6 a.m. Time to hit the gym. I grabbed my bag from the closet. Sleeping beauty didn’t move a muscle. After pounding it out for two hours, sweat dripping off of every pore, every muscle in my body screaming out, I returned to my penthouse. She was still asleep.
She lay perfect in my bed, her long golden hair splayed out across the pillows, her pink, full lips slightly parted, the ultimate Disney princess awaiting her prince to kiss her awake. Only I was the beast who didn’t become a prince. I stayed lurking in the darkness, fucked her senseless for a week, then turned her out again into the cold, harsh forest.
I stepped out of the room. What was going on? Was I having some sort of problem with my conscience? Was that guilt rising up inside of me? I didn’t do that.
That was the fun of being the guy in the black hat in the classic Western. You didn’t worry about all that right and wrong crap. You grabbed what you wanted, drank booze, screwed lots of women, piled up whatever money you could get your hands on and didn’t worry about the rest of it. You knew it didn’t matter because either way it was all going to end the same. You were going to die bleeding out in a gutter somewhere one day. The only person crying over you would be whatever girl you happened to currently be paying for her services. She’d miss the money.
That’s all this was with Kara, anyway. I shook off the rest of it. I hadn’t come that far in life being a worrier. I went after what I wanted and I got it, simple as that. Right now I wanted Kara Brooks. I wanted her so bad my teeth hurt. So, I was going to have her, every way I could come up with and then some. For one week.
Because I didn’t do more than that. More simply wasn’t an option. If she was a more-than-a-week type of girl, that was her problem. She knew enough about me to know I wasn’t playing around. I didn’t actually have a ring under the pillow, about to shout “surprise!” and release the doves with a marriage proposal. She wasn’t 18 anymore, the child circled by the wolf. She was 24, a full-grown woman, walking into this with her eyes open.
But the question remained—if I could have any woman I wanted, why would I mess with the one who could mess with me? Kara was the one woman who’d ever gotten under my skin. And she’d been a goddamned virgin. I should avoid her like the fucking plague.
I took a shower, hot water pounding over my strained muscles. Clean and dry, I dressed in fresh laundered sweatpants and a crisp, white t-shirt. And I got my head screwed on right.
This was a transaction, nothing more. Kara was just like the rest of them. She was into me for the money, like every other girl. I was a cold, calculating bastard and I knew how the world worked. Kara needed something and I had it. I wanted something that she had. That’s how bargains went down.
So what that Kara made it feel different? It didn’t matter that she still smelled of honeysuckle and strawberries and her smile lit me up. Six years later she made me feel like a 21-year-old kid again, tough on the outside, but yearning and hopeful within. I hated that shit. It was a waste of time and it was weak. And it was 100% on me if I fell for that roses and rainbows shit.
I needed to keep this clean. Simple. Clear-cut. I was taking a girl with me on a business trip to New York. We were going to have a week of hot, nasty BDSM sex. I’d get the rush of training a neophyte, a woman with a body for sin and the mind of an innocent, bringing out the sub within her responding to my dom. And then I’d say goodbye.
My bedroom door stood open. I walked back in.
Kara still reclined against a mountain of pillows, her hair framing her face in a mess of golden wisps and tendrils. Her bare shoulders peeked out at the top of the covers, hinting at the creamy paradise below.
With a yawn, she turned to me, her eyes fluttering open. “Morning.” She gave me a slow grin, looking as content as a cat in a patch of sun.
“If you can still call it that,” I had to tease.
Her eyes widened. “What time is it?”
“Don’t worry about it, there’s no reason to be up early.”
“But you’re up and I never sleep in,” she protested, still sleepy. “Except for yesterday.” I loved the flush that stole across her face. I wondered if she was thinking about how well she slept after the orgasms I’d given her. I grinned with pride.
Back in the living room I called room service and ordered most of the menu. I didn’t know what she liked and I was starving. Then I made some coffee. Carrying two mugs into the bedroom, I told myself it wasn’t strange that I still remembered how she took her coffee six years later.
“Thanks.” She gave me a shy and grateful smile, taking a sip.
Breakfast arrived. That had to be one of the best perks of being the owner, you never had to wait for a thing. I took the large tray myself and carried it back into the bedroom. No pimply teenage delivery boy got to check out Kara. She was mine, all mine.
“Ooh!” She sat up a bit, the down comforter still up and keeping her maddeningly modest, covering far too much. I’d have to do something about that. She surveyed her options: waffles, eggs, bacon, sausages, scones and fresh fruit. I set it all down on a low table by the window.
“That looks amazing.”
“What do you want?”
“All of it.”
“Atta girl.” I took a plate and fixed her a sampler.
She took it from me, hesitantly. “Are you sure I should eat on the bed? What if I stain the comforter?” She gestured at the expanse of pure, snow-white fluff.
I shrugged. “Not a problem. I don’t clean it.”
She took that in, clearly not accustomed to a life in which others cleaned things for you. I’d gotten used to that pretty quick. I made myself a plate and sat on the side of the bed as we ate. She obviously liked bacon. I smiled at her and she giggled a bit, acknowledging how she was relishing her food.
“I always say, never trust a person who doesn’t like bacon.” She shrugged.
“So true,” I agreed.
Finally placing her plate to the side after doing some excellent work, she took her coffee mug into her hands and settled back onto the pillows. She looked comfortable. Too comfortable.
“We have some things to discuss,” I told her.
She tensed, instantly looking nervous.
“The terms of our agreement.” Wide-eyed, she waited. “We fly to New York tomorrow. There’s a gala at the Met I’ll take you to Saturday night. Then Sunday, we’ll fly home and I’ll pay off all of your debts.”
Leaning forward, I looked into her eyes. “Do you understand what I mean when I say you’ll serve me for the week?”
She shivered slightly, nibbling on her lower lip. I should have done more of this last night. It wasn’t like me to overlook the fine points of a contract. She got me too fired up and I didn’t like that. I’d regain control, starting now.
“This week, I give the orders,” I explained. “You follow them. No questions asked. You’ll serve me in every way.”
She sat up straighter in the bed. That comforter still over-performed.
“You’re going to be my sub, Kara. Do you understand what that means? I’ll be your master, controlling you, teaching you. That means you’ll need to trust me completely.”
“Declan, I…” she hesitated.
“That means no more secrets. You should have told me you were a virgin.”
“I’m sorry,” she began, looking down and starting to nibble nervously on her thumb. “I should have but—”
“It’s all right,” I waved off her apologies. What mattered was the future. “This week you need to open up completely to me. You’ll need my guidance. You have to reveal everything to me. That’s how this works.”
“I don’t know if…” She hesitated, biting her plump lip, twirling a strand of hair around her finger. “I’m not sure that I can… do everything you ask.”
“Why not?” I remained level and cool, letting her speak.
“Because…” She tilted her hands and eyes upwards. “I don’t even know what sort of stuff you’re into. Are you going to
make me sign a contract or something?”
I smiled. “Has someone been reading 50 Shades of Gray?”
She blushed, embarrassed. “Maybe.”
Giving her a dead serious look, I asked, “Would you like to see my Room of Pain?” She froze. I couldn’t help but slip into a grin.
“You’re joking, right?” She smiled but still sounded hesitant.