Being truly helpless is the only thing that can save him. But it’s the one thing he’s not willing to do.
Marius has all the things a Mistress could want in a one-night-sub encounter. Hot body, loads of charm and a willingness to get her off in any way she pleases. That’s his reputation at The Zone. But Marius has a dark side. When a Mistress pushes him for something deeper, he’ll push back, mess with her head. When he takes it too far one night, The Zone management has had enough. He’s kicked out of the club and there’s only one way back in—Lady Regina.
Regina’s been studying Marius for a while. She enjoys her submissives in all flavors, and she likes them challenging, though not usually the “knight-in-distress” type, so screwed up she’d need a backhoe to dig him out of his dysfunctions. But on that pivotal night, she sees something in Marius. He doesn’t know what it means to be truly helpless to a Mistress, but he needs it, more than any sub she’s ever encountered. And that’s a challenge this Mistress can’t resist.
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Regina settled against her car door and leveled a cool stare on him. “You here to beg or bullshit?”
His lips tightened. “I shouldn’t have lost it last night.”
“Actually, it was the first honest response I’ve gotten out of you. Though it pissed me off that you ruined the shirt you gave me off your back. I’d looked forward to wearing it to bed and smelling your scent on my skin.”
He blinked. She understood his confusion. Since most men were used to women being more subtle, harder to figure out, brutal honesty had the added benefit of sometimes throwing them off balance, like now. But she liked his recovery.
“I’d have liked thinking about that. And it didn’t look all that ruined.” He tucked both hands in his pockets and rocked on the balls of his feet. “Don’t think it’s ever looked that damn good.”
For once, it wasn’t a line. He said it with an unguarded look, his wry smile almost…shy.
“What is it you’re here for, Marius?”
He cleared his throat. “To answer your question. Duncan. You asked me if that was my real name. It is. Duncan Marius Walczek.”
“Okay.” She cocked her head. “It suits you. Though you hold yourself a different way when you say it. It’s not a familiar fit, but more honest, maybe. Why meet me here to tell me that?”
“I want to get reinstated to The Zone. I like the work. I need it. And I’d…” He sighed. “I’m sorry for how I acted. I can do better for you, if you’ll give me another chance.”
“So your primary motive for having sessions with me is getting back into The Zone’s good graces.” She lifted a finger before he could answer. “You need me to file the application on your behalf. Fortunately, I’m interested in you, Marius. Duncan.” She purred the name, intrigued when he shifted. It made him less confident, more uncomfortable. Her evaluation was correct. It was his truer name.
“It’s a self-serving relationship,” she continued. “But I have no desire to cater to your side of that equation. I’ll take this where I want it to go.”
He shifted a step closer, but at her stare, he shifted his weight back. “So does that mean we can try again, whatever it is you’re willing to try?”
A little edge had entered his tone. He was sure he was getting a victory, though she sensed some surprise—maybe even disappointment—that the challenge hadn’t been as difficult as he’d expected.
“Maybe.” She slid a thorough perusal over him, head to toe. “First, you take me on a normal date.”
If she’d told him to get down on all fours and bray like a mule, she couldn’t have surprised him as much. “Excuse me?” he asked, brow furrowing.
“You’re a man, I’m a woman. You do know how to take a woman on a date? You didn’t hit puberty, walk into a BDSM club and that was the sum of your hookup experiences?”
“No.” He didn’t smile. “It’s been awhile, though.”
“For me, too.” She met his troubled gaze. Interesting. This did freak him out. “I’ve seen the sub. I want to see the man, how he treats a woman outside of a club. So I want a normal date.”
He crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. “I don’t get it.”
“Is there a question there?” She leveled cool eyes on his arms. The muscle in his jaw twitched, but he uncrossed them.
“Why do you want a normal date, Mistress?”
An extra bonus. She hadn’t required him to call her that, but it had a nice sound to it, sliding down her spine like his fingertips.
“It’s too easy for you to weaponize yourself inside the BDSM world,” she said evenly. “It may be what you crave, but you’ve poisoned it, and I don’t think you know how to purify the waters. Show me who you are outside of the scene, why you’d be worth the risk to go inside it with you again. I’m going to give you a clue, so you have a slim chance of not fucking it up. No over-the-top grand gestures that mask the man behind a show. You’re limited to a fifty-dollar budget.”
His scowl deepened. “Teenagers spend more than that just to go out to the movies.”
“Yeah, they probably do.”
“I can afford—”
“Your income is not the issue. Fifty dollars. Save receipts.”
She’d turned toward the car but stopped, brows raised. His jaw set in a stubborn line, he stepped forward. Closing his hand over the car door handle, he opened the door for her. “If it’s a real date, no guy would show a woman his receipts. If you say fifty, that’s what I’ll do. You can take my word on that at least. Right?”
“I can.” She laid her hand on the window frame, next to his. When she shifted, their smallest fingers were touching, a brush of contact. He withdrew, his palm sliding over her knuckles, and then he thrust his hand back into his pocket, as if he might be burned if he didn’t.
“A real date,” he said. “Next Friday, at six? I’ll pick you up.”
“In front of Safe Word,” she said.
“You can also trust me to pick you up at your place.”
“That may or may not be true, but I’m not letting you into that part of my life.”
“Right.” He watched her get into the car. “Because this is just about getting back into The Zone for me, and you trying out a new sub because you like new flavors.”
“Maybe.” She ignored his belligerence. “It doesn’t bother me that you’re using me as a means to an end, Marius. Why should it bother you, unless it isn’t just about that?”
She’d put the keys in the ignition and lowered the window. Reaching up, she touched his face and then his stubbled jaw, passing her thumb over his lips, the indention in his chin. He stilled under her touch.
“Don’t calculate or measure,” she said. “Just answer my question. Do you know what you want?”
“Yeah. And no.” His gaze flickered as if he hadn’t meant to speak so baldly and reveal the twisted knot of conflicting emotions within him.
“That’s okay, because I know what I want.” Bringing him down to her with a hand curved over his nape, she leaned far enough out the window to nibble on the bottom lip. Nice and full, a heated cushion, just the right kind of firmness.
When he would have responded in kind, she made an admonishing noise. “I’m doing the tasting here. Be still.”
She was aware of his fingers tightening on the upper window frame, a flex that rippled through his biceps.
“Sweet. So many wicked, sweet things I could do with that mouth.” She drew back, and met silver-grey eyes heated with desire, and conflict. Would he try to seize her, use physical force to make more of the kiss? She could feel that energy shuddering off him, but his jaw tightened, his eyes getting that wary look. He’d talked himself out of it, for his own reasons, not the right ones. That was all right. She’d take home some good fantasy material regardless.
“I look forward to our date,” she said, letting go and starting the engine. “Oh, and Marius?” She met his silver eyes, letting him see the heat and intent in her own dark ones. “I’m not unhappy with the choice you made, coming to see me today at Marguerite’s direction. But while you’re under my command, no other Mistress gives you orders. I don’t share my toys. Got it?”
A nice flare of heat in the gray eyes, and he moistened those tempting lips. “Yes, Mistress.”
Would you like to read Chapter One of Truly Helpless?
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Winner of the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement award, Joey W. Hill has published over forty contemporary and paranormal BDSM erotic romances, including six series. Her emotionally-intense love stories offer everything from vampires, mermaids, witches and angels, to boardroom executives, cops and simple housemaids. With her books, she suggests “don’t look past the sex; look in it, and find a wonderful story to touch the heart and soul.”
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