Not Safe for Work

By: L. A. Witt


“Is that right?”

He nodded again, this time lowering his gaze. “I…might’ve scheduled a few extra meetings that we didn’t really need.”

I moistened my lips. “Seems like a lot of time and money, considering we weren’t even talking to each other.”

“It was worth it. Sometimes I thought I was being an idiot, but it did benefit the projects we were working on. And it…” He hesitated before looking me in the eye. “It gave me a lot to, um, think about.”

“Such as?”

His Adam’s apple jumped. “All the things I wanted a man like you to do to me. Like…like you tying me up until I can’t move. And then fucking me until I can’t move tomorrow.”

Oh. My God.

“Is that all?”

“Yeah, right.” He jumped, as if his smartass answer had come out before he could tell himself that was no way to talk to a man he wanted dominating him. He cleared his throat and quickly added, “To be honest, I’ve been attracted to you since the very first meeting they dragged you into.”

“You—really?”

“Definitely. Finding out you’re single and into men, and you’re kinky…” He pressed his toe into the ball of my foot and sent electricity up my leg. “Seemed like you might be too good to be true. But so far…”

Is this really coming from Rick Pierce? What the fuck?

I swallowed. “I’m still waiting for a camera crew to jump out and tell me this is a prank.”

“No cameras. No prank.” He slid his foot out from under mine and traced my arch. “Just someone who’s curious how long it’s going to take you to put your money where your mouth is.”

“My—” I narrowed my eyes. “You’re awfully mouthy for a sub.”

He tensed but returned my challenging look, as if he knew he was on thin ice but wanted to see how long it would hold him. “You didn’t think I’d be easy, did you?”

Gulp. Holy shit.

“I do like a challenge.” I held his gaze, lifting my chin slightly again. “Well, tonight we can stop with a drink. Or we can see if we’re…compatible.”

He broke eye contact for a split second. “What do you want to do?”

“I think you know exactly what I want to do.”

“Then I guess…” He tapped his fingers nervously. “I guess I should be asking where.”

I held his gaze. It wasn’t beneath me to bring someone home on a first date, and I wasn’t opposed to going to their place after little more than a cursory introduction. But we had to tread carefully. Kink required a certain level of trust, and we were still more or less strangers. Location wasn’t something to take lightly. My place denied him home-turf advantage. His might bring me too close to some carefully laid boundaries.

I thumbed the edge of my glass. “A hotel is probably best. Neutral territory.”

Rick nodded, the faintest bit of tension melting out of his shoulders. “Good idea.”

I sat straighter. “I’m going to pay our tab, and then we’re going to get the hell out of here.”

“Wasn’t I going to buy you a drink?”

“It was iced tea. I can handle it.” I gestured toward the door. “You stop on the way and get any…essentials you think we’re going to need tonight. I’ll meet you in the lobby of the Coastal Star Hotel.”

Rick nodded. “Okay. Will do.”

We didn’t have much of a tab to pay for—iced tea and water didn’t rack up a tremendous bill—but I left the waitress a big tip for putting up with us. Then we slid out of the booth and headed downstairs to the parking garage.

We didn’t talk on the way down the stairs, and each time we came to a landing, I expected him to break off, saying he’d parked on this level while I continued down to the lowest one. But we were still together when we reached the bottom.

A small cluster of cars took up the middle rows, with my Camry all by itself near the far wall.

“I’m over there.” I gestured toward it. “What about you?”

“Right here.” He pressed the button on his key fob, and the lights flashed on a black Mercedes a few feet away. He stopped, spinning the key ring on his finger. “So…I’ll meet you…”

“The Coastal Star Hotel.”

“Right. Right. So I guess I’ll…”

“See you there?”

“Yeah.”

But neither of us moved.

We made eye contact. Broke it. Made it again. My heart was going crazy, as much from excitement as this alien nervousness. I didn’t think I’d been this nervous since I was nineteen and trying to work up the courage to kiss the woman who’d one day be my ex-wife.

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