Authors: Erika Masten
HIS SUBMISSIVE: BODY WORSHIP
Copyright © 2012 Erika Masten.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Published by Sticky Sweet Books. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored on, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to actual persons or events are purely coincidental.
Warning: Explicit content. Intended for mature readers only. All characters depicted herein are 18 years or older, and all sexual activities are of a consensual nature.
This is a work of erotic fantasy. In real life, please protect yourself and your lover by always practicing safe sex.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Even as I’m getting ready for the night, I know it’s a mistake to attend Donna’s party. It’s always a mistake. Across the dim, silent bedroom, my laptop is open on the writing desk in front of the broad window overlooking the lights of the city. The unnatural glow from the screen plays along the overly clean, sterile lines of the modern furniture, finding little color to soften the artificial hue. The display flashes persistently with notifications that I have messages waiting, clients and projects and deadlines demanding response.
Attention: Julia Ingram. Change to Project Scope.Urgent.
Mine is the life of a freelance grant writer in an economy with government programs dwindling, venture capitalists going underground, and philanthropists dropping like flies. Everyone needs me…for what I can get them.
I turn away with slow deliberation, slipping into the blushy beige sheath dress before deciding it’s too drab for a pale redhead, then settling on the navy blue wrap dress with white piping. Not my style, really, but the style I
was me, sophisticated and sexy in a relaxed, self-possessed way. The material is cool and soft and arousing against my bare white skin. It’s almost like wearing a silk robe out in public, with the way it hangs and hovers, dipping into a moderately deep V between my full, round breasts. Normally, the dress would be too bold a statement for me, but I don’t want to be colorless and unobtrusive tonight. For once, I’d like to be noticeable, remarkable, memorable.
Hence, I skip the neutral makeup and neat ponytail in favor of red lipstick and using the curling iron to put a bit of an Old Hollywood wave in my long hair. Studying my reflection in the vanity mirror, the wide round eyes that at turns appear light gray or faded blue or pale green but always hollow and sad, I wonder if I’m being too critical. Do I look as desperately lonely as I’m starting to feel?
That’s the big reason I try to keep myself penned up in my apartment, working as much as possible, venturing out only for hurried coffee runs or grocery shopping when the pantry is bare. If I stay buried in work, I can keep my loneliness at bay. When I go out to see friends, at one the lively dinner parties my gregarious social circle so loves, I come back starving. Ravenous for the type of companionship I see between the couples I grew up with from grade school through college. Jealous of the off-hand caresses and intimate glances as they circulate through the crowd.
I’m intimidatingly intelligent, competent, observant, astute, but also painfully shy and easy to overlook from my silent perch. You’d think if I can network with non-profit CEO’s and donor corporations, draft five-hundred-page grant applications for multi-million-dollar projects and programs, administer awards with more regulations than the U.S. tax code, I could ask a guy out. And you’d be wrong.
So, every now and then, I surrender to pressure from my friends to attend one of Donna’s penthouse soirées or Genevieve’s night club VIP parties in the hope that someone will make the move I can’t. On the off chance that piercing eyes will scan the press of my chic, charming friends and, for once, not skip over me.
There was a time when I might have been happy with a movie date and a call the next day. Now I fantasize about instant attraction and being pushed hard against the wall for a sudden, breathless kiss. About carnal stares that burn through me. Dirty words rasped into my ear while I’m being pounded from behind. Driving a man to such extremes of desire that he can’t help taking what he wants. I am a cautionary tale about the dangers of going celibate too long, when it’s not by choice.
It’s a warm evening, so I’m not surprised to find most of Donna’s party arrayed along her deck and swimming pool. A breeze and soft, playful music swirl through the loose clusters of chattering, laughing friends. I stick close to the westward glass wall of the apartment, partly because the view from one of the most sought-after penthouses in the city gives me unbearable vertigo, but also because lurking along the near side of the pool gives me an amazing view of Kai Van Zant.
My breath hitches in the back of my throat as soon as I see him. I hadn’t realized Kai was back in town.
There are more than a few handsome bachelors in my crowd, but whenever I break down and come to one of these parties, Kai is one of the men I always fantasize about for weeks afterward. Or at least that was the case before his job assigned him to an important overseas account and moved him to Zurich last January. I hope his appearance here tonight means they’ve transferred him back.
He’s a relative newcomer, having grown up in Europe rather than here in the city with the rest of us. I think he has only been a fixture at these parties for maybe three or four years. A project manager with an environmental firm, he works with one of my oldest childhood friends, and it’s clear from the lightly bronzed skin—just dark enough for that Greek god glow without looking too harsh on a golden blond—that he spends a lot of time outdoors. From the bulging muscles, especially along his arms and chest, it’s obvious he invests a fair portion of that time in rock-climbing and kayaking and otherwise training for Sex Fantasy of the Year.
Like most gorgeous men, and most Europeans, Kai has no problem stripping down to next to nothing for a swim. It’s hard to tell as he’s standing in the shallow end chatting with Amy, a flirty brunette crouched beside the pool, if he is wearing snug black swim trunks or just decided to dive into the pool in his briefs. He is probably the only man I can think of who could pull off wearing one of those tiny Speedos, but it wouldn’t be as sexy. God, the man’s got an ass, round and high and firm-looking.
This is the first time I’ve ever seen Kai with his shirt off. I wasn’t expecting the tattoos he has along his shoulders and upper back—tribal, primal, thick lines in seductive swirls and sudden hard angles. They hint that the polished intellectual might have a darker, wilder side. The urge to trace those inky trails with my tongue is like a taste in my mouth. Salty, smoky, musky. I catch myself chewing on the straw in my overly strong mojito while my thoughts gnaw on something else entirely.
What if I actually tried to get Kai’s attention tonight? It’s not like we’ve never spoken. He’s got a deep, honeyed voice with just the barest trace of an accent—something kind of Germanic, kind of French-Italian, a particularly Swiss mixture of tones with an amazingly sophisticated and seductive quality—and he can definitely hold his own in an intelligent conversation. I sat next to him at a dinner party last Christmas, in fact, and he actually seemed engaged while I bored him with my opinions on all the hot button public policy issues I was dealing with for my grants. Probably just good acting on his part, but I can appreciate the effort.
Really, as I think back, he’s always been rather sweet to me—whenever I’ve been cornered by circumstance and trapped into talking with him. I normally steer away from men so handsome, except as fantasy fodder.
I stray toward the end of the pool, pretending to watch the activity across the deck so my eavesdropping won’t be so obvious. I’m pleasantly surprised to discover Amy is gushing to Kai over her recent engagement and the news that she’s having a baby. It seems so sincere when he comments on how she’s glowing, how women are always incredibly beautiful when they are pregnant, and her fiancé is a lucky man. There’s a wistful tone in his voice that makes me wonder. I guess I had Kai pegged as a playboy based on looks alone. The idea that he’d envy a man settling down to start a family might make me reassess my assumptions. Then again, what else would a charming man say, even if he’d rather die than get married and suffer through a woman’s pregnancy?
My good luck, someone else overhears Amy’s news and distracts her with congratulations, and Kai starts to climb up the steps from the pool. I’m so entranced watching water sheet down his rounded pecs, much like my own wetness seeping through my panties and down my inner thighs, that I almost miss my opportunity. Coming to my senses at the last possible second, I set aside my drink and scoop up a fluffy towel from the pile Donna has put out on a glass patio end table. As Kai takes the last two steps up out of the pool, his long, tanned fingers combing back his shoulder length gold hair, I’m there to greet him with a big unfurled towel.
The pale green eyes settle directly on me, and a wide smile blossoms across his bronzed face, taking me by surprise. With those cheekbones, that hard jawline, he could be a model or a Hollywood heartthrob. It requires all my concentration not to stare dumbly at his lips, almost too plump and pretty for a man,
. They are a dusty rose color over perfect, straight white teeth.
Kai accepts the towel from me as he steps up onto the deck, rising close to a foot above my five-foot-four. His large, warm hands brush mine as he takes the huge bath sheet and wraps it along his hips, very low, so that it looks like he could be naked underneath it. My gaze trails down over the pronounced musculature of his lower abs and pelvis. I can’t help imagining what those muscles look like flexing while he drives his—
“Thank you, Julia.”
I glance up to find those green eyes still focused tight on my face, and heat floods my cheeks. Not just because it’s probably clear from my expression that I’m lusting after him, but because he actually remembered my name.
This is the point at which I usually balk, mutter something under my breath, and excuse myself. Or when I fall back on bringing up the most intellectually challenging, libido-killing topic that comes to mind. I take a second to stop myself, my heart pounding hard but steady in my chest, echoing and vibrating in my ears and the pit of my stomach.
With effort, I put on a smile, small and shy compared to his. “You’re welcome. It’s such a pleasant surprise to see you here tonight.” A small gesture, that, but it’s a herculean effort for me. This gets a brief, warm chuckle out of him that sends a moment of panic through me. Is he laughing at my pathetic attempt at flirtation?
“I didn’t expect to hear that from you,” he admits, and I tilt my head quizzically without meaning to. “Well,
me, yes. You did that fairly often before I got transferred.” Is the pause while he cocks one brow at me intended to be for effect? “But you rarely spoke to me. I was beginning to think you didn’t like me.”
A nervous rush of breath bursts out of me like a strangled giggle. “No, not at all, I just…” Just don’t know how to talk to men I don’t view as brothers. Men I’ve been having dark, wild sexual fantasies about off and on for more than three years.
“You just…watch,” Kai finishes for me, pursing his lips in a half-hearted attempt not to grin teasingly at me. “Don’t be self-conscious, Julia, though I know that’s the worst advice. How can you not be self-conscious after I tell you not to do it?”
I finally tear my gaze from his, glancing at the blue-green glow of the pool from the underwater lights, at the scattered solar lanterns illuminating the deck and the grill area, at the glittering view beyond threatening to make me dizzy. “You’re right. I can’t,” I breathe, squeezing my eyes closed so my stomach will settle.