Authors: Cathryn Cade
To all my readers,
especially those of you willing to follow me
into new and slightly kinky corridors of red hot romance.
Never stop believing…
Love is the most powerful force in the universe!
Carlie Milton was happy. Really she was.
Her best friend deserved all the happiness she could squeeze out of life, including the man holding her tight as they circled the Club 3 dance floor. The couple should have looked ridiculous—a tall, bearded, muscular man in a tight pink T-shirt, and a curvy platinum blonde in a pink Playboy Bunny costume and silver collar. Instead, they looked sexy, happy and in love.
Daisy glowed, as well she should. She’d had the courage to reach for what she wanted and now held the guy of her dreams, Dack.
Carlie sighed wistfully and took another sip of her strawberry margarita. Okay, maybe she was the teensiest bit jealous. She just wished a guy would look at
as if he were waiting to lap her up like one of the evening’s theme drinks and then lick the glass.
Unwillingly, her gaze cut through the raucous crowd and found a familiar, massive form near the front entrance of the club. Jake Stone, part owner of Club 3, also part owner and manager of Big Iron Fitness next door.
The man was hard to miss at six-foot-two, with broad shoulders and chest, and arms and legs so powerful she was pretty sure he could pick up one of the big leather sofas in the club’s main room and throw it if he wanted to.
He looked bad tempered enough to do it too. He stood with massive arms crossed. Ice-gray eyes regarded the world from a square face that appeared to have been hewn from granite and then bashed with the dissatisfied sculptor’s tools. His nose had been broken; he had a scar across one cheek and another across his throat, visible because he was smooth-shaven.
He was, despite his forbidding demeanor, the flat-out sexiest guy Carlie had ever seen—and it pissed her off no end that he made her panties damp, because although he was perfectly polite—well, okay, brusquely polite—he’d certainly never indicated in any way that he found
Or asked her for a date, as normal guys did.
Or invited her here to Club 3, as doms did.
As Dack had invited Daisy practically the moment she smiled at him. Dack was also part owner of the club, although his main business was construction and renovation.
This was the first time Carlie had set foot in the main room at Club 3 and she was impressed. The three partners had obviously put a lot of work into remodeling the old house into their exclusive BDSM club, but they’d stayed true to the American Craftsman style.
Even with tall brass stands full of candy-colored condoms, with pink balloons and streamers drifting above a crowd of half-dressed revelers, it was a classy place.
Many of the partiers were dancing to the music booming from speakers hanging from the upper walls. Carlie didn’t recognize the current band, but she liked the singer’s raspy voice and the accompanying saxophone. The beat made her toes tap.
“Just go ask him to dance,” a voice chirped in her ear.
Carlie looked askance at the petite redhead standing beside her. Sara wore pink in honor of Club 3’s Pink Night theme party to support breast cancer research. Sara’s choice was a Lycra workout tank and running skirt, but at least it wasn’t the Lycra shorts she ordinarily lived in. Her long auburn hair was loose around her shoulders.
Carlie sighed. Her own strapless coral-pink dress had seemed so sexy in her bedroom mirror, but now that she was in the midst of this crowd, most of whom worked out religiously at the fitness center next door, she was battling the urge to scuttle out into the sheltering darkness of the summer night. Except that it was Daisy’s party, and as one of her two best friends, Carlie had been one of the organizers. Besides, even if she was too heavy, her dress was less bare than what many of the women were wearing.
At least she got to keep her dress
. She and Sara both wore white wristbands, proclaiming them Club 3 guests, so it wasn’t like anyone was going to ask either of them to strip down and get busy. Especially Jake. Carlie had received interested looks from other guys, but he’d barely bothered to say hello.
“Yeah, why don’t I ask Jake to dance?” she retorted. “So he can turn me down.”
“He’s not gonna turn you down, trust me. You look incredible in that dress. In fact I hate you. Ms. Curv-alicious.”
“It’s mutual.” Carlie curled a lip at her other best friend. “Ms. Fitness, with your flat tummy and tight little ass. I feel like one of those hot dogs rolled in biscuit dough my grandma used to bake. ‘Pigs in a blanket’, she called them.”
Sara’s eyes widened comically. “Are you kidding me? You look gorgeous. I love your hair all wild and wavy—you should let it go more often.”
Carlie fingered one of her streaky, dark blonde curls, and smiled, pleased. “Thanks.” She usually tamed her hair into a French roll, a braid or at least with a headband, but frankly, in a strapless dress she’d wanted to be able to shake her long hair forward over the expanse of her chest and her cleavage. Because she had a lot of both on display.
“Besides,” Sara added, “you’re critiquing
elegant style, with
running around in front of you?” She tipped her glass at a dancer bursting out of a sparkling pink bustier and thong, while teetering on spike heels. “Her ass is bigger than yours, and she’s eight inches shorter. I keep waiting for her to fall over or just fall
Carlie laughed. The woman was shaking everything she had, arms over her head, rocking her wild look. Carlie envied her complete unconcern with what anyone else might think.
Her partner, a muscular guy with short brown hair Carlie had seen at the gym, appeared to be enjoying her performance. He wore a pink bolo tie over a leather vest and pants, and a mischievous grin under his ’tache, which curved down around his mouth in a neat inverted U. His hands were on the woman’s ass, holding her as he rubbed his groin into hers. “He seems to think she looks just fine.”
“That’s Mase, one of the doms. Hmm, he does, doesn’t he?”
Watching the couple made Carlie a little uncomfortable and even more aroused. She squirmed, her tight dress sticking to her skin, her panties abrading her girly parts.
She was curious. She knew darn well things could get a lot wilder than this here at Club 3. What would that be like?
There were other risqué ensembles on dancers. A statuesque redhead wore a pink bikini and faux chaps, a cowboy hat on her head. She must be Twila, the fem domme Daisy had told them about. She held a quirt, with which she was teasing a giggling blonde in a black tutu, black cowgirl hat and a tiny pink fanny pack in the form of a saddle.
“Trace looks like he should be in a Broadway revue.” Sara nudged her with an elbow.
Carlie followed her gaze to the third owner of the club, a lean blond with
-worthy looks, on the dance floor with a dark, pretty woman in pink lingerie and top hat. She was giggling as he moon-walked, his handsome face deadpan. He wore tight black pants, suspenders and a pink bow tie, topped off with a black fedora.
At the moment, he did
look like a stockbroker. But according to Daisy, he was good enough at it that his business acumen had led to most of the startup capital for Club 3.
“Um-hmm,” Carlie agreed. “Or be a stripper,” she added, in awe as Trace segued seamlessly into a bump-and-grind that showcased his impressive male package.
Sara moaned. “Oh, don’t say that. Now I’m going to spend the rest of the evening wanting to ask him to strip for me.”
“I’m sure he would.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Sara muttered. Giving her friend a look, Carlie was surprised to see longing in her sherry brown eyes.
Carlie nodded wryly. She understood craving and fear all too well. Her gaze cut back across the room. Jake’s sole nod to the occasion was a pink carnation in the buttonhole of his tight leather vest.
Carlie pictured him in an outfit like Trace’s and had to squeeze her thighs together as sheer longing pulsed through her. Hoo-boy, his package made the guy standing next to him look like a teenager. With that chest bared, Jake would be…magnificent. And have every woman in the place prostrating themselves at his feet.
Well, except Daisy. She was pretty focused on her man. They were locking lips again, their feet barely moving while the other dancers gyrated around them.
Carlie grinned. “You think Dais and Dack would even notice if the music stopped?”
Sara laughed. “Probably not.” Her eyes widened as the first notes of Pink’s “Perfect” sounded. “Ooh, this is one of my favorite songs. You wanna dance?”
Carlie shrugged, forcing her eyes not to stray to Jake, still standing like a palace guard in the shadows. “Sure. Let’s hit it, girlfriend.”
She drained her glass, set it aside and followed Sara onto the dance floor, glad her other best friend had the courage to set foot in the club for this special night. Sara’s first visit had turned into a nightmare when a coked-up ex-member tried to rape her. Trace and Dack rescued her, but Sara had told Carlie tearfully she wasn’t sure she’d ever return.
Carlie hadn’t had the courage to sign up for membership yet either. When Dack and Trace had asked her to help put on this fundraiser, she’d leapt at the chance to have a night at the club without commitment. Now that she was here, she was nervous as a cat, but excited too.
On the dance floor, Carlie turned her back to Jake and let the music take her. On the chorus, she and Sara sang to each other, promising never to feel they were less than perfect. On the last chorus, they stopped dancing and put their heads together, pretending they held microphones.
Trace and his sexy friend in the pink bolo tie applauded vociferously, and Carlie giggled, more relaxed than she’d been all evening.
Then Kelly Clarkson belted out “Walk Away” and Carlie had to dance again. Hunky bolo-tie guy joined her.
He grinned at her, a devilish twinkle in his eyes to which she had to respond.
“I’m Mase.” His voice was raspy, in a rocker kind of way.
“Hi. I’m Carlie.”
He winked at her. “I know.”
Oh, wow. He’d asked about her. That was unexpected and nice. She danced, even daring to cut a few moves to echo his and enjoying moving her body for an admiring male who radiated sexy fun. The song segued into another Pink anthem, which crowded many more dancers onto the floor. With the floor a maze of bodies, arms and legs, Carlie just danced, for once not worrying how she looked, shaking her body and her hair.
At the end of the song, Mase grabbed her hand and twirled her around. She landed against his hard torso. Her eyes widened. Wow, he could be…decisive. Of course he was a dom.
He grinned. “Slow dance?”
“Sure.” In her kitten heels, they were just the same height. And it wasn’t like Jake was going to ask her.
But then Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” began. Mase shrugged, holding on to her hand. “Not slow, but we can still dance.”
“I’m not very good,” she warned him. She’d always thought ballroom dancing looked fun but never really done much of it.
“Just follow me, gorgeous.”
Her first few attempts at following his lead were awkward, but he was good and he was strong enough to pull her through her hesitations. Soon he was piloting her around the floor, in and out of the other dancers. They passed Daisy and Dack. Daisy gave her a delighted thumbs-up. Dack winked. Mase swung her back into a dip, showing off. Carlie let out a shriek and came up laughing, her hair flying.
She looked straight into a pair of ice-gray eyes watching from the shadows, and immediately tripped. Mase caught her, and they finished the dance, but when the song ended, Carlie shook her head, ready for a break.
He gave her a little squeeze and turned away, already looking for his next partner.
Carlie dodged a couple who seemed to have shed
of clothing since the dancing started, and made it to the relative calm of the area between the dance floor and the bar. Another margarita, that was what she needed.
Darn Jake. She’d been having a great time, till she remembered he was watching. He was like a big cold front, blowing in on her warm party glow. She cast him a fulminating glance from the curtain of her tumbled hair and blushed hotly when his hard mouth kicked up in a knowing smirk.