Way to act like a confident Dom.
Finally, Ainsley knocked on the door.
Gone was the bank executive. She’d dressed in a long-sleeved T-shirt the color of summer grass, jeans and puffy, down-filled vest. She wasn’t carrying an overnight bag.
“Hey. Come in. Did you eat?”
Ainsley shook her head. “Nervous stomach. I wasn’t sure…”
“If I’d make you strip the instant you walked in and we’d go at it in the foyer?”
“To be honest, yes.”
Ben took her hands in his. “Ainsley. I wanna get to know you. All sides of you. Not just how you respond to me when you’re nekkid and trussed up.”
“That’s a relief.”
“For me too.”
She laughed softly, naturally. “I doubt you’ve ever suffered from that in your life.”
“There’s always that first time. Now, I’ve gotta make an embarrassing confession.” Ben hung his head. “I’m addicted to Wheel of Fortune. Most nights I eat supper in front of the TV so I can get my fix.”
“Well, that changes things between us dramatically. Because I’m more of a Jeopardy fan myself.”
“That’s because you have way more brain power than me, smart girl.”
“Because you’re just a simple rancher, right?” she teased.
“Yep. So how about if I fix us a bowl of popcorn and you can snicker at me as I try to guess the puzzles?”
“Sounds good. You need help?”
“Why? Do you think I’ll burn it?”
“No. I just want to make sure you pour extra butter on mine.” She stood on tiptoe and kissed him. “If your goal is to keep me off balance, it’s working.”
They settled in front of the TV. Ben thought you could learn a lot about a person by how they ate popcorn. The quiet munchers? Reserved in life. Loud crunchers? Enjoyed everything with gusto. Eating a single kernel at a time? Very methodical. Piling on extra butter, extra salt and extra seasoning? A hedonistic bent. So it’d pleased him to watch Ainsley pour butter and sprinkle all sorts of seasonings on her popcorn.
She bumped him with her shoulder. “Have you figured out this phrase yet?”
“On a chicken wing and a prayer.”
He groaned. “I hate the pun ones.”
“Aren’t they all puns?”
“No. Heh. Look. He went bankrupt anyway. That sucks.”
During the next commercial, he casually asked, “Are we usin’ condoms?”
She stiffened. “I guess. Why?”
“I just hoped you were on the pill. But no biggie.”
“I’m on the pill but I don’t know if I’m comfortable having sex without a condom, with a man who frequents a sex club. No offense.”
“None taken. I’ll just mention I got a clean bill of health three months ago and I could show you the paperwork. Twice yearly testing is mandatory for club members. I’ve always worn a condom. No exceptions.”
“Even when you…play like this, outside the club?”
Ben faced her, but she was busy rooting around in her bowl. “Look at me.”
She peeked at him from beneath her lashes.
“In the years I’ve belonged to the Rawhide I’ve seen a woman outside the club only a few times. But I’ve never done this—asked a woman to be my submissive for a month outside the club.”
“What about inside the club?”
She hadn’t been expecting that answer. “Do you have normal relationships? I mean, date normal women who don’t know about you being involved in the club?”
“I’ll ignore your use of the word normal because of your lack of experience. I used to date. Then my buddy Cody took me to a club in Denver and it changed my life. I no longer felt like a deviant for what I wanted from my partners. I no longer had to pretend my needs were conventional.”
“Every once in a while I’ll meet a woman outside the club and ask her out. But if I can’t be myself, why waste my time?”
“What’s the longest you’ve dated a woman?”
“Is that why you insisted on a month with me?”
Astute woman. It’d just seemed like an arbitrary amount of time. “No. As a newbie sub, you oughta know in thirty days whether you’re cut out to be submissive, even just behind bedroom doors.” He gave her a buttery, salty, smacking kiss. “Quit distracting me from Vanna, woman.”
Ben solved the next puzzle. They bantered back and forth. But when the game show ended, he sensed Ainsley’s anxiety. He set aside her empty popcorn bowl. “Sit on my lap facing me.”
“Aren’t you afraid I’ll make your crotch go numb? I’m not exactly a petite woman, Ben.”
“Don’t make me repeat myself.”
Ainsley threw her leg over his and straddled his thighs. “I guess Bennett the beastly Dom is back.”
He curled his hand around her neck and took her mouth in a heated kiss. No easing into it, just sucking in her surprise like a drug. Holding her in place while he controlled the kiss. Keeping it red-hot until she could scarcely sit still. He backed off the intensity, sliding his mouth to her ear. “Go into my bedroom and get undressed. Then lay facedown on the bed.”
She immediately tensed up.
Ben waited for her to ask why, or what he had in mind.
“I…” He heard her swallow. “Which room is your bedroom?”
“The room with the four-poster log bed.”
Keeping her eyes averted, she climbed off him and disappeared down the hallway.
He flipped through channels for five minutes before he followed her. He paused in the doorway, his eyes drinking her in. Ainsley’s body was an abundance of curves, just exactly the body type he liked best.
After shucking his jeans and shirt, he grabbed a necktie, a condom and a bottle of lube from his dresser. From beside the bed, he ordered, “Spread your arms out.” Then he straddled her, his knees bracketing her thighs. His cock stirred when his balls brushed the soft curves of her ass. Ben placed a kiss on the back of her head, inhaling the subtle scent of her shampoo. “Do you have any idea how fucking sexy you look?”
He dug his thumbs into the base of her neck and gradually moved across the tops of her shoulders, using a combination of soft and harder pressure. Letting himself enjoy her supple flesh beneath his hands. Goose bumps rippled across her back every time the rougher skin on his hands glided across her. He kneaded her biceps and triceps. He nestled a kiss in the bend of each elbow before massaging her forearms and hands. When he reversed course and dragged his palms over her arms, Ainsley didn’t utter a peep.
“You’re awful quiet,” he remarked as his thumbs followed the line of her spine.
“I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to speak.”
Ben stilled. “Why would you think that?”
“Because those are the Dom’s rules in books I’ve read.”
“The ones that deal with…BDSM.”
To some extent, he hated the way the term BDSM was thrown around as much as he disliked the casual use of the word Master.
“Have you read any of those books?” she asked.
“Fiction? Or nonfiction?”
“Nonfiction. When we first went to the Denver club. One of the owners saw that we were clueless bastards and took pity on us. He gave us a stack of material to read so we knew the differences between what we wanted as dominants and what was expected in certain Dom/sub relationships. And I’ll admit, even from the start, I’ve been on the side of the fence where dominance is used as a sexual tool to heighten sexual experiences. I’m not into debasing a sub by using a cage or a pallet to sleep on or a shock collar. Or extreme pain games. Never been tempted by bloodsport or knife play or piss play or even breath play. If I knew subs who were into that stuff, I’d avoid them. But I’ll admit it’s practically nonexistent at the Rawhide anyway.” He rubbed a spot at the base of her neck. “So the subs don’t speak because they’re gagged or something in these books?“
“No. A sub isn’t supposed to speak unless asked a direct question by her dominant. And in scenes, the sub isn’t supposed to cry out in pain or in pleasure unless the Dom permits her to.”
Ben tamped down his temper. “Have I ever said you can’t talk?”
“Think I’ll ever forbid you from speakin’ your mind?”
“I might take issue if you argue with me about something I tell you to do, but I don’t expect monk-like silence from you.”
“And this isn’t a scene,” he said testily.
She lifted up and looked over her shoulder at him. “It’s not?”
“No. Christ. I’m giving you a massage.”
“Why am I giving you a massage? Because I wanted to put my hands all over you. And you acted nervous. I thought it’d calm you down.”
Ainsley continued to stare at him.
“You confuse me, Bennett. This confuses me. The variances in the different types of Dom/sub relationships…”
“Hey, there are no rules for us besides the ones I set—with your input. I suspect this will be a learn as we go thing for both of us.” He lightly slapped her ass. “Face back on the mattress, so I can finish.”
From that point on, Ainsley was vocal.
“So tell me more about these BDSM books you read. What things you read in them that turned you off.”
“You’re more interested in what I didn’t like than what I did?”