Thursday, November 24, 2016

Watching You Work - Part One

The Way Back to Play Novella  
Changing the Game:   
Part One
Companion Story to

Peter was true to his word. Any time Kat initiated sex—lovemaking—he was more than willing. He’d even taken to waking her in the morning before he got up to go to work with gentle, arousing touches and long, lingering good morning kisses.

They’d had more sex in the past two weeks than they’d had in the past two months.

And it was great.

It was.

But something still felt off. Something was still missing.

And it was driving Kat crazy.

She wanted to make love to Peter. She loved making love with him. So what was wrong with her?

She stared off into the afternoon light through her study’s bay window, her laptop resting on her legs. She looked down at the words she’d just typed.

Kendra moaned as Jae raked his nails down her back, his touch scouring down her skin as she came.

She sighed. Rough sex. Sexy raunch. Kinky love. This was what she how made her living now. And it did very well for her. Her books were top sellers now. National chain stores had her stories ready in stock. And Max was organizing her sixth book tour with ten stops crossing the country from coast to coast.

Most of her friends were kinky. From Max to Hallie, to Hayato to Rand, the people she encountered everyday lived the life. Even her fans, whom she’d occasionally see on the streets or in stores, would share their personal stories with her. She received mail—electronic and paper—telling her tales of how her stories helped her readers realize or recognize something inside themselves.

It was her life in so many ways; an inescapable facet that followed her everywhere she went.

Except within the walls of her own home. The house where years before she’d taken her first tentative steps into the world. With the man who’d shown her that world.

She sighed, wishing that she could just be satisfied with what she had. There were millions of women—billions of women—who were quite content with far less.

But she’d had what she longed for. She’d tasted—fed on—the fantasy she’d held for so long. And she just didn’t know how much longer she could go without.

She bit her lip and closed her laptop, tired of staring at the words. 

She wanted to just ask for it. Should probably do just that. He’d told her to do just that.

She sighed and lay her laptop aside. She curled her knees into herself, clutching them hard against her chest.

I don’t want to just have sex with you anymore,” he’d told her. “I want to make love with you, Kat. I want to love my wife.

Did one love a wife differently? she wondered. Did a life together—did the permanency and stability of it all—change things? Did the fact that they now made love mean that they were never going to have sex again? Never play again?

And what was wrong with her, that the thought of that should break her heart a little?


Peter knocked.

“Come in,” he heard Hayato say from inside his office.

“Hey.” He walked into the dramatic room. Vivid walls, vibrant decor, and swirling paintings all in electric shades of blue that seemed to throb and pulse on the walls, it made for an overwhelming sight that never failed to impress.

“Peter,” Hayato greeted. “It’s good to see you. It’s been a while.”

Peter cocked his head in acknowledgment. “Work,” he said simply. “You know how it is.”

“Of course,” Hayato agreed. “That’s in fact why I asked you to come. I’d like to update our whole system. Both the firm’s and the club’s. We’ve outgrown our old system and you’re the only one I trust to fix it.”

Peter nodded. He’d been the one to set up Hayato’s previous system, streamlining the older version, making it easier to use, maintain, and protect. Over the years, he’d been the one checking up on it, taking care of any problems, making sure it ran smooth. It was his baby. No matter how small the problem, no matter what time of day, he was the only one he trusted to fix it too.

He was busy, contracted with too many jobs with not enough agents as it was. But no one—no one—touched his baby but him. So he nodded. “Sure.” Peter mentally made plans to shift some stuff, to pass some of his projects to Marcus or Janie, his two right-hand agents. “Let me look into some things, draw up some plans. I’ll have something ready for you in a few days.”

“Good.” Hayato sat back, his hands steepling, as he studied his friend. “How’ve you been?” he asked, swiftly changing subjects.

Used to Hayato’s lawyer tricks, Peter let his lip curl wryly. “I’m fine.”

“Really.” His tone flat, Hayato narrowed his gaze, a skeptical look on his face. “How’s Kat doing these days?”

Feeling under interrogation, Peter stiffened. “She’s fine.”

“Max tells different,” Hayato stated.

“Oh?” Peter crossed his arms over his chest.

“Just a feeling she has,” Hayato mused. “Max says she puts on a good front—on the phone and in emails—but she’s sure something’s wrong. She thought,” he said with a subtle shift of his shoulder, “you might know something about it.”

If he knew Max, she thought it was his fault.

And, it had been.

But he’d fixed it. They’d talked. He listened. He fixed it. They were fine. “Kat’s fine.”

“So you say,” Hayato dismissed as he picked up some papers on his desk. “So, you’ll have plans for me in a few days.”

“Yeah,” Peter said, this time less comfortable with his friend’s abrupt change in topic.

“Good.” It was a dismissal. An obvious one.

Almost insulting. If Hayato wasn’t a friend...

Peter shook his head with a snort and turned to leave.

“Oh, and Peter?”

Peter turned back at the door.

“I know you’re busy, but you might want to take a look at Kat’s blog,” he said, not looking up. “If you get the time.”

Peter paused, staring at the top of his friend’s bleached-blond hair and wondering. What the hell did that mean? Had Kat written something about them? About their problems? About him?

Turning sharply to leave, he muttered a “thanks” over his shoulder and shut his friend’s office door.


Kat answered the door, pulling it open to find Max standing on her stoop with a tall, almost air-brushedly handsome black man. Looking from one to the other and back again, she said warily, “Hi Max. What can I do for you?”

Max, tugging on the man’s arm, bullied her way into the house in her usual full-steam-ahead manner. “We need pictures for the anniversary bash,” she told her. “Harlan St. James personally promised to do all our advertising. Dare just finished doing lovely work with Cadence, Cara, and Lyndsey in the club this morning. Which were great,” she told her, as she stormed through the house, studying everything with a discriminating eye, “but now Harlan also wants pictures of our local celebrities. People who’ve made it their business to associate themselves proudly with Donovan’s and who’ve thrived because of it. So we went to Pip’s studio and got some shots of her and Phil recording. Now we’re here.”

“A little warning would have been nice, Max.” Kat gestured at the sweats she was wearing and the messy bun her hair was twisted into. For God’s sake, she hadn’t even taken a shower yet.

“It was a last minute decision,” Max said. “Besides,” she added, clapping the man on the shoulder, “Dare does amazing work.” Turning to the harried-looking man clutching a large carrying case, she clucked her tongue decisively. “I think we’ll do the shots outside. I’ve seen her study; it’s a mess.”

Kat rolled her eyes and followed them out into the back yard, Max leading like a bloodhound. Kat turned around, eying the tall trees whose leaves were turning, making the trees, with every flame-colored leaf, look like a phoenix. She took in the bushes and towering vines, twisting in that transcendental space between green, lush life and bare, brown death. 

Max breathed in the midday ocean air with a lusty, heaving sigh. “Yes,” she decided, “this is perfect.” She turned to Dare. “Fix up the shots. Whatever you think is best. I’ll get her ready.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He gave a joking salute that earned him a playful swat in the side before he chuckled—a deeply amused sound—as he turned to dig around in his bag.

Max took Kat’s arm and dragged her back into the house.

“What the hell is going on?” Kat asked.

“I told you.” Max tugged her up the stairs and into the bedroom. “Pictures, Kat.” She headed straight for the closet, throwing the doors open. “Hmm,” she muttered, more to herself than to Kat. “For the ad shots, something professional but casual. You are home, after all.” She rummaged through the hanging clothes, picking out this and that and tossing it into Kat’s arms. “But for the others,” she continued, passing by Kat and heading for her drawers, pulling them open to root inside.

Kat dropped the armload of clothes onto the bed, shocked as Max tossed her underwear about. “What others?”

“The other pictures Dare is going to take,” Max said matter-of-factly. She turned to Kat with a knowing look. “The personal ones. For Peter.”

“Excuse me?”

Max rolled her eyes. “I’m your publisher, Kat,” Max drawled. “You think I don’t read your blog?”

Kat rolled her eyes. Okay, so for the past few days, she hadn’t been able to write. So she thought, maybe, a little introspection couldn’t hurt. Maybe if she gave voice to her frustrations a little bit, she could find her own voice again.

So she’d blogged a few short stories—just mini-vignettes and maudlin poems really—about vague ennui and gnawing emptiness.

“I’m also your friend,” Max said. “You think I don’t know when you’re unhappy?” Placing her hands on her hips, her fists gripping panties and bras like weapons, she shot her a glaring look. “You honestly think that I’m going to sit by and do nothing about it?”

Kat smiled at her friend—her very best friend who knew her and loved her like a sister—with wet, wobbly gratitude. She opened her mouth to say something, but Max shushed her with a wave of her panty-holding hand. “Not right now,” she said. “If you say anything, you’ll start to cry and then Dare will have a hell of a time with puffy, red eyes. Go. Shower. Now.”

Knowing that to be true, Kat turned and headed to the bathroom.

After she was done, Kat sat still and obedient as Max primped and fussed about her. Feeling like a life-size doll, Kat was dressed, arranged, and altered before finally being presented to the photographer.

Dare, bent over a tripod, stood up and blinked at her as they entered the yard. Taking the camera around his neck into his hands expectantly, he said, “You look great.”

“Thank you.” She smiled before Max shoved her forward before heading back into the house, leaving them alone. Kat watched her go, nerves gripping her. “Um,” she said, turning back to the model-looking man behind the camera, “where do we start?”

He gestured to a tall, canopied tree that stood towering just on the edge of the yard. Futzing with the blanket and pillows he’d taken from her study and spread on the lawn, he positioned her with her laptop. For good measure, he’d strewn about some of her novels, haphazard yet spine-showing, around her.

He took several shots with her looking at the camera, following him as he moved about her. “I need you to type.”

“Excuse me?” she asked.

“Type,” he said, snapping more photos. “Write. Whatever you’re working on. We took pictures of Pip and Phil just sitting at their desks and then while doing their shows; their expressions changed while they were recording. They became less aware of the camera, more relaxed. More themselves.” He looked above the camera. “That’s what I want from you. So do you mind typing?”

So Kat booted up her computer, uneasiness filling her. She knew where she was in her story. She scrolled down her screen to where she left off. She bit her lip before tucking down her screen to look nervously at Dare. “It’s, uh,” she started, “just that I’m at a sex scene right now in the story.”

Dare raised an eyebrow, his gaze drifting to her computer and back up again. “Great. Just act like I’m not even here.”

“That’s the thing.” She worried her lip more. “I don’t think I can write this scene with you standing there.” Watching her. Taking photos of her. It felt too exposed. Like masturbating in front of a crowd or giving a speech naked in class.

Dare studied at her for a long moment as if deciding something. He gave a nod. “I’ll tell you what,” he said, “there’s a lens I left in my car. I’m going to go get it, make some adjustments to my camera. Why don’t you start writing while I’m gone? When I come back, maybe you’ll be onto the next scene, okay?”

Kat shrugged. That sounded fine. “Okay.” She watched him leave, strolling leisurely through the yard, around the side of the house before he disappeared into the greenery.

With a sigh, Kat turned to her screen. Kendra and Jae, her latest pair, were right about to have sex. Stuck in a house haunted by ancient spirits, her characters were possessed and acting out forbidden acts that unleashed sides of themselves they didn’t even know existed.

Jae felt the words being pulled from his throat, his lips being pushed and molded to form the words. “Kneel before me, woman.”
He watched as Kendra, the same panicked look he felt pulling at his face mirrored on hers, drop to her hands and knees at his feet. “Tell me your will,” her pouty mouth said in a genteel, almost accented voice. “Ask of me and it is yours.”
His insides jerked as the opening of his pants fell undone by ghostly hands, causing his jeans to drop to the floor in a lurid slide. He could feel his cock straining as invisible hands—soft and small—caressed him sweetly. He moaned as his hips thrust out into that spectral touch until he felt her lips—shocking him with a tangibility that shook him. 
Helpless, he felt her lips part, sliding him deep into the wet heat of her mouth. His hand reached for her, cupping the crown of her head as her hand gripped his side. 
He wanted to think that he felt a waif-like weight upon his hand as he guided her onto his thrusting body. But he didn’t. If he was honest with himself—which he so rarely found useful—he knew there was no phantom force beyond his own lust—his own pleasure—driving his dick deeper into her lush, lovely mouth.

Kat’s head shot up as she heard the slightest crack, like the snap of a branch, her eyes wide and unseeing, still focused on the scene in her mind.

Read Part Two Here

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