“You are the man who can get me to do that?”
Ben leveled that panty-dampening smile at her. “Oh yeah.” His hands fell from her face. “We’ll finish this conversation after we eat.”
The rest of the meal was quiet, except for the dogs barking. After he cleared the plates, he led her to the oversized corduroy couches. Ben plopped down beside her, and picked up her hand. “Tell me about your job.”
“That’s guaranteed to put you to sleep.”
“I switched banking corporations during our separation since my ex and I had worked for the same company. Basically I started over.”
“So you go around opening new banks?”
“No. This was sort of a fluke. I turned around a branch office in Denver. When this job unexpectedly opened up, they offered it to me. I’m probably in over my head. And since this is a small bank in a small community, they expect me to have a community presence.”
He groaned. “A man could go broke supporting all the community causes.”
“Two words a banker doesn’t like to hear together: go broke.”
Ben turned his head, brushing his lips in front of her ear. “Does the stern bank president ever wear her hair up?”
Okay. That was an abrupt subject change. “Sometimes.”
“Would you jerk away if I put my mouth on that sexy sweep of skin between your hairline and your shoulder?” Ben blew a stream of air across her ear. “Would I have to pull your hair to take what I wanted?”
More shivers spread across her body. “I thought you said we’d just talk tonight?”
“We are talkin’.”
“So why does this feel like a seduction?”
“Because I am trying to get you to feel instead of think.”
Ainsley fought the urge to push him away as his mouth wandered over her skin. She’d never let a man know her weak spots, let alone hone in on them.
“I sense the fight in you, angel. Let. It. Go.”
Hot kisses seared her neck and she whimpered.
“Drop your head back on the couch.”
Ben’s voice had become Bennett’s. Demanding in that deceptively soft way that only increased its power.
She inhaled a deep breath and…obeyed.
Bennett nestled his mouth into the curve of her neck. Kissing her with tiny pecks. Flicking his tongue over the pulsing vein. Whipping her into such a frenzy that she didn’t notice his fingers inching up her thigh until his fingertips breached midpoint beneath her skirt.
When she tensed, he warned, “Don’t. Spread your legs.”
As soon as she complied, Bennett stroked her slit, while his mouth kept up the relentless assault on her neck.
Ainsley shifted her hips, wanting more contact.
“Be still,” he warned sharply, nipping her skin in admonishment.
Hard to be still when her whole body vibrated. When she already dangled so close to the edge. Which was ridiculous because he’d been touching her for like two minutes, tops. Over her panties.
Her breathing became choppier yet when Bennett’s free hand cupped her breast. The sensations of his mouth and finger stroking her, almost in tandem, were too good, too much, too intense, too intimate. She needed to wiggle free and find her wits.
“I can’t. I’m too—”
Bennett sucked on that magic spot the same time he pinched her nipple hard. His thumb pressed against her clit and she detonated. Every pulse point in her body throbbed in time to the blood pulsing in her clit.
Ainsley lost herself then. Her mind became blessedly blank. When she raised her head, he withdrew his hand from under her skirt. He straightened her bra and blouse.
“You respond so well to me,” he murmured.
“Yes, you’re definitely a master at what you do.”
A harsh look darkened Bennett’s face. “I don’t have a playbook. I’m not thinking, if I stroke her pussy fourteen more times she’ll cream on my hand.”
Ainsley knew he’d intentionally used crude language to drive home his point. “I’m sorry. That’s not what I meant. I meant you should have that designated Master title because…well, you are a master at this stuff. It’s a compliment.”
When she looked at him, Bennett was gone. Seemed strange to think of him as two separate personalities, but he really did have a switch that turned Ben, the easygoing rancher, into Bennett, the intense Dom.
“I ain’t gonna lie. I want more of that with you. I’ve been kicking this idea around all day.”
“I want you as my submissive.”
He wasn’t joking. She narrowed her eyes. “I’ll never be a lifestyle submissive like Layla.”
“And I’d never demand that of you.”
“What would you demand?”
“Time alone with you. Conditioning you to learn to let go. Showing you how satisfying it is to entrust me to give you what you need. Proving this is what you’ve always wanted and who you are.”
“I don’t know enough about this lifestyle to commit to anything long-term, Ben.”
He gave her a considering look. “How about if you commit to it—to me—for one month?”
That was a workable timeframe.
“A month of you turning all control and decisions over to me.”
Her heart rate spiked. “I need to clarify that you mean all control and decisions…aside from my job.”
“I have no intent of controlling your career, Ainsley. That’s yours. Everything else would be mine. If you agree to this, we’ll skip the club scene for the month. Especially since I know you’ve no interest in adding exhibitionism or other players into the mix. No need to drive to Gillette when we both live in the same town, is there?”
“I suppose not.” Ainsley twisted her fingers together. “Can you give me a for instance on your ‘all control and decisions’ comment?”
Ben shook his head. “I set all the parameters when we’re alone together. I’m not looking to turn you into a slave to perform household chores, if that’s what’s put the wrinkle in your brow. I’m only interested in your submissiveness on a sexual level.”
“So I’d get no say in anything?”
“Sexually? No. If you can’t agree to that, well, there’s nothin’ else to discuss. Because that’s the basis of a Dom/sub agreement.”
No surprise he’d taken a firm stance. But was he offering her what she needed? Or taking what he wanted?
“I don’t expect you to make a decision on the spot tonight. I’ll give you a day to think it over.”
“A day is all?”
Ben smirked. “I can see if you agree to this you’re gonna try and argue with me. And the key word in that sentence is try.”
“You do that big, bad wolf bit very well.”
“I’ve had a lot of practice, but I guarantee I ain’t all bark and no bite. I’m lots of bite.”
She wondered if it was too late for a drink.
He held out his hands to help her up from the couch. “I know you’ve had a long day and I figure you’ll replay this discussion in that pretty head of yours long after you leave here.”
“You sending me home?”
“Mmm-hmm.” He pushed her hair back from her face. Then the ragged pad of his thumb traced her bottom lip. “I like seeing your mouth swollen from mine.”
Talk about a punch of lust. At that moment Ainsley wanted to drag him to the floor and ride him until she was sweaty, sore and gasping for air.
Ben growled, “Goddamn I love that fuck me now look in your eyes.”
“But you aren’t going to act on it?”
“Nope. You need to make the decision about what’ll happen between us, from your head, not your cunt. Because if I take you to my bed, I know which answer will win.”
She laughed. “I’d say you were overly confident, but I know you’ve got the juice to back up that claim.”
He held her arm to steady her as she slipped her heels on. He helped her put her coat on. He gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek after he walked her out to her car.
Ainsley buckled her seatbelt. When she turned, Ben was peering in her window. She rolled it down. “Did you change your mind about trying to sway my decision?”
“Huh-uh. I just wanted to say I had a great time with you tonight.”
“I’ll hear from you tomorrow? Either way?”
“Drive safe, angel.” He tapped the side of the car twice and stepped away.
On the way home she considered all that’d been said. A couple of phrases kept tripping her up.
I’m not a master. I’m just a simple rancher.
Right. Bennett McKay was the most complex man she’d ever met.
What were the odds the first time Ben had lunch in town in months, he’d run into Ainsley?
Pretty high, given a town the size of Sundance.
Since she was having lunch with the mayor, he didn’t approach her. He took the first empty booth in Dewey’s Delish Dish and positioned himself to observe her. She laughed more than he’d expected. Whatever she’d said cracked the mayor up several times.
He tore his gaze from her as Dalton and Tell slid into the opposite bench seat. “If it ain’t Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum.”
“Fuck off. Didja order for us? We’re starved.”
“I should’ve since you guys are always dragging ass.”
“Not our fault this time,” Dalton said. “Brandt showed up late this mornin’.”
“Again,” Tell inserted. “It puts us behind every damn day. Them two are gonna have to do something different than splitting their time between Jessie’s place and Brandt’s place. Every time they stay at Jessie’s, he’s late.”