Release Date: August 3, 2009 (Dreamspinner Press, will place pre-order buttons on its site if anyone would like to order a copy ahead of time)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
Blurb: On his way home from vacation, Scott Gregory, a closeted sub, hooks up with the gorgeous Red, a flamboyant dom, for a thrilling one-off at a BDSM bar. They part ways after a satisfying scene... but meet again when Robin Kennedy—Red—arrives at his new job as a dental hygienist and discovers one of his two bosses is Scott. Robin and Scott embark on a journey of exploration into their kinkier sides and discover they're more than compatible—they're a perfect match. But keeping employer/employee and Dom/sub separate at the office presents difficulties, and to make matters even more complicated, the owner of the dental practice is an acknowledged homophobe. They fall in love, but Robin chafes at all the secrecy, refusing to live in the shadows. Scott isn't as brave; he's desperate to protect his job and his future. Will they be able to find some middle ground... or will their entire relationship fall apart because of fear?
Scott had discovered his penchant for sado/masochistic love as a late teen. He had hooked up with a guy who was into the rougher side of sex and it made him realize that there was a side of him that needed the pain, as much as it needed the loving. It was something in his makeup that made him crave that one moment when everything shifted into pleasure of the highest intensity.
He made it a point to study this need methodically, the way he did everything else. It was a huge revelation, especially when he went online to look at actual footage of scenes. As soon as he turned twenty-one, he´d gone to a club and become a regular, experimenting with different Doms, seeking to learn more about his likes and dislikes. Eventually, he realized that public scenes weren´t his thing. He was far too private and introspective to enjoy anything like that.
He´d never made a romantic connection with any of the Doms he´d been with and it all felt so cold and scripted. Scott couldn´t find the dignity in submitting to someone without the romance. Most people disagreed with him, telling him that it wasn´t a necessary ingredient; however, he was a romantic at heart. As a result, he never found that one moment of true submission, when he gave himself over entirely, putting his life in another´s hands and crossing that line between pain and pleasure, the subspace that everyone seemed to be reaching for.
His chance meeting with the attractive bartender had been somewhat of a revelation in that he´d felt a connection from the very beginning. It was tentative because they´d only had a few hours, but there was something about Red that struck a nerve. It was the first time Scott had asked to see someone again. The first time he wanted to stay for seconds and even thirds.
Scott hoped that Red had felt it too, and that this was the reason they were going to have dinner. To get acquainted with each other in public, before they moved off to some private place where they could explore the other side of their relationship.
They met downstairs at the entrance of the building, rather than leaving the office together. There was just something unspoken that acknowledged that this would be the best way. They walked down the street several blocks until they got to Grant Street and then turned left and entered the portals of Chinatown. After maneuvering several streets, Scott led Robin into what looked like some hole in the wall, assuring him that the restaurant had some of the best Szechwan food around.
"You like spicy?" Scott asked, as they sat across from each other. The restaurant was so tiny that their knees were practically touching under the table.
"I like hot food."
"Good! There´s a dish called Yu Shan shrimp that will make your toes curl."
"My toes usually curl when a sub starts to beg."
"Fuck, Red...can´t we wait until we´ve had our meal?"
"What´s the matter? Can´t talk about sex on an empty stomach?"
Scott picked up the bottle of beer that the waiter had just brought him and he took a deep gulp of the cold liquid. "You want to start negotiating already? How do you know I´m even interested?"
Robin reached under the table and smiled when he felt the hardness between Scott´s legs. "I can smell your need, Dr. Gregory." He ran his tongue around his lips slowly, never taking his hand off Scott´s erection, feeling the organ grow under his expert touch. "Tell me what you want, my gorgeous slut?"
Scott looked down and let out a shaky groan. "I want..."
"What, baby?" Robin asked gently. "Tell me how I can make it all better?"
"Hurt me," Scott whispered, almost afraid to say the words, "Dominate me."
"I would love to," Robin answered, "But first, we need to talk." He shifted in his chair and moved back, removing his hand from Scott´s crotch. "Tell me what your limits are."
Scott ran his right hand through his hair, taking a deep breath as he did so, trying to find his center which seemed to have toppled for a second. "I don´t like to be bound."
"You didn´t seem to have a problem with the cuffs."
"No, I like that. It´s the heavy stuff I don´t like. Cages, straight jackets, ball gags. I´m extremely claustrophobic."
"Don´t like it or can´t handle it? There´s a difference."
"I guess I´ve never been with anyone who made me feel safe enough to handle any of that."
Robin nodded and said, "What about pain? Do you have limits there?"
"Not really, except you can´t mark my arms. I wear short sleeves at work."
Robin looked at Scott, noticing how he was fidgeting with the utensils, moving them around as he talked. He reached out and laid a hand on Scott, stilling him for a moment. "It´s okay to talk about this, baby. Don´t be embarrassed."
Scott laughed a little too quickly. "I´m really nervous for some reason."
"Don´t be. I want this to be good for both of us," Robin said, radiating confidence. "Do you have a favorite tool?"
"I like most of them, but I prefer the cane."
Robin whistled. "You really are a little pain slut, aren´t you?"
"Shall we pick a safe word?"
"Already?" Scott asked, surprised.
"I want you something fierce," Robin stated, matter-of-factly. "I´ve had a raging hard-on since I walked into the office this morning and saw your beautiful face."
"Don´t you want me?"
"More than anything."
"Good," Robin replied in a low voice. "I just want to be sure we´re on the same page."
"Oh, yeah, same page... same book," Scott acknowledged.
Robin squeezed Scott´s hand, turning it over and slowly rubbing his thumb in gentle circles on Scott´s wrist, moving his fingers up his inner arm. Robin was gratified to see the goose bumps and the light layer of blond hair rising automatically in response to his stroking. The soft march of his fingers turned rougher and he dug his nails into the tender skin near Scott´s armpit and saw the instant reaction, even as he heard the first groan. "Oh, my beautiful pain slut," he whispered harshly, his arousal clearly evident in his voice. "You´re so fucking responsive."
"I´m so hard..."
"I know...let´s pick that safe word."
"It was red, but obviously I´m changing it. How about blue?"
"Whatever works for you, baby."
"Please don´t call me that."
"I don´t like it."
"I´ll call you whatever I want," Robin answered quietly. His eyes turned steely, never wavering for one second and Scott felt the thrill of being with a true Dominant for the first time in years. His blood zinged through his veins, almost boiling over with excitement.
"You can only use my name while we´re at work. As soon as we walk out of the building, or even when we´re on the phone, you´ll address me as, Sir. If this evolves into something more permanent, you will call me, Master."
"I have serious misgivings about this," Robin stated, reluctantly pulling his hand away from Scott. "I´m not sure it´s wise to mix business with pleasure."
"I hear you, but I think the benefits might outweigh the risk."
"Do you?" Robin asked, secretly thrilled by Scott´s response. However, there was no escaping the fact that things would be difficult if they chose to go through with this. He let out a heavy sigh and said, "This is a fucked up situation and I honestly don´t know if it´s going to work. I need this job, Scott, and I don´t want to see it jeopardized."
"And you think I don´t? My entire future is wrapped up in this contract with Ron Morris."
"How the hell did you end up with him? He´s not exactly gay friendly."
"It was a question of the best deal for me and he had it."
"Are you planning on staying in the closet forever?"
"Right now, I´m an associate on salary. Ron can change his mind during these first twelve months. It´s all part of the agreement."
"And you´re positive that no one around here knows the real Scott Gregory?"
"I´m new in town, Robin, just like you. I´ve kept a low profile since I moved and intend to remain on the down low until this is all a done deal. Then I can come out."
"Where are you from?"
"I´m originally from Michigan. I did my pre-reqs at Northwestern in Chicago and then I moved to Boston for my degree. I haven´t lived in Ann Arbor for years."
"Were you into the scene in any of the cities you mentioned?"
"Clubs or private?"
"I´m not big on clubs."
"That makes two of us."
"How long have you been a Dom?"
"Officially, over two years. Unofficially, since I was eighteen."
"What do you mean, officially? You need a permit to be a Dom?" Scott asked, a smile tugging at his lip.
"I paid the money and got trained by some of the best."
"There´s a school for this?"
"Well, that´s a relief. Glad to know that you´re well educated," Scott teased.
"It was very intense. I had to experience every tool that was available."
"I see. So, are you a switch?"
"No, but a good Dom needs to know how everything feels so that he can empathize with his sub."
"Have you ever had a long-term sub?"
"No. Have you ever been in a relationship with one Master?"
Scott shook his head.
"Why don´t we just play this by ear?" Robin asked, just before taking a bite out of the steaming hot egg roll the waiter had placed on their table. "Let´s see how it goes after our first session, and then we can negotiate."
"Okay," Scott replied. Now that business was out of the way, he had a chance to observe Robin up close. He really wasn´t what he considered to be his type. He´d always fallen for guys with dark hair and beefier torso´s. Robin was built like a runner. He was lean and muscular, without an ounce of fat anywhere. His hands and arms were incredibly powerful, even without the body-builder-bulge. Scott could attest to that, recalling the way he was held down so easily that night in the parking lot.
Robin´s entire palette was fire and ice, his hair colors a burning flame, shot through with varying shades of silver and gold that seemed to catch every bit of light in the room. Scott couldn´t decide whether he liked it or hated it, but it certainly grabbed his attention. The most outstanding feature on the youthful, freckled face in front of him were the eyes. They were a deep blue, like the hydrangeas that littered the hills of his childhood home, but what made them so unusual was that they could be warm and inviting one minute and then turn cold and cruel, as Robin´s need to dominate surfaced.
He was looking at him right now, frying Scott with the intensity, almost as if he could read his mind.
"Have you gotten your fill yet?" Robin asked, in his Dom voice that Scott was starting to recognize. It was the self-assured tone that sent an instant signal to his cock, convincing it to stand and salute. "This will be the last time you look into my eyes this evening."