Authors: Harper Cole
For a one-off casual liaison, that American woman had certainly wheedled her way under my skin.
I didn't have the time for this
, I told myself. Work was going well, and my new life was proving promising. It had been difficult to walk away from everything and start again, but I had enough contacts to ease the networking, and finally I felt as though I was in control of my own future.
So maybe it
time to allow a woman into my life.
But not a woman like Jasmine Turner. Brash, bold, and with a mouth like a dockyard worker - she was hardly an appealing long-term prospect.
She had been a sexy, fiery woman; her body was curved but toned, and she had wrapped her legs around me in a way that made me melt. I wanted to fuck her again, see how hard I could make her cum.
But her nature was one of argument and arrogance. It was obvious that she had worked hard to get where she was, and I admired that. I wondered about her past, but then, we all had our personal demons to overcome, didn't we? I wasn't going to put her on an ivory pedestal just because she had surmounted some great obstacle to end up the high-achiever that she was now.
She was used to getting her own way, and she had a stick up her ass regarding the whole feminism thing. She mistook an individual's right to be pleasant and respectful with the whole mess of society and culture. She clearly thought I was an old-fashioned fossil, and while she was, indeed, correct, she had mistaken my intentions and my nature.
And my desire.
That weekend I had a triathlon event I was competing in. The day before, I was busy with packing and planning and going over my race prep multiple times, but when the day itself dawned, I suddenly had time to contemplate the issue. All my preparation was put aside: all I had to do was compete.
While my body competed, I had time to think. Lots of time.
I swam, and the rhythm of my body doing what it had been trained to do left my mind going over the sex with Jasmine.
I biked, and the pumping of my legs doing what they had been training to do left my mind going over the conversations with Jasmine.
I ran, and the pounding of my feet doing what they had been trained to do left my mind going over the sparks that Jasmine created in my whole being, and I knew I was going to have to do something about it.
be trained. I'd dealt with brattier subs than her, but they had known they were subs - they had worn their bratty nature on their sleeves, a challenging badge of honor, a signal to a Dom like me that they were there to be trained. Jasmine, for all her sway of the hips and flash of her eyes, had no clue.
I completed the tri in one of my best times ever - perhaps it was because I hadn't been thinking about my performance. My muscles ached almost straight away and I knew that Monday would bring even worse pain, in spite of the ice bath I plunged into and the sports massage I'd booked for Sunday.
Sunday itself was a day I'd cleared in my diary. Post-event, I was planning to lie around my townhouse, eat carb-rich food and watch dvds. It was supposed to be a self-indulgent day of rest. Rare, in my life.
I woke to a morning glory which reminded me of my teenage years in its throbbing intensity. I dealt with it perfunctorily, like I was scratching an itch, and my thoughts went to Jasmine.
I rolled over in bed, the sheets tangling around my legs; I'd had a restless night, where I'd expected to sleep like the dead. But my dreams and half-dreams had kept me returning to hazy consciousness, and now I felt groggy and out of sorts.
My cellphone was on the bedside cabinet; I'd muted it, determined to enjoy a lazy morning. When I woke it up, the screen showed a couple calls from an unknown number so I checked the voice messages.
"Mr. Walker-Wilkinson, you have made a mistake but it's not too late. You know what you need to do."
I deleted it.
And another - the same number, the same voice, both unknown to me. "You are stubborn but we are dangerous. Think carefully. Choose."
I deleted it again and threw my cell with some venom across the room. Let it break. I didn't care as the hot anger surged up within me. How
they still pursue me? They had no hold on me. Nothing.
I owed them
and I would win this.
I would win the right to my own life.
* * * *
Later that day, as I lounged around in sweatpants, flicking between cable channels while feeling lackluster and bored, I decided I'd do it.
I'd call her.
It was a way, I suppose, of staking my claim to my own life and my own decisions. I had to retrieve my cellphone; it hadn't suffered any damage in its journey across my bedroom, and there were no more threatening messages on it.
I didn't send her a text. I needed to talk to her. I wondered how she would react to my call - after all, I'd walked away from her. But that was when I thought this was going to be a casual fling.
Now she was going to be my little project, and I had to change my approach somewhat.
"Jasmine. It's Andrew," I said, remembering that we hadn't established the basics of what she was going to call me. Not that she knew, yet, that it was not going to be Andrew.
"Oh. Hi." She sounded guarded.
"I wanted to apologize if I offended you when I left that night."
"Whatever. I knew it was a one-off, right?"
"Of course. As we both did. However I feel that I was ungentlemanly in simply walking away, and I have no reasonable excuse to offer you. I was wrong."
She wasn't going to make this easy for me. "So I'd like to have the opportunity to make it up to you. I have rather a busy week ahead - no doubt you also have commitments. I wondered if you would like to get to know London better, perhaps? Next weekend?"
"I don't know. Sounds good and all but you know, I was pissed when you just up and left like that."
I was about to comment that I didn't think she was particularly drunk when my internal US-UK translator kicked in. She meant annoyed. I really had to address her use of slang and bad language when she was talking to me.
But not yet. "I understand. It was unforgiveable. It shan't happen again."
She hesitated before saying, with a suddenly flirty tone, "The sex or the walking away?"
"The rudeness," I said.
"You're evading the question."
"I am," I said. "Now then - would Saturday be a good day for you?"
"Now you're assuming I'm gonna say yes."
"If you were going to say no, you would have done so by now."
"Jeez! You're presumptuous."
"Yes, that is also true."
She sighed and there was a smile in her voice as she finally agreed. "Okay then. Fine. Whatever. But I'm kinda tied up in the morning."
Her phrasing made me smile too. "Wonderful. I shall collect you at two in the afternoon. Dress comfortably; let's walk and explore the hidden delights of this city."
"Yeah. Okay. Catch you then."
Her capitulation to me had improved my mood considerably, and I was able to settle to watching a movie with a much more relaxed attitude.
She'd be a challenging project … but a worthwhile one.
I should never have said yes. I spent the whole damn week kicking myself for my weakness. I tried to call Carlee but she never picked up so I fired off a long, ranty email to her. I busied myself with chores and tasks.
But in my quieter moments I still found myself daydreaming about him. I don't know how the fuck it happened but over the week, my memories of his arrogance somehow morphed into an appealing trait. A man like that, who takes what he wants - sure, that had something going for it.
I might be a modern woman but yeah, that primal baby-making bitch inside me wanted to lay down on the floor and just go on and spread my legs. I blamed biology, and in blaming it, even kind of accepted it.
It's not my fault I want to be with him. It's my hormones.
And I nearly did bottle out of our meeting. I was going to call him on Saturday morning and cancel. I'd had a real good week, and made some awesome connections. My boss back home was impressed; we'd had a skype call at some godforsaken hour and he was keen to encourage me. Whatever I was doing, I was doing it right, he assured me.
But the thought of Andrew Walker-Wilkinson haunted me and I knew I'd be in for more sparks and more arguments, and I was in such a good mood from my work success that I wasn't sure that I wanted to spoil it.
Each time my hand strayed to my cell to call him up and cancel, though, I stopped, and remembered how it felt when he'd held me down and fucked me, hard. I'd been nothing but meat to him, and yet - it was a paradox - he had wanted me. He had needed me. He had
for me, and that was intoxicating.
I wanted more.
He'd told me to dress comfortably but I needed my armor on, so I ignored his advice and dressed to impress. I could tell from his expression as he pulled up in his car - no sign of his driver, Amjad, this time - that he was both disappointed and aroused.
The weather was warm, and in spite of my general impression of London as wet and gray, today it was actually sunny. I wore a bright blue sheath dress in fine linen, and held a cream purse of the softest leather. I'd piled my hair into an artful heap of barely-there curls, and my heels were a compromise between flirty and practical.
"Jasmine," he said, sliding out of his car and walking around to the sidewalk, almost bowing to me. "You look … delightful. I thought we might take in the British Museum first …"
He cast a glance at my shoes, and I threw back my head defiantly. "Sure, sounds great. Let's go!"
He pressed his lips together as if he were stopping himself from saying something, and opened the passenger door for me. "Please."
I got in, deciding not to argue the gesture, but once he was back in the driver's seat, I said, "Do you really think there's a place for all that chivalrous shit these days?"
"But of course." He concentrated on the street as he drove, and I was able to sneak little glances at his profile. He was classically gorgeous, with a chiseled jaw, and his just-too-long-to-be-buzz-cut hair begged for a hand to be run through it. "I respect each individual, and I expect that they respect me. We all have different standards. In
presence, I do have certain foibles. I offer to open doors for people. Not just women. If I am collecting someone in
car, I shall open the door to them. If I have taken someone for a meal, I shall pay. These are little thing but important."
"Right. So if I'd taken you for a meal, you would have let me pay for it?"
"Indeed, I should have expected it. However. I would not have allowed you to take me for a meal. Therefore, I should have found myself paying for it, regardless."
"Huh." So what he was saying did kinda make sense, I guess. "What other, uh, foibles do you have, then?"
He smiled as if I'd asked exactly the right thing. "Well. I consider this a date, and therefore, while we are out together, I am the man on the date and you are the woman. Would you agree?"
"Well, duh. No shit, Sherlock."
"And that is my first foible. I do not like the use of bad language by women. Except in very particular circumstances."
"Exactly so. In public, however, I hold my companion to high levels of common decency."
There was no way I was going to hold my tongue and censor what I wanted to say - even if I thought I was able to, which I probably wasn't. I shrugged, and his attention was momentarily elsewhere as he found a parking space on the street, and jumped into it before it was snapped up by someone else.
For the next four hours, we slogged our way around the culture and art and architecture of London; not just the British Museum, but galleries and exhibits and boutique stores and God knows what else.
The only thing I wanted to look at was Andrew Walker-Wilkinson, and he knew it.
It started to drive me crazy. I found myself leaning close to him as we stood and stared at inexplicable sculptures, and he would seem to lean back just enough that I could feel the warmth of his body - but no more. He would lightly brush against me but if I moved to respond he suddenly wasn't there in that space any longer; it was an excruciating dance of barely-there flirtation and it was driving me insane.
He would murmur low in my ear and it was usually something innocuous about the sights around us but from time to time he caught me out, flattering me with a compliment. He kept me on my toes, shifting from innocent conversation to sudden random phrases about my eyes or my body or my intelligent comments.
He was slaying me, and I was loving it, and I wanted to slap his face for it, too.
It was clear that he wanted to be with me; as we strolled out into a park, he took my hand and let his thumb rub idly over my skin. As he spoke to me about plane trees and larches, he bent to my ear and his low voice thrilled me. I didn't have the first clue what he was talking about any more. I just listened to the timber of his voice.
When he suggested we go to a restaurant, I agreed. He pulled out his cellphone and had a quick conversation with someone unknown, then smiled at me with his devil's smile and said, "We'll be dining at eight. I hope you like seafood."
"Are you kidding me? I love seafood."
We were like that - paused, facing one another for a long second - and it was one of those gaps where the man leans in and kisses the woman. I mean, it was obvious. I held my breath, and waited.
And he smiled and tipped his head back fractionally, as if he wasn't going to do the expected thing.
So I took the lead, and reached out for him, slipping my hands under his jacket to circle around his waist, and he slanted his head to one side and smiled.
"And what's this?" he said, as if he didn't know.
"Kiss me," I said.
He laughed and took my hands and held them away from him. "Now here's another one of my foibles. I am very attracted to you, Jasmine. And you are attracted to me. I do intend to take this further. But not right now. This shall be at my say-so."
"Say what? So you get to call the shots?"
"This is not fair."
"Now listen to me," he said, still holding on to my hands. He moved in closer, towering over me. "It makes things easier. Relax, Jasmine, and allow me to direct things. Trust me. I'm not asking for some foolish abrogation of responsibility; far from it. But I am asking to steer this relationship - if it is a relationship - this meeting of two people, whether for today or for a week or whatever - and I promise you, you shall enjoy it. But you must give things over to me."
He pressed against me. "Try it."
His hands were tight around mine. I thought about it. So maybe I could do this. I knew the theory, or so I thought. Let him be all dominant and I'd get the best sex of my life - wasn't that how it worked? And sure, I'd had those fantasies. Who hadn't? I'd read those Alpha Male romances and all. But right now, standing here, as he asked me to give up my free will to him, I found that really difficult.
It was an adventure
, I reminded myself. And the way he'd tied me up had turned me on. Perhaps it really was going to be "easier" but I struggled to see how.
"Right, okay then, whatever," I said at last. My mulish agreement made him laugh.
"Good girl!" he said at last, and rewarded me with a sudden kiss, a hard and biting press upon my lips that made me dampen with its intensity. As I clawed at him, needing more, he broke away as quickly as he'd started, and I was damned if he didn't actually wink at me.
I swore at him again, under my breath, as he turned and grasped my hand to lead me away through the park.
* * * *
The meal was wonderful and I did start to relax. Afterwards, he took me to a wine bar that had a private area upstairs; the way was barred by some pretty impressive looking door staff, but they nodded us through without a comment.
The décor was plush and opulent, and tended towards velvet rather than crisp white glass and marble. We settled in a long, low couch and a waitress brought us drinks; I had a cocktail in an elegant glass, but he went for brandy, like the old-school man that he was.
"We've got to talk about you being in charge all the time," I said. Sure, I had relaxed, but it was niggling at the back of my mind. There were implications to this that troubled me. I wasn't the sort of woman that I thought I was, if I gave it all up to him.
He crossed his ankle over the opposite knee, and rested his arm on the back of the couch; taking up as much space as possible, the typical alpha male.
"What do you want to know?" he asked.
"So, like, what is it all about? Are you some big …"
My mouth had dried up. I wanted to say, "Are you some big Dom?" but I felt ridiculous all of a sudden. Yeah, I had read about the whole "BDSM" thing - not just Fifty Shades, but other stories too. Spanking, getting tied up, that was all just fun and games. The whole thing about getting dressed up in leather and latex didn't appeal to me one bit, though.
And the thing was - I'd never
about any of this. Now, faced with a man who potentially
a "Dom", as far as I could guess, I didn't really know what to say.
I basically didn't want to look stupid. I wanted him to think that I knew what I was talking about. I took a deep breath, and hoped I wasn't going to fuck it up.
"Are you a Dom?" I said, wondering at the last minute if I was supposed to say "Dominant" or "Master" or something.
Was that all he was going to say? He seemed amused at my lack of confidence, and that made me pissed.
"So what does that mean, exactly?" I said. "You get to choose the wine and shit like that?"
Too late, I remembered his warning to me about foul language. He leaned over and took hold of my jaw line, turning my face to his. No one batted an eyelid.
That was the nature of a club like this, I realized. Exclusivity meant freedom.
"It means I am in a position of leadership and power. I control and I direct. I act in the best interests of my submissive and it is down to me what those best interests are. I set the rules and I expect them to be followed. And when they are not, I mete out the appropriate punishment so that my submissive may learn to do better."
I shivered. "Isn't this all just a pretty nice way to justify bullying?"
"You choose to come here with me and you can choose to walk out, right now."
He let go of my jaw and sat back.
"If I do go-"
He shrugged. "It would be a shame. We have so much potential, you and I."
It occurred to me that anyone could call themselves a Dom. It's not like they carried certificates around with them. I was sure that some of them were using it as an excuse for being a bully. So how would I be able to tell?
"You get off on telling a woman what to do."
"I suppose you could say that. But there are so many layers to it. It's a two-way process, in spite of what you currently think. It's empowering for you, and it's humbling for me."
"And that is the second time you've sworn in my presence."
I was tired of his half-explanations. "So what you gonna do?"
"We have set no boundaries, agreed no terms, explored no limits, hard or soft. I am constrained, therefore, in what I can feasibly do to you."
you do to me?"
"It totally depends on what turns you on. And what does not. For the moment, I am inclined to play it safe." He placed a hand on my thigh and slowly crept it up, sliding my hemline higher until his fingers were resting on the top of my suspenders.
"Doesn't feel much like a punishment to me," I said, leaning against him a little more.