Read Keep Me: A BDSM Romance Online

Authors: Cate Bellerose

Keep Me: A BDSM Romance

This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.

KEEP ME

A BDSM Romance

First edition. March 15th, 2015.

Copyright © 2015 Cate Bellerose.

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Table of Contents
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Keep Me

Chapter 1
Vivian

O
f all the jobs I’ve tried lately, this might be the worst.

Not the work itself. That’s alright. Catering’s not my dream job, but if it gets the bills paid and lets me put away enough to get my own place, then it’s good enough for now.

It’s not my boss Diane either, though she’s about as high strung as I’ve ever seen anyone. My coworkers are okay. Not the most ambitious bunch, but they’re nice people. Then again, I’m right here working with them, so what does that say about me? For me it’s just temporary, though. A stepping stone to bigger and better things. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

No, what makes it terrible is right here, right now. This place. This reception. Catering Gabriel and Dawn’s wedding. What are the odds? I didn’t even know until we got here. Not that I can afford to say no, but it’s pretty awkward. I just hope no one I know sees me.

Only a couple of months after I almost broke them up, I’m pretty sure I don’t figure very high on their favorite persons list. There was no invitation to the wedding in my mailbox, if you know what I mean. God, this could end up all kinds of embarrassing.

Drawing a deep sigh, I get to work.

So far I’ve hidden in the kitchen, racking up trays and staying out of the way. Just have to keep looking busy, and hopefully Diane will leave me alone. No one’ll ever know I’m even here. It’s worked for the first hour, anyway.

“Vera?” Diane’s shrill voice cuts through the noise. “No, wait, Vivian. That’s your name right? Vivian!”

Crap.

I turn to face her, knowing this isn’t going anywhere good. “Yeah. What’s up?”

“We need more servers up front. Grab some trays and get them out to the buffet. Step on it.”

I mock salute. “Yes, Sir!”

She rolls her eyes, but walks away without a word. No sense of humor. With a sigh I make sure my bright red hair is safely tucked away in my cap. At least I can hide my most recognizable feature. I grab the nearest tray of fancy meatballs and drawing a deep breath, I prepare to go to my doom. Maybe I’ll get lucky and everyone will be too busy drinking and eating to notice a familiar face among the staff.

Some guy I don’t recognize is making a speech in the happy couple’s honor, and luckily he seems to be funny enough that he’s got the crowd’s attention. At least for now. A faint flicker of hope sparks inside me. Maybe I’ll get away with this after all.

At the meatball station, I wait for one of the other servers to lift out the empty tray, then I slide mine into place, doing my best to keep my fingers away from the hot steam. Mission accomplished, I take the empty one and even risk stopping briefly to watch and listen.

They’re a lovely couple, much as I don’t want to admit it. Gabriel’s rocking the tux, but then again, he looks good in everything he wears. Dawn’s gown is gorgeous, and she’s practically glowing in it. It’s obvious they only have eyes for each other.

Not so long ago, I’d honestly thought that it would be me someday, together with Gabriel.

The man giving the speech raises a glass of wine and stands straight with his other hand in his pocket. His voice is a little rough around the edges, and unnaturally loud. That’s probably not his first glass tonight.

“In
my
opinion, Gabe and Dawn are the most striking couple I know.” The crowd chuckles. “Dawn, you look beautiful tonight, but of course we’re all used to seeing our blushing bride sitting pretty.”

I roll my eyes at his punning. People are going to lose interest soon, and I’m already taking too much of a risk standing here. Better get back to the kitchen. I make a beeline, and immediately ram right into a huge body that wasn’t there a second ago. I mean, really huge. Tall, broad and ridiculously muscular.

“I’m sorry, I—” Shit. I only know of one body that size that would have any business at this wedding.

“Excuse me, I didn’t mean to—” He pauses. “Viv?” His deep voice pitches up in surprise.

Slowly my gaze moves up over his black tux, past the burgundy cummerbund, along the close fitting white shirt. I’m sure his tailor’d had his work cut out for him. No off-the-rack suit would’ve fit that frame. I study every little detail, stalling.

Might as well get this over with. Swallowing nervously, I crane my neck to find curious gray-blue eyes staring down at me. They’re set in a square, masculine face that’s furrowed in a mix of concern and confusion.

I try an embarrassed smile. “Hi, Caleb.”

Most people are intimidated the first time they meet him, by his shaved head, his powerful muscles and grim expression. Working as a bouncer at a BDSM club, he can look scary as hell when he wants to. He’s also a thoroughly good guy and a great drinking partner. To me, he’s like a big teddy bear.

God, this is so humiliating. “Please, don’t tell anyone I’m here.”

His mouth narrows into a straight line. “What? Oh, come on, Viv. I thought you’d put Gabe behind you.”

It takes a second to register what he means. “No, it’s not that. I’m really working here. Not a disguise, I promise. I didn’t even know until I got here.” He thinks I’ve gone off the deep end. I can tell. “Seriously. You can ask my boss if you want. I’m just trying to make enough money to make ends meet.”

His expression softens. “Really? Still couchsurfing? It’s been almost three months since you came back to town.”

I sigh. “I know, right? Amber’s been so good for letting me crash at her place.”

Only three months, but it seems like forever ago since I came back, thinking Gabriel would welcome me with open arms, not be busy falling for someone else. Story of my life. Every time I think I’ve got something going, it just turns to shit.

I’m sure he doesn’t want to hear it, but it just pours out of me. “It’s so hard to find a job that pays enough. I’ve been temping, a little part time stuff here and there, but it hasn’t been enough to keep up with rent.” I shrug. “So now I’m trying catering. Not my dream job, but it pays well enough to cover a place of my own. I just found one yesterday, actually. I’m moving in a couple of days.”

“Well, you always liked to serve.” He winks, his mouth curling up at the edges.

I roll my eyes at him, but I’m forced to smile a little. “That’s right. Kick a girl while she’s down, why don’t you?”

“I only intended it as a compliment, with the most utmost respect.” He should smile more often. As a bouncer, I’m sure the scary tough guy look works for him, but when his face lights up, all that disappears, and he looks like the sweet guy he is.

Changing the topic, I make a show of looking him over. “You’re looking good in your penguin suit.” He really does. The tux is cut to perfection, emphasizing his broad shoulders and tapering to his narrow hips in a perfect mirror of the body underneath. If we weren’t such good friends, I’d be all over him.

He straightens his lapels and winks. “What, this old thing? Just something I threw on last minute.”

I can’t hold the laugh back. “Well, everyone loves a best man who knows how to improvise. You look great.”

“You have no idea how long the tailor had to work on this. It’s like they haven’t seen a well-built man before.” His grin is sweet, maybe a little embarrassed.

“Men, maybe. Mountains, less often, I should think.”

“I just have a lot to offer, you know?” He spreads his arms, almost taking out one of the other servers who’s walking by with a tray of thickly sliced roast beef. “Whoa, sorry.”

“Alright, I should get back to work and try to stay out of sight. You’re not going to tell anyone, right?” I look at him hopefully. If anyone finds out I’m here, they’ll make the same assumptions Caleb did. That I’m stalking Gabriel.

His eyes meet mine, big blue pools it’s hard to not get lost in, and he answers solemnly. “My lips are sealed.”

I breathe a sigh of relief. Not that I would ever expect him to blab, but it’s nice to hear him say it. If there’s anyone in this town that I trust, it’s him.

I’m just about to go when an all too familiar voice calls out. “Caleb.”

My stomach drops. Gabriel. The speech part of the reception is done, and I didn’t even notice. He’s coming right towards us. What am I supposed to do now?

Caleb reacts quickly, turning to shield me with his broad back. He addresses his best friend with a voice that sounds a lot more confident than I’m feeling right now. “Hey. What’s up? Don’t you have a wedding to be the centerpoint of, or something?”

“You’re telling me. And I thought running a BDSM club was a lot of work. Today’s been insane.” They chuckle together.

“It only happens once, Gabe. Try to enjoy it.”

I can’t see Gabriel, but I hear the smile and adoration in his voice. “Yeah. I am. This is the best day of my life. Look at her, man. She’s fucking gorgeous, right?”

“Beautiful. You should go back to the poor girl, though. She’s getting swarmed. Go protect her. Who knows what kind of trouble she’s going to get into without you there?”

I’m not the praying type, but I’m praying now. Caleb’s doing his best to cover, and I could kiss him for it. If someone had to catch me, I’m glad it was him. I mean, it wouldn’t be the end of the world to get caught, but I would never
ever
live this down.

“Yeah, I will. Just wanted a couple of these.” Gabriel moves past Caleb, toward the meatball tray. Oh shit.

Caleb shifts just in time so he stays between Gabriel and me. He even manages to not make it look too suspicious, but now there’s nothing between me and the party. I keep my face down and hope my hair hasn’t begun to slip out of my cap.

“I’d grab’em and go. Dawn’s throwing some pretty desperate glances this way. Is that your aunt Agnes?” Caleb sidles softly to the side, and I move with him, getting me in a position where I can hide from the party and Gabriel at the same time.

Gabriel laughs. “I suppose you’re right. Have I mentioned how much I hate it when you’re right?”

“Once or twice. Go be a good host.” I panic when Caleb moves, but it’s just to clap Gabriel on the back. “We’ll talk later, alright? Once the chaos settles.”

Gabriel draws a deep breath, like he’s steeling himself. “Alright, in I go.” The clack of his shoes on the hard floor fades as he walks away, and I let out a long breath. Did I hold my breath the whole time?

“It’s okay. He’s gone.” Caleb turns with an almost childish grin. “We make a good team, but maybe they can find a task for you in the kitchen so you don’t have to be out here?”

I glance over my shoulder. Crap. Diane’s glaring at me, her beady little eyes shooting daggers. “Yeah, maybe. Looks like I’m in trouble, anyway. My boss saw us. Her lectures are legendary, but maybe if I’m lucky, she won’t trust me out on the floor again.”

He follows my gaze, his eyes narrowing. “She looks like a goddamn battleaxe. Good luck.”

Yeah. Great. “Thanks.” I begin to walk, then stop to look back at him. He’s following me with his eyes. “Hey, thanks for covering. I owe you one.”

He nods, still smiling. “Sure. Any time. It was fun.” I’ve always liked that about him. No matter how badly I screw up, he always makes me feel better. I hurry, half-running, back to face the music.

Diane is livid. She can’t be much taller than five feet, but her eyes flash dangerously as she looks up at me. “In here. Now.” Her voice is low and tight. I’m in for it.

As soon as we’re out of sight, she explodes. “What is this? Your job is to keep the food coming,
not
to get all buddy buddy with the customers. Every
second
you spend doing other things is time the others on your team have to make up. Socialize on your own time, young lady, or you’re out of here. There are hundreds out there who’d love your job.”

Jesus. Some people take their work way too seriously. It was only a few minutes.

She’s drawing her breath to fire off another salvo when the door’s filled by a massive shape. “I’m sorry. Am I interrupting something?” Caleb looms over us, his tough guy mask on.

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