Truly helpless, p.4
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       Truly Helpless, p.4

         Part #10 of Nature of Desire series by Joey W. Hill

  Forfeiting his membership, one of the perks of his employment, wouldn't be the only penalty for noncompliance. He'd broken the common-sense rule of not shitting where you work.

  Marius's gaze flicked to the contact point between the two men, an obvious warning. The DM removed his hand, but he kept his hard gaze pinned on Marius.

  Even at this distance Regina felt the crackle of electricity she'd experienced when she'd laid her palm on Marius. He was still in high rev mode from the scene, the whole situation. Guilt twinged through her for leaving him so abruptly, though the proper aftercare for a sub who'd shoved himself into sub drop through his own sadistic behavior wasn't in any BDSM play manual she'd ever read. Chaining him to the back of a car and making him run to keep up for a couple miles, naked and barefoot, came to mind, but local law enforcement would frown on the tactic.

  Still... At least one club Domme was a state trooper. Maybe Violet would provide a police escort.

  Regina wanted to shadow him up to Tyler's office. Maybe she could devise an even less plausible scheme to get herself into the meeting, or within hearing distance.

  It turned out such strategies were not necessary. When Alex saw her, he held Marius in place with a gesture and crossed the room to her. "Lady Regina, if you're willing, Mr. Winterman has requested your presence. He feels your insight and participation would be valuable."

  An interesting way of phrasing it, and one she was sure was deliberate, knowing what she did of Tyler Winterman.

  "It would be my pleasure," she said.

  Chapter Two

  Tyler replayed the feeds, the two tapes displayed on side-by-side monitors. He'd already digested the full session between Marius and Siren, confirming what he'd unfortunately anticipated the situation would be when Terry gave him the high points. But it was the end of both feeds that had his interest now.

  Pressing play, he watched Regina take Marius down to one knee. Plenty of Mistresses had the ability to manhandle an unruly male sub, since some of them craved that, but what she'd said to him... Tyler hadn't heard it, but whatever she'd said had compelled an interesting reaction from the pain-in-everyone's-ass that Marius had become.

  Tyler had been a practicing Master nearly all his adult life. He'd employed some of those skills for the CIA, in ways that still gave him bad dreams. It was not his preferred way of exercising his Dominant side.

  But whether to extort information or give pleasure, he knew the significance of every movement or expression, the smallest ripple of muscle, the flash of an eye. Typical for most security cameras, the feed offered wasn't hi-res, but when their gazes had locked, Marius's body language suggested Regina's words had struck a nerve. Even more importantly, Regina had known it. It might have been a blind shot in the dark, but intuition had guided her arrow with accuracy.

  The other tape was Regina's public flogging with Marius from a few months ago. There. Tyler stopped it at the point where Regina was releasing Marius and watched the man rest his cheek on her hand. In this instance, Tyler was more interested in Regina's reaction, the stillness that gripped her. How she'd touched his head with a tenderness the practical Mistress didn't often display in her Zone sessions.

  He should throw Marius out on his ass with extreme prejudice, no more chances. Two taped moments wouldn't have changed his mind about that, except another factor had to be considered. Marguerite.

  Tyler's wife was an indomitable Mistress and yet also his committed submissive, wrapped up into one complex, damaged but precious soul. His angel. Out of all the Mistresses at The Zone, she was the only one who had ever successfully topped Marius, meaning she'd achieved deeper levels than a simple, shallow orgasm exchange, usually the best-case scenario with him.

  That had been well before Marius's downward spiral, which had come to a head tonight. Being a frustrating submissive wasn't against club rules. Mistresses could choose not to play with him, and they talked among themselves enough to know his M.O. even before trying him. But tonight he'd crossed a line, and Tyler protected his club members, whether Masters, Mistresses or subs.

  His jaw flexed as he thought of Siren on the tape, shivering and crying. While just a few notches above novice-level, and sometimes taking herself a little too seriously in her Domme role, she was usually an even-handed Mistress who'd brought pleasure to many male subs in her same weight class.

  Even behind closed doors, cautionary tales like this one leaked. It was a fair bet the subs who'd enjoyed Siren's company would be happy to handle Marius's punishment. Probably by taking him into the back lot, beating him bloody and dumping him into the trash. Tyler had to get out ahead of it before Marius was done permanent damage, no matter how much the idiot deserved it.

  He sat back and thought about Marguerite's advice, which he'd solicited several weeks ago when he'd noticed the problems with Marius increasing.

  "I'm going to have Mac shoot him. Every time I issue a warning, he says and does the right thing. When I call him on that shit, he clams up and tells me 'Understood, sir.'"

  "Mac hates the red tape when he shoots someone," Marguerite pointed out serenely. "Using your covert CIA clearance to dispatch him would make far more sense."

  Tyler snorted. They were sharing breakfast on the sunporch of his plantation house. His angel was in a short white silk robe and reclining on her hip against colorful pillows on the chaise lounge. The sunrise reflected off her moonlight-colored hair. Sitting across from her at the glass table, which gave him an unimpeded view of her long, bare legs and pearlescent toenails, he thought all she needed was a pair of wings. Though his second thought was far more earth-bound. He considered when he would order her to open the robe and lie there naked for his viewing enjoyment. The fabric was already slipping off one silken shoulder.

  "Marius possesses as many layers as a brick wall. And he'll never open up to a male authority figure." She cocked her head, a smile touching her serious lips. "You're not listening, Master."

  "I'm listening. I'm just fantasizing at the same time. By calling me that, you just pushed it into a higher gear, as I'm sure you're quite aware." He put down his coffee cup, though, and folded his arms on the table, nodding at her to continue.

  "One side of Marius is a reasonably decent man with a good heart," she said. "The same Mistresses he drives crazy in scenes have complete confidence in him as a DM and security. The problem starts when you hit his triggers."

  "Which seems to be happening more often."

  "Yes," she confirmed. "When it does, he morphs into a mean-spirited bastard."

  Tyler's eyes narrowed. "I didn't see your session with him back then. Did he get mean?"

  "He tried." She met his gaze with eyes the color of a blue sky veiled with gossamer clouds. "Which I handled, quite effectively. That's why you're asking my advice."

  He was sure she had. It didn't defuse his protective instincts, even in retroactive application. She gave him an amused, knowing look, but continued her explanation. "After our session, he made a conscious choice to limit himself to the Mistresses who don't push. Or the ones who cut him loose when he starts to be an ass, not interested in that kind of drama. Until recently."

  "Yeah." Tyler shook his head. "Probably why I've let this go on longer than I should have. And because I used to like and respect the kid."

  "He wouldn't be working for you otherwise." She nodded. "The more a Mistress tries to penetrate his shields, the more acrimonious he gets. His shields protect what's at his very center. At his core, he's deeply troubled. Damaged. Perhaps damaged in a way beyond repair."

  She paused. "His wounds run deep--possibly deeper--than what you found in my heart."

  He knew the depth of those wounds, the hell she'd gone through and to which he'd nearly lost her. "Are you sure?" he asked quietly.

  "Yes. Whatever set him off in recent months has made it harder for him to keep up his facade. Or maybe the attempt to be something he's not is wearing thin, which happens as the years pass and we realize those demons aren't go
ing away without the aid of something we do not possess alone."

  She reached out, something she wouldn't have done at one time, and laid her hand on the table, like a bird landing at the corner of his place setting. He collected her fingers into the shelter of his grip. Whether she'd intended it or not, it was the hand that bore a scar that looked like a starburst, evidence of that hell she'd faced.

  "Perhaps that's how he and I connected," she said slowly, gazing at the link between them. "How I found an open doorway. But there was a point during my session with Marius that I felt like a neurosurgeon who opened the body and saw a cardiologist was needed instead. He's not mine to fix." She lifted her eyes to meet his. "The one who needs to perform that operation is the one who wants to hold his soul in her hand. The way you wanted to do with mine."

  He needed to be closer to her. Rising, he came around the table, continuing to hold her hand. "Robe off," he murmured, his chest and loins tightening at how she complied, with such quiet obedience. His own personal miracle. A woman with the soul of a Mistress and the heart of a submissive. He released her only to allow the robe to drop all the way free, then he folded her down on the lounge again, stretching himself out behind her, their bodies spooned together.

  Propping himself on his elbow, he ran a proprietary hand over her body, her backside, her upper thighs. She laid her head down on his biceps, her short, manicured nails stroking a trail up his propped forearm. He dipped his head to smell her hair, nuzzle it.

  "Do you think there's such a woman out there? That's a tall order, finding the perfect Dominant for such a difficult sub."

  "I won't inflate your already massive ego," she said, but added a teasing rub of her ass against his groin, emphasizing the innuendo--and inflating it. He wrapped his hand around her hair and tugged.

  "Tell me more about this mystery Domme, then."

  "She won't be driven by a sentimental desire to save him, though she may very well do that. She'll first be interested in the challenge he offers to her skills." Marguerite laid her head back down on his arm, her body shivering as he idly cupped her breast, stroked over her navel and down to her smooth sex. He noted with satisfied male interest her next words were more breathless. "That's what will draw her to him and will be the only thing that works, because she has to stay detached enough to stay ahead of him on every level."

  "She'll have to be stronger than I was. I couldn't stay detached from you. You had my heart from the first time you tried to stab me with a cake knife."

  "You wouldn't have said that if you were a hair less quick," she said dryly.

  "Yes, I would have." He pressed his lips to her throat, used teeth, and felt her pulse elevate. "As I told you then, I'm not afraid to bleed for you."

  Her hand gripped his forearm in aroused reaction and he saw her lashes lower as her eyes closed. "Keep explaining," he said. "You're not done."

  Her lips curved, even as her fingers quivered on his at the command. "Sadist. For her to reach him completely, at some point she'll have to love him. Because love is the only thing that saves a lost soul. But I don't think it can start that way. I was wounded, but I'd reached a balancing point in other aspects of my life, like running Tea Leaves, and my tentative friendships with Chloe and Gen. When I struck out at you, it was more from fear than hate and the need to do violence. Marius...I'm not sure he's there yet."

  Her expression became more serious as she turned her face to him. Her hand stilled his on her stomach. "If there is a woman who decides to walk the path with him that you walked with me, she'll be risking herself in ways I'm not sure are wise. But that's the risk of loving a lost soul. They can drag whoever's trying to love them into hell and destroy them there."

  "Or pull them out and save them," he reminded her, wrapping his arms around her. "We're going back to bed soon. I need to be inside you again."

  She made a soft noise of pleasure as he sipped from her lips, teasing her tongue with his own. "I'm yours to command. And no one else's."

  "I'll make sure you remember it all day long," he promised.

  At the taste of her mouth, the press of her body, and with all his senses immersed in her, he decided he wasn't waiting to have her. He reached down between them to open his slacks, and felt the tremor go through her body. Her head tipped back against his shoulder, eyes half closed. She moistened her lips.

  "Master," she whispered.

  "Always," he responded, with authority and need at once. He gripped her throat as he guided himself into her. He took her from behind right there in the kitchen, his other hand shifting to her waist and hip to grip. Her body arched up, moans caught in her throat as he seated himself deep and then began to thrust, slow, torturing them both.

  He made her silken skin damp with perspiration, and those tremors took over, quivering all along her lovely limbs. He buried his face in her hair, found her throat and set his teeth to it, causing her to cry out at the sharp clamp, the demand that he knew she needed as much as he did.

  It didn't take long to bring her to climax, his fingers stroking her clit, his cock thrusting inside her. She spoke when she was still breathless.

  "Please come with me."

  He could refuse her nothing. When he spilled himself in her cunt, those muscles clutching him like a vise, he couldn't think of a better way to end the discussion. Or start his day. Being inside her was the best way to start or end anything.

  It seemed slow, ticking moments later that they were curled up in one another's arms, her still naked as he preferred, him with his shirt open and trousers unhooked so she could stroke his damp shaft, curl her fingers in the coarse hair around it.

  Half asleep, her mouth moving against his chest, breath heating his nipple, Marguerite softly sung a few bars of the Sound of Music tune, changing the words to, "How do you solve a problem like Marius." It planted a vision in his mind of all the nuns singing the chorus, only they had the faces of the club Dommes, like her and Violet, Lyda, Regina...

  She smiled when he told her that. He liked making her smile.

  Marguerite's assessment had startled him, her belief that beneath Marius's ten-foot deep layers of charm and humor bullshit lay something as dark as what Tyler had found devouring her soul. At the time of that conversation, nothing as blatant as this had happened. Now, even with the grainy feed, he could see the truth of it in the session with Siren.

  Marius had likely noted Siren's relative inexperience and mild character flaws while he was working as DM and security, because he was second-to-none for noticing the details when serving in those roles. Which only increased the depth of the cold anger Tyler felt as he'd watched the feed and saw how Marius used that intel against her, the same intel he would have normally used to protect her and her subs when he was working.

  Those weaknesses that could be groomed into strengths, he'd instead exploited to make her doubt herself, make her insecure, put her on the defensive, and ultimately lose control.

  Tyler's anger about that made him stop and give serious second thought to the plan that had started to form, the idea that had taken hold, as he studied the two key moments between Regina and Marius. He could cut Marius loose. Keep Regina out of it. Her play was mainly within the scene, with resources provided by club members at several reputable private establishments in the area, like The Zone. If Marius was kicked out of The Zone, the decision would travel fast within the closely networked BDSM community, such that he likely wouldn't be welcome anywhere else locally.

  Yet Tyler knew Regina and had a tremendous respect for her skills as a Domme. While Siren was competent, he believed Marius wouldn't have gotten so far along such a destructive track with Regina. There were tough Mistresses, hard Mistresses. She was tough but not hard. Just impossible to bullshit. She gave a great deal to her subs, satisfying experiences, with the parts of herself she was willing to give, and yet never left them feeling denied. She guarded herself closely, but not because of skeletons in her closet, Tyler was almost sure. It was because she had self-
confidence and high expectations.

  If he had to make an educated guess on her views about a long-term relationship, he expected when she gave her heart, she'd give herself above and beyond to the effort. But it wasn't something she'd do lightly. In the meantime, she took genuine pleasure in exercising control over her subs, her discipline and practicality keeping close rein over both their emotional responses.

  Which came a little too damn close to exactly how Marguerite had described the right kind of Domme for Marius. It would be easier if the man was gay and Regina was male, because Tyler's first reaction in any situation where a woman might be at risk was to protect her. His lips twisted ruefully as he imagined Marguerite or Regina's expression if he said that aloud. He'd lost count of the times his indomitable wife had chided him about the line between chivalry and sexism.

  If Regina was interested, and if he could satisfy himself that she knew what she was walking into--as much as anyone could predict an unstable submissive personality--she would deserve the opportunity.

  Then there was Marius himself. If only tonight's behavior was taken into account, he didn't deserve any consideration at all. But he was one of theirs, too, and it was as obvious to Tyler as it was to Marguerite that the man was on an accelerating crash-and-burn slide. If he needed fixing and there was a way to do it, Tyler couldn't bring himself to turn his back on him.

  He thanked God every day for the skills honed over a lifetime that had helped him reach his wife's heart. He'd found the way with his angel after they'd skated so perilously close, not only to the destruction of her soul, but her very life. They'd come out the other side, full into the light of the blessings that shone upon them now.