Cowboy Casanova, Page 54Lorelei James
The crowd murmured behind them.
“Blindfold her. ”
Zoe gasped and turned to glare at Ben. “What? No, you can’t—”
Ben grabbed her jaw, tilting her face up. “I most certainly can, because you’re the one trussed up in chains, not me. And if you don’t show me respect, since this is now my scene? When I’ve deemed that you are done with the pain portion? I won’t let Brian touch you. At all. All you’ll feel is pain. Nothin’ else. So choose. ”
She lowered her eyes. “I apologize for my behavior, Sir. ”
Brian tied on the blindfold.
At the first whip crack, the crowd moved back.
“Brian. Distract her. ”
As soon as Brian’s lips touched hers, Zoe relaxed. She arched into him, making soft noises as he broke the kiss.
“Count. Starting from one. ” Ben placed the first blow on the fleshy part of Zoe’s right shoulder.
“One. Thank you, Sir. ”
Ben kept moving, walking closer, letting Brian offer soothing words and caresses as he marked her skin with random stinging blows. He concentrated the hits on her buttocks and the backs of her thighs, remembering those as her hot spots. But he felt no stirring of arousal. No need to caress her skin or take her to the next level. He felt…tired. Maybe a little used. More than ready to be done with this night.
At Zoe’s full body slump, he let his whip fall to the side. Brian moved in and gave his sub what she needed.
The crowd parted for him, but all eyes returned to the action at the front.
Ben wanted a shot of whiskey and the comfort of his own bed. He cut down the hallway when a hand landed on his shoulder, jerking him to a stop. He whirled around and his cousin Dalton was in his face, wearing a look of disgust.
“What the fuck was that I just saw, Bennett?”
“Dalton?” Ben glanced at the crowd to see if a monitor was close by. “How did you get in here?”
“I dropped your name at the door. They let me in with a guest pass. ”
He’d asked for that pass for Ainsley. The fact she’d never use it made him lash out. “Go away. I ain’t in the mood to deal with you right now. ” Ben sidestepped him.
But Dalton anticipated the move. “What are you in the mood for? Beating on another helpless woman? With a fucking bullwhip, for Christsake?”
“Keep your goddamn voice down. ”
“The fuck I will. I want some fuckin’ answers on why you get off whipping women as they cry out for you to stop hitting them! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw you with that older couple. I looked in the window and watched you beat her. And then I saw you immediately jump at the chance to beat another chick. Jesus. What did either of those women do to you?”
Dalton was more muscle bound, but Ben had more experience dealing with hotheads, so he grabbed his cousin by his shirt and shoved him into room three.
Ben would’ve welcomed Dalton taking a swing at him. But Dalton paced. Muttered to himself. Ben had wondered how he’d handle it if this day came. How he’d explain. If he even wanted to try.
Then Dalton invaded his space. “How long have you been comin’ to this place?”
“I helped start this club six years ago. ”
“So how many women have you tortured and raped during that time?”
Ben shoved Dalton and held the whip handle against his throat. “Back the fuck off, Dalton. You don’t have the first fuckin’ clue what you’re talking about. You’re just flapping your gums, spouting bullshit and proving your ignorance. ”
“I know what I saw. ”
“Do you? If what I was doing was so unwanted or wrong, then why the hell didn’t the woman’s husband stop me? Then why didn’t any one of the fifty other members watching the last scene step in and stop me? Not because they were scared I’d turn the whip on them. They didn’t stop it because they understood what I was doin’. You don’t. ”
“You’re goddamned right I don’t,” Dalton retorted. “What kind of man does this? And do you know the really sick part? You didn’t get off doin’ it. ”
“So you’re saying you’d understand it more if I would’ve fucked those women afterward?”
“Yes. No. Maybe. Fuck, I don’t know. This makes no sense to me. ” Dalton paced to the back of the room and jammed a hand through his hair. “I don’t get it. Why?”
Ben dropped into the chair. “You think I can explain it enough to satisfy you? I recognize that look in your eyes, Dalton and that is the reason I don’t broadcast this. Here at the club I find women who are looking for the same thing. ”
“Lookin’ to get their asses whaled on?” Dalton sneered.
“So you’re tellin’ me this private club is a real freak parade. ”
“This place is no more a freak parade than the Golden Boot, where you troll for pussy every weekend. ”
Dalton took a belligerent stance, arms crossed over his chest, feet braced wide. “Wrong. This ain’t normal. ”
“You’ve never tied a woman up during sex?”
“Ah. Sure. Who hasn’t?” Dalton shifted his stance, then his eyes. “So I oughta be afraid the next step will be shackling a woman in chains and beating on her in front of a room full of strangers?”
He sank into the closest chair. “This is pointless. ”
“Does your family know?”
Ben shook his head.
“They should. Maybe they can get you some help, cuz, ’cause this is seriously fucked up. ”
He thought he’d conquered the fear of being outed to his family. But the idea of his brothers and parents staring at him, with Dalton’s same judgmental eyes, made him physically ill. His voice came out a hoarse whisper. “You gonna take it upon yourself to tell them?”
“I don’t know. But you can’t deny the reason you haven’t told them is because you know it’s wrong. ”
Now he had to worry that Dalton would blab to the entire McKay family.
“Look at yourself, Ben. Sitting there holding a whip, a whip that you used on not one, but two women tonight. And you’re tellin’ me I’m the one with the problem. ” He shook his head. “It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad. ” Dalton stormed out.
There was the game-ending blow. It’d been ages since he’d felt such a wash of shame. Since he’d felt like an outcast. And then he topped off those failings with the fear that no decent woman—like Ainsley—would ever love him because of his tendencies. Hidden fears that smacked him in the face today from his cousin’s accusations.
Ben remained in the room a long time, emotions warring. He fingered the beautifully made whip. Device of torture? Instrument of pleasure? His supposed expertise gnawed at him. He’d honed his skills on cattle. What would his family say if they knew he regularly used it on people? On women? Would they be ashamed? Should he be ashamed?
So Dalton hadn’t been totally off base.
Ben felt raw. Used. Confused. Lonely. As much as he’d broadened Ainsley’s horizon, she’d broadened his too. He glanced around the room. He felt nothing. No pride, or excitement or anger. No anticipation for what might be in store for him for future nights with future subs. He just wanted to go home.
Ainsley dreamt of Bennett every night. Images so vivid she couldn’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality until she woke up alone.
After last night’s dream she’d leapt out of bed and stared out the hotel window across the freeway to the Denver skyline. She’d hoped she wouldn’t dream of him here, as she had the last two nights in her bed in Sundance.
Which begged the question: were her regrets about her decision haunting her?
But there wasn’t anything she could do about it. She was miserable. Trying to stave off the dreams that left her feeling bereft, she drank four strong gin an
d tonics at the hotel bar before she stumbled back to her room.
But not even booze kept him from overtaking her thoughts.
A rough-skinned hand brushed her forehead and she shot straight up in bed. She couldn’t see anything it was so dark. “Who’s there?”
The echo of heavy breathing was the only response.
She scrambled backward, even when she recognized the warm, earthy scent of her dominant’s aftershave. “What do you want?”
A deep, male chuckle. “You know what I want. ”
That initial spike of fear faded. She shouldn’t be surprised he’d taken it upon himself to make her bedroom stranger sexual fantasy a reality.
Or was this a dream? It was so vivid, the sound of his feet shuffling on the carpet. The scent of his skin so close she could taste his sweat on her tongue. The way her body was wound tight with anticipation whenever he was near.
“I’ve been watchin’ you. I know what you do when you’re alone in your bedroom. ”
“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about. ”
“Do you know how many times I’ve watched you jerk up your nightgown and reach for your vibrator? You grab a couple of your favorite naughty books. You’ve used them so many times the pages fall open to your favorite scenes. I know which scenes get you hot,” he said, much closer to her than he’d been. “Which scenes make you turn that vibrator on high. Which scenes made your pussy dripping wet.
“You imagine yourself trussed up. Subject to a man’s whim, maybe his to mercy, but always to his pleasure. However he wants to fuck you, in as many positions as his greedy, depraved brain can create, as many times as he can get it up. ” His hot breath stuttered across her ear. “But here’s where your fantasy is mine. Here’s where the dream becomes real. Because this man, this dream lover, wants to prove he can be the man to give you what no man ever has before. ”
She blurted, “What are you going to do to me?”
“Make you scream. ”