Read Giving It Up: Pushing the Boundaries, Book 1 Online
Authors: Audra North
Tags: #Domme;Dominatrix;BDSM;contemporary romance;men in uniform;SWAT;comedy
She dominates his body and his mind…but can he give up control without handing over his heart?
Pushing the Boundaries
, Book 1
If Beatrice Lawrence didn’t know better, she’d swear the universe is out to make sure she is totally, completely screwed. It’s not enough her family’s restrictive rules drove her away from home at a young age. She had to go and fall for a guy whose mere presence heats her body like Death Valley.
Except he seems to harbor a special brand of dislike, just for her. He even seems intent on ruining one of her biggest wedding photography gigs by dodging every key shot to make a phone call.
It’s not that SWAT officer Warren Davis isn’t attracted to Beatrice. He is.
, he is. But between supporting his parents and helping raise his single-mom sister’s kid, there’s no time to build a relationship.
Besides, Beatrice is too innocent for some of his darker…appetites. Until she catches him on the phone with a professional Domme. He must be crazy to let her talk him into hiring her instead. Even crazier to risk letting their professional relationship get personal…
Warning: Contains an out-of-her-element, wannabe Domme who has no idea the power she wields, and a SWAT officer who can’t wait to show her just how deeply he needs her command. Buckle up and keep your safeword handy.
Giving it Up
Where was he going?
Beatrice watched as Davis shoved his hand into his pants pocket and made a beeline for the side doors.
She should have known he would do something like this. Because it wasn’t enough to be a surly killjoy at all times. It wasn’t enough that, ever since the first time she’d met him last year at Nina and Ben’s place, he seemed to have some kind of special dislike specifically for her that often translated into nothing but awkward silences and tense shoulders whenever they had to spend time in one another’s company. And it certainly wasn’t enough for her to want him so desperately that her body heated like Death Valley every time he came within her sight.
No, all of those things put together weren’t enough. The universe wanted to make sure she was totally, completely screwed…which was the most likely reason why he was heading out of the ballroom mere minutes before the bride and groom were supposed to walk in.
Twice already she’d told the wedding party to stay put so she could get shots of the group welcoming the newlyweds. Davis was already making the photos difficult with that perpetual scowl of his, but at least Nina and Ben would know
wasn’t Beatrice’s fault.
On the other hand, if he ended up completely missing from key shots…well, the bride and groom weren’t paying her to take pictures of empty space. Which meant that now she had to rush out into a corridor that led to only God knew where, find the scowling, errant groomsman and bring him back in time to line up the shot again before Nina and Ben arrived.
She rose from her half squat on the parquet floor where she had been taking candid shots of the bridal party as they chatted excitedly. The heavy fire door was closing behind him, the dim lighting barely visible in the hallway beyond, making it seem as though he were entering another dimension as those black-suited broad shoulders disappeared through the opening.
She clutched her camera against the black satin of her formal gown and hurried across the parquet, pushing through the door and stepping cautiously forward. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the lower lighting. The wide corridor wasn’t carpeted, and there were drop cloth-covered objects lining the opposite wall all the way to yet another set of double doors that looked like they led outside. But there was no sign of Davis.
Those long legs of his moved too fast. He must have gone through the other doors already. And there wasn’t enough time left to continue her pursuit.
Her shoulders slumped. Universe: 1, Beatrice: 0.
As she turned to go back to the reception, though, she heard it. His deep, gravelly voice, floating over a stack of chairs.
God, that voice.
She closed her eyes for a second, pretending it was
he was speaking to in this quiet, intimate space.
Yeah, right. He can’t stand you.
She opened her eyes on a quiet sigh and was about to head over there to drag him bodily into the ballroom, but what he said next froze her in her tracks.
“That’s the cost for four hours? If
got paid that much to handcuff people, I’d be a millionaire.”
Beatrice’s ears heated. Davis was a SWAT officer who worked with Ben. Talking about handcuffs should be a fairly everyday occurrence for him. But the mention of being
for it at an hourly rate sounded pretty shady. And the low tone of voice he was using definitely meant this was a conversation he wanted to keep private.
She tiptoed forward until she caught sight of a black-swathed arm, the white cuff of his dress shirt barely showing as it bumped up against a silver wristwatch. She knew she shouldn’t be sneaking around like this, but she told herself it was the ever-curious journalist in her—not the hot, bothersome desire for him—that simply wouldn’t let her leave until she heard more.
His long fingers were splayed wide, his hand raised in a placating gesture, as though he were trying to calm someone down, and she had to suppress a laugh. He was the last guy she would think of when it came to making people feel comfortable enough to let down their guard. Ben was the officer who had trained in hostage negotiation, while Davis preferred disarming explosives, not people.
She heard him blow out a breath, and then he said, “I apologize. That was—look, I’m not questioning whether Queen Dommes is a legitimate operation.”
Her mouth dropped open. Davis was talking to
? Now the handcuff comment made more sense.
Over the past couple of years, BDSM had become a much more publicly acceptable topic, and browsing through books or movies often resulted in at least one reference to bondage play. Queen Dommes had capitalized on this phenomenon, opening its doors in Greenbriar’s business district nearly a year ago and positioning themselves as a “role-playing service”. Their ads featuring masked, leather-wearing women were posted all over town.
Queen Dommes made it clear that no sex was allowed in their sessions—only what they deemed
, in which trained Dommes played a leading role in fantasies of the average men of Greenbriar—but the business seemed to be flourishing. And a couple of months ago, Beatrice had even photographed the Dominatrix who owned the business, as part of a feature on the service. She had been thoroughly impressed with Mistress Michelle’s confidence, intelligence and empathy.
Still, she couldn’t stop the intense rise of jealousy she felt at the thought of Davis being touched by the other woman.
By any other woman, really.
He’s not yours. He never will be. He doesn’t even like you.
He continued talking. “Actually, you guys—or ladies, sorry—being legal and all, that’s the reason I’m calling
and not—” His strong hand closed in a tight fist. “What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t mean to disrespect your business. It’s just that a thousand dollars is a lot of money.” A short pause. “Sure, I understand. Thanks for your time.” She heard him end the call before his hand dropped down to hang at his side and his shoulders slumped.
A thousand dollars?
Beatrice’s heart skipped a beat. Men actually paid that kind of money to be tied up and bossed around and—and—
She frowned, blanking on what happened after that. No matter. A thousand dollars for her meant enough funds to pay the last installment of Nana’s long-outstanding hospital bill. A thousand dollars meant Beatrice could stop spending her free time working odd jobs to raise money and start focusing on building a portfolio to show to galleries.
Even though she had close to zero experience with even the most vanilla of sex, the promise of that kind of money made her consider applying for a temporary job at Queen Dommes…
She shook her head. It was one thing to take gigs like this—photographing a friend and colleague’s wedding—to earn extra money. As a photojournalist for the city newspaper, she knew how to take great photos, and she felt confident in her work.
But becoming a Dominatrix would be like hopping on a rocket ship to another planet with nothing more than some freeze-dried snacks and a prayer. Besides, if Davis were ever her client, the no-sex rule would be a serious challenge to her willpower if she had to tie him to a bed, strip him bare and run her hands and eyes over his—
“Beatrice! What are you doing here?”
His voice interrupted her daydream. She’d completely forgotten she wasn’t supposed to have overheard that conversation, so lost in her thoughts she hadn’t even noticed him approaching. But here he was, standing in front of her with a scowl on his face, jacket hanging open and red tie askew, his short hair ruffled where he’d probably run his hand through it at some point. In the low light, the metal of his belt buckle caught her eye, out of place with its smooth, clean shine.
She had to struggle to resist the sudden, insane urge to bend down and run her tongue across it.
“Davis. Hey.” Was it her, or did her voice sound unreasonably breathless for someone who had been standing still for the past minute or so? “You disappeared right before Ben and Nina were supposed to arrive. I came to get you for the photos.” She checked her watch.
“We need to get back in there immediately. We only have five more minutes before the wedding planner scheduled them to walk in and I need to get you guys lined up again.”
She turned to go, expecting him to follow, but to her surprise, his hand shot out and grabbed her arm. Long, strong fingers. Warm skin. She shuddered with arousal, but he must have mistaken it for distaste, because he immediately loosened his grip.
But he didn’t release her completely. “Not so fast. Like you said, we’ve got five minutes.”
The things I could do to you in five minutes…
She swallowed tightly.
Better keep those thoughts out of her head during this conversation, or she might accidentally speak them aloud. Especially because she wasn’t even sure what those things were. But she liked the sound of a more seductive, commanding version of herself.
She straightened and focused on why she was there in the first place. The job she had to do. “Yes, but I still need to get you guys—”
“Lined up,” he finished for her, and his rumbling voice made her thoughts scatter again. “Yeah, I heard. I’m pretty familiar with lineups, though. You only need three minutes, tops.” He turned her around slowly to face him again and took half a step closer, and she was suddenly, achingly, aware of how tall and broad and hard he was compared to her. But his voice was soft, mesmerizing. “How much did you hear, Beatrice?”
Her eyes went wide and round at the memory.
I heard you talking about handcuffs and I was jealous, and when I saw your fingers curl so tightly around only emptiness, the only thing I wanted in the world was to grab your hands and your mouth and fill you with everything I have.
That probably wasn’t the right response.
His hand slid down her arm, his fingers circling her wrist. How was she supposed to breathe when he was touching her like this?
“Enough,” was all she could manage to squeak out.
Another half step, and the edges of his jacket grazed the knuckles of her left hand, the one she held still curled over her camera. She sucked in a sharp breath.
“Enough for what?” He leaned down, his eyes focusing on hers, and all she could think was he probably never had to interrogate anyone for longer than thirty seconds before they confessed to anything, just to get away from his intense blue gaze and the hot, restless feeling he inspired. But instead of turning and fleeing back into the safety of the ballroom, her lips parted, her knees softened, and she swayed toward him, unable to resist the pull of his body.
Fortunately, the camera lens bumped up against something solid, stopping her forward movement and preventing her from making a complete fool of herself. By
something foolish. Like pressing her lips to the line of smooth skin between where his collar ended and his five o’clock shadow began—
And then she realized that,
the something solid she’d bumped up against happened to be his
. Hard, unyielding, strong…she nearly moaned aloud at the mere thought of what he must look like under his starched white shirt. His abs were probably chiseled to perfection, his long, hard body roped with lean muscle, dark hair on his chest that arrowed down toward hard—
“Tell me, Beatrice,” he whispered. And the way his breath stirred her hair must have been the final straw for her poor, overloaded libido, because then her brain simply shut down completely while words she should never have said tumbled out of her mouth.
“Hire me, instead.”
* * * * *
“Lovely! You all have such beautiful smiles!” Beatrice kept calling out words of encouragement as she snapped photos of the bridal party.
But Warren’s scowl deepened.
He didn’t understand how could she be so carefree. Practically cheerful, even. How could she pretend that fifteen minutes ago, she hadn’t offered to let him hire her to do God only knew what to him?
wasn’t sure what kind of services he’d been hoping to get from Queen Dommes. But that wasn’t the point. If they’d been affordable, he would have hired them without a second thought. And then he’d have something to look forward to. Then, he wouldn’t be feeling this kind of horrible, barely restrained
. Beatrice did something to him, reduced him to his basic animal self, but he needed to purge his out-of-control feelings, not amplify them.
He’d called Queen Dommes because they were legal and discreet, and carried absolutely no threat of being more than he could handle.
Beatrice Lawrence, on the other hand—well, he was already at her mercy. Had been ever since the first day they met, even though she didn’t know it. He didn’t need to add in a physical component to his submission. But the temptation she’d presented today was stronger than anything he’d ever experienced.
He should never have taken that call. At least not in the middle of Ben and Nina’s wedding reception, for fuck’s sake. But he’d left a message with the service nearly three days ago and had been cursing his luck ever since, angry that they were unprofessional enough not to call back right away, while simultaneously feeling a strange sense of relief that their rudeness gave him a concrete place where he could direct all this frustrated energy. Angry…frustrated…
out of control
All that concentrated feeling had nearly exploded when he’d pulled the phone from his pocket and seen the number on the screen. He’d been unable to resist answering, even when he knew it wasn’t right.
At least he’d had the good sense to push past the raging arousal flooding through him, back there in the service hallway, when Beatrice had leaned forward, those eyes wide and lips parted and practically purred,
Hire me, instead.