Read Tied Up and Twisted Online

Authors: Alison Tyler

Tied Up and Twisted (2 page)

Doesn’t he?

* * *

When Hadley meets Frost again—superficially for the interview—she knows exactly what she has to say. He appears disinterested from the moment he sits down. He’s not rude, but he’s not giving her anything to hold on to. She senses he’s built an invisible wall around himself since their first meeting. He’s mentally prepared; she can tell.

Hadley is grateful that she dressed professionally. She has on her favorite skirt suit over a crimson silk shirt, and she knows she looks urban and refined. She asks him all of the questions she needs the answers to in order to write her article. Even when she’s in lust, she doesn’t put aside her hardworking nature. That drive defines her. When she’s finished, he pushes his chair back, wood scraping floor. He’s ready to leave, but she has to stop him.

“I want you to train me,” she tells him. Her voice has changed from when she’d asked him the final question, moments before. There is a hush to her tone now. She is offering him the soft, tender skin of her underbelly. If he were a wolf, he’d grip her muzzle in his jaws in an alpha sign.

The statement works. He settles back into his chair. His silver eyebrows go up. A light in his blue eyes flickers, but she can tell that he thinks she’s joking. He actually smiles as he says the words, “You’re too old.”

She laughs as she lifts her coffee. He’s the first man ever to talk to her in this way. She’s right; she knows it. He’s the one. “No, not too old.”

“The ones I train have been putting their time in since kindergarten.”

Her chest tightens the same way it does right before she lets a whip land on a submissive’s hide. She puts her hand out on the table, imagining being able to slip her fingers under his. What if you could do what you craved, without the constraints of social mores? The world would be a completely different place. People might actually get what they want.

“I want you to train me,” she says again, louder this time. He doesn’t seem to understand.

All of the nervous gestures she’s worked for years to disassemble come back in force. Her head goes down. She looks up at him from under her glossy, dark bangs. She bites her bottom lip, hard, welcoming the immediate spark of pain as a way to clear her head. When she was a top, she was able to bury these glitches—what she has come to consider as the human side of herself—beneath an icy exterior. Somehow, that ability has disappeared. Frost does things to her.

“Don’t worry,” she says, almost more to herself than to him. She squeezes her thighs together under the table, feels her bare legs touch above the lacy tops of her stockings. She knows, in her mind, what this will be like, what she’s asking for. There are men who would snap her up in a heartbeat. She doesn’t want those men. Frost doesn’t see the treasure she’s offering. “Training me won’t be so difficult. I’m good. I simply need a little discipline.”

He looks at her directly. She feels that appraisal she sensed at their first meeting. “What do you want from me?” His voice is gruff. They’re talking for real now.

She can’t help herself. “How long do you have?”

He considers what he has to say. The heat between them is palpable, shimmering like hot liquid metal in the air. “I don’t think I can do this again.”

She’s confused, but she sees pain in his eyes, and she wishes she could help him. “We’ve never done anything before.”

“Not you,” he says.
“This.”
He acknowledges their connection with the slightest gesture of one finger. “It’s been too long for me. I’m accustomed to what I’ve got now.”

Everything in her wants him. She visualizes pushing away the table—hearing the coffee cups clattering—and crawling to him on the floor. She knows just what it would be like to undo his fly, suck his cock. If any of those behaviors were socially acceptable, she would be in motion. Or if this was a different type of establishment where the rules are skewered. There are so many places she could go, dark clubs. She knows the way down their shadowy alleys, knows they offer her salvation. She doesn’t want that. She wants him. None of this makes sense to her. Love at first sight is a fairy tale, and she no longer believes in fairy tales. But she feels something with this man. The fact that he hasn’t walked away gives her hope.

“What have you got now?” She has to ask the question, even though she doesn’t think she wants to know the answer. That’s the journalist in her, always digging in other people’s dirt.

He drains the rest of his coffee. The half-smile on his lips is bitter. “Nothing.”

* * *

“Good to see you back, Hadley,” the ginger-goateed bouncer says as she enters the building. Some habits are more difficult to break than others.

She nods curtly in response, feeling the rush of anticipation build inside her. This is what Hadley does when she’s in turmoil. She hits a club. The one she lands in is an old favorite. It’s dark inside—they’re all dark, but this one, with the rippling black satin on the ceilings and black painted walls, is like stepping into a midnight. Without stars. There are illuminated statements on the walls, artistic quotes bent into curved neon.

She wears all black this evening, as do most of the club’s clientele. Her hair is up, tight, shiny and neat, so that the back of her neck is exposed, not a strand loose. She feels cool and ready. The last time she visited, she was a different person. Guy tugged on the end of her leash, and she put him through the motions automatically, almost without thinking.

Now she’s different. She scans the room for someone who will play the way she wants to, someone who will exchange power with her for one night. Maybe she can put Mr. Reed Frost out of her head if the pain-and-pleasure mix is perfectly blended. A concoction of the most deliciously decadent sort is on her inner agenda.

As she looks over the rest of the players, a man comes up behind her and slides one hand on her waist. This is a greeting of equals, not a sub seeking her out, not a dom pushing her down so that her knees buckle and hit the floor. She turns and meets his eyes. The man’s name is Dean Murphy and he isn’t all about show, like Guy. He’s a gorgeous, leather-clad master who doesn’t give a fuck about the sex of his partners as long as they are willing to submit to his requirements. She’s seen him in action a handful of times, and she’s always had a colleague’s appreciation. Dean’s handsome and he’s hung, but she’s not going to fuck him. They will not be a long-term item: he cannot give her that elusive thing she’s looking for. But he can give her what she wants tonight.

And what she wants is discipline.

“You were missed, Hadley.”

She’s been a dominant for so long the craving for what she wants now feels exciting and new. There’s a crackle, like electricity, in her head.

“Dean,” she says, in greeting.

He has to press his lips to her ear so she can hear him over the throbbing techno beat. “Which lucky sub are you playing with tonight?” He motions to the figures around them, all those eyes watching hopefully.

“I want to play with you.”

He doesn’t pick up what she means. Why would a dom need a dom?

She takes his hand and places it on his silver belt buckle. He looks at her. Her heart pounds. She’s only been his peer in the past. What is she asking him for? She answers his unspoken query. “Do a scene with me?”

Now he understands. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

He hesitates only for a second before gripping her wrist. “Back room,” she says. He nods, accepting the fact that she’s letting him know what she wants. In the past she would have stalked forward, Guy following behind. Now Dean is the one who parts the crowd as he walks, and Hadley feels her cunt respond. She is going to be punished, and she will relish every stroke.

The fact that redemption is so close is flawless, golden foreplay to her. If she were to slide one hand down her skirt, she’d meet instant wetness. She’s grateful for Dean because she knows he will give her what she needs. The times she’s watched him on stage have told her so.

She’s seen him bind down both men and women. She’s seen him wield a crop, a quirt, a whip. She knows that he will respect her boundaries, but that he will take her right to the very edge. She wants to tell him that she’s ready. God, she is so fucking ready.

Dean is a man who knows his way around a rope. He ties Hadley into place with the artful gestures of a true bondage master. When he’s close to her face, he whispers, “Safe word?” and she says, “Angel,” naming her favorite rock tune.

Only when Hadley is bound does she finally feel the constant racing of her mind begin to slow. She has never fully understood why bondage works for her, but she accepts that this is her meditation. Her church. Her altar. She used to be the one doing the binding. Being forced to hold still takes her to a whole new level.

Dean lifts a crop. She shuts her eyes for a second, then opens them when he asks her a question: “You’re sure you want this?” he says. “You know what I can do.” He’s checking one last time.

Hadley knows better than to nod. She says, “Yes,” and she adds “sir,” even though the word feels alien on her lips.

The crop connects with her ass and she sucks in her breath.

Why does she like to play with pain? Why does giving in accentuate the pleasure for her? She used to ask Guy those sorts of questions, late at night, when she was putting him back together after taking him apart. Now she has to come to terms with them herself. But tonight she doesn’t ponder the whys—all she does is give in.

Dean whips her quickly, and neatly, lining up the blows. He punishes her through the black leather pants she’s wearing, and the fabric mutes the pain. She lasts longer than she thought she might, waiting until he gets in five blows with the crop before saying uncle.

With each stroke, she imagines Frost holding the handle of the weapon.

* * *

Guy watches the entire exchange while leaning against a wall and feeling as if he’s fallen down a rabbit hole into hell. He can’t believe what he’s seeing. People change. He knows that. But he doesn’t think this is really Hadley. It couldn’t be.

Christ. She’s back in town. His wish has come true. Who knew that getting what you dreamed of could feel so fucking wrong?

* * *

The article runs in the paper, and this gives Hadley the reason to return to the gym. She could mail the piece. But she wants to see Frost. Needs to see him. She stands outside the gym, wavers, returns to her car.

The local mom-and-pop bookstore doesn’t carry any porn. (Mom’s decision, she thinks snidely to herself. Pop would carry smut.) She can’t find the titles she desires. It’s a trip to San Francisco before she locates a bookstore that fulfills her requests. She buys him
The Story of O.
She buys him
9½ Weeks.
She puts those along with the article into a brown paper mailer and sends them to his attention at the gym.

Personal and Confidential.

She hopes Guy doesn’t get to the mailer first.

That night it is another trip to the club. To take the edge off, she tells herself, like a junkie would. To fill the need. She’s always had those needs, the ones that wake her up in the night—or keep her from falling asleep in the first place. Top or bottom, there are urges, cravings. The ones that make her attempt to punish herself when nobody else is available. She’s not that capable. She pulls back. Spanking your own ass does nothing—you can’t feel the sting. Not the way you can when there’s a master on the other end of the whip.

She takes care of her needs in other ways. Dom or sub. No one else would be able to guess. She pushes herself when she works out. When she does anything. She always has to go one step past the finish line, has to cross the line before anyone else.

Guy calls her cell phone as she’s arriving at the club. “Come on, Hadley. Don’t shut me out.”

She won’t rehash their final fight. Now that she has distance, she can see that nobody was right and nobody was wrong. They simply don’t mesh.

“Frost won’t be able to give you what you need.”

“You have no idea what I need.”

“I used to.”

“That and my vibrator will get me off.”

She hangs up and shakes her head. Of course, her ex would be working at the same place as the man she desires. That’s the kind of luck she has.

* * *

Unfortunately, Guy knows her too well. That’s her fault. She had him trained to anticipate her desires. She’s in a corner of the club when he arrives. He’s wearing leather and black, and he moves with the elegance that drew her to him in the first place.

On the surface Guy is everything she ever desired. Scratch the surface and, as she discovered, there isn’t much there. Guy is all about his attire, his perfect body, his luxurious hair. He couldn’t get to the place she needed to be—couldn’t take her there, beyond the shiny exterior, into the slithery mess of her mind.

But that’s not entirely fair.

When they were together, she didn’t really know what she needed. Now she does.

He spies her, and he starts moving through the crowd. Fuck. Hadley heads quickly in the opposite direction. Her motion halts Guy. That sums up their relationship in the crack of a whip. He sees her approach Dean, and he grimaces.

“Twice in a week,” Dean says, and his hand grips the back of her neck. “I must have won the fucking lottery.”

Dean is less hesitant this time. He treats her the way he would any other sub. The respect of dom to dom has entirely disappeared. All Dean wants to do is be on top. Hadley is thankful for that. She needs to feel the heat of the pain in her soul. She wants to own every blow.

He uses a slapper this time—two pieces of leather attached together at the handle. The noise is more startling than the pain. She knows all about this particular tool. She’s had her own for years, and it was always one of her favorites. Every time the leather connects, her pussy contracts. She can feel that Dean is whipping her carefully, in order to make the scene last. Not too hard, but forcefully. He clearly doesn’t want it to be over before they start.

She knows that out there in the crowd, Guy is paying careful attention. She wonders how many times he will stroke his hair while he drinks in the scene.

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