Authors: Alison Tyler
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Journalist Hadley McCarthy has changed a lot since breaking up with her ex, Guy. She used to be Dom to his Sub, but she’s been fantasizing about having someone dominate her for once. And when Guy invites her to do a story on his gymnastics studio, she finds the perfect candidate: sexy coach Reed Frost.
Guy has wanted Hadley back since they split up a year ago, until his hopes are dashed by her undeniable attraction to Frost. But Guy has his own secret desires, ones that he may finally be ready to explore…
Reed Frost hasn’t been with anyone since his wife—certainly no one as aggressive and seductive as Hadley. Can she convince him to become her trainer in the gym and the bedroom?
Tied Up and Twisted
An S&M Love Story
The men in the room are all bent into interesting positions. A big blond stands on his hands, balanced and unmoving. Another dangles from rings. A third is leaning over a polished leather horse. Hadley McCarthy watches the men as she moves past them—imagining that they have been put there for her pleasure, fantasizing that they will never move. Hold still. Stay that way.
She hears the voice of the trainer, and her head turns quickly.
In another world, in
other world, the word means something else. There, he’d be Dom. Here, he is Coach.
When she sees him, she feels for a moment as if she can’t breathe. He is older than she is by maybe fifteen years, and he’s tall: at least six foot three. She’s good at approximating—being a journalist has honed her observational skills. The trainer has a thick, solid chest, muscular arms. There’s a faded tattoo high up on his biceps. Old-fashioned, Sailor Jerry style. But his physique is not what stops her: it’s the power that emanates from him. She’s never been so struck by a stranger before. He has a presence that draws out her basest, most animalistic instincts. She wants to fuck him.
He turns and looks her way, but he doesn’t seem to see her.
The room is in motion, suddenly—or maybe it was always in motion and she had frozen the players in position with the power of her mind. The men are beautiful—young and lithe. Yet she doesn’t see them as points of interest. She sees only the trainer, the way he stands and observes, barks, manipulates. He’s the oldest thing in the room, and she only has eyes for him.
Would he talk like that to her if she asked him?
Would he bark commands? Push her around?
Would he punish her?
Hadley remains still for a moment and takes a breath. Then she heads to the front desk to find someone who can help her.
* * *
Guy watches through the windows in the office. He runs his hands through his thick dark hair, as he always does when he’s nervous. A quick gesture, as if to make sure every carefully mussed piece of hair is still artfully out of place. He touches the buttons on the front of his shirt as if they’re talismans, shoots the cuffs of his sleeves. Hadley doesn’t notice him, but he follows her intently. She is different from the rest of the girls moving through the gym in their colorful bits of glittery spandex. She’s older and poised. The gymnasts are poised, too, but in a different way.
is a better term. Always on display.
He walks down the corridor and moves quickly after the woman.
* * *
Reed Frost sits in the Parallel Bar—the gym’s ultra modern upstairs café—staring at this journalist. He sizes her up quickly, the way he sums up any new athlete walking into his gym: dark hair, deep brown eyes, high cheekbones. Delicate features you want to trace with the tip of your finger. V-neck sweater in charcoal and a matching pencil skirt. Lovely. He appraises her automatically, a mental exercise. As he would a new athlete, he puts her through an imaginary routine. She has balance; she’s graceful—he can tell that instantly. It’s a skill. He smiles to himself. She has absolutely zero interest in his services. This girl is here to do a piece for the local paper. She’s not here to ask about becoming a member. Besides, she’s two decades too old.
“Why are you smiling?”
Her voice surprises him. He stops smiling and looks at her, his blue eyes narrowing. His athletes don’t talk to him like that. But he reminds himself quickly that she’s not one of his athletes. “I’m not often the one being interviewed,” he says, voice even.
“Meaning?” She holds her pen above her notebook. He likes that she isn’t using a laptop. He notices that her pen is sleek, silver and expensive-looking, and her notebook isn’t one of those fancy, useless ones from a craft store. She’s writing in a Moleskine. He uses the smaller version to keep his own notes.
“For my standard intakes, I run the prospective athletes through a rigorous questioning session,” Frost explains.
He looks hard at her again. It’s obvious to both of them that there’s a connection. Yet neither one seems willing to make the first move. “You’re the writer.” He’s mock deferential.
She thinks, Touché, but moves on. “How long have you been at the gym?”
“That’s a long time.”
“Depends on how long you’ve got,” he says matter-of-factly.
“How long have you got?” she asks, and she wishes he could see inside her mind. Every time she looks at him, she visualizes what he’d be like in bed. If they were at a bar, she’d slide her leg against his under the table and let him wonder whether the brush of her skin against his was accidental or on purpose. Right when he decides the move was accidental, she’d do it again. If they were at her favorite club in the city, she’d set up a scenario that would make his cock hard in a second.
She hasn’t had a man in seven months.
That’s the longest she’s ever gone without.
She has no idea that Frost has been solo for seven years.
In another circumstance, Hadley would come clean with him. She’d lean in close and whisper that she doesn’t believe in love at first sight or instant karma or screwing on a first date. But if he would come to her apartment tonight, she’d let him tie her to her four-poster bed and whip her.
In her scenario, there are too many
“We need you in the gym,” Guy says, coming up from behind Frost. He speaks the words quietly, rather than bursting out screaming the way he wants to. He is having an inner tantrum that feels like a ball of fire in his throat, but what he says is simply: “I’ll take over.” He looks at Hadley, who sighs when she sees Guy. He’s a pretty boy who knows exactly how pretty he is. Chiseled cheekbones, dimpled chin, jaw you could use for a ruler. He might have stepped out of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad instead of stepping out of her past.
She wants to tell him that pretty doesn’t work for her. Not anymore. She knows exactly where she stands. She is thirty-three. She weighs 117 pounds. She never lies and says she’s thirty. She never fibs and says she’s 115. But she guesses that if someone asked this dark-haired Adonis his weight or his age, some part of the truth would be shaved off the top. He dyes his hair to achieve those chestnut highlights. She’s certain.
Frost leaves. The fact that he doesn’t turn around to say goodbye is one more point in his pro column. She’s hooked—and fucked—and she knows it.
“How can I help you, Hadley?” Guy asks her as he takes Frost’s seat.
Guy follows her eyes, sees she’s staring after Frost and sneers, “He’s not your type.”
“What do you know about my type?”
“More than you think I should. More than I’d like to.” This interaction is not going the way Guy hoped it would.
“You don’t know anything about me, Guy.” That’s not entirely true, so she adds resignedly, “Not anymore.”
“I know what your pussy tastes like.” He can’t help himself. Maybe if he pushes her buttons, she’ll give him what he needs. He’s got a rise out of her in the past. He knows how to make her react.
People turn to look at them. Hadley feels their eyes and wonders if they can sense the distaste she has for Guy.
“So do a lot of men.”
“You say that like you’re proud.”
She stands and looks down at him. “And you say you know what my pussy tastes like as if you know your way around a girl’s clit.”
* * *
She ought to have anticipated this. When her editor had assigned her to cover the gym, she should have asked who’d suggested the story in the first place. But her mind had been on finding a new apartment, reestablishing old work ties, digging into her storage facility for the nuts and bolts of her old life. She’d moved out of Northern California to get free of Guy. She’d never have expected him to be on the lookout for her return. Their relationship hadn’t simply evaporated—the dregs had curdled and soured. A year traveling the country had been for her mental health.
Apparently, Guy had been waiting for her to come back. Getting her to write an article about the place where he works is a creative way of finding her once more.
But fuck Guy. She can’t spend her whole life doing the things he wants her to do, being the person he thought she was. If she learned anything while traveling the country for the past twelve months, it’s that she has to be true to herself.
* * *
Guy slips into the private executive men’s room, locks the door, and pushes his strong back against the cool, tiled wall. He’s as well built as any of the athletes out there on the floor, but he isn’t on a team. His job here is head of the PR department. Right now, he doesn’t care about his responsibilities. His top priority is to make himself come. He has his hand on his cock before he can even consider what he’s doing.
How many times has he jacked off to images of Hadley over the past twelve months? Too many to count, that’s for fucking sure. He was certain the situation would unfold differently when he saw her again. No, he doesn’t think life is like a happy movie of the week, but he’d yearned for a happy ending. He thought she’d remember what they had, what they were like—how it felt to have his dick deep inside her.
When she’d let him, that is.
His hand pumps up and down his shaft. He was hard since before she arrived. Simply knowing she was coming to the gym today gave him an erection. Part of him—the guilty part—is certain she can guess what he’s doing right now. She had him down pat when they were together; she understood what made him tick.
So many times she forced him to wait for his pleasure. She’d make him go for a week, two, three, with no release, and he loved it. When she was in her cruelest moods, she’d keep a red pen by the calendar. Each day he survived without an orgasm, she’d draw an
in the little square. There would be a reward waiting for him if he was good, or sweet punishment if he was bad. He enjoyed both situations equally, if he were to be completely honest with himself.
He’d imagined that this year was simply the longest punishment she’d ever meted out. And he’d behaved. He’d been faithful—if “faithful” includes watching an almost endless stream of BDSM porn. He didn’t sink his dick into any other woman. That should count for something, right?
His hand works his cock as he imagines her tying him down to her bed, telling him what a naughty boy he’s been, punishing him with her favorite array of X-rated weapons. He hesitates only long enough to fill his palm with the synthetic rose-scented pink soap. He’s not thinking clearly. He only craves relief. The liquid soap feels like pure sin on his rod. He fucks his slippery palm while he recalls his past with Hadley. She liked to use a wooden paddle first, heating his ass cheeks until they were deep cherry-red. Then she’d stripe him with her crop, watching as he worked hard not to fuck the mattress in his desire for mercy. Sometimes being bad feels so fucking good. Guy knows all about that.
His favorite time with Hadley occurred right near the end. They were fighting a lot—that is, when they were talking. But one night she came home in a mood. He sensed the shift in the apartment as soon as she walked through the door. The molecules in the air seemed to change. She had him bound with cold steel cuffs, his wrists over his head. She brought out a strap-on that night, and a bottle of lube. She set them both on the bedside table, so he could stare at them and know what was coming.
There was discipline first—Hadley always took care of his needs, the wicked urges that made his dick hard. And then she whispered to him that she was going to use him for her own pleasure. She got his permission first.
“Let me,” she’d said, and he’d nodded.
She’d parted the cheeks of his ass and poured lube between, then worked her thumb into his tight virgin hole. For several moments he’d held his breath, afraid that if he made any sort of move, she might stop. How had she known that he’d always wanted someone to fuck his ass? He’d never confessed this desire, and she’d never broached the subject before.
Somehow, she’d simply known.
After prepping him with lube and that dreamy finger fucking, she’d dangled the strap-on in front of his eyes and made him suck the head. He’d started slowly, his lips stretching over the tip, getting used to the sensation before she fastened the toy to the harness that was in place around her slim hips. His lips around the tool had felt like coming home, and he hadn’t wanted her to pull back. But ultimately she moved behind him on the bed, parted his cheeks and stretched him wide.
He’d cried when she fucked him. Not because he didn’t like it, but because he did.
He’s all twisted. He knows that. She knew that, too, and she accepted him.
He makes himself climax in seconds from the memory, shooting in a jerking motion against the floor of the bathroom. But the release gives him no peace.
* * *
When she’s in bed that night, Hadley thinks about Reed Frost. She remembers the last time she connected with a lover—a man she met at a bar in Albuquerque. “Lover” is stretching what he was to her. She hadn’t expected to meet anyone that night either. She’d been working, writing by candlelight in a corner of the bar, and a drink had been delivered to her table.
The glass of good Scotch had been followed by the man, who spent the evening doing things to her that nobody had done before.
Up until then, she’d been a domme.
The stranger searched out her sub.
* * *
Frost sits at home in his empty apartment. He thinks of the journalist, and he wonders what she’s doing. He can imagine that she has a full social schedule. A girl who looks like that must be asked out every night of the week.
He considers, for the briefest moment, going out himself. Finding a bar. Getting a drink.
He has been alone since his ex left. He decided years ago that some people simply wind up alone. Law of averages, and all that.
If he wants a drink, he doesn’t need to go anywhere. He walks barefoot to his kitchen and grabs a beer from the twelve-pack he has in the fridge. Why leave? There’s steak and mushrooms in the fridge waiting to be fried up. There’s football on TV. He’s got everything he needs right here.