.” He glanced around the room and something in his expression said he dreaded having to circulate or talk to anyone else and was only refusing the invitation because he didn’t want to intrude. Her heart went out to him.
“Please do join us,” Lindy said. Rick’s grateful smile rewarded her for the offer.
“If you’re sure?” He still hesitated.
“We’re sure,” Rick said.
Kyle’s expression lightened a degree or two. He held a glass in his left hand and set it on the table as he drew an extra chair from nearby and sat down. “Thank you. This is my first time back since…since Rita. Cilla and Charles insisted it was time for me to get out and start circulating again, so I’m humoring them.” He looked up at Lindy and said, “My wife passed away eight months ago. I’m not really ready for this.”
“I’m sorry.” She felt how inadequate and silly that was, but had no other words for him.
“Thank you. I just don’t know how to act anymore. And I’m really not ready even to think about another relationship.” He paused and gave Lindy a wry grin. “Even if it were with someone as attractive as you. I always knew Rick had good taste. He demonstrates it yet again.”
She blushed but she did have an answer for this. “He has you for a friend too.”
Another brief smile lit Kyle’s face.
Rick’s eyebrows rose, though he just watched the two of them with an amused look. “The person in question is present, you know,” he mentioned. “And in danger of getting a swelled head.” He looked from one of them to the other and let his gaze rest on Lindy for a moment, studying her a bit more seriously than he had before. “I was in the process of asking Lindy if she’d like to wear my collar for the evening. Under the circumstances I think I might revise the request.”
Lindy stared at him. Kyle did the same. Her breath caught when she understood. This definitely qualified as getting more than she bargained for.
“Kyle has been a Master for a long time and he’s extraordinarily good at it,” Rick told her. “He could teach us both a lot.” Rick’s eyes questioned her silently, waiting for her to shake her head or otherwise refuse.
She wasn’t sure why he wanted to include Kyle. Because Kyle needed it? Or because he himself needed the moral support. Hard to believe that. Could he think she might prefer it?
Rick was still the man she wanted, but for some reason he wanted Kyle to join them. Maybe it would help him over the awkwardness of starting a different sort of relationship with someone who’d been a mere business acquaintance a few hours ago.
“I don’t think that’s what Lindy had in mind in coming here,” Kyle said, filling the awkward void of her silence.
Lindy shook her head. “Actually, Rick and I just ran into each other here a few minutes ago, though we’ve been acquainted for a while.” Which was the truth if not the whole truth.
“Business relationship,” Rick added. “Though now that we’ve met here, I’d like to expand that. Lindy is close to a novice, though.”
Kyle gave each of them a quick, hard glance, started to say something and then thought better of it. He shrugged. “It could be tempting. To have such a lovely sub and share her with a good friend. It’s been a long time, though, and I’m out of practice.”
“It’s not the kind of thing you’re likely to forget,” Rick said. “But it might be more than Lindy is ready for.” Both men looked at her.
She’d come here tonight hoping to meet and connect with one particular man. And so she had, but in truth, she found him a bit intimidating. She found Kyle intimidating too. And yet… For reasons that made no sense whatsoever, the two of them together seemed a bit less so. “I don’t think I mind.” A smile formed. “Actually I should be getting down on my knees in gratitude. To have two strong, handsome men wanting to Master me? I’ll bet half the women in the room would kill to be in this position. Maybe more than half.”
Guilt assailed her. It had to be the amulet, and it was horribly selfish of her to let it manipulate them into this. But it was just for one night. Surely she could have just one night. It was all she was likely to get, ever.
Rick pulled a strip of soft leather from his pocket and handed it to her. “In that case, would you put this around your neck? It won’t interfere with the necklace you’re wearing. It signifies your willingness to be submissive to both of us for as long as you wear it.”
She took the strip from him and looked at it. His name was cut into the nicely tanned leather, which was so soft and supple it wouldn’t chafe. It had no lock or buckle. A strip of Velcro fastener on either end held it together. She put it around her neck and pressed the ends closed.
The aroma of the leather hit her. Together with the feel of it circling her throat and her awareness of its symbolism, it sent a rush of excitement coursing through her, settling deep inside.
“You can unfasten it at any time,” Rick said. “Your submission is always voluntary. How about one more drink before we head downstairs?”
Kyle offered to get them. When he’d left, Rick gave her a rueful look. “This wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for when I saw you here,” he admitted. “I’d love to have you all to myself. But Kyle needs this, and really, I think he can help us. Maybe you, especially.”
It made her feel daring to reach across the table and lay her hand over his. “It’s all right. I don’t mind, really.” He turned his palm up so that her hand rested in his and he wrapped his fingers over the top. The contact was wonderfully warm and set her pulse racing. She sort of hoped that he did mind it a bit, that he’d want her all to himself, but really that was pushing pretty hard when she was already getting more than she would have dared ask for. Her hand trembled.
“Nervous?” he asked.
“A little fear is good,” he said, gray eyes twinkling. “It adds a bit of edge to the play. But you know we won’t really hurt you. You’ll have safe words in case you don’t like something or it’s too much for you. And the club has its own safeguards built in. We call it ‘play’ and we mean it. If it’s not fun for one player, it’s not fun for any of us. I’ve played with Kyle a few times before, and he’s a stickler for the whole ‘safe, sane and consensual’ mantra. Those aren’t just words to him. Or me, either.” He watched her and the dimples in his cheeks deepened around his smile. “You’re still a bit intimidated. Don’t worry. It’ll be okay. You’ll see.”
Kyle returned with the drinks, and for the next twenty minutes they talked about their jobs, education, sports and hobbies. Once they drained the glasses, Rick stood up. “I’ve got a room reserved downstairs,” he told them.
They followed him out into the lobby and down a set of stairs to the private rooms. Just outside the door, Rick stopped and turned to her. “You understand what safe words are?” When she nodded he continued, “Say ‘red light’ if you don’t like something or need to stop what’s happening. ‘Yellow light’ if you need a break or a rest. Does that work for you? Once we’re inside we’ll expect you to follow orders precisely and without hesitation or protest unless you use one of the safe words. Understood?”
Rick’s expression grew serious and stern. “Oh, and another thing. Once inside that door you will refer to us as either ‘Master’ or ‘Sir’.”
“Yes, Sir.” Just saying that one word made a shiver of mixed fear and excitement creep down her spine.
“Good.” Rick opened the door and stood aside to let her and Kyle enter.
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