FUNNY how life turned out, Caera mused as she stepped up to the big, solid wooden door. Three months ago, she never would have imagined standing here now, on the precipice of making her own decisions, choosing which way her path would lead her next.
Saul had brought her here, had drawn her from the darkness of her own despair, saved her from the slide into self-destruction. Her past, combined with her dreaded anxiety issues, had grown into a monster capable of shredding nerves and morphing dreams into terror.
The past three months had brought several drastic changes into her existence and changed it for the better. She’d grown as a person, her world of limited company blooming into a handful of strong, intricate friendships. The bonds between herself and Tess, herself and Deanna, grew swiftly tighter.
Saul’s commanding presence ensured Caera no longer skipped meals and ate healthily, made sure she kept her brain active and her body fit. What once was a skeleton sheathed in skin now flourished, limbs filling out with muscle, flesh alive with rosy color rather than her previous deathly pallor.
A body she could be proud of, she thought with a smirk. And a body Saul made no hesitation in making exceptional use of. He was her first—first kiss, first touch, first lover, first Dom. The first, last, and only to take hold of her heart and accept it for the gift it was.
Thinking of him, Caera lifted her hand to the door, and with knuckles white, knocked ever so gently on the wood. Too gently, she berated herself as she barely heard the tap-tap-tap with her own ears. Oh well, she would come back later…maybe after a bolstering finger of Scotch.
Shit. He’d heard her. Stupid of her to doubt it, really. After all, Tess had told her nothing much escaped his notice. Daunted, Caera stared at the door handle and wondered if she walked away quickly, would he even know it had been her?
Before she could make her decision, the door swung open and revealed a giant. He cocked an eyebrow at her before motioning her inside with a grand, sweeping gesture of his arm. “You were brave enough to knock, little one, don’t flake out on me now.”
Christ, she’d made a big mistake. How had she ever believed she was ready to take on a life-changing challenge of this magnitude by herself? She studied Ian McAllister, all six feet six inches of him, and called herself an utter idiot for letting Tess talk her into this.
“Caera,” he said gently in that oddly accented, completely soothing way of his. “Please, come in and take a seat. You’re not agreeing to anything by stepping into my office and having a chat with me. That’s all it has to be, a friendly chat.”
Her heart thundered in her chest. Steeling herself, she took a hesitant step forward into Mac’s sanctuary. Her breath shuddered out when nothing bad happened. She allowed him to steer her toward a chair, just the faintest touch of his fingertips against her back. She sat with a muffled squeak.
The office wasn’t a large affair, possibly on the small side for one as well-built as Mac. He’d relocated it from the upstairs living quarters to make that space into a guest room and keep work away from his private life; an often difficult task when both his work space and his private living quarters were within the club.
His desk sprawled like an acre of gleaming oak, topped with files, his computer, and phone. A picture of him wrapped around Tess held prime position beside the monitor.
Filing cabinets lined one wall, bookcases another. There was a snuggle chair in the far corner, and Caera spotted subtly placed hooks on the walls behind it, as well as on the ceiling above. Hooks that could be used to swing chains or rope, she thought, and had a disturbing thought as to just what Tess and her fiancé got up to in here.
Mac didn’t bother taking his place in the big beautiful leather desk chair. He simply perched on the edge of his ship and looked at her with kind blue eyes. “You know why we’re here, don’t you, little one?”
“You’re aware that Tess and Saul know you’re here and why?”
She nodded again, embarrassed.
“Excellent. For this to work, Caera, I’m going to need you to talk to me. I need to know what you’re thinking, feeling, needing. If I don’t think you’re happy, it will not go ahead. No matter if you beg and plead or if Tess intercedes on your behalf. Understood?”
Caera felt herself nod, heard Mac sigh deeply, and corrected her mistake. “Yes, Sir.”
“Good girl. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but Tess has filled your pretty head full of the joys of multiple-partner sex, has she not?” Mac didn’t sound amused; in fact, Caera thought she detected a note of annoyance.
“Yes. Yes, Sir.”
“This is something you think you want to try?”
She hesitated, her fingers moving to her mouth. Nervous, she nibbled on her nails. Tess’ recollections of her experiences had given Caera a yearning to explore. Her limited imagination when it came to sex—especially BDSM sex—was improving rapidly under Tess’ and Deanna’s tutelage. “I’d like to explore my sexuality, my limits. I want to try new things.”
“What does Saul have to say about it?”
“Just that he’ll support me with whatever I choose. He wants to be with me if…when it happens. I need him to be there,” she added, some of her uncertainty showing.
“He’s yours as much as you are his. As your Dom, he has the right. As his submissive, the right is equally yours. I don’t think I can make you comprehend just how serious I am that you do not have to do this, Caera. To say no is not a flaw in your character.”
“Do you…do you know someone who would…” She couldn’t finish the sentence. Heat erupted over her face.
Mac sighed. “Be the second man in the triangle?”
She swallowed hard. “Yes.”
“I take it Tess hasn’t told you?”
Caera’s gaze flew up, locked on his curiously. “Sir?”
“Stop with the ‘Sir’ for now, Caera. Tess didn’t tell you she’s volunteered me as the second? And that’s knocked every last drop of color from your face,” he remarked with a shake of his head. “I fucking told the pair of them you weren’t ready to take this step. Would either of them listen to me? No.”
“I, ah…I’ve seen you in action,” she said weakly. She remembered that night very clearly. On one hand, it made her incredibly wet to recall just how prominent his erection was, and on the other, it scared the shit out of her to imagine it, well, in her.
Mac reached behind himself, pulled out a couple of pieces of paper, and handed them to her. “You don’t have to read them, but you can if you want. They are basically consent forms, one from Tess and one from Saul. Both signed and dated as of ten a.m. this morning. Giving me Saul’s permission to spend some time with you on an intimate basis.”
Caera felt her stomach drop. “It’s that serious?”
“It is to me. I will not partake in anything when you are so obviously not prepared for what is to come. Losing Tess that way nearly killed me and I won’t see Saul hurt through a cock-up. I won’t have you put in a position you can’t handle.”
“What does Tess’ paper say?”
“She’s my sub, but I wanted her permission anyway. She trusts me, but I wanted something to prevent her from cutting my cock off if she starts to get jealous.”
Jesus, this just got better and better. “If I…if we go ahead with this…arrangement,” she said because she couldn’t think of another word to describe it, “what happens next?”
His eyebrow winged up in surprise. “You’re still considering it?”
“Well then, let’s get the preliminaries out of the way, shall we?” Mac stood and walked to the door, flicking the lock shut with a casual turn of the wrist. “For the next little while, I will be your Dom. Until that door opens, you will do as I say. What is your safe word?”
Her brain froze. She hated these safe words; she could never remember the ones she picked. Saul tested her often, usually spanking her when she forgot. Red had become her default word until she chose one she could recall when she needed it. “Red, Sir.”
“Still?” Mac looked shocked. Then he composed himself quickly and moved back to his desk. “That’s fine. Now, stand up and strip. You have thirty seconds to lose every item of clothing and present yourself.”
Wait, what? Caera blinked at him. “Sir?”
“I won’t tell you twice, little one, and I’m not going to be nice. Double penetration is fun, thrilling, but it doesn’t take much for something to go wrong. I need to know you’re comfortable with me in a position of authority when Saul is not here. Now, you’re down to about twenty seconds and I will give you five spanks if you’re not as I’ve asked.”
Rational thought disappeared. Her body moved of its own accord, discarding her simple gray hoodie and tracksuit bottoms hastily, her bra and panties swiftly following suit. It was only when Mac’s gaze roamed over her, approval in his dark stare, that Caera realized what she’d done.
On a gasp, she threw her arm over her breasts and cupped her hand over her pubic mound. How could she have done that without thinking? The only person she was reasonably comfortable with being naked around was Saul, and even then, she had the odd moment of self-doubt and shame.
“Present, Caera.” Mac’s voice dropped a couple of octaves, became resonant with command. Saul’s dominant voice was similar, humming along that same tone structure, and both had the same effect on her pussy.
She knelt at Mac’s feet, eyes downcast, spine straight, and shoulders back. Her legs were parted as wide as she could hold them, while her hands rested palms-up on her thighs.
“Excellent. Saul has been training you well.” Fingers brushed over her shoulders and made her jolt at the connection. They drifted leisurely down her spine and elicited shudders of sensation. “When Saul and I take you, little one, have you imagined where you want us both?”
“Liar,” he said gently. His hand wrapped around her neck, squeezed lightly. “On your feet, Caera.” He helped her with only that hand, dragging her up and over to his desk. “Face down, hands on the edge of the desk.”
Caera had to stretch out to hook her fingers over the edge of the desk, her skin contracting as the cold wooden surface pressed mercilessly against her nakedness from face to hips. The position, she realized numbly, left her lower half completely open.
“Spread your legs.”
Even though she’d started to shake, nasty little tremors biting at her composure, she was aware she needed to do Saul proud, not mess up, not panic and throw up. Her feet shuffled cautiously apart.
“Aren’t you the clever girl? Are you doing okay?”
“A little apprehensive, Sir,” she managed to say, breath shuddering out.
Mac hummed approvingly. “An honest answer, good girl. Keep that up. I want you to tell me the truth whenever I ask you a question.” He set his big hand in the middle of her back. “You do know it’s okay to feel things, don’t you, Caera? Scared, aroused, happy, whatever you’re experiencing, it’s not wrong.”
A tear slipped down her cheek to pool on the glossy surface beneath her. His tone of voice was soft, kind, and the hand on her back rubbed in soothing circles. There was no fear of harm, she found upon inner self-exploration; she was Saul’s and Saul was like a brother to Mac. Not to mention Mac had a strict moral code when it came to interactions between Dominants and submissives, especially when under his roof.
But she’d been untouched by a man’s hands other than Saul’s and the prospect of allowing another man intimate access to what she regarded as highly personal areas…the depth of her fears came from numerous angles and all scared the shit out of her just as much as being at the mercy of a man whose body could envelope and destroy her without effort.
“Do you think you’re ready for what you’re asking, little one?”
“I want to be.” The words fell from her on a sob. “I want to be different. I want to be brave.”
“You question your courage?” Surprise tainted Mac’s voice as he brought his hands to her shoulders and massaged the painful tension from her muscles. “Sweetheart, you walked into the wolf’s lair and tamed one of the alphas. That’s no small feat, to bring a Dom to his knees.”
Strong fingers worked down her spine, pressing and manipulating until her brain went blank, her mind floating blissfully away from nerves and stress. She went limp, barely able to keep her hold on the desk.
Mac’s hands shifted, smoothed over her hips, her buttocks.
Caera felt her body respond, arch into the light touch. She whimpered when he parted her cheeks and a single fingertip stroked over her rear entrance. Now the nerves came flooding back, tenfold.
“Has he taken you here yet?”
She hunched, tucking her hips under, and got a fast crack of palm over her right buttock. A pained yelp escaped her, more from shock than actual discomfort. Three months of training slipped away and she broke, lashing out backward with her foot.
“Oh, you did not just do that.” Mac growled, his dominance radiating like heat. His body pressed over her, pinning her to the desk. His legs hooked around hers and forced them wide, wider than she thought possible.
If she even shifted her weight to kick him again, Caera knew she would end up on the floor. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Please don’t, please don’t!”
“Not everyone will take the softly-softly approach with you when you fuck up and step out of line, Caera. Most Doms would cane your pretty little derriere for that move you just pulled. Now calm down.”
Oh God, she’d fucked up. That was a monumental understatement. Shame, regret, the knowledge she’d disappointed Saul hit her all at once. Tears welled, spilled. “I’m sorry. Forgive me, Sir.”
“I’ll be having words with them,” he muttered angrily. “They had no right filling your head with how grand and glorious multiple penetration can be. You’re not ready for it, not ready to even contemplate taking that step forward.” His fingers edged between her buttocks again and one broad tip notched into her anus. “Answer me this time, rather than trying to emasculate me. Has Saul prepared your ass for anal sex?”
She sniffled. “I guess.”
“Has he fucked you there yet?”
Heat exploded over her face, spread like wildfire down her throat. She cringed at the obscene image his words brought, even as her pussy clenched hard and moisture slickened her lips. “N-no, Sir.”
“Remembering our manners now, good. Do you want him to fuck your ass, Caera?”
Another vicious clench, a low moan. “When Sir thinks—”
“Not an answer. What do you want?”
Caera sighed. Admitting her needs mortified her. Expressing her wants tied her tongue in nervous knots. “I want him inside me. Wherever he decides. I…I like it when he plays with my ass.” This was the worst part to confess to, but Mac would understand. Wouldn’t he? “It’s a sweet pain. It’s almost addictive.”
“There may be hope for you yet.” He stepped back, no longer pinning her to the desk. His hand slipped down, settled between the vee of her spread thighs.
She hissed out a breath as he traced the seam of her swollen sex, parted the silky flesh to stroke the damp heat. A shocked cry ripped from her throat when two long, thick fingers drove ruthlessly inside her.
Her fingernails scraped over varnished wood, her body fighting the intrusion and yet welcoming the penetration. Hips bucking, twisting, desperate for release. Low, pained mewls permeated the air. Nerve endings sizzled with feeling.
“Christ, you are responsive.” Mac’s hand clamped down on her shoulder, pushed her back down and held her. “If this is what you’re like with just fingers in your pussy, little one, you’ll be on fire with two cocks stretching you, moving in you.”
“God. Oh, God.”
“My cock here.” He thrust again, deeper now, the ridge of his knuckles scraping against her pubic bone. Then he withdrew, leaving her empty, and entered her ass with a single digit. “Saul’s cock here.”
Caera howled. She hadn’t lied when she said the pain was sweet; she’d just forgotten it hurt like a bitch at first penetration. Sounds chuffed free, whimpers and grunts, mewls and keening groans. She wanted to protest how deep he delved inside her, as though he were curious as to how far he could go.
“Please. Please, Sir.”
Another finger surged inside her, stretching her, testing her. “What do you beg for, little one? Another finger, an orgasm? Would you like me to make you come? Perhaps you want me to stop.”
Mac’s words bounced around her addled brain, a stream of letters filling her head without making sense. She gasped when his fingers crossed and wiggled inside her; her hips lifted into the torture willingly.
“Beg me for it, Caera. Whatever you want, whatever you need, beg me for it and I will give it to you.” The Dominant spoke, his voice powerful, compelling, but the words encouraging.
“Please,” she whimpered, feeling heat burn across her body and sweat slide over her flesh. “Please make me come.”
“Again,” he demanded, his free hand slipping beneath her body to seek her clit. Unerringly it seemed, his fingers found her, stroked her even as the digits in her rear thrust deeply. “Tell me what you want.”
Caera’s eyes rolled back in her head at the pressure he applied to that sensitive cluster of nerves. Pinch, twist, caress. “God, please make me come. Make me come, Sir. Please let me, let me—oh!”
She went rigid, a half-step away from tumbling into the abyss. Saul had taught her not to come without permission when they performed a scene, and she knew she was close to crossing that line.
“Please.” It erupted from her, half-plea, half-whine, on a desperate note.
“That’s what I was looking for. Good girl, you can come.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” The words ripped from her throat in panting screams, her body seized in spasms of orgasm. Pleasure pooled, ebbed, flowed, leaving her dazed and strangely empty.
Face down, her exposed rear in the air, her faculties returning faster than she’d like, Caera felt her heart twist viciously in her chest under a sudden barrage of guilt. A sob tore at her chest.
What had she done? Oh, God, what had she let herself do?
Saul, her subconscious hissed at her. You’ve betrayed the man who loves you, thrown away happiness for a chance to explore what you have no business meddling in.
“Let it out, little one,” Mac soothed, his hand stroking the length of her spine. When she shuddered, he made an odd sound in his throat and shifted away. “Don’t move.”
She doubted she could’ve gone anywhere if she’d wanted to. Moving meant facing the wrong she’d just committed, and she didn’t know how to do that.
“Stand up, sweetheart.” Mac’s voice brooked no argument; Caera obeyed without hesitation, pushing herself up onto shaking legs, her hands on the desk top and her head hanging in shame. She waited while he cleaned his hands efficiently with sanitary wipes, the silence amplifying the maelstrom of emotions roiling inside her.
A warm, soft blanket was draped around her, covering her from shoulders to ankles, wrapping up everything in between. She huddled into it, clutching it like a lifeline. But it didn’t bring heat to her skin or comfort against her guilt.
Strong arms scooped her up, tucked her into the security of Mac’s massive chest. The gentleness with which he handled her blew the gates wide open on her emotions. She pressed her face into his neck with a keening sob.
“Shush now, little one. I’ve got you. I’ve got you.” His lips touched her hair as he walked. “We’re just going to sit here until your system levels out. The first time is always a hard one.”
“It’s not my first time.” Caera hiccupped.
“Your first time with another man. Obedience takes courage, little one, and to answer to one man is a trial. Switching that mindset onto pleasing another Dom? Incredibly brave. You’ve done nothing wrong, but you need to let out whatever negativity you’ve decided is appropriate before it festers.” Mac settled himself into his desk chair, holding her like a child as she wept. “Festering emotions cause problems; best to get them out in good company.”
“I don’t know what I feel. I can’t explain it.”
Mac’s arms tightened around her, offering comfort she’d only ever received from Saul. She understood now some of what attracted Tess to the big, strapping, occasionally terrifying giant; he was capable of unimaginable tenderness. That he could offer it to her, the submissive of another Dominant, baffled her.
“This is your time, Caera. Your aftercare. We can sit here as long as you need to. There’s no rush, no pressure.”
Caera sniffled. “You have a business to run.”
His chuckle reverberated through his chest and into her head, the vibrations strong and wickedly thrilling. “That comes second in priority when a submissive needs tending. And you, little one, are in desperate need of tending after that scene.”
Heat flared over her face. “I guess it would be rude to argue.”
Mac grinned down at her and then urged her head onto his shoulder. “Indeed, it would. It would more than likely earn you a quick spanking as well. For now, you just need to close your eyes and let me hold you. If you want to talk, just talk. I’ll listen. If not, we stay here until you feel like everything is back on a level.”
They stayed together for several minutes, his arms tight around her, her head tucked securely under his chin. After a while, she sighed. “Do you ever feel guilty when you’re doing this with someone who’s not Tess?”
“Good question. No, I don’t.”
Caera leaned away from him, studied his face. “Honestly?”
“Honestly. If I did it for self-gratification, if what I did here put pressure on the bond Tess and I have built? Absolutely. I wouldn’t know how to live with myself. But what happens here is different, Caera. Neither one of us is in love with each other but there is friendship here waiting to grow. I don’t usually help people with this sort of thing, that’s more along the lines of what Saul’s about, but helping you find your feet…I don’t feel guilty for that, sweetheart, and Tess doesn’t get jealous over it.”
That offered some relief, she supposed. She didn’t want to be the cause of turmoil between Mac and his fiancée, who happened to be one of her closest friends. Then it dawned on her what Mac had said about Saul. “Saul does this? Saul shares intimacy this way?”
“He did. He was exceptional at his work, Caera. Caring for others is his nature, it’s an innate part of who he is.” Mac stroked a comforting hand down her back. “It’s the heart of the man who adores you above all else.”
Mac pressed his lips to her hair. “He’s decided to cut back on that side of his work for the moment, until he knows how you feel about it.”
Her heart stuttered uncomfortably. “But that’s the whole reason he came to work for you.”
“It was,” he agreed easily. “It’s not a problem, Caera. I’ve got other plans for him, just in a different capacity. One that won’t compromise his fidelity.”
“He can’t change who he is for me.”
“Love changes us all, sweetheart, in little ways or big ones. It’s inevitable. Haven’t you changed in order to love Saul? Hasn’t your perception of love and sex altered to become part of his world? Change doesn’t need to be bad or frightening; it simply is what it is.”
If she thought about it, she couldn’t deny what Mac said. Whichever way she turned it all around in her mind, it swung back to his wisdom with a giant neon arrow. “What if we both change too much?”
Somehow, Mac’s chuckle reassured her. “Baby, baby, baby. It’s all about balance. Nobody stays immobile, nobody remains the same from day to day. We fluctuate, and when we love someone, we learn to shift and flow with our lovers. Don’t stress over it. Trust me.”
She was too tired to stress over anything, she mused, but it was something to mull over when her brain was functioning properly. So she sighed and shifted, tried to sit up.
“Are we all leveled out?”
“Excellent. Go unlock the door and then come back,” he ordered.
She heard him pick up the phone from his desk as she obeyed his command. Within thirty seconds, the door was unlocked and she’d resumed her position back on Mac’s lap.
“Paul? Saul down with you? Good, tell him his sub is ready and waiting in my office.” Mac frowned and wrapped the blanket more firmly around her when she shivered. “He’ll know how she is when he comes to collect her, won’t he? Tell him to stop asking daft questions and come take his girl for a shower and a nap.”
Oooh, a nap. Caera could get behind that idea. She let her head drop onto Mac’s broad shoulder as he set the phone down. She snuffled softly, let her eyes close.
“…she okay? How did she take it?”
“A few hitches,” Mac rumbled. “You have some serious work to do if you’re intent on seeing this through, Saul. The lass is nowhere near ready, mentally or physically, for what you have in mind for her. For fuck’s sake, you haven’t taken her anally yet? Are you waiting until she has to take both of us?”
“No, of course not.” Saul’s sigh was heavy. “I don’t know, Mac. She’s been so open to everything, even anal play, but the idea of taking her ass…as arousing as it is, as desperate as I am to claim her there, is it worth the pain? We’re not small men, in any shape or form.”
“We’re not,” Mac agreed. He shifted tentatively beneath Caera’s body, keeping her head on his shoulder. “We also have sneaky ears listening in to the conversation.”
Caera stomped a mental foot in frustration. She hadn’t moved a muscle, hadn’t done anything to suggest she wasn’t dozing.
“It’s her ass we’re debating,” Saul said with a chuckle.
“Very true. Caera, sweetheart, do you have any input into the discussion on Saul claiming your ass?”
“I’m yours, Sir.” Cara said to Saul in a quiet, calm voice. “To do what you want with, when you want to. I just love being with you.”