The pool dropped away, spilling over a man-made cascade. To Cassandra’s eyes it looked, as was intended, to be pouring into the ocean not far below. The restless sigh of the surging Pacific waters competed with the swish of the pool’s waterfall.
“The house is maintained by the owner, so if you have any problems during your stay…”
“I’ll be fine.”
She just wanted the obsequious woman to go the fuck away. Her bags sat in the foyer, and she couldn’t wait for the door to close her into this place of solitude. She needed the break. She needed to reconnect with her muse; she needed to write. Renting “Infinity” for three months seemed like a great idea when she’d been stuck in the snow-bound northeast. A balmy breeze wafted across the water, bringing foreign scents to her. Flowers, the tang of ocean, the tang of chlorine from the pool; all combined into a heady essence. Yes, making this decision had definitely been one of the best she’d made in a long while.
“Here are your keys.”
The voice brought Cassie into awareness. She still wasn’t alone. Quickly she took the keys, signed the last of the documents, and all but shoved the real estate agent out the door. As it closed with a quiet thunk, she fell back against it as if to hold it shut from the outside world. She stayed there, eyes closed, until she was sure the woman had driven away. So sound-efficient was the home that even the subtle hum of the agents car hadn’t carried inside. Though the view was distorted, she peered through the glass bricks framing the door. No, the fire engine red convertible was no longer in the driveway.
“Thank you jeezuz,” she muttered.
Pushing off the door, she meant to wander through the house. It was so much more spectacular than the pictures online could show. The view from the back wall, a giant traverse of glass, transfixed her. The doors here folded open, and pocketed into the far walls. Outside the balcony area, the vast Pacific ocean glistened like cut gems under the noon sun. Beams of light cut through the green-blue water, throwing bright sparkles up and into the house. There was so much light! The sea, restless as she was, dazzled Cassandra. Used to the greener oceans of Maine, this view was one of so many hues. Peacock blue, teal green, all frosted with brilliant white caps. The sky was clear, the blue stretching from horizon to horizon, a few silver threads of cloud off in the distance.
It was paradise.
“I could lose days just standing here and looking,” she spoke out loud, in part, she thought, to break the thrall the view had over her. Turning back to the foyer, she scooped up two of her bags and went in search of the bedroom. A job started was half done, she remembered her mother saying.
“So, we begin.”
Sunset had played havoc with her writing.
The laptop lay quiescent on her lap. It had fallen into sleep mode as her eyes roamed the incredible view. The water was painted in shades of pink, purple, peach, the sky and ocean merging at times so that it was impossible to tell where one began and the other ended. With a last resplendent explosion of deep orange-red, the sun slid below the horizon and the sky began to fade to black.
“Wow. Just. Fucking. Wow.”
She breathed in the salt-tinged air; the scent of some heady flower was a strong undernote. If she could capture this and put it in a bottle, she’d spritz the air with it, wherever she went. Smiling at her whimsy, she thought about waking up her computer. The pool lights came up, all softly muted rainbow hues.
“Ooooh.” Her small sound of awe didn’t carry far into the night.
Or, there was that. Looking at the enticing water, she knew she had to be a part of it. Setting aside the laptop, she shrugged out of her sundress.
Her toe dipped into the water. Warm. Naturally. Slowly she descended the stone steps, the water lapping at calves and knees, thighs and pussy. Pushing off, she sliced through the water like an eel. Her head ducked under, her long hair streaming behind her as she moved through the comforting embrace of the water. Cresting at the far end, she gasped for breath. She hadn’t swum in ages. It had been a very long time since she’d done so nude. There was no comparison to the feel of warm liquid sluicing along ones skin. Her nipples rose at the kiss of evening air, but she wasn’t cold. Laying back she watched the stars popping out of the canvas of the sky.
He watched her swimming in the water like an eel. Smiling at her transparent joy, he thought about joining her. Not yet, though. Not quite yet.
She woke to the sound of the sea, needing to pee so badly that she wondered if she’d make it to the bathroom without leaking. Thankfully the en suite was close. She sat on the potty, feeling the almost sexual satisfaction of release. She’d been dreaming, she thought, of swimming. That dip in the pool last night had done wonders for her, not to mention the exhaustion of a trans-continental flight. She’d slept like a rock, dreaming of waves and water and sparkling lights. A sigh of deep contentment stretched into a wide yawn. Stretching as her flow stopped, she finally rose from the pot, deciding to head into the exquisite shower. Thick glass walls encircled her, yielding a tantalizing look towards the ocean. On the inside wall, more glass, etched to not reveal her body in the center section, but clear at the top and bottom of the panels. On the wall, an amazing array of jets, knobs, buttons enticed. Feeling a bit like an explorer in a foreign land, she spent a happy time figuring out how to use them. Not all of them, but certainly enough that she was very clean and tingly when she was done. A thick towel bundled her hair as she strolled naked through the house.
“Boys howdy, this is one fantabulistic room,” she exclaimed as she re-discovered the kitchen. Last night she’d only passed through, too tired to even think about eating. Now she was starving. While cooking wasn’t exactly her forte, this room had tons of bells and whistles, which would, she hoped, help make the odious task of food prep seem marginally more appealing. Across the room, a long granite counter ran in a curving arch. Trailing her fingers across it, she tried to imagine actually living here. Like, forever, and not just for the next three months. This room…the whole house, actually, was so very different from her east coast lifestyle, with its smaller, darker rooms. And hello…snow. She looked around to where tropical plants nestled into nooks throughout the capacious room, and beyond to the outdoors where the faint outlines of palm trees were barely visible in the predawn light. Here, nature lived as much inside as out. It was sleek, modern, without being obnoxious about it. No matter where she stood she could see the ocean. A large crystal bowl of fruit sat to the side of the cooktop. A small scrub sink was in the center. A pan rack hung over all.
“Now let’s see if they…” she whisked open a cabinet door. “…and they did! Yay!”
The agent had taken a list of her food requirements, promising to stock the house with all her favorites. It took her a minute to find the refrigerator, disguised as part of the rock wall. That too contained all she had asked for. There were veggies for salads, as well as the all-important milk for her tea. Opening drawers, she found cheese, eggs, bacon–everything she had put on that list. Amazing. How neat that she didn’t have to run out on her first day and find her way to the grocery store. She’d need to hug her editor the next time they met for suggesting this ‘runaway’ spot as she labored through her current novel. Who had known that ‘soft porn’ would sell so well that her publisher would agree to put her up in such luxurious surroundings? Then again, she had sold two books that were still on the top 100 book list. Not bad for a porn writer, she thought. Now to figure out what to have for breakfast.
She spent a happy hour hunting through the kitchen as she brewed tea, cooked toast, scrambled up some bacon and eggs. Taking her fiesta-ware plate to the breakfast nook, she couldn’t help the happy sigh. The nook was half-round, and looked like a small turret hanging out over the ocean. She opened one window a bit, shivering as the cool morning air moved across her bare skin.
She realized she was living just as one of her characters would…naked. The thought made her smile, because she was as unsubmissive as they came. At least, that’s what her former Dom had told her. That she was “uncooperative” and “unyielding”. That he was not interested in ‘taming’ her but having her come and sit like a good slut at his feet.
She shook her head.
Yeah. That stung. That he made her feel like she wasn’t a “good enough” submissive. Shaking her head again, she looked out at the ocean. Well, fuck him. Just another of the million reasons why she’d agreed to fly all this way to write.
In fucking paradise. Yup, this was certainly a sacrifice. She pushed away thoughts of her former lover, and raised her mug in a silent toast to her tropical oasis.
The sun broke over the hills behind the house, illuminating the pool, and the curved edge of the cliffs in the distance. Everything was outlined in a pure, golden light. Her chin rested in her cupped palm taking it all in, until her towel gave in to the effects of gravity and fell off. The resulting cascade of cold wet hair jolted her from her reverie. Grabbing her unruly mane before it fell into the eggy remains on her plate, she drew the damp and chilly towel over her shoulders, and carried her dishes to the sink.
She was up early, as was to be expected. Still on east-coast time. It took some effort to control himself from heading over to knock on her door and introduce himself. Yet this was the time that self-restraint was most critical. He watched as the curve of back and breast were revealed to him in teasing glimpses as she moved around the kitchen, until she moved out of the room, and out of his view.
This was easily her most favorite place in the entire house. Gazing across the pool deck, umbrella shading her tender skin from the warm California sun, she paused in her writing to watch a sea-gull rise up and ride the wind that flowed constantly over the cliffs. In the three days she’d been here, she’d spent more time here than anyplace else in the house. It was a gorgeous house…but out here, in March, knowing that another storm was barreling towards Maine with its incipient threat of major snow? Made this place even more priceless. Cassandra had talked to her editor yesterday, effusive about the house, and how her writing had suddenly exploded.
“Well, I always say, setting is everything,” Amanda had said, laughter in her voice. “Met any neighbors yet?”
“No, everyone is leaving me alone, which is exactly what I need.”
“You know there’s a thriving D/s community in Opal Bay, right? I put all contact info into the email I sent you…”
“No, but thanks anyway. I’m not here to hook up, Mandy. Just …write.”
“One writes best from what one knows and experiences…just sayin’,” Amanda said, her voice carefully neutral. “It’s an option, kid. That’s all. In case the quiet gets to you.”
Cass knew that Mandy would go crazy in a place like this, needing the electric charge of being with others…the more the better. But she was happy here. It was secluded. It was peaceful. And okay, it was safe.
There was nothing wrong with any of those things. She shook her head, lost in thought. After a full minute of silence, Mandy spoke again.
“Get back to work then, girl, and stop blathering on so much.” Amanda’s throaty laugh negated the miles between them, Cassandra thought as she signed off. Wouldn’t Mandy’s eyes widen when she received her email tomorrow? She’d written a ton of pages already. This setting was proving invaluable for her concentration, and the ideas kept flowing. Oh, she knew Mandy would “red pen” those pages to death, that they’d argue and tussle over some of the content, but gosh the work was almost pouring out of her head and through her fingers. Oh, but it had been good to talk to someone who understood her. Good to reconnect with home. She could almost picture Amanda dressed in that silly anorak, cussing as she pushed snow off her car. Glancing at the glint of sun on the waves, feeling the heat rising from the stone of the terrace, she lay her head back and let the breeze cool the sweat on her neck. No, it was definitely better here!
From her head-tipped-backwards recline, she watched the gull soar, thinking again about the “thriving D/s community” that Mandy had oh-so-casually mentioned. Damn her. So, sure, she missed a good beating. A good fucking…the flying of those endorphins–
The chime of the doorbell startled her. Who could possibly be visiting her? Maybe someone was lost. She sat, debating whether to answer it or ignore it. Fuck it. She didn’t owe anyone anything. Sitting up, she tickled her laptop awake and went back to writing. Immediately she was sucked back into the sordid tale. Her heroine was currently being tied up and threatened by an evil Dom who had a history of killing his subs. It was her darkest tale to date, and she needed to find a way for the “good Dom” to sweep in and rescue her without it seeming weak. Or maybe the slut would rescue herself and then submit to the less “dreamy” but so much better for her Dom. There was something very sexy about a strong woman submitting to someone.
She jumped a foot. She’d heard the expression, had certainly written it, but never experienced it before now. She caught her laptop as it almost catapulted to the flagstone terrace. The terror of losing her data send a sudden flare of pure rage through her.
“W-what…who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house?”
Adrenalin made her surge to her feet as she slid the computer safely back onto the table. He held up his hands in a “whoa there” gesture. And didn’t she wish she could stop scene writing at a time like this. Fear and nerves had her taking a step forward. Threatening. As if she, all of 5’2″ could take down this giant of a man. Okay, maybe not a Hulk kind of giant, but he was very tall.
“Actually,” he said, his voice somewhat apologetic, “it’s my house.”
She paused, the scowl freezing on her face.
“You own Infinity.”
“So you have a key.”
“Ergo your ….entry…to my fortress of solitude.”
“Superman? My how you’ve changed.”
And he laughed. She wished he hadn’t done that. He was wickedly attractive when he smiled that way. And he got her unintended Superman joke.
She shook her head, almost bit her lip to keep from laughing with him. Yes. Dangerous to encourage him.
“Well, thanks for visiting. Things are good and your home…my home for now…is perfect.”
“Pushy little thing aren’t you.”
“Well, I’m working…”
“Looked like daydreaming to me.”
“That’s half of writing you know. Background music, visual distractions, flights of fancy…”
The gull rose up the cliff soaring over their heads and called out in sheer joy. Her eyes slid from the mans and watched the bird ride the air. Looking at it for a minute or more, she almost forgot for a moment that she was not alone. If Allison could control her muscles the way that gull did, she could loosen the bindings on her wrists by tensing and flexing…sure! And that was how she could release herself, and yet still get rescued by Alex as she fled Dr. Monroe. The gull moved out of her visual range. She started to move to the table to get this new idea down while it glowed like a diamond in her mind. And saw the man still there, watching her.
“Oh. You’re still here.”
And he was watching her very intently. His eyes were taking her in, his lips curved in a very attractive half-moon.
“I need to get back to my heroine. She’s in mortal danger….”
“I like your stories.”
She stepped away from him, back towards the table. The muse was all but biting her ass.
“Look, if you go away now, we can chat and I can pretend to be sociable later. Not today. Maybe not tomorrow…I’m in the flow and you’re…”
“I’m the rock redirecting it. Got it. Friday is coming, in case you’re unaware of the days. I’ll see you then.”
“Sure. Sunset or something. Bring your suit. We can swim while we talk. No sex. I’m not here for that. Nor should you be.”
“No, of course not. And…sorry. I don’t…no. Not the pool. I’ll bring the wine.”
He turned. She watched as he moved through the kitchen and out of her sight, then sat and began typing furiously.
The story had taken on a life of its own. She’d been awake far into the night, and woke with new ‘fodder’ early in the day. It continued without surcease. For two days she pounded her keyboard, stopping only for tea, pee breaks, and her ritual sunset swim in the nude. She would float there in liminal time, watching the sea and sky paint one another, never the same for two seconds in a row. She’d been bemused, entertained, and moved so intensely that she’d cried.
Or maybe that was just the last of this run of story working through her.
On this morning, Friday according to her cell phone, she woke late, stretched languidly. The whirling cyclone had wrung her dry. Her fingers ached from typing, her brain was empty–as was her belly.
“Fat girl gotta eat,” she mumbled as she rose reluctantly from the soft linen sheets.
A shower that could have been, would have been, should have been lazy and luxurious, was cut short by an angry rumble from her midsection. Donning a towel for her hair, and a loose sundress for her body, she headed to the kitchen. A flick of her finger turned on the electric teapot, as she searched for the cupboard that contained the cereal. Breakfast would be fast and furious. Then she would take the rental car out for a ramble. She hoped she’d find her way to the beach, bum around some of the curio shops there. Maybe she’d find something silly for Mandy, who was likely already having orgasms as she read what Cassandra had sent before falling into bed last night.
Deciding to play on the wild side, she let the roof of the convertible slide down. Tucking her hair into a ponytail wasn’t enough, she discovered, as she schusshed her way down the curving mountain roads to the small town below. Hair pulled from her scrunchie and whipped across her face, up her nose, and generally annoyed her.
A scarf was going on her “to purchase” list, right up there with some banana’s and ice cream.
There was some traffic in what she called the ‘lowlands’, having no idea how Californian’s demarcated the varying terrain. The small town was bustling, and while it didn’t boast the size of some of it’s more posh and “sought after” neighbors, Opal Cove was definitely a secret tourist haven.
She found a place to park in a small lot behind Rusty’s Crab Shack. Though she loved them, she wasn’t dressed for the messy task of de-shelling such a treat. Another time, she thought. Downtown was bustling, the bright morning drawing the early risers to walk and explore. There was a wee bit of fog breaking up along the beach; the sun shone through it casting everything in a pearlescent…no…with those multiple flecks of light and color from the waves…opalescent glow. She could see how the area got its name.
She poked through a beach wear shop, finding a pretty sea-stone bracelet to send to Amanda, and a muted pastel silk scarf for her ride back up the mountain. Though there were other fine things to see, she preferred to not burden herself with ‘stuff’. Instead, she filed away the colors and scents and sounds to be reborn in one of her stories someday.
Her stomach growled again. Well, she had neglected it over the last few days. There was a place that served chicken sandwiches at an open window. Taking her meal, she found a stone warmed by the strengthening sunlight and sat to eat, absorbed in people watching. Colors, shapes, scents all so unfamiliar to her. She should maybe pick up a book on local flora and fauna. Though the internet was faster and easier, a book was precious. A gull soared over her head, close enough that she could hear his wings bending the wind. He peered down at her, oogling the last bits of her sandwich. She tossed a bit up to him. He caught it mid-flight, and winged away as several other gulls flew in quick pursuit.
“The locals frown on feeding the gulls.”
He startled her, again.
“Are you following me? Are you one of those crazy nutnick fanboys?”
He laughed. Tried to speak then laughed some more.
“I am,” he said as the laughter wound down, “most definitly not following you. This is just a happy coincidence.”
“Hmmm,” she said, still frowning. “I’m not a huge believer in that circumstance you know. You just happened to find me on this one little rock in all this place?” She waved her arm around, unseating her drink from its perch behind her. His quick grab-and-lift of her was the only thing that kept her butt from being drenched as the dark cola cascaded down the rock.
“Well.” She huffed, trying to not look as mortified as she felt. “And here you are, finding me and your hands all over me.”
His voice fell to a quiet, personal murmur.
“Believe me, Ms. Daniels, if and when my hands are all over you, you’ll be well aware of it.”
He’d used her nom de plume as a way of reassuring her, she supposed. Then again, she didn’t know if he’d even seen the rental agreement, most of which had her editor’s name on it. His fingers kneaded the tense muscles of her arms before falling away. She turned, scooping up the empty cup, took the steps away from him to throw it away, and hopefully, find her composure. He discomfited her, to be sure.
“I’m in town to get wine for our time tonight. Best store in town is there.” He gestured to a small package store tucked not far from where she’d bought her lunch. “I saw you sitting here. Actually, I saw the gull hovering, and hoped it wasn’t going to dive bomb you–they are bold creatures you know. And then I realized it was you, Ms. Lilith Daniels sitting here all alone. Which…I’m sure you’ll tell me is how you prefer it. Tell me, Ms. Daniels, how you can write so compellingly about people if you’re so set on keeping apart from them?”
She blinked, half-blinded by that opal glow in the air as she stared up at him.
“I like people. In small doses. Of course I interact with them. I’m talking to you aren’t I?”
His smile was brighter than the sun, though his eyes were dark as midnight, but he didn’t answer. He didn’t seem to be one of those that felt compelled to fill up every little void in a conversation with words and more words. Grudgingly she admitted that was a point in his favor.
“Fine. Thank you for saving my ass. And you can call me Cassie. That’s for Cassandra, my real name, one I don’t give out to every…” She stopped herself before she said her favorite wordplay, “every Tom’s dick was hairy”.
Leave it to him to pick up on her tiny hesitation.
“Uh huh. Not what you were going to say, I think. I need to go get our wine…and leave you to your own alone time. See you tonight.”
He turned and strode off. Truth was, the air was much quieter with him gone. He stirred something by his presence, to be sure. She was relieved to see the back of him. Kind of. His words clicked through her brain. Oh shit! It was Friday. Wine night. She hadn’t given that her full attention, and had actually forgotten about it. Double shit! She’d need to get some whore de durs as she always laughingly called them. Back home it sounded funny. Out here? They’d likely look down their snooty SoCal noses at her little witticism. And of course, not get it since people wouldn’t always admit to knowing who she was, even if they did recognize her. Muttering under her breath, she all but marched off in the direction of her car, hoping to find a grocery store close by. This social shit was a pain in the ass.
The sun cast long shadows across the concrete patio. Her sunglasses lay forgotten on the table as she watched the sky explode. She doubted she’d ever get used to such shows of light and color. The Pacific dazzled and glinted with so many colors it made her hands itch to capture it. Paints, watercolors, even colored pencils were denied her-she had no skill for any of those. But words were her gesso and paintpots. She hoped she could capture the brilliance with them. The breeze tossed her hair back, the sunset threw even more reds and golds into the tangled mess that cascaded behind her. She wanted to write it, right now, but her hands just lay there on the table to each side of her computer. The scene unrolled like a movie reel, each frame subtly different from the moment before it. The blue of the water changed hue, the sky glowed with an intensity that she’d seen nowhere else but here. She was lost in it, lost in the moment.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
His voice made her jump. The man was soundless, and it bugged the shit out of her.
“I know this is your house, but while I’m here, it’s mine. It would be great if you rang the bell or knocked like a normal person would.”
“I’m not “normal”–how unutterably boring would that be?”
She rolled her eyes. Who even said that?
Oh dear gods. . .had she said that aloud? Her mouth often ran rampant.
“You do. You use it regularly in your stories.”
“You’re disturbing the sunset.” Her voice was terse. Not really clear to her just now if it was annoyance or a hint of embarrassment.
“I assure you, my dear, that the sun has been setting right about there every evening for millenia, and nothing I or you could do would ‘disturb’ it. And for the record? I did ring your bell. When you didn’t answer I let myself in. Hard to hear it sometimes with the mesmerizing effects of that.”
His head nudged fractionally towards the water that was behind his left shoulder as he sat in a seat that angled to face her.
“If you came here to watch the sunset with me, shouldn’t you be watching it?”
The smile on his face did funny things to her belly.
“I am watching it, as it washes over you. I hear the purr of the water, seductively calling to her lover to return. His regret–the reds and golds and silvers, are also his promise to her that he will be back.”
She swallowed the lump that settled in her throat. His voice was husky, sexily so. Damn the man. Hands pressed to the arms of her chair, she began to rise.
He lifted a bottle to the table. It was open already, a faint wisp of condensation curling from the mouth of the bottle and sending a subtle scent of wizened red to her nostrils. The scent was so perfect with that of the sea and the fragrant wild lilac bushes that dotted the cliff edge. She sat back into her chair, and decided to ignore him and his damn perfectionism. No one was that …perfect. She hated overusing words, but that one just fit. On the horizon, thin clouds burst into a golden hue that staggered the senses. The water below was deep purple, with the refraction of a million shades of gold and pink echoed on every wavelet.
“Gods, how do you stand it?”
Her words were a moan of pure pleasure as her eyes drank in the sight that she knew she’d never tire of, and never forget.
“You don’t. You absorb it. You breathe it in, and you offer a prayer to Sol for the beauty of his leavetaking.”
“How very Zen of you.”
“This is Southern California, my dear.”
His smile teased at her senses, every bit as mesmerizing as the sunset had been. As night crawled across the sky, the lights in the pool came up.
“You haven’t tasted my wine yet.”
“Gl— how did you do that?” She stared at the two goblets. The bowls were almost perfect spheres, with some sort of etching around them. She swore they hadn’t been on the table a moment before.
“You were watching the sky show, not me.”
She sipped the wine. It was fruity, a bit sweet. Perfect. Of course. She almost rolled her eyes.
“Will you swim?”
He looked at the pool, shook his head with a faint smile.
“I’m on my period,” he said.
She threw back her head and laughed. Damn him for making her feel so comfortable. They talked then. He steered the conversation here, there, keeping it light and general, but always slightly amusing. He had a way of making her open up, and he was smart, too. She had to admit privately that his brains were more attractive to her than his pretty, perfect face.
“You sound like you’re eons old. All this talk of the way things were–as if you were there. Somehow I can’t picture you so into gold mining. It was dirty, rough work.”
“I’m not afraid of rough work…who do you think planted these grounds?”
She looked around. Though it was full dark now, she could trace in her mind’s eye the variety of plants, the little patches of gardens around the grounds, including the wild-seeming, yet carefully cultivated landscape of the pool and patio area. As someone who loved to get her hands into her gardens back home, she could appreciate the sheer amount of labor that went into creating this paradise. She was more than a little impressed.
“You didn’t hire it out?”
“Only the hardscape. All the rest were done with these.”
He held up his hands, turning them this way and that. Big hands. Hands she could privately imagine touching…but best not to go down that path, even in her imagination.
“I know your talents lay in your hands as well…and your brain. One only has to read one or two of your sordid tales to appreciate the depth of your imagination.”
She blinked. Was that a compliment?
“That was a compliment, I assure you. As a man who’s spent some time on the top side of the slash, as you so adroitly put it in your stories, I have a keen taste for the erotic word. You do it well. Very well. One does wonder if you are a practitioner as well as an imagineer?”
There was no swallowing the lump in her throat now, nor quelling the sudden tickling in the sensitive bud between her thighs. By the way his gaze sharpened on her, she knew that he knew just what his words had done to her.
Damn the man.
“I’m so drunk!”
Her slurred giggle sounded proud. As if achieving this status had taken skill, ability.
“I’m going to have to pour you into bed, little one.”
“I’m n—,no—, not.” A hiccup interrupted her thought. His lifting her from her chair and carrying her into the house erased all rational thought. He smelled good. Of sea air, and of the wine he’d brought. She thought about their destination, her bedroom, as her head spun.
“You’re very drunk, little girl.”
He set her on the bed. Big eyes stared up at him. It was tempting. It was easy. While he didn’t mind temptation, he wasn’t a big fan of easy. It was the hunt that excited. He’d gotten inside her head tonight, at least a little. Found out her limited experiences with being dominated. Found out her last Dom had left her a messed-up wreck. Found the fear beneath the lust. It would take time to work the fear around to worry, and from worry to trust. He had all the time he needed to do just that. The first step would begin now, by walking away while his body yearned to fall upon her and take.
He tugged the covers around her after removing her skirt. The curve of her calf was lovely, her thighs invited. Not model thin, but full and lovely to lay upon. Her tits pressed against her shirt but he knew revealing them would be an issue. He felt the hard bite of lust, and tamped it down. Tracing a finger over her lips, he felt her smile in the dark, before turning away.
His house lay further up the hill from hers, where he could sit and watch her when she worked outside on the pool patio, little did she know. Hidden behind rocks and landscaping, his view outshone hers, except that while she was here, and not up the hill in his bed, he paid scant attention to the natural beauty beyond his windows. His attention focused on her, on his desire for her. But tonight he drove down the hill to the small cove below both homes. From the houses above, down the mountainside to the edge of the sea, this land was his. The small crescent of beach gave way to rocky terrain. A rough path would take him back up to her pool. Standing in this spot he could hear the splash of the waterfall that cascaded ceaselessly from the infinity edge. Looking up, he watched the stars moving through the sky, while trying to push away the picture of her there in the bed, her body just that close.
So very tempting in her drunken innocence. But she was not an innocent, of course. Picking up a pebble, he tossed it into the sea, an offering of a sort, though he was always careful to keep his distance from the frothing hungry waves. Another temptation to avoid tonight. He turned his thoughts and feet from the ocean, and moved uphill to sit on a rocky outcrop and watch the breaking foam gleam under the faint glow of stars. Pondering, he thought about being a dominant. There was no one true way. No ‘right’ way. But there sure as hell were wrong ways. He thought about the woman sleeping soundly in the house above him. She hadn’t told all, but perhaps she’d told enough. He’d use those words to guide his actions. There would be time enough to guide her to knowing him, accepting him. In all ways. Rising from his craggy perch, he made his way easily through the darkness to his car, and returned home, knowing that he would not sleep so easily as his erstwhile companion.
She dreamt of the sea. Of moving through it effortlessly, cutting through the waves until she came to a flat and warm place, and floated. The sun was hot, beating down on her body, making her dip her toes to —
With a start she felt her leg fall off the bed. A strong beam of sunlight poured into the room, making her wince. While the hangover wasn’t that terrible, at least for now, the light was fair to piercing her eyeballs with its brilliance. She sat up carefully, noting a lukewarm cup of coffee and three aspirin on a tray on the bedside table. A note leaned against a vase with a single flower in it. It read “Drink this, take those” with an arrow pointing to the coffee and pills in turn. He had to have been here this morning. Had they? She remembered being terribly giddy, horribly horny. Wondering if she needed to apologize, she took up the coffee and aspirin, swallowing them down quickly. Her stomach churned a bit now that she was erect. A hot shower might cure that, but she’d give the coffee a chance first. She lay back after fluffing her pillows. Tried to remember where their conversations had led. He was very knowledgeable, and admitted to taking a fancy to her work. He was a fan, but not in an aggressive stalker-type of way. Which was a relief since she was living, for all intents and purposes, in his house. She remembered saying something to that effect to him, and his response that it was her house while she was here and writing. She had used the setting in her current work, but somehow she would need to weave him into the tale. A nod of thanks, of gratitude for this lovely place. And because he was such a lovely thing to look at. Not a thing. A person. But still. He was well put together. His hair was wavy and up close she could see the silver threads weaving through it. Not as young as she had first thought. Dammit but men seemed to age into their looks so much better than a woman did. Or maybe women just worried more about that sort of thing, she supposed. She rather doubted that he daubed wrinkle cream under his eyes each night before bed as was her usual bed-time ritual.
The sun burned into the room, bathing it in a golden glow. She closed her eyes and fell fast asleep.
In the later part of the morning, she roused. The coffee and aspirin seemed to do the trick, for she felt fine. Stretching, she rose and padded to the bathroom. She still had her shirt on, so she rather thought he’d been the gentleman and not used her horny, drunken state to fuck her. That pleased her deep down in the place where she still hoped chivalry lived. It was an odd feeling for one who also wanted to be tied up and used, will she, won’t she. Stepping into the spray, she let the thoughts bubble through her head–it gave her great fodder for her novel.
He watched her from above, her sundress rippling in the ocean breeze, her body unmoving except for her hands dancing over the keyboard. Fascinated, he watched as one hour rolled into a second, a third. There were occasional head shakes, fist-clenchings and punches thrown skyward. Then there were those few times where she leaned back in her chair and stretched. An enticing curve of tit was exposed during those stretches, where he could almost follow the soft curve up to a peaked (or so he imagined) nipple. His cock stirred. He had better control than this, he knew. She fascinated him, all unknowing of the spell she wove around him as she worked.
Shaking his head, he turned from the window. He had things to do, dammit.
A loud rumble from her middle was the first warning that she’d been at this for a long while. A deep breath, lifting her hands overhead, and gently moving her head from side to side, she began the task of uncramping muscles. The morning had slid into early afternoon, and she now had a tremendous body of work ready to send to her editor. A novel had never woven itself together so quickly. She’d even gotten ideas blooming about a follow-up story, though she rarely wrote two novels about the same characters. Plot points had danced so strongly in her mind that she’d drafted a quick outline so that she wouldn’t forget–though she doubted that she would. This story had her by the throat…and other areas too.
She had to give credit to location–it was easy enough to work here. The breeze, the sun, the scent of the sea air blowing up the cliff face, the call of gulls riding the wind; all conspired to relax her and allow her ideas to grow quickly. Stretching once more, she tipped her face to the sunshine, wiggled her toes, and breathed in the exotic scents of the blooming riot of flowers. The hiss and boom of the ocean drew her attention…really, this location was fabulous. Rising, she walked to the railing and looked down at the tireless waters below, imagining her characters dancing on the wide open patio, her female lead experiencing the hard bite of fear as the villain bent her back over the railing.
Shaking off the spell of the book, she looked out to sea, noting that there was dampness between her thighs. It was sometimes a bit embarrassing to realize that her own words could turn her on. She was always proud to arouse her readers, of course, but herself? The tale’s sudden dark twist had flicked a switch in her, one that would be hard to shut off. The fear of the ‘bad guy’ also created a different sort of sexual energy. One that was not prettily wrapped in a neat package. It was a minor scene, but an important turning point when the lead male character realized that Miranda had gone missing, and how conflicted his feelings were about that.
Of course, that lead her to thinking of how it would be to surrender herself the way Miranda had in the last scene she had written, allowing the Dungeon Master to take her to a private area and secure her to a frame to be whipped.
Whips scared the piss out of her, yet the thought of the sharp snapping sound in the air as her flesh waited for the blow, the burning sting of it kissing her back, the welts and marks it would leave behind–all of that was an erotic turn-on. How strangely wired she was to be so turned on by that which made her very nervous. Fearful, even. Between that, and the feeling of being secured, unable to move away, to stop it.
That was the heart of it, really. That and the wild rush that pain delivered. That feeling when pain erupted, was consumed, allowing it to grow and throb on the flesh while the mind relaxed and began to fly was one sought after by every submissive. Of course, that feeling had gotten her in way over her head with her last dominant. But she wasn’t going to think about that now. Her stomach rumbled again, and she turned her back on the sea, her novel, and headed for the kitchen for breakfast.
The afternoon had slid into early evening as she puttered about the house. She realized she was waiting. She didn’t know how she felt about that, actually. She who had prided herself on becoming a successful, independent submissive. Now she had morphed into being the “ultimate girl”. She wondered if he would call. Would he ask her to dinner? Or offer to stay in. Would she offer him a drink, a snack, sex?
Yes, that last one was the real kicker. He was attractive, to be sure, but the attraction went well below skin level, and deep into that crevice between her thighs. Dammit. Though he had an agent to handle the rental of this house, perhaps it would be better to think of him as the Landlord, rather than as a Dom.
It was pretty fucking hard to not think of him as a Dom.
She sighed, shaking herself out of her mood. Having given most of the day to her craft, she decided to head outside and explore the neighborhood. She’d been to town, but not gone to the cliffs edge. Hadn’t found the wee path that might, maybe if she was lucky, lead her down to the water. Maybe she’d stand in the surf so she could brag of having been in both oceans in her lifetime.
The sound of the doorbell carried across the patio, echoed in her pussy. It had to be him. As excited as her stories heroine, she moved towards the front door.
The cove was incredible. The beach here was narrow, a short strip of sand that arrowed into the water. Rocks poked above the surface here and there, likely fallen over time from the cliff above. Vegetation grew to the edge of the sand, clinging for dear life. The scent of the sea, of flowers, of cooling sand filled her with a curious sense of awe. Behind her, the dark wall of rock rose above her; the long expanse of the sea unfolded ahead. The gulls were away this evening, as the setting sun painted the sky once again. She stood ankle deep, as the waves rolled in, crashing occasionally to her knees. The water made a soft sigh as it rose and broke upon the land. There was a balm here, she thought. She wasn’t sure if it was the serenity of the place, the lack of a “normal” schedule, the “normal” places, but she was more at home here after a few days, than she had ever felt before.
“You’re in the water.”
The deep voice from behind her, jolted her from her reverie.. Turning quickly in surprise, she felt herself begin to fall. Arms pinwheeling comically in the air, she was doubly surprised when he snatched her up, carrying her up the beach and frowning down at her.
“Well, jeezuz,” she said, puffing out a breath. “You scared the fuck out of me.”
“I sincerely hope that is not possible. I have yet to experience the fuck in you…to lose it now would be a terrible waste.”
She shook her head in exasperation.
“You know what I meant.”
“You were in the water. Now you aren’t.”
“What is it with you and water? Wait. Don’t tell me. You get wet and you turn into a tentacle being?”
That had been the plotline in her last novel. Dropping her feet to the sand, he pulled her closer, close enough that she could feel his man nipples through his thin shirt.
‘No. Though I have no issue with entwining myself with you,” he murmured, before his lips kissed the tip of her nose. For a moment his arms wrapped her up tight. It was comforting, though she should have felt odd about it. They’d barely met, really, and the last time was pretty fuzzy.
“You’ve been working. Almost all day.” He pushed her back, hands on her shoulders, and gave her a little shake.
“You need to take care of yourself. I’m taking you out to dinner.”
Well, and there was the Dom. Not “should we go out to dinner, nor would you like to go out to eat with me,” but an order.
“You’re not my Dom.”
Her tummy gave a terrific growl, reminding her that a handful of crackers and a mug of cold coffee hadn’t been a great lunch. But her mind had been tangled up in her story, sifting action scenes as it settled. She’d be making revisions when she got back to the house, she knew, for some things didn’t sit well on her timeline.
“You’re working again.”
The smile leaked out. “I am. Occupational hazard. Wait…how did you know I worked all day?” The smile slid away, twisted around into a frown. His teeth gleamed as he grinned down at her, his hands settled safely on her hips. He couldn’t stop his fingers from kneading the soft flesh beneath her dress, but it kept them from wandering up to her tits.
“I can see you from my house when you’re out on the deck bent over that keyboard.”
Hmmm. That made her feel a bit uncomfortable, truth to tell.
“It’s not like I’m sitting and watching you all day, I just noticed that I’d go off and do something, and come back later and see you still in the same position.” He had taken her hand and was leading her up the cliff.
“Well, I’d hope not. That would sound a bit….”
“Well, yes. It’s not the first time an overly excited fan thought my books were based on real-time experience, you know.”
“Who’s watching Tentacle Man while you’re on the West Coast?”
He said it deadpan, she checked. And giggled.
She laughed this time. He made her feel good. Which kind of scared her, as Marcus had made her feel good–unless he made her feel bad. And he’d been really good at that.
The restaurant was quiet, upscale even for this beachy community. No hippies, only well dressed couples murmuring quietly. It would be a terrific setting, she mused, taking in the damask-covered tables, the elegant settings, the perfectly appointed room. Waiters handed menus, poured water, followed shortly by the sommelier.
He did ask her preference in wine, but really, she knew only what she researched online.
“Sweet,” she murmured. “Something sweet, not too heavy.”
He and the wine steward discussed the matter for a moment more, then the man nodded and glided away.
“You know your way around wines,” she murmured, her eyes sparkling. “Wish you’d been around during my second novel. I put a bit about Shiraz into a story, only to discover later that it tasted like vinegar.”
“A good Shiraz does not taste like vinegar,” he interjected.
“Oh, but it did. And then I felt guilty for weeks afterwards, thinking of the folks who read my stuff then went out and bought a bottle.”
“Some may have appreciated that, you know.”
“And some may have thought me a total wack job,” she laughed. “I was so disappointed, too. I had spent several hours doing research on various wines.”
“That was … a paragraph..less, even. A sentence. One sentence out of an entire book of sentences. Do you really spend that much time on such a minuscule detail?”
“Minuscule? There is such thing. Even a small detail should be somewhat accurate. I have no trouble skewing something to work for a story, but overall, I really do strive to make those sorts of things as true as I can. Imagine you’re reading along and you read that the sky is …chartreuse. It could really throw you off, since you pictured it teal. It is the difference between a reader enjoying your book, and throwing it across the room and saying ‘this is a piece of shit.’ ” She paused as the wine was brought to their table. He gestured to the steward to offer the sample to her. It was, of course, perfect.
He lay his hand on the menu as she moved to take it up. He said nothing, implied everything. They looked at one another for a long moment, before her eyes dropped, her hands moved to her lap. Her pulse nudged up a few beats. This wasn’t happening. This was a story. This was…
His foot nudged hers under the table, and her eyes rose to meet his.
“If I asked you to go into the ladies room and remove your panties, what would you do?”
9. Tossing and turning in her bed she replayed that scene at dinner over and over. Trying to imagine her face as he watched her, wondering if the lust she felt had been visible under the lust. Her nervous laugh had done nothing to ease the tension, until finally, he picked up his fork and toyed with it.
“That’s answer enough,” he’d said, cryptically.
As if her lack of an answer had answered his question clearly. It left her flustered and unsettled during the rest of the meal, and she barely remembered anything she’d eaten. After, he’d walked her to her car, helped her tie her new scarf over her hair, then ran his fingertip down the length of her nose.
“Later, chica,” he’d said with a smile, before walking off, hands in his pockets. He had a fine ass. Not that she’d looked. She’d just noticed, is all. Realizing that she was indeed staring, she hastily shoved the key into the ignition, and gotten out of town. She’d tried to write, but couldn’t get in a groove. She figured the days of powerwriting had drained her. Now she needed more fodder to amuse her brain. Booting up her computer after a fruitless prowl around the house–there was everything she needed at hand, and nothing she wanted–she zipped through her favorite porn blogs, then dove into the nastier websites. Some were so staged it was hard to feel anything after a few minutes. Boring. Repetitious. Unlikely. Yuck. Scrolling, searching, she finally found a few pictorial blogs that peaked her interest for a while. With a sigh and shake of her head, she shut it down. There was nothing here she wanted to see. She knew what she wanted it she had forbidden herself from going there. Sliding into bed, sliding into sleep, that would solve things.
And yet, here was, 230 a.m.
The minute ticked over. 2:31 a.m.
Her left side was uncomfortable. flip Her right side wasn’t quite it. Her hand rubbed at her crotch, but she could hear his voice in her head “If I asked you to go into the ladies room and remove your panties, what would you do?”
What would you do…what would you do…
“Stop it!” she sat up, growling. “Just. Stop.” Taking a deep breath, she slipped from the bed. The sound of the ocean far below beckoned. Grabbing her robe, she walked out to the terrace. The evening, even this late, was mild. A far cry from the Frozen North as so many called her home state. Snow lay on the ground back home, but here, it was moonlight on water, gilding the waves with flecks of gold. Far off in the distance, a froth of water signaled a whale. It wasn’t the first time she’d seen one, but it never failed to stir her spirit. Standing at the rail, the wind stirring her hair, she felt peaceful for the first time since leaving the restaurant with her landlord.
Wrapping her arms around herself, Cassie let herself think of him. Not block him, but let the thoughts she’d been hiding free, out into the night. Maybe they’d blow away in the breeze and she’d be free of the longings he stirred in her.
She didn’t know his name. Admittedly, she could find out by looking at the rental agreement. It must be in there somewhere. But it was peculiar that he’d not mentioned it. They didn’t speak names at all until she gave him her street name rather than her pen name. She’d been high at the time, all the intense writing giving her an adrenaline release that had filled her with such bliss that her guard was low.
He was pretty sneaky when you got right down to it. Not in a stalker-ish way, after all, she’d been the one to book the cottage. She laughed aloud. Cottage. A far cry from a cape cod house from her way. This thing was open concept, modern, sleek, with all the bells and whistles one might expect. Back home, she lived frugally. Here it was all about letting it all hang out.
Cassie had a feeling her Yankee was showing but what the fuck…it was 3 in the damn morning and she was watching moonlight dance on the ocean, rather than dreaming sex dreams for her book.