Moving On [Bondage Ranch 3]
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by Sindra van Yssel
Category: Erotica/BDSM Erotica/Romance
Description: Genre: BDSM Contemporary
Series: Bondage Ranch; Previous Book: Pushing Limits
The afternoon after her divorce, Selena runs into James Culver and has the sex of her life. When she wakes up, he's gone, leaving her with an unquenched taste for being tied up. A year later she finds herself at Bondage Ranch, wanting once and for all to come to terms with her kinky desires. She doesn't expect to find James there, tempting her with his hot kisses and bedroom dominance.
James is surprised to find the woman who has haunted his dreams ever since he left her for an emergency, at Bondage Ranch. He came to Bondage Ranch to find a murderer, not kinky sex, and certainly not to fall in love. But his hunt for the murderer is getting nowhere and he's getting everywhere with Selena -- until one of the guests at the ranch turns up missing.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and elements, violence.
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: March 2011
14 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [191 KB]
Reading time: 124-173 min.
A year earlier...
Felicia Selena Kinnison, called Selena by everyone but her mother, walked down the concrete steps from the county courthouse clutching her purse in one hand and a piece of paper in her other hand. They'd awarded five thousand dollars a year in child support. It didn't matter. She wasn't ever going to see that money anyway. Al would find reasons not to pay, and it'd cost more in lawyers than it was worth to get it out of him. All she really had to show for ten years of marriage, besides the official divorce decree that she clutched in her hands, was her nine-year-old son, Thom. She smiled. That was plenty. They'd make it somehow, him and her. She knew it wasn't going to be easy. It was going to be a hell of a lot better without Al than it would have been with him, though.
She'd been willing to write off getting hit once, when he'd promised it would never happen again. The second time, she had tried to convince herself he hadn't really meant to hit her. It didn't really work, but she hung in one day at a time, never quite picking up the phone to call a lawyer. Then she caught him threatening Thom.
Screw that, and screw him. She knew now that if she had stayed, it would have gotten worse. His performance in court and his attitude throughout the divorce proved to her that he had an anger in him she would never satisfy. She knew she had her flaws. She wasn't as thin as she was when they got married, certainly, and he didn't like that. Maybe she wasn't what his mother had taught him to expect in the way of a housekeeper either. Considering she worked part-time and he did absolutely nothing around the house, she didn't think she was too bad. It sure seemed to take up plenty of her time. She liked things carefully in order, planned, and he didn't like that either. He had an image of what life was supposed to be, and for whatever reason, she wasn't it. Above all, she wasn't sexy enough. She wasn't sure how bruises were supposed to help that. It was true she didn't feel very sexy. She felt worn out, tired. Maybe she wasn't a very sexy, or sexual, woman. If he didn't like what she was, he shouldn't have married her in the first place. Other than a few pounds on her tall frame, she hadn't changed that much. Not all of those extra pounds were fat, either. Some of it was muscle. Maybe he liked that even less. But a park ranger needed to be fit.
In any case, he'd become a completely different person.
There was a hotel across the street, she noticed, taking stock of her surroundings. It was a newer place, a seven-story facility right in the middle of town, not like those sprawling old hotels she used to pass by almost daily along the strip. Modern hotels had bars, didn't they? And bars had drinks. She wasn't going to overdo. But Thom was at her mother's until morning, and she didn't often get the chance to drink at all. If ever she needed one, it was now. She walked to the curb, waited for the flashing sign to change to WALK, looked both ways, and crossed the street.
The hotel did indeed have a bar, and a bit of a lounge too. There were two men in suits at the bar. Probably lawyers. "Gin and tonic," she told the bartender, a younger woman with a pierced nose. It was what she always had when she had a cocktail. The woman turned to make it, when Selena interrupted. "No, wait," she said. "I'll have something else."
The woman turned and looked at Selena, raising her eyebrows and looking bored. "What, then?"
"I'll have a...a...sex on the beach," she said. She had no idea what was in a sex on the beach, actually, but she'd heard the name before. Take that, Al. Not spontaneous, not sexy? I said that without a blush. Of course, it made her a bit aware of her ignorance of cocktails, since she really didn't know what to order or why. So? Not being big into drinking is not a bad thing. Maybe if Al had drunk a little less--no. If Al had drunk less, it would have taken me longer to realize he was a jerk.
The bartender worked her magic, grabbing bottle after bottle with smooth, practiced ease. If her customer skills weren't the greatest, no one could fault her dexterity. In a few moments she had slid a highball full of ice and orangeish liquid toward Selena.
"With an alligator?" the bartender asked.
"Would you like a slice of lime with that?"
"Uh, sure," Selena said, cracking a bit of a smile at the image of the lime as an alligator. "And I'll take it back to one of those tables, if that's all right."
The bartender looked amused. "Sure. Five dollars."
Selena paid and took her drink to the remotest table for two, since there weren't any tables for one. She didn't feel like making small talk with the bartender or with the lawyers. Just her and her little scrap of paper, the one that marked her as a free woman and severed forever any claim Al might have on Thom.
She sipped at her drink. For a cocktail, it didn't taste too bad, actually. It didn't seem to do much for her mood one way or the other. She'd hoped to be transported from the doldrums to singing. Maybe "Hit the Road, Jack" or "These Boots are Made for Walking." She managed to get a little Nancy Sinatra going in her head, but that was as far as it went.
"Seat taken?" a low male voice asked. She looked up.
If he had been anything but drop-dead gorgeous, she would have told him she wasn't in the mood for company. He had broad shoulders, deep brown eyes, and a square jaw. If his blond hair was long, he would have been perfect, but it was close cropped, not quite a buzz cut. He wore tight blue jeans and a white ribbed T-shirt underneath an open black leather jacket. She traced his lines with her eyes for a moment. "Not at all. Feel free."
He took the other chair, slid it around so they were at right angles to each other rather than sitting across, and sat down. "I hate to see a beautiful woman looking so down, drinking alone."
"Well, ain't no beautiful women here." She sipped at her drink.
He smiled. Perfect teeth too. Some people have all the luck. "I beg to differ. You have the most gorgeous lush red hair, and--may I be frank?"
"As long as you're not Al, you're good," she retorted. Al had never much appreciated her sense of humor either.
The stranger chuckled. "You have a lovely curvaceous body."
"Is that the polite word for fat these days?" Selena asked.
He shrugged. "Some people don't like the waifish supermodel look. And I'm one of them. I'm James. What's your name?"
"Pleased to meet you, Selena."
"Likewise." They shook on it.
"I hate to say this, but you don't look like the type to get a drink this early in the evening."
"Just got a divorce," Selena said. It wasn't exactly bragging, but it was good to tell someone. "You don't look like the early-drinking type either."
"I wasn't here for a drink. I walked by, saw a beautiful woman sitting alone, and thought I'd try to seduce her."
Well, that's certainly straightforward. Selena would have said something about how if there's a beautiful woman about, he certainly shouldn't spend time with her, but there weren't any other women in sight except for the bartender. She definitely had the waifish look, although the short-cropped hair and pierced nose didn't exactly scream supermodel. So he means me. "So go for it," she said.
"I could tell you that your hair looks the most dazzling copper when the light hits it, and it'd be true. But the fact is, I'd really like to see you smile. I don't know that I'm all that good at the sweet talk."
"You're doing fine," she told him, smiling a bit. No one had told her she looked nice for a long time. Actually, that's not quite true. I kept telling them I was married.
"Not quite the kind of smile I was looking for, but it certainly goes better on your face than a frown."
"What sort of smile were you looking for?"
"The kind where your mouth goes open and you make a low moaning sound without meaning to speak. The kind where your breath gets all ragged and your fingers want to claw at something."
"That's a smile?" She really did smile this time, showing him teeth. "I haven't smiled like that in a long time."
"I can fix that," he said. Calm. Confident.
"You can, can you?" She had never really done the bar scene. She felt a little awkward, but it seemed to be going fine, and his confidence was contagious.
"But you'd have to follow directions." His eyes were looking into hers, his gaze hot, examining.
"Directions?" she asked. I'm no good at this.
"Give up control," he explained. "Feel the moment. Let me do what I want to do with your body, and I promise you, you'll feel wonderful."
She hesitated a moment. She loved the idea of a man in charge. But he was a stranger. It's not safe. She started to get up.
"You'll need a safe word." He spoke like she hadn't moved, although his eyes followed her every motion. "And if you use it, I'll stop immediately. You'll always be free to go, of course."
She knew what a safe word was. She'd come across the phrase in a novel about sexy vampires. She sat back down. "It has to be safe."
He nodded. "I'm a stranger. And what we want to do is best done in private, although I know a few people who would disagree with that. Being alone with a stranger is not a perfectly safe thing to do, and I'd be insane to tell you it is. All I can tell you is this--it's not a good idea to go into a hotel room to be alone with a man you've never met, and you are perfectly safe with me. I know that, and there's really no way I can prove it to you. You believe it, or you don't."
She stared at him for a long time. This isn't the sort of thing I do. Which, she knew, was exactly why she wanted to do it.
He opened his wallet. There was a flash of something silver, and then it was gone. He placed a driver's license on the table. James Robert Culver, she read. She glanced at the birth date. Thirty-eight. A bit older than she was. She smiled. Always did have a thing for more experienced men. Although there are probably twenty-year-olds with more experience than me.
"Call a friend," he said. "Tell them where you are, who you're with, when you expect to call back, and to call the police if she doesn't hear from you."
"It's not that I don't trust you..." she said, her voice trailing off, since she didn't have a good way to tell him what it was. It's that I know I shouldn't trust you.
"Of course not. What's the phrase? Trust but verify. Do the smart thing. Not only with me but with anyone. I won't tell you it makes you completely safe. It just makes you safer."
She nodded. The fact that he didn't try to push her, didn't try to tell her she was a chicken, was earning him major points. She racked her brain. Who could she call for something like this? Hey, I'm shagging a stranger. Not her mom, certainly. Laera. She didn't see Laera very often these days--Laera lived in Northern Virginia, and it was a bit of a drive--but Laera was her most open-minded friend. It wasn't always that way. She remembered Laera from high school as something of a shy wallflower. But Laera had changed.
She got up. "Excuse me," she said.
She walked out of the lounge to the lobby and took her cell phone out of her purse, dialing Laera's number. Be home. Laera picked up on the fourth ring.
"Hey! The divorce final yet?"
"Just put the paper in my purse. Thought I'd do a little celebrating."
"Good for you! I'd meet you halfway, but I'm on a date."
On a date, but at home. Got it. Selena hoped she hadn't interrupted sex, but she doubted Laera would have picked up the phone.
"I'll keep this short, then," said Selena. "I'm about to be on a date too, with a guy I just met. A total hunk. Can you be around to get the phone in three hours or so? Because if I don't call in three hours, I want you to call the police."
"Sounds like you picked a winner," said Laera drily.
"I don't know him. Actually, calling you was his idea."
"Oh!" said Laera, the judgmental tone going out of her voice. "Where are you?"
Selena gave her the name of the hotel, and the man's name.
"All right, hon. You be safe. And remember to call, because I will follow your directions."
Well, at least Laera didn't call her crazy. And the tone in her voice at the end hadn't left any doubt she'd follow up. She imagined Laera turning to the person she was with--Bruce, that was the name of her steady boyfriend--and telling him he had three hours, and he'd better make the most of it. She smiled.
"You have protection?" she asked when she got back to the table with James. If she was going to play adult games, she decided she'd best act like an adult. "Because I'm not the kind of girl who carries it on her just in case."
"I don't either, actually," he said. "Believe it or not. But while you were out calling a friend, I found a machine in the bathroom and used up my supply of quarters."
Selena laughed. "Thoughtful," she said, not sitting back down yet. "Point two. Married? Engaged?"
"Not currently attached in any way, shape, or form," he said. "If I was married, I'd sure as heck be wearing a ring."
"Oh, that fades," Selena said, unable to keep the bitterness out of her voice.
"You wore one, right up to the end," he said.
"You know me? Because I sure as heck don't know you."
He shook his head. "No," he said, nodding toward her left hand. "But you still have the indentation on your ring finger. That fades, after a while."
She looked. Sure enough. She met his eyes again. "Are you a detective or something? Or do you spend a lot of time picking up women in bars?" Tactful.
"Believe it or not, picking up women in bars isn't usually my style."
"What is?" she asked, figuring she'd sit down after he answered the question.
"I'll show you. Come." He stood up and walked past her toward the lobby. She blinked and stared after him. You'd have to follow directions, he had said. He certainly doesn't lack for confidence. And why should he, looking like that? She followed him. She had worn a nice royal blue suit with a skirt to the courthouse, but she hadn't worn heels, so she could hurry a little bit and keep her dignity. He had long strides.
She arrived at the desk in time to know he gave the same name renting the hotel room as the name he'd given her. It wasn't that she doubted it was real, but she wanted to know that if Laera called the police, they'd be able to find the room. Or rather, she wanted to know James would understand that if her unnamed friend called the cops, they'd be able to find the room and him.
She thought of insisting on sharing the cost of the room. Wasn't that what a liberated woman would do? But she wasn't exactly made out of money. Until she found a full-time job, she wasn't sure how she and Thom would be making ends meet, even as it was. James seemed to assume he was paying anyway.
Actually, she thought as they turned to get to the elevator, it felt kind of nice.