I just signed my novel The Taming School with Sizzler Editions. As celebration, I wrote this little teaser. Think of it as extra credit! It does happen after the novel so, if you like it, please check my novel The Taming School to discover how Kat and Peter got together. Please, enjoy.
Kat Valdez bit her lip as Peter Richards led her toward Donovan’s. It was strange—a little wrong—that it felt so uncomfortable and awkward coming here. It’s not as if she’d never been there before. In the nine months that they’d been dating, Peter had taken her to Donovan’s, a fairly trendy downtown bar and grill, on several occasions. They’d grabbed drinks there, had dinner and dates there. Hell, they’d even met there. It really shouldn’t feel so unfamiliar.
But, as she stared at the large, mostly untrafficked oak door in the back of the restaurant, Kat knew this wasn’t going to be like the other times before.
She took a deep breath and stared at that door. It looked heavy and old, stained a dark, glossy umber, and its thick, black hinges were beginning to rust. It held secrets, that door. Housed things few people ever got to see or know.
“Are you sure you’re ready?” Peter asked, turning to face her, his hazel eyes concerned behind his wire-rimmed glasses. “We don’t have to do this tonight.”
No. Kat scrunched her brows together. They did have to do this. Tonight. She’d put this off for too long. Peter had been a part of Donovan’s exclusive membership for years now—more than half a decade—but he hadn’t been to a party or an event for almost a year now.
Because of her.
Because she hadn’t been ready.
Tonight, she would be ready. Even if she wasn’t so sure she was at this very moment.
So she bit her lip and nodded. “I’m ready. Let’s go in.”
Peter smiled at her, calming her nerves instantly with just that simple but familiar gesture. He grabbed the strap of his toy bag, shoving it further up his shoulder before touching her cheek. He grabbed her hand in his larger, lighter-skinned one, squeezed—letting the familiar callouses and scars strengthen her—and opened the door.
It was a little disappointing that behind the Wonderlandian door was just concrete, gray and dully ordinary. She frowned as they made their way down stark, black metal stairs that trailed down in a helix. The stairs opened to a hallway, revealing a concrete cave making up the walls, ceilings, and floors.
Peter had told her that the parties were held in the bar’s basement. He had. It’s just that, she supposed, she hadn’t been expecting the party to be in—well—a basement. It was all just so plain for a playspace. So much more common than she imagined a kink party to be.
They were on the last few steps before she ever heard a sound, just a sigh, high-pitched and breathy. It existed in that very tremulous state between pain and pleasure. A place Kat knew well.
They stepped down onto the concrete floors and the smell of leather and sweat swept over her, an earthy aroma under the musty cellar smell. Suddenly, she could hear the mix of voices, a chorus of conversation accented by harsh strikes of wood or leather against skin and the sweet cries of ecstasy.
“Peter,” a man greeted as he held out his hand. The man was tall, broad, and very intimidating. A massive mountain of man, covered in tight, black leather like armor. Next to her Peter—who was so sweet-looking, an alter-ego Dom hidden in Clark Kentish, computer-nerd clothes—this man looked...a little frightening. “It’s been awhile.”
“Yes,” Peter said, taking the man’s hand in a friendly shake. “I’ve been a little busy,” he said, nodding toward her. “Rand, I’d like to to meet Kat.”
“Kat, huh?” the man asked, raising a curious eyebrow at her. He gave a decided, appreciative nod toward her. Kat shrank under his assessing gaze. For a second, she wondered if, maybe, Rand might be one of those men with a foreign fetish—those men who treated Asian girls like collector’s items. But then he grinned cheekily. “You’re first time in our little club?” he asked her, still looking her up and down.
She nodded. “Is it really that obvious?”
“You have that look,” he said with a bit of a mocking grin. “Like your not sure if you should bolt or jump right in.” His grin widened as she gave an acknowledged tilt of her head. “Let’s go grab a drink.”
Peter tucked Kat’s hand into the crook of his arm as he followed Rand through the throng of people gathered around the foyer area. They grabbed three cans of soda from a table in the back that held a tempting buffet of food and drink before making their way to another room off to the side.
Kat sucked in a deep breath as they entered the playspace.
She’d never played anywhere except at Peter’s house, bent over or tied up to his bed or his couch or a chair. Sometimes, if they were feeling daring, he’d take her outside in his yard, using trees or ladders or even the tall fence shielding them from his neighbors’ lawns.
She’d never seen anything like the massive structures feng shuied around the large open room for optimal usage and viewing. Even the ones she recognized—like the spanking bench in the corner with a woman bent over the padded velvet or the bamboo, ladder-like A-frame that had a man trussed to it—she’d never seen any of it up close or in person. Even the massage table looked unfamiliar, covered in black leather and studded with gleaming metal grommets with hooks and eyes.
Rand led them to a set of open chairs near a large, metal suspension frame, the crisscrossed scaffolding like an adult jungle gym, with a thin androgynous bottom held contorted in the air by a spider’s web of knots. Kat watched as the top, a woman whose face was tight in intense concentration, moved with dancer’s grace around her bottom as she wove the rope around and through in intricately deliberate patterns. It was beautiful. Like watching art in motion.
Kat bit her lip and wondered what a scene like that would be like.
“Hey there, handsome,” a sultry voice purred behind them. “How’s it hanging?”
Kat turned and blinked at a gorgeous, African American pin-up girl dressed up in a two-piece lingerie play at a Pan Am flight attendant. She was posed with her gloved, long-fingered hands squeezing Rand’s shoulders. She tilted her head and flashed a welcoming grin, her pill box hat cocked jauntily as she saluted him.
“With you here, Pip?” Rand asked, squeezing her ample ass underneath her short skirt, causing her to squeal and chuckle throatily. “Let’s just say that I’m in the full upright position and ready for take off.”
The woman just laughed harder, smacking him on the shoulder playfully with more confidence and surety than Kat was sure she’d ever felt in her life. “You are so crude,” Pip scolded with a shake of her head, her curly cloud of black hair bouncing about playfully.
“You love it,” he said, grabbing her around her thighs and pulling her close. “You going to play tonight or are you just here to cock tease the room?”
Kat watched the tall, leggy woman tip her head thoughtfully. Pursing her full, dark lips, Pip hummed, tapping a long, manicured nail against her angled cheek. “I can find the time, if you can,” she said with a smile.
Rand snorted and smacked her butt. “All right, Pipsqueak,” he joked as she jumped. He jutted his chin out toward the towering scaffolding. And the odd cross between a pommel horse, a step stool, and headless rocking horse seated next to it.
Kat saw Pip straddle the horse as Rand bent low to adjust the legs to her considerable height. Kat squirmed as she watched Rand place her heeled feet on the horse’s thin, rocking rests. Her gaze narrowed as Pip’s body jerked up just as it touched the row of vicious-looking edges carved into the horse’s body that bit into her flesh whenever she put weight on it. Kat stared as Pip tried to balance the now rocking horse as it forced her body back and forth against those cutting ridges, her wince half-way between a grimace and a smile.
Kat worried her lip as Rand trussed up Pip’s arms, forcefully raising her body taut and high to hang from a high bar on the frame. Cautiously, Kat scanned the room and saw other people stopping to watch the scene as well. The couple who’d been playing on the spanking bench, now sat curled up on the matted floor in a corner, cuddling as they enjoyed the show.
The Dom still working his sub over on the A-frame paused mid-strike as he heard Pip squeal at Rand’s smack to the back of the horse, causing it to again sway uncomfortably beneath her.
Even the couple playing on the frame with them were watching, grinning as they watched Pip squirm and sputter curses at Rand who just laughed and pushed or tugged at this and that.
“Now that I have you safely strapped in,” Rand chortled, “let’s see how you handle some turbulence.”
“So funny, Captain Jacka—”
Kat gasped as Pip’s foot slipped off its narrow rest, causing her to drop hard onto the horse. A loud, pain-filled yip escaped Pip’s lips as the ties on her arms pulled and her thighs crashed down on ridges. Kat winced at the mix of sympathetic moans and gleeful giggles aimed at Pip’s rocking, writhing, ranting form.
Kat’s lips thinned as she turned away. She didn’t think she could do that. Have a room full of people watch her while she was so vulnerable and helpless. Have them all smirk and laugh while she wrestled and panted, out of control and at the mercy of her emotions and sensations. Her chest tightened and her face paled as she heard all the twittering, expectant coos from the crowd when Rand pulled a long, harsh, leather crop out of his bag.
“Now,” he said with a menacing smirk, “sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight” He laughed. “If you can.”
Kat stood up as Rand pulled back his arm to strike the still struggling Pip, the room’s every sound and breath jeering in her ear.
“Kat?” Peter asked, touching her arm.
She shook her head and pulled away. She had to leave. She couldn’t breathe in here.
She turned to leave.
Ignoring his hiss, she rushed through the rooms, pushing her way through the people and up the spiraling stairs to get to the door. Shoving the heavy door open, she thrust herself out into the dark night.
“Kat,” Peter called as he stepped out the door after her. “Kat, what’s the matter? Where are you going?”
Kat covered her face as she kept her back to him. She shook her head. “I can’t do this,” she whispered into her hands.
“What was that?” he asked, coming close to place a hand at her waist.
“I can’t do this!” she repeated as she whirled away from him.
He sighed and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Aw, Kat.”
“I’m sorry,” she groaned, “but I can’t do this. Can’t be...” She paused, waving her hand toward the door. “That.” She wasn’t that girl. To do what they did in private, what was so intimate and personal as that, in front of all those people? She shook her head. “I can’t,” she murmured sadly. She wished that she could—could be the kind of girl Peter wanted, the kind of girl he deserved—but she just couldn’t. It just wasn’t in her. She just wasn’t strong enough. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered.
They stood there in the shadows of Donovan’s back lot, still and silent, for a long moment. Kat’s shoulders slumped under the weight of her own disappointment. She’d thought that she was ready. Thought that she’d come far enough to brave this.
Now she knew that she hadn’t.
And she just couldn’t see herself ever doing so.
God, that was just so pathetic.
“Kat,” Peter said, his voice low and thick, “look at me.”
She pressed her face further in her hands. She couldn’t face him. She just couldn’t. Not now. How could she ever face him again? Knowing that she was holding him back. Knowing that she was denying him the life that he wanted. Because she wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t experienced enough. Because she wasn’t enough.
“Kat,” he said, the warning and demand clear in his voice.
She took a deep breath before thrusting her hands back through her hair, pulling on the long strands before peeking up at him. She winced at the hard expression on his face.
“I asked you if you were ready,” he reminded her softly, matter-of-factly, even as he crossed his arms over his chest. “You said that you were.”
She bit her lips and nodded. She’d thought she was.
“I told you that we could leave,” he said. “That we could do this later, when you felt more comfortable.” He leaned back, resting his weight on his heels. “You told me that you wanted to come.”
“I’m sorry,” she said again miserably as she looked away. “I just—”
He held up his hand, cutting her off. “The offer still stands,” he interrupted. “I brought you because this is what you said you wanted. If it’s not,” he said with a shrug, “we’ll go.”
Kat turned back to him with surprise. Really? Her brow furrowed.
He shook his head as he stepped toward her. He touched her face, cupping her cheek as he brushed his thumb across her skin. “I,” he paused, his jaw locking on the words they’d both been avoiding for months now. “I care about you,” he settled on. “I care about who you are and what you want.” He pulled her close, wrapping her in his arms. He cradled her head against his chest. “I would give you anything you asked.” He kissed the top of her head sweetly. “So ask.”
Kat pressed herself close to him, breathing in the strong, woodsy scent of him, letting it and his strong arms around her soothe her. She stared over his shoulder at the door behind them. At the secrets it held. And the promises it offered.
That she could be what he needed, what he wanted, what he deserved.
That, somewhere in its depths, she could find a way to be his match.
“Come on,” he said, holding her tighter, “let’s go home.”
Kat planted her feet, holding them both in place as Peter tried to steer them toward the car.
“Kat?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
She bit her lip, staring—really studying—him in the parking lot’s dim light. “Do you know what I like best about you?” she asked him. Peter sighed and shook his head as he stood back. “You know just how to push me—”
“I don’t want to push you,” he insisted, shaking his head and frowning. “I should never have taken you here.”
“Encourage me, then,” she amended. She licked her lips nervously as she began to pace. “I get scared sometimes,” she admitted. “I can,” she sighed, rolling her shoulders, “get overwhelmed or panic sometimes. Over nothing, really.” She shrugged helplessly. “It’s just that I’ve been hiding this,” she said, gesturing to herself, to the club, to him, “my fantasies and desires, for so long. Facing them in front of other people, even in front of you—and myself, for that matter—can be hard sometimes.”
“I know,” he said, his voice rough. “And I am so proud of you. Always.”
Kat smiled, letting his words settle over her frayed nerves. “Thank you,” she said, her eyes beginning to water at little as her mouth wobbled. “You’ve been so patient with me,” she said.
“You’re worth waiting for,” he assured her as he stepped closer to her, stroking her arm. “And I’m not going anywhere. We have time; I’m in no hurry.”
“And I think that’s why I trust you so much,” she told him, placing a hand over his. “Because, whatever I decide, you’re there for me. Supporting me. You challenge me to do and try new things without ever making me feel like I have to. Without ever making me feel bad for hesitating or doubting.” No, he would never do that; she did that herself. She smiled and took his hand in hers. “It makes me want to do and try all those things. You make me feel safe enough to want to.”
He brought their joined hands to his lips, kissing the back of her hand. “What are you saying, Kat?” he asked. “Tell me what you want.”
Say the words. Kat inhaled deeply. “Wanna play?”
He grinned. “Always, Katherina,” he said, his voice a sexy rumble. “What do you want?”
The words. “I want to play,” she stated. “With you. Here. Now. I want to show everyone.”
“Show them what?” he asked, squeezing her hand.
“Us,” she said simply.
Read Part Two Here