For psychologist Leo Meyer, peace and comfort come through strict discipline and order. It’s one of the reasons he was chosen by Julian Lodge to be the Dom in residence at his club. His time there has been a near-perfect existence filled with a daily routine free from the chaos of emotional attachment. With the exception of his brief relationship with Shelley McNamara, that is. She may have been the only woman he ever truly loved, but he was confident he had put her out of his mind until she walked into his club on the arm of another man.
Shelley McNamara is tired of waiting for her new life to begin. After finally finding freedom from an abusive marriage, she is eager to discover who she really is. After her encounter with Leo Meyer, she knows that the first thing she wants to explore is the lifestyle he exposed her to during their brief time together. She’s been promised her new Dom will be an excellent fit, but she can’t imagine anyone could fill the hole left by Leo. Until she sees Master Wolf.
After a devastating injury forced his retirement from the Navy SEALs, Wolf has been restless and lost. Hoping to reconnect with his estranged family in Dallas, Wolf accepted a new job working for Julian Lodge. His first assignment is training a beautiful woman named Shelley. Her fiery nature unlocks feelings he didn’t know he was capable of after a life spent in combat. The closer they become, the more certain he is that she is his ideal mate. The only catch is that her relationship with Leo may not be as resolved as they both believed.
Just when Shelley believes the looming shadow of her deceased husband has finally cleared away, a dangerous killer arrives at her door seeking retribution. Leo and Wolf will have to put their grievances aside, leverage all their training, and work together to keep her safe and claim her heart.
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Shelley watched as Julian Lodge’s perfectly formed body wielded the whip. There was a crack through the air and a snap back, and then a thin, red line welled on the white flesh of Finn’s back.
Shelley took an unconscious step away from the stage and right into Wolf’s chest.
“Shhh, it’s all right, sweetheart,” Wolf whispered against her ear. “Finn loves this. From what I understand, Finn has been Julian’s submissive for years. They know what they’re doing and what it takes for Finn to find his subspace.”
She gasped as the whip cracked again, the sound violent, like a snake striking from nowhere. She kept her voice low. “I don’t see how Finn isn’t screaming.”
“It sounds worse than it is.”
She looked over and Leo was standing right beside them. She thought he’d walked away, felt more comfortable with him walking away. But he was standing right there beside his brother, dressed almost identically. Two amazingly gorgeous men.
Yeah, if she hadn’t had ménage fantasies before, she sure as hell had them now. Why had she ever put that down on the questionnaire?
Because there was a part of her that wanted what Trev had found. Because there was a part of her that wanted the balance of two men just in case one of them turned out to be a criminally minded douchebag. Because she didn’t trust herself anymore.
And because the whole month she’d spent talking to Wolf, she’d had fantasies about Leo suddenly turning around and both men wanting her. But that was all it was, a fantasy.
“Don’t be afraid, sweetheart,” Wolf said, his arms encircling her. He was so protective, but could she trust him?
“She isn’t afraid. She’s worried. That’s her worried face. Her brows wrinkle, and she gets this deep line right in the middle of her forehead.”
Trust Leo to have noticed that.
“Sweetheart, we don’t have to play with the whip if you don’t want to,” Wolf assured her. “But you should know that what you hear, that cracking sound is something Julian controls with the flick of his wrist. Really look at Finn’s back. Julian is in complete control. That whip can be horrible if he handles it wrong. Or it can whisper across Finn’s skin. It can bite on the right side of pain. It can be what Finn needs it to be. Do you see any blood?”
She didn’t. There were several pink lines on Finn’s flesh, and now she could see the way he’d relaxed, his shoulders slumping and head lolling back. Finn seemed to be getting what he needed.
“He feels like you did when I spanked you.” Wolf’s voice was a deep rumble over her skin.
“You spanked her?” Leo sounded like Wolf had said he’d beaten the crap out of her.
Julian turned and stared back because Leo’s voice had carried through the dungeon.
“Sorry,” Leo said, holding a hand up.
She felt Wolf move behind her as Julian turned back to his task. That crack split the air again, but she saw it differently now. The spanking Wolf had given her had been so different. It had changed her world.
Wolf leaned over behind her, speaking to Leo. “She ignored certain key parts of our contract. She was assaulted, and she didn’t call me. I went to her place, and she was there with some fucking former SEAL mercenary shit.”
“Holder?” Leo asked the one-word question with a sort of hushed awe.
“Yeah, how did you know?” Wolf asked. “Wait. He called you, right?”
“Yes,” Leo replied. “Did you say she was assaulted? Get back here. We can’t talk up here.”
She was pulled back, two arms on either of hers. She almost stumbled, but Wolf held her up. He finally cursed and shoved a bulky arm under her knees, hauling her against his chest. He followed his brother as Leo made his way through to the back of the crowd. She could hear the whip crack again and again, Finn’s soft moans filling the air, making her believe he was enjoying the experience.
What would it be like to trust someone the way Finn trusted Julian?
“Explain.” One word, but Leo made it sound like a long Shakespearian speech.
“She had her laptop stolen on the train,” Wolf replied before she could get the words out. She was rapidly figuring out her response was not required.
“She was robbed?” Leo asked like he gave a damn. Logan had followed him, staying behind Leo like a properly trained lackey.
“Yes, I was,” she managed, keeping her voice down because even she knew not to disrupt a scene. “Though the thief was an idiot because I bought that laptop bag at Target, and he had full access to a handmade Versace. I know which one I would have stolen.”
Wolf turned her toward him. “Are you sure about that? He could see it? He had obvious access to something that was more valuable?”
She nodded. “Yes, he stared at it. There’s no way he could mistake my bag as the more expensive one. That Versace was beautiful. Mine was beaten up. I shoved it on the floor. The leather is warped. It got wet. I was stupid and set it down in the rain when I was trying to unlock my car. I can’t replace it so it looks like hell.”
“So the only thing valuable was the laptop, and it was visible?” Leo asked.
“No,” Shelley said quietly, well aware she was still in the middle of a scene. This couldn’t wait until later? “My laptop bag was big enough that I could close it.”
Wolf and Leo shared a long look.
“I’ll check into it,” Wolf said, his words sounding like a promise.
“Have you read her file?” Leo asked.
“I have a file?” She wasn’t aware of it. Crap. She should have been. Julian Lodge looked like the kind of man who kept a lot of files.
“Of course,” Wolf replied. He turned back to Leo. “You think this is about her ex? I can go talk to Tag right now.”
Shelley’s skin went cold. What about her ex?
“No idea,” Leo answered. “But if someone is coming after her, I want to know what it’s about.”
“I’ll look into it,” Wolf promised.
Leo nodded. “I’ll let Tag know, but he’s the one who trained Ben and Chase. They’re specifically here to handle things like this. We’ll meet tomorrow at noon. Chase is one of the best hackers in the world. If someone has said anything about her on the net, Chase can find it. If some asshole wrote an e-mail about her, Chase can give it to you.”
“We’ll be there,” Wolf promised.
“I will?” Shelley asked.
“You will.” Wolf and Leo said the words at the same time, with the same deep inflection.
“Fine.” She couldn’t fight both of them.
There was a long pause. She stared at the scene in front of her. She thought they were being overly protective, but then she hadn’t had anyone who was protective of her besides her brother in years. Maybe never since her father died. Bryce had married her for specific reasons, and when those dried up, he’d ignored her.
“Did he hurt you?” Leo asked, putting his hands on her shoulders and turning her around.
“No.” She looked into his face, stark and lovely. God, he was a beautiful man. “He didn’t touch me. He just took my bag.”
The whip cracked again. She turned her face back, but now she was flustered. Her heart was racing. Why had that man taken her bag when there was something much more valuable in his grasp?
Had it been random? Why wouldn’t it be random? What could she have that someone really wanted? She was living hand to mouth. She’d lost all of the property she’d owned with Bryce.
“Hey, calm down,” Wolf ordered, his voice commanding her. “We’re going to handle it.”
Leo watched her for a moment. “She sometimes has anxiety attacks, nothing serious, but she can get herself worked up. If you don’t talk her down, she’ll be anxious for hours. Shelley, why don’t we all go up to my office and we can talk about what’s making you nervous?”
Now Leo was making her nervous. God, the last thing she wanted was to become one of Leo’s patients.
“I think I can handle this, brother,” Wolf said, taking her hands in his.
Leo’s eyes narrowed. “And I think I’m the one with the degree in psychology. If she doesn’t want to talk to me, I’ll go get Janine. Honestly, I should have thought about putting her in Janine’s group in the first place.”
Wolf squared off with his brother. “She’s my sub, Leo. I have zero problem with her getting into Janine’s group, but for now let me handle her in the way I see fit.”
She wasn’t sure what group they were talking about, but it didn’t seem like the time to argue. Leo stood, his arms across his chest, and she worried for a moment that he was going to argue with Wolf.
“I want to stay with Wolf.” She looked up at Leo. This was the longest conversation they’d had in fifteen months, and instead of being her friend, he wanted to be her shrink. She didn’t want that. She wanted what Wolf could give her.
Leo took a step back, his disengagement clear. “Of course. Come along, Logan. We still have work to do.”
The two men walked away, losing themselves in the crowd.
“Come on.” Wolf pulled her back toward a corner of the room. She could still see the stage, but it was slightly darker away from the lights. Wolf settled his big body on a chair that had been shoved into the corner. “Sit down. We’re going to talk for a minute. What’s your safe word?”
She needed a safe word to talk? “Gucci. I have to find a chair. Hold on.”
His hand came out to tug her to him, settling her on his lap. She was surrounded by him, his arms encircling her waist, the warmth of his chest touching her skin. “Did you do as I asked?”
“What did you ask?” She had to put her arms around his neck for balance.
Wolf’s hand was on her knee. “I gave you some specific grooming instructions.”
Oh, god. She shivered. He was talking about her pussy. She’d thought about him the whole time she’d been in the shower. She hadn’t been able to think about anything else. She’d carefully shaved her mound, pulling the lips of her pussy apart and gingerly running the razor over her flesh. Every stroke of the razor had sensitized her skin. “Yes, Sir.”
“Let me feel. Spread your legs.”
She swallowed, hesitating. “But there are people here.”
The Dawson twins were close, Kitten at their side. And Ian and Charlotte Taggart were cuddled together, not far away. She could see the big, sarcastic dude whispering to his wife.
Wolf’s voice came out in a hard grind. “I don’t care. And neither will they. Now spread your legs and let me feel your pussy or use your safe word.”
It didn’t exactly seem fair, but she’d known it would be this way going in. She could choose to obey or this particular portion of her evening would be over. And she wasn’t sure she wanted it to be over.
Shelley took a deep breath. She was either in and willing to explore or she should walk away. She’d been so passive when it came to Bryce because she hadn’t been willing to fight. She wanted to be done with waiting for something to happen to her. Wolf was giving her a choice. This wasn’t some passive activity. She had to make the decision.
She spread her knees. She looked around, trying to see if anyone was watching.
“Stop it,” Wolf said, his hands tightening. “You’re not to worry about them. You’re going to focus on me. Now, I gave you instructions, and I intend to find out if you followed them or if you’re going to get another spanking.”
She wouldn’t mind the spanking, but in this case, she’d been a good girl. And despite the fact that it had made her uncomfortable, she’d only put on the clothes Wolf had given her. And he hadn’t given her a pair of underwear.
He kept one arm wrapped around her waist, and the other found her knee. He forced her to open further. She could feel the cool air on her flesh. A thrill went through her. She’d never done anything like this, but she’d dreamed of it. In her darker fantasies, she’d been placed on display and touched and admired. Bryce had told her she was a freak when she’d mentioned her desires to him.
But she didn’t want to think about Bryce. She wanted to think about Wolf’s hand on her thigh.
“Tell me something, sweetheart.” Wolf’s voice was thick and dark, his lips tickling her ear. “Are you thinking about what happened on the train now?”
So this was Wolf’s version of therapy. She had to admit, she preferred Wolf’s hands on her to sitting in Leo’s office.
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.