Authors: Samantha Cole
With his fists clenched, he turned his attention back to the two men and barked, "What the fuck, Dave? What the hell did you do?"
"I didn't do anything. Now get this fucking gorilla off me. I'm going to sue if he doesn't get off me."
The whiny, pain-filled order didn’t gain any sympathy from Parker. His gaze went to Marco, who growled and returned the questioning look with a pissed-off glower. "This asshole backhanded Shelby. I had people in my way and couldn't get here fast enough to stop him."
What? The bastard hit Shelby? My Shelby? A woman who wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Parker was livid. Glancing back toward the crying submissive, his blood hit the boiling point. Through gritted teeth, he addressed the other Dom. "He's my brother. Let him up, Marco."
Marco’s eyes flickered to Ian who was standing next to Parker. Travis ‘Tiny’ Daultry, the head of club security, and several other guards had pushed the crowd back to give the Doms some room. Ian crossed his arms and studied Parker's face. Parker knew his fury was showing and he silently begged the owner to let him take care of this. Ian didn’t say a word, but nodded at Marco, who let go of the bastard and stood.
As Dave got to his feet, Parker couldn’t believe he was stupid enough to say, "What's the big deal? Everyone is slapping women around here, and I get in trouble for what you all are doing."
Parker took a step closer to him, his voice low and barely controlled. "You okay?"
Obviously not realizing how pissed his brother was, the idiot grinned. "Yeah, Park, I'm fine."
"Good." Without missing a beat, he reared back and punched Dave in the face, knocking him unconscious. He ignored the round of cheers from the crowd and hurried over to Shelby, crouching down in front of her. "I'm so sorry, Shelby. It's my fault. I shouldn't have left him alone."
He helped her stand, but Mistress China and the other woman stayed by her side for support. Parker gently pulled Shelby's hand from her cheek and growled, "I'm going to kill him," when he saw the red and swollen area which was starting to bruise. He’d known bringing the stupid prick here was a mistake, but the fact that harm had come to Shelby, of all people, had him wanting to wake his brother up, so he could knock him out again.
She grabbed his forearm, her eyes pleading. "No, don't, Sir. I should have grabbed Master Marco or one of the other DMs. He was trying to negotiate with me. I saw his guest wristband and knew he wasn't allowed to play, but he wouldn't take no for an answer. When I tried to walk away, he hit me."
Parker drew her into his arms and held her for a moment while everyone else looked on. He saw Ian cock his head at Tiny, who began breaking up the crowd with the other guards. The Head Dom then spoke quietly to Parker. "Let's take this to the office. What do you want us to do with him?"
Parker didn't answer him right away—he had a sub to take care of first. She may not be his, but, for now, he was responsible for her. He could hardly hold back the anger and guilt in his voice. "Go to the ladies' lounge and put some ice on your cheek. When I'm done with Ian and my asshole brother, I'll take you home."
"You...you don't have to do that, I can drive myself." Shelby's face flushed and her eyes avoided him. Even though her trembling seemed to ease while in his arms, it appeared she didn’t want to be there.
"I need to do this, Shelby, please. I need to make sure you're okay and get home safe. This is not negotiable." He tipped her chin up with his fingers and until she looked at him. "Please?"
She bit her lip, but nodded her consent. Mistress China wrapped her arm around the sub's shoulder and eased her from Parker's arms. Despite being a bit of a sadist, the Domme tended to be a mother hen to the submissives. "I'll take care of her. We'll be in the lounge when you're ready."
He murmured his thanks to her while Ian spoke to the other woman with them. Parker figured she was the owner’s new submissive whom he’d heard someone mention earlier. "I'm sorry, but I have to take care of this. Please go with them and wait for me in the lounge. I'll be a few minutes."
The two women walked Shelby toward the locker room, and before he joined them, Marco gave Parker a heated glare which he knew he deserved. He’d broken one of the rules of the club—never leave a guest unattended—and the results had been devastating.
Ian asked one of the nearby waitresses to bring an ice-pack to Shelby, before turning to Parker, who still wanted to commit familial homicide. Handing his keys to Tiny, Parker asked, “Can you do me a favor? Toss him into my truck. And don’t bother being gentle about it. He deserves every fucking bruise he gets.”
The six-foot-eight, two hundred and seventy-five pound part-time bodyguard grinned. “My pleasure. We’ll take care of him…you just make sure Miss Shelby is okay.”
“I will.” Parker then turned to Ian, his face filled with embarrassment, anger, and regret. "Let's get this over with."
Parker paced behind the closed door of Mitch's office as Ian sat against the front of the desk and watched him. Usually the manager would be sitting in on something like this, but Mitch was home with the flu. Running a hand over his crewcut, Parker tried to calm down, but it was near impossible. "Fuck! I'm so sorry, Ian. I was only gone two minutes to take a fucking piss. I told him not to move from where we were sitting. He fucking knew he wasn't allowed to play or approach any subs. The only reason I even brought him here is he called me a few weeks ago and said he wanted to see the place while he was in town on business. Said he and his wife were thinking about joining a club in Boston. I knew I shouldn't have brought him here. He doesn't understand the lifestyle the way I do. I know he's cheated on his wife before, but I didn't think he was stupid enough to try something here. Fuck! I'm going to kill him."
The owner let him rant for another minute before Parker took a deep breath and glanced at him. "I broke the rules. Do what you have to do." He plopped down into one of the chairs and hung his head in defeat. He had screwed up bigtime and wouldn’t be surprised if Ian threw him out of the club for good.
Ian crossed his arms. "I'm sorry I have to do this, but you know you're not supposed to leave a guest alone for this exact reason. You should have asked a DM or guard to watch him for the time you needed to leave him alone." Parker nodded, but didn't say anything. He deserved the ass-chewing and a whole lot more. "I have to suspend your play privileges for the next twelve weeks. During that time, you'll take three DM shifts per week. I'll check the schedule and coordinate the dates and times with you tomorrow. Your guest privileges will also be suspended for two years."
He was suspended? Not terminated?
Thank fuck. He didn’t think he could live without seeing Shelby every week, whether she agreed to play with him or not. Parker snorted and responded, "Don't worry. I think this is the last time I'll bring anyone here whether they're in the lifestyle or not. I’ve learned my lesson." He ran his hand down his face as he stood again. "I'll be back for Shelby in a few minutes. Dave's motel is about five minutes from here. I'll dump him into his room and come back. If I thought a cab would pick up the unconscious asshole, I'd call one. But since Shelby's being taken care of by China and Marco, I'll get rid of him first."
Ian nodded and followed him out of the office. At the main double doors, they separated and Parker continued out to the lobby where Tiny was waiting for him with his keys. As the big man tossed them to him, he gave him an impish grin. “He’s all tucked in, but he may have a few bruises from when he accidently fell down a few of the stairs.”
Parker smirked. “How many stairs?”
“Six or seven. Not sure. Could’ve been eight, but no more than nine. He might’ve broken his neck if that happened.”
“You’re the best, Tiny.” He gave the head guard a fist bump. “Thanks for taking out the trash. I’ll be back in a few for Shelby.”
Exiting the front door, Parker climbed down the long staircase leading to the parking lot. From the outside, one would never know the building housed one of the best, private, BDSM clubs on the east coast. Which is why it remained ‘the’ club to belong to. Parker was lucky this wasn’t going to be the last time he drove out of here. Despite his anger, he couldn’t help but think that maybe this would give Shelby a chance to get to know him better and get her past whatever she had against him. As long as she didn’t hate him after tonight.
* * *
Shelby let Master Marco hold her while they waited in the ladies lounge along with Mistress China and Angie. She felt bad this was the new submissive’s first experience in the club. Incidents like this were rare at The Covenant, but every once in a while, a jackass got through the stringent background checks.
She’d been wary when the man had approached her, immediately noticing the yellow wristband indicating he was a guest. He’d tried to convince her to meet him at his motel later—as if! When she tried to walk away, he’d grabbed her arm. And when she’d told him not-too-politely to ‘fuck off’, he’d reared back and backhanded her. Before she knew what was happening, Marco had him on the floor, and Angie and Mistress China were by her side.
Shelby had heard horror stories over the years about men who assumed women in the lifestyle were easy lays or even worse—hookers. She’d even met a few of the creeps herself. It was why she never revealed that she was a member of the BDSM community unless she was certain they were members as well and not just wanna-bes.
Sitting on Marco’s lap, she let him comfort her with softly spoken words as he ran his hand up and down her back. She knew he was not only making sure she was okay, because that’s what good Doms did, but taking control now was helping him deal with what had happened earlier. While she had scened with the Dom many times over the past few years, there was no romance between them, just a comfortable friendship. She didn’t know much about him outside of the club and that he worked at Trident Security, but did know he’d lost his only sister, Nina, to cancer several months ago. A large percentage of the club’s members had gone to the funeral to support him. Shelby hoped someday Marco would find a submissive whom he could fall in love with, although he was more like her in that respect. Neither one of them believed they were able to let someone in for a long-term relationship. She wasn’t sure what his reasoning was, but in her case, what man would want a woman who couldn’t have kids and always lived in fear of her cancer coming back? She’d been lucky her cancer had been caught early enough, but so had Nina’s. Unfortunately, the big ‘C’ had been unkind to both women, but in different ways.
The upstairs door opened and they heard someone navigate the stairs. Glancing up, she saw Master Ian enter the lounge. The men rarely came into the ladies' locker room, but it didn't faze anyone when they did. It wasn't as if they hadn't seen most of the women naked at one time or another.
Unable to read Ian’s expression, she leapt off Marco and clutched the owner’s arm. Her heart jumped to her throat and she was suddenly afraid for Parker. "Master Ian! Please don't discipline Master Parker. It wasn't his fault. I don't want him to get into trouble. Please don't kick him out of the club. It's all my fault. I should've walked away sooner."
Hysteria bubbled up within her. She was so worried about Parker. Even though the creep was his brother, he wasn’t responsible for the man’s actions. Marco and Mistress China both growled at her as Ian grabbed her by the shoulders and guided her to an empty chair. "Calm down, Shelby, and sit." His orders were given in a commanding tone which instantly demanded a response. As an experienced sub, it had the desired effect on her, as she let his deep voice rumble through her. She took a deep breath as he continued. "Master Parker knows he broke the rules and there are consequences for what happened. None of which was your fault and I don't want to hear those words out of your mouth again. Understand?"
Didn’t they see this wasn’t Parker’s fault? She didn’t want him to be kicked out of The Covenant because of her. Unable to stop the tears falling down her cheeks, she tried to beg him to understand. "Yes, Sir. But..."
"No buts, Shelby." He squeezed her shoulder. "I didn't revoke Master Parker's membership, but he did receive a suspension for his irresponsible actions. He accepted full blame for what happened and agreed with the punishment. Now, he'll be back in a few minutes to take you home so why don't you grab your things from your locker and change. Okay?"
Still crying softly, she stood and mumbled, "Yes, Sir."
Ian pulled her into his arms and hugged her. "It'll be okay, little one. I promise. I think the best thing you can do is dry your eyes, and when Master Parker comes back, give him some of your sass we all love so much and let him take care of you. I think it'll make you both feel better, hmm?"
She pulled back and gave him a watery smile. "Yes, Sir. Thank you."
Marco took her arm and hugged her as well, while placing a kiss on top of her blue-haired head. "Sweetheart, I'm sorry I wasn't there when you needed me."
Nodding her head against his strong chest, she didn’t want him to feel bad. "It's okay, Master Marco. You got there as fast as you could."
He gave her another squeeze before letting her go. She trudged into the locker area and found the one she used. Opening it, she pulled off her wig and tossed it into her duffle bag, then ran a hand through her spikey blonde hair. Her cheek still stung and a quick glance in the mirror showed a bruise had already formed.
. Tomorrow and Sunday she could stay home, but, hopefully, some makeup would cover the black and blue so she didn’t have to answer twenty questions at work on Monday morning. The four other women she worked with in the human resources department at Tri-Labs Pharmaceuticals would notice it immediately and want to kick someone’s ass for hurting her. They were a close group and, for the most part, had each other’s backs. Her dickhead boss was another story altogether. He hated when his employees’ lives interfered with work for any reason. The prick had gotten pissed-off recently when one of the women had a bad asthma attack and the paramedics had to be called. The way he bitched, you’d think the poor woman had scheduled it just to inconvenience him.
Quickly changing into her sweatpants, T-shirt, and her favorite pink high-top Converse sneakers, she stuffed her mini-skirt into the duffel and then grabbed her purse. At five-foot-four and a size eight, the twenty-nine year old was actually looking forward to turning thirty in a few months. Most women might bitch about leaving their twenties behind, but for Shelby, it meant she had survived another year—she was still alive and that was something to cheer about. However, she was also alone—something which sucked. But she would never get involved with a man, only to have him realize that she wasn’t a whole woman and couldn’t give him children.
Closing the locker, she picked up her bags and headed back out to the sitting area. Master Ian was crouched in front of his sub who appear worried about something, but it wasn’t Shelby’s place to interfere with a Dom and sub. Ian stood and handed her the icepack again as the door to the stairs opened and Parker walked in, his brown eyes finding her immediately. There was still worry and regret in them and Shelby felt bad she had ruined everyone’s evening.
But damn was the man gorgeous. He was almost six-foot tall and while he wasn’t as cut as Marco or Brody, he had the body of a man used to manual labor. His blond crew-cut was receding a little, but it didn’t bother her at all—she still thought he was a dreamboat. Unfortunately, not her dreamboat.
Parker hurried over to her and took her duffel from her. “Come on, sweetheart. I’ll take you home. Tiny is having one of the guards follow us in your car.”
“But, I can…”
“Not negotiable, Shelby.” When she reluctantly nodded her head, he put his arm around her, tucked her into his side, and turned toward Ian. “I’ll call you tomorrow about the schedule.”
As Ian dipped his head in acknowledgement, Parker led her to the stairs, up to the lobby, and out into the parking lot. The temperature had dropped to a cool fifty-two degrees and Shelby regretted not bringing her sweatshirt when a shiver went through her. The Dom pulled her tighter against him and she almost sighed at his warmth. Her car was parked near his truck and two of the guards were waiting for them.
Parker came to a stop. “Give Kent your keys, sweetheart. Anthony will follow us, too, and give him a ride back.”
After handing over her keys, she let Parker help her into his truck. He pulled the seatbelt across her lap and clicked it in place. Shelby thought it was sweet that he was being so attentive to her even though she could’ve done it herself.
He’s a Dom, ding-dong. He would do this for any submissive. Stop mooning over him and get a grip. He deserves someone who can make his life complete and that’s not you.
Sighing, she settled in for the ride home.