The Enticement, Page 9Tara Sue Me
up. “Call me egotistical, but if you’re going to be pleasantly sore and achy in the morning, I damn well want you to remember how you got that way.”
I smiled for the first time in hours. “Will you call me a cab, Mr. Parks?”
Shortly after the cab arrived and I gave the driver my address, my eyelids grew heavy. I resisted sleep, but the temptation to give in grew too great. My last sight before succumbing was of Jeff, looking out his side window.
“Hey,” he said, what seemed like seconds later. “We’re here.”
Those two words filled me with dread because I knew Nathaniel would be pissed. My dread grew even greater when Jeff insisted on walking me to the door after paying the driver.
“You don’t have to,” I said. “My husband, uh, Master, is going to be upset enough as it is.”
“Ah, so you are a sub?”
“If it were me and my sub was drunk, alone, and in the situation like you found yourself in, I’d be ready to pound someone into the ground.”
“Yes, so you see why it’s best if you leave now.”
“No, that’s even more reason for me to stay.”
He had that Dom look that told me he wasn’t going to change his mind. He was actually very dour-looking. I’d probably be scared if I wasn’t so drunk. Fuck, I was so drunk. Nathaniel was going to kill me.
Nope, Mr. Parks wasn’t going to change his mind. I knew his type. Hell, I’d married his type. I glanced down at his left hand. No ring.
“Do you have a sub right now?” I asked.
“You’re not going to expand on that, are you?”
“A man of few words.”
“Yes. And you’re stalling.”
We walked inside and I waved at the doorman. Together, Jeff and I rode up to the penthouse and I gave silent thanks the kids would be asleep when we arrived.
At our floor, I opened the door and stepped inside. I wondered where Nathaniel was.
I heard him before I saw him.
“Abby, you’re back sooner than I expected.” He walked into the foyer with a smile that disappeared when he saw Jeff. “Who’s this?”
I waved at Jeff. “This is Jeff Dark. Dark man. Dark Dom.”
He stepped closer. “Are you drunk?”
“Slightly.” I held up two fingers. “I had three.”
He glared at Jeff. “What the fuck is going on and who are you?”
Jeff held Nathaniel’s gaze and simply crossed his arms across his chest. “A Dom who knows better than to let his sub go to a shady BDSM dive, get drunk off her ass, and have to be rescued from a would-be rapist who doesn’t know the definition of a safe word.”
“You can ask her, but if it wasn’t for me . . . Well, I don’t like to guess, but the man she was with didn’t take too kindly to her use of the word ‘red.’”
The tops of Nathaniel’s ears grew red. I’d never seen that before.
“Abby,” he said, so calmly I felt cold. “What the fuck happened tonight?”
My words rushed out. “Meagan’s a switch but didn’t tell me and took me to a BDSM club and went off with a guy and I might have had too many drinks and when I went looking for her I got trapped with a guy and this guy got me away from him.” My stomach rolled. “I think I’ll vomit now.”
I ran to the hall bathroom and when I returned, the men were shaking hands.
“Good to meet you, Jeff,” Nathaniel said. “Glad I had a chance to meet you before our meeting on Monday, though I wish the circumstances were different.”
“Likewise.” Jeff lifted a hand in my direction. “Good night, Mrs. West.”
Jeff gave Nathaniel a curt nod and left. My heart beat wildly as Nathaniel turned to me. He didn’t look angry anymore, though; he looked shaken and scared, a combination I’d never seen on him before. At the sight of it, all the night’s events hit me at once and I crumpled into sobs again.
“Abby,” he said, hastening to gather me in his arms. “It’s okay. You’re okay. I have you.”
“That man . . .” I started, but couldn’t get out any more.
“Come here.” He lifted me up and carried me to the bedroom, all the while whispering to me. I clung to his shirt like it was a life vest. In that moment, it probably was.
“I’m going to take your dress off,” he said once he set me on the bed. “Are you okay with that or do you want to do it?”
“You do it.” The man at the club hadn’t touched me, but I needed Nathaniel’s hands on me to help erase his memory.
He turned to get my cotton nightshirt out of a dresser drawer. He picked my light blue one, my favorite because the material was so soft. Ever so gently, he helped me to stand and unzipped my dress. His fingers didn’t linger like they normally would have, but were quick and efficient.
In no time, he was pulling the sheets back so I could crawl into bed. It took him only seconds to step out of his own clothes and join me. I don’t think I’d relaxed entirely from the minute I stepped into the club until Nathaniel pulled me to his side in bed.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “I should have called you the minute I realized what type of club it was, or at least when Meagan left me.”
“I’m going to call her tomorrow and speak with her about this. As one Dominant to another. I know she’s your boss, but what she did crossed a line. You’re my submissive.”
I hiccuped and gave him a nod. I understood why he needed to talk to Meagan even though I didn’t necessarily like it.
He stroked my hair. “We’ll talk about it later. Right now I just want to hold you.” His voice cracked at the end and I knew he needed to hold me as much as I needed him to.
I curled up into him as close as I could. “I was so scared.” It was all I could say before I started crying again. He murmured soothing words I couldn’t make out and simply held me until I couldn’t cry anymore.
By then, we were both exhausted and fell into an uneasy sleep.
* * *
When I woke again, it was morning. Or early afternoon. And I was alone. The curtains were closed so no light came through the windows. Good for sleeping, but not useful in gauging time. I rolled to my side and checked the clock. Ten thirty! I couldn’t remember the last time I’d slept so late.
On my nightstand were a bottle of water and two pain relievers. I swallowed them greedily. My head hurt like a bitch when I moved. I stretched out in bed and willed my brain to stop throbbing.
I finally gave up and decided to get up. While making the bed, I suddenly realized how quiet everything was. The penthouse was smaller than the estate house; some noise should have been present. Two young kids were bound to make some sort of ruckus. I stepped into the hallway to see if I could hear anything. That’s when I overheard Nathaniel on the phone.
“I don’t want to hear any excuses,” I could hear him saying. “It’s simply unacceptable behavior for someone claiming to be a Top.” He paused. “It doesn’t matter that she wasn’t acting as your submissive at the time. She was in your care. How would you feel if I left one of your bottoms at an unknown club, when I knew she’d been drinking?”
He surely got that phone call out of the way early. I needed to talk to her as well, but I’d wait until evening.
“I’m glad you see my point,” he said. “I’m not going to claim I’ve been the perfect Dominant, but I’ve become a better one because I was called out on behavior that was wrong.”
I crept back into the bedroom to shower and change. Whatever conversation he was having with Meagan was between the two of them. Besides, my head hurt too much to think about it for too long.
I stood under the shower for a long time. The warm water felt good and washed away the last of the grime I felt from the night before. It was as if I stepped out of the shower a different person than I had been when I entered.
br /> My stomach started rumbling while I dried off and I hurried along so I could grab something to eat and check on the kids. I knew they were fine with Nathaniel, but I needed to see them. I pulled on a robe and stepped into the bedroom to find Nathaniel peeking his head in.
“I heard the shower,” he said. “How are you?”
“Better after my shower.”
“Is Mommy awake?” Elizabeth squeezed past her father. “Mommy, you’re up. Daddy said we had to be quiet because you were sleeping. Are you sick? Are you better now?”
I pulled her into a hug. “I wasn’t feeling good, but I’m better now. Especially since I’ve had a hug from you.”
She beamed at me. “I fixed you oatmeal. Daddy helped.”
“Sounds great,” I said. “Where’s your brother?”
“Here he is,” Nathaniel said, holding the door open for a toddling Henry.
“Mamma!” he called and then ran as quickly as his stubby legs could go, laughing as I swung him up in my arms.
“Did you help with the oatmeal, too?” I asked, smelling his hair to drink in his clean little boy scent and wrinkling my nose instead at the scent that met me.
“No,” Elizabeth said. “But Daddy let him throw the trash away.”
“Trash can’s his new favorite toy,” Nathaniel explained.
“That explains the smell.” I passed him to Nathaniel. “He needs a bath.”
“Linda will be here in about fifteen minutes. She’s going to keep them until tomorrow night.”
Had he made the arrangement with his aunt because he didn’t want them around for what he had in mind? The penthouse didn’t have a playroom. Before me, he’d never brought a woman to this space and we had never seen the need to add a special room. He’d always brought a toy bag with him when we stayed in the city.
I was more subdued as we all walked to the kitchen. Elizabeth chatted about the tea party she’d had last night and how Henry wanted to eat all the cookies. Of course at the word “cookie,” Henry pulled on Nathaniel’s leg and said, “Please.”
“Not so early in the day,” Nathaniel replied.
They all sat at the table with me while I ate and Nathaniel made sure I drank plenty of water. Even though he had been easygoing and lighthearted, there was an underlying tension between us. Faint, but there nonetheless. I might feel better physically after last night, but mentally there were still issues we had to deal with.
Nathaniel felt it too, I could tell. He was jovial and playful with the kids, but the tension in his jaw and the rigidity of his spine belied the front he put on. It was still noticeable when Linda came by. She didn’t question anything, but gave us each a quick hug before gathering the kids and heading out.
The silence that hit me when the door closed behind them was louder than the kids had been.
Nathaniel brushed my cheek. “Come to my office in ten minutes. You can leave the robe on if you prefer.”
What followed had to be the longest ten minutes of my life. After he left, I cleaned my bowl and tidied up the kitchen. With two minutes remaining, I slipped out of the robe and walked to his office wearing only my panties and a bra.
He stood leaning against his desk and nodded to the floor in the middle of the room. Everything felt so cold as I slid to my knees, bowed my head, and waited.
His office floor was made of wood and it didn’t take long for my knees to start aching. Within minutes, they hurt as much as my head. All of which he knew, I was certain.
“Look at me,” he finally said and I lifted my eyes to meet his troubled ones. “What happened last night scared the hell out of me. I can’t imagine how it made you feel. You went through something I never wanted you to experience and though neither one of us probably want to, we have to discuss it.” He nodded toward the chair across from his desk. “Go sit down.”
He remained standing, watching as I crossed the room to do his bidding.
“Even without your collar on, are you still my submissive?” he asked when I’d sat down.
“Yes, Sir.” I wasn’t wearing his collar, so I didn’t have to call him anything. Yet, somehow doing so seemed appropriate.
“When we go to a BDSM club together, who protects you?”
“And how am I to protect you when I’m not there?”
“You can’t, Sir.”
“Exactly. Outside of the fact that you are mine and any Dominant wanting to interact with you has to obtain my permission, you are truly my only treasure, my beloved, my life. I would kill to keep you safe and I can’t do it if I’m not with you.”
Tears stung my eyes.
“If it hadn’t been for Jeff last night, you would have been assaulted. That man would have put his hands on you, hurt you, and done things I have nightmares about. And the entire time it was happening, I couldn’t stop him because I wouldn’t have known to.”
I sniffled. “I’m sorry, Sir. I understand I should have called.”
“You were wrapped up in yourself and didn’t think about the consequences your actions could have had.”
“Yes, Sir. I see that.”
He sighed. “I’m torn on what to do. I should cane you for going to a club without my permission. You know better. I understand that you didn’t know that woman was bringing you there. But let’s make one thing clear to start: You are not to interact with any Dom inside a club without getting my approval. You know this.”
I started trembling at the mention of a cane. I fucking hated those things when used for punishment. And he was right. I had known better.
“But you were nearly assaulted and I can’t find it within me to punish you corporally after such an incident.”
I waited for what seemed like hours. Based on past experiences, the tension between us wouldn’t go away until my actions had been dealt with. Our lives were governed by rules that were not followed by the world at large. They were there because it was what we needed. It didn’t mean they were always pleasant.
“Go stand and face the wall,” he finally said.
I swallowed a groan before he heard it. I hated standing against a wall. He’d had me do it only a handful of times before. But in looking over my options, I reminded myself it was better than the cane.
I rose to my feet before he could accuse me of stalling and walked to the back wall opposite his desk. It was possible he’d want to sit and observe me while I stood. On the way, I made certain not to look his way. He’d probably be standing with arms crossed, or wearing that cool, distant look. Probably both.
I stood an inch from the wall with my hands by my side. Too late, I realized the spot I’d picked was under an air vent blowing cool air. Or maybe he’d known I’d pick that spot and that’s why he chose to have me join him here instead of in the living room. Who could ever tell with him?
The cool air danced along my exposed back, instantly making my skin pebble with gooseflesh. I wouldn’t get too cold, but it certainly wouldn’t be comfortable.
“You are to stand as still as possible,” he said. “And because you’ll probably be tempted to think only about how cold you are, I want you to think about how I felt when you walked into our house with a strange man. Then I want you to imagine how scared I was when I realized the danger you’d been in.”
If I knew him at all, once he allowed me to move, he’d ask me to write down the thoughts I’d had while I stood. Anytime before when I’d stood against a wall, he’d tell me how long he was going to have me stand.
“I haven’t decided how long you’ll be there,” he said as if reading my mind. “Time begins now,” he said.
At first it was difficult to think about anything other than the discomfort of the air temperature. But I focused on his warning and forced my mind to imagine his thoughts last night.
As I stood there, the image that kept coming to my mind was a picture of him arriving home with a strange woman after I knew he’d been out p
artying. The impact of that image gutted me. Just