Tied to the Tycoon

By: Chloe Cox

“Sit?” she finally said.

“We’re going to play.”

“Oh, we are, are we?”


“And who the hell are you?” she said.

He sat in silence, just toying with those cards. His fingers were little wonders, doing unconscious tricks, flipping cards, making them flutter and dance. Ava couldn’t help but wonder what else he could do with those hands.

She imagined he smiled as he said, “You didn’t have the stake to play with those other men.”

Ava narrowed her eyes. Who was this man? He spoke like he’d swallowed a bunch of gravel, or like he was trying to disguise his voice. But that was ridiculous; people didn’t really do things like that. It was just that the familiarity, the sense that she knew him, was intruding on every other thought, like a persistent itch. It was driving her crazy.

Maybe it was just his manner that made her crazy. She could tell already, whoever this man was, he belonged here. He was utterly dominant.

Ava thought back over the entire, bewildering night. In context—in this absurd context—it almost made sense that some sexy, smoldering man would sit down across from her in the dark and say incomprehensible things. Of course that would happen. This was Club Volare, and so far, it had been the weirdest night in Ava’s recent memory.

It had started off badly for Ava, with an unwelcome reversion to the shy, frightened version of herself that she thought she’d conquered long ago. It was just the sight of all these Doms or Masters or whatever they were, all of these good looking, wealthy men, knowing they were into BDSM and all the things Ava secretly fantasized about but hadn’t had the guts to pursue in ten years. Both times she had taken that chance, it had blown up in her face. She didn’t believe in fairy tales enough to think the third time would just magically work out.

So she’d wandered around this crazy fancy party, at this crazy fancy club she’d never known existed at the top of a crazy fancy hotel—and really, who expects that? A super exclusive BDSM sex club, or whatever it was, at the top of a five-star hotel? And who would have expected Stella Spencer to be into this life, of all people? Ava never would have predicted that, not in a million years, and that just added to her sense of disorientation. Ava was used to being able to read the people around her, to an almost uncomfortable degree, and now there were surprises popping up left and right. It was enough to make her question everything.

But her old friend Stella seemed happier than Ava had ever seen her. And marrying a sheikh. A sheikh. A sheikh who was obviously a Dom. Ava couldn’t help but wonder if she and Stella might have been able to talk about this stuff, if so many things might have gone differently if Ava had felt like there was someone who understood her.

For the brief moment when she had felt like there was someone who understood her, ages ago, she’d been truly happy.

But Ava had steeled herself, determined not to think about ancient history and the exact memories of heartbreak she was trying to leave behind by coming here tonight. She was surrounded now by rich, fancy Doms, some obvious submissives, and other types she was embarrassed not to be able to recognize—and hell, it was a party. If she ever wanted to indulge her fantasies, this was the place to do it. So why was she so scared? Hiding on the outskirts of the room like a wallflower? She hadn’t done that in years. And it was especially stupid, considering that this might be the place to secure her promotion at work, too. There were plenty of Fortune 500 faces running around the place, and at least some of them might be in need of a new advertising firm.

But she hadn’t been able to make herself mingle. It was all just too raw. Everywhere she looked, there was something that suggested sex, or bondage, or bondage and sex, and it all reminded her of a night she’d rather forget, and a man she’d never forget, no matter hard she tried. Funny that it didn’t primarily remind her of Peter, the terrible ex she’d fled, the one who’d confused dominance with being an abusive jerk, and who she’d actually dated for a long time. Instead, it reminded her of the guy she’d spent ten years trying to get over.

Up until tonight, she’d thought she had gotten over him.

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