The master, p.31
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       The Master, p.31
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         Part #8 of Submissive series by Tara Sue Me

  “Now, that’s where you’d be wrong, little one.”

  She thought she’d imagined it, but just in case, she looked to the door and gasped.

  He stood in her doorway with a huge grin on his face. “You really should lock your door. It’s not safe to leave it otherwise.” He nodded toward Abby. “Abby.”

  “Hey, Cole,” Abby said.

  Sasha was still staring at him like he’d descended from a UFO. Cole was here. In her apartment. “Cole,” she said. “What are you . . . why?”

  He walked farther into the room. “Abby, if you don’t mind, I’d like to speak to Sasha privately. Matter of fact, I’ll make you a deal. If you let us talk privately, I won’t tell Nathaniel about the asshole speech.”

  “Please.” She waved her hand. “Nathaniel wrote the asshole speech.”

  Cole lifted an eyebrow.

  “Okay, okay.” Abby stood up. “I’m out of here. Call me, Sasha. And you.” She pointed to Cole. “You were picked for a reason. Live up to it.”

  “I will,” Cole said. “Now out.”

  Sasha couldn’t keep her eyes off him, afraid if she looked away that he’d disappear. But he wasn’t saying anything.

  “Why are you here?” she whispered.

  “The short answer is, I’m not letting you chase me away.”

  Her breath caught. “What?”

  “I’m a Dom worthy of your time.” He took three steps in her direction. “So I’m not letting you chase me away. I don’t care how long it takes or what I have to do. I’m going to prove I’m the man able to Master you.”

  She got up and stopped when she stood in front of him. Not quite close enough to touch. “What made you change your mind?”

  “I thought it wouldn’t be right for me to ask you to only be with me. That I’d be somehow cheating you out of something if you didn’t experience more than what I offered.” His expression grew serious and he looked unsure for the first time. “But I love you, Sasha, and if you might perhaps feel the same about me, I think maybe it doesn’t matter that you experience other Dominants.”

  He loved her?

  She couldn’t contain her silly grin. He loved her.

  “I love you, too,” she whispered. “And no, it doesn’t. It doesn’t mean I’m not strong if I only want to be with you. It just means I only want to be with you. I’m sorry I didn’t understand sooner, and I’m sorry if I made you feel like you failed me.”

  “And I’m sorry I let my fears and doubts get the best of me.” He closed the distance between them and cupped her face. “You are more than just strong, you’re strong enough for both of us.”

  She entwined her fingers in his. “I can’t imagine you’re afraid of anything. What do you fear?”

  “Abby was right. I don’t want kids. Ever. It was one of the things that ended my relationship with Kate. I should have told you sooner, but since I wouldn’t allow myself to think of a future with you, I didn’t see why I should.”

  “Cole, I—”

  “Wait,” he said. “Let me finish. You’re my air, I need you, and if you want kids, well, we’ll somehow work it out. But I’m not going to let that keep us apart.” His smile eased the hurt in her heart. “You’re more than my air, you’re my sun, and my moon, and when I’m weary and tired, you’re my shelter.” He lowered his head so their foreheads touched. “Let me be the same to you.”

  She lifted her head and her wet cheeks brushed his chin. “I love you, Cole. I want to live with you and for you and by your side and at your feet. And not having kids doesn’t bother me.”

  “You may change your mind one day.”

  “And purple aliens may invade Earth, but I’m not going to let the possibility of something that might happen in the future take away my happiness in the present.”

  “You humble me. How you accept so much of me. Everyone else has always tried to change me.” He ran his knuckles across her cheekbone. “You’re amazing. Has anyone ever told you?”

  “No, Sir.”

  He nearly growled at the Sir. “Bloody hell, Sasha.”

  She couldn’t reply because he pulled her into his arms and settled his mouth over hers in a kiss that had her entire body begging for more. His mouth was hungry and urgent and she parted her lips to taste him. He trailed his fingers down her spine. She brought her hands to his waist. She wanted to feel him.

  He pulled back. “Wait.”

  “Why?” She could have groaned in frustration.

  “Trust me.”

  “Always.”

  “Before I take you again, I want to show you something I found on my way back from my speaking engagement.”

  She tried to think of what he could want to show her that would take precedence over where she thought the kiss was leading.

  “You wrinkle your nose when you’re trying to understand something. Did you know that?”

  “I do?”

  “Yes.” He kissed the tip of her nose. “It makes me smile.”

  She brought her hands up to his chest and started unbuttoning his shirt. “I’m glad it makes you smile. Now will you show me the thing you found so we can get back to the kissing part?”

  “So impatient, little one.”

  He was being an awful tease. “You’re in my apartment. We’re alone. And my bedroom is right down the hall. Give me one reason not to be impatient.”

  “You underestimate me. I’ll give you five: One, because I said so. Two, I love you. Three, I want you. Four, I want everyone to know you’re mine. And five,” He slipped his hand into his pocket and withdrew a slender box. “I want you in my collar. And not a training one this time.”

  She stared at the box as tears filled her eyes. “Oh, my God.”

  “Sasha?”

  It was too much. Him coming to her apartment and saying he loved her and then offering her his collar. It was all her best days wrapped up together in one. Emotion welled up in her throat and she buried her face in her hands right as a sob escaped her throat.

  “Don’t weep, little one.”

  “I just, it’s only . . .” She looked up. “I never imagined.”

  “And I can’t imagine anything else. Will you wear it?”

  She bit her bottom lip. She wanted so badly to say yes, but knew better than to let excitement overrule her common sense. “If I agree to wear it, will I be your submissive or your slave?”

  “As long as you’re mine, I’m flexible as to how we work.” His fingertip traced her collarbone. “Which would you prefer?”

  His response was everything she wanted it to be. “I enjoyed being your submissive, but it was being your slave that made me complete.”

  He tilted his head. “I’m hesitant to collar you as a slave right now, but I think we could start out in a structured, daily Dominant/submissive role and work toward Master/slave.”

  “I’d like that.” She put her arms around his neck. “Will I live here or at your place?”

  “I want you at my place as often as possible, but there’s no reason for you not to keep the apartment. I doubt you want a stranger living above your shop.”

  Suddenly she didn’t see herself living in the apartment for much longer. She wanted to be with him every night, every morning, for always.

  “Yes, Sir, I’ll wear your collar with pride. Please.”

  He opened the box and took out a necklace that left her breathless. The collar was made of interlocking links of white gold, black ceramic, and diamonds. “I knew the moment I saw it. It carries a unique sensuality that reminds me of you.”

  “I’ve never seen anything more beautiful.”

  There were no words spoken as she caught his eye and slid gracefully to the ground. Only when she felt the floor beneath her knees did she drop her gaze.

  He ran his fingers through her hair and whispered, “I have.”

  The collar carried the warmth of his skin as he put it around her neck. Her eyes closed against the swelling rush of emotion gathering within her. His fingers lin
gered around her collarbone.

  “I vow to always be worthy of you,” he said as the collar clicked into place. “Stand up for me, Sasha.”

  She rose on shaky legs, feeling the heaviness of his collar around her neck while at the same time feeling weightless and light. “I hope I always please you.”

  He took her hand and pulled her close. “Never doubt for a minute how much you please me.” He smiled as he looked in her eyes. “Your eyes sparkle and no longer look lost and uncertain. Your smile is sincere and makes me smile in response. And the way you carry yourself shows an inner strength that is sexy as fucking hell. There isn’t a part of you that doesn’t please me.”

  She could truly get used to this—but somehow, she didn’t think she ever would.

  “Except,” he said and her breath caught. There was something that didn’t please him?

  “Your clothes,” he continued. “You’re wearing them and they’d please me more on the floor.”

  She laughed, remembering how he told her to expect to be off balance with him. And as she slipped her shirt over her head, she knew there was no other way she’d want it.

  Epilogue

  Abby

  One week later

  I pulled up to Cole’s house and found the new couple holding hands while looking over the expansive front yard. I couldn’t help but smile. If Cole thought he’d turned a few heads in the group by agreeing to train Sasha in twenty-four/seven service, he didn’t want to hear the phone calls Nathaniel had fielded when he collared her.

  Fortunately, Nathaniel knew exactly how to put people in their place without them even knowing he’d done it. “I’m not sure what they think I’m going to say or do,” he said after one such call. “I mean, I collared you not over a week after we officially met. And we hadn’t even slept together.”

  “You probably shouldn’t hold that up as preferred practice,” I teased.

  He laughed and pulled me into his lap, mumbling about how he preferred to practice a little something different at the moment.

  The memory left me all smiles as I hopped out of the car and waved. From all appearances and based on my talks with Sasha, she was doing and living exactly the way she should. She rose up on her toes, kissed Cole, and then jogged over to me.

  “Hey, Abby. Cole and I were just going over what we wanted to do with the yard in the spring.” She didn’t wait for a response, but motioned me to follow her into the house. “I asked you to come over to look at something. We were in the attic a few days ago. We were supposed to be cleaning it out, but Cole got inspired by the exposed beams and then he found some rope and, well . . .”

  “I’ve cleaned out an attic or two in my day,” I assured her.

  “The previous owner’s left so much stuff up there.” She led me to the living room. “Anyway, once we stopped fooling around, we went through some old trunks we found. I opened one that had a ton of books in it and, of course, I thought of you.”

  An old trunk sat in the middle of the living room. My fingers itched to open it and look inside.

  “Is that it?” I asked.

  “Yes, and Cole said he’d put it in your car, but first I wanted to show you these.”

  I looked at the items spread out on the table. “Magazines?”

  “Yes.”

  I picked one up. “Why?” It was a fashion magazine from over fifteen years ago. The cover model was pretty, but her look was dated. Wait. I squinted my eyes. “Is that who I think it is?”

  “Your boss, Meagan,” Sasha confirmed. “And get this. Check out the photo credit.”

  My eyes drifted to the tiny print at the bottom of the cover. “Holy fucking shit.”

  “That’s him, isn’t it? I remember Cole saying he did photography on the side.”

  “Luke DeVaan. That’s him all right.”

  “So, now we know part of the story,” Sasha said. “And I’m willing to bet this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

  Read on for a sneak peek at the next book in Tara Sue Me’s Submissive series,

  The Exposure

  Available in October 2016.

  Prologue

  Abby

  Meagan looked up from her desk. “You found these where?”

  I shook my head. “It wasn’t me. You remember Cole and Sasha? From opening night at Luke’s place?’

  “The submissive with the short dark hair and the hot Brit? Not likely to forget him.”

  I laughed, a lot of people had that reaction to Cole. “The hot Brit actually collared the submissive with the short dark hair a few weeks ago. He also recently bought a house and they were in the attic cleaning when Sasha came across those.” I pointed to the stack of magazines.

  I hadn’t recognized the cover model immediately. The young woman staring up at us from the front page had teased blond hair and ice blue eye shadow. She was worlds away from the woman sitting across from me now with sleek, straight hair and natural makeup that subtly enhanced her features.

  “Look at me. I don’t even remember being that young.” Meagan shook her head. “Well, now you know part of my history with Luke. We did a photo shoot another lifetime ago.”

  She sighed and organized the magazines into a pile on the corner of her desk, but she didn’t look up immediately and something lurked in her eyes when she did. “Thank you for bringing these by. I somehow misplaced my copies.”

  I got the distinct impression she’d misplaced them on purpose. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I just thought you should know we found them.”

  “It’s okay. It was just a shock, seeing these. It’s been so long.”

  “I had no idea you used to model.”

  “Used to being the important part.”

  I took a step back and studied her. “I can see it, though. You have that look about you. I never noticed it before, but now? Definitely. You probably could still do it.”

  Meagan raised her eyebrow. “Model? Please.”

  “Or anchor the news. Something in front of the camera.”

  “I don’t think so,” Meagan replied. “I’m very happy sitting behind a desk. Besides, do you have any idea of the stress that comes with modeling? And I’m sure it’s only gotten worse in the last few years.”

  “One could say you’re older and wiser and could handle it better now.”

  “Or one could say I’d work myself into an early grave.”

  “I think you’ve pretty much got that one covered with the job you already have.”

  Meagan laughed. “You’re probably right.”

  She changed the subject then, and I went along with her, not wanting to pry too much. It was obviously a subject she didn’t want to discuss.

  Yet when I stopped by her office two weeks later, the magazines were still on the corner of her desk.

 
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