Kerri understands that her husband needs more from her in their marriage bed, but she can’t give it. Her mother taught her that if she ever loses herself in a man sexually, it will be even worse when he abandons her. Men don’t know how to love. Her mother must be right, since Kerri grew up without a father.
Malcolm pushes Kerri to experience passion, and as she edges past the terror of letting him in, a new life slowly opens for her. As the secrets of Kerri’s past—and her mother’s past—are revealed, it’s a whole new, exciting beginning to their sexual relationship.
Kerri Anne Shields stepped through the door and pressed her back against the wall, trying to blend into the darkened shadows. Music, not too loud but with a beat that reverberated in her chest, surrounded her.
What am I doing?
The question, or a variation of it, had repeated itself continually in her mind since she’d slipped on the silk top and skin-tight, thigh-hugging leather skirt earlier that evening.
The dim lighting of the club wasn’t low enough, she thought as she scanned the tables and lounge areas. It was a massive room with a polished bar at one end long enough to seat twenty, bottles of expensive liquor sparkling in the glow from the recessed lighting overhead.
The small round tables, fanning out from a darkened stage, were nearly full. There were men sitting with men, women with women, couples, and some tables with three or four in every state of dress from casual denim to leather to…Kerri gulped. Nothing. There were women sitting at those tables, some on chairs, some perched on men’s laps, others on their knees next to the chairs, completely naked except for collars around their necks. Some were attached to leash-like things that their… Oh, dear God, what am I doing here?
She dabbed her fingers over her perspiring top lip. She wasn’t sure she could do this. Sensory overload. Tension and lust filled the air, and she fought against their grasping, invisible fingers.
Her gaze shifted to the lounges, set up against the long wall a few steps higher than the tables. These rounded booths were surrounded on three sides by high backs, which kept them private from the other booths. But from her vantage point, she could see into each one of them. Some were totally dark, others had flickering candles on the tables. All had people in them. The place was packed.
What she tried not to see, not to stare at, were the couples engaged in sexual contact. But how could she ignore such a thing when it surrounded her? When the curiosity nearly consumed her? These people were doing in public things she refused to do in the privacy of her own bedroom.
In one booth, a woman was beneath the table between a man’s legs, her head bobbing up and down, the man’s eyes half-closed in obvious ecstasy. Not ten feet from where she stood, two men kissed, deep and with tongues, while one of them fondled the other’s exposed penis. At yet another table, a woman on the floor on her knees touched herself intimately while the man seated next to her watched and tugged at his erection.
I can’t do this. I can’t do this. Her heart thudded too hard. Her mouth was dry. Her body tingled every time she let her gaze wander to a new scene.
Kerri eased sideways toward the exit. She needed to leave before she lost the tight hold she had on herself.
She stifled a yelp as Malcolm stepped out of the shadows.
“I wasn’t sure you were going to show.” He moved close to her, cupped her cheek in one big hand, and lightly pressed his lips to hers.
That one little touch made her shiver as visions of what went on around them clouded her mind.
When he pulled back, she searched his dark eyes. Did he really want to have sex with her in public? In front of an audience? Surely, she wasn’t the only one who stared so openly.
The strange thing was, the thought didn’t disgust her. In fact, looking into Malcolm’s eyes, taking in his dark Italian complexion, a tiny wave of need spread through her that she tried desperately to quash.
Kerri raised her hand and touched his chest, the silk of his shirt smooth and warm beneath her fingers. He was the epitome of walking lust, dressed all in black. With his dark hair, dark eyes, and build of an athlete, he was an imposing figure. But she’d been with him long enough to know he was as soft as a marshmallow on the inside.
She licked her lips with a quick flick of her tongue. If he was such a marshmallow, why here and why now? The Devil’s Den wasn’t a place for a tender, gentle man. She hadn’t known the place existed a month ago. Not until Malcolm told her about it and asked her to read a couple of books he’d bought for her.
Books about submission and dominance. Bondage and discipline.
The lights dimmed even more, and a spotlight flicked on, illuminating the stage, drawing Kerri’s attention.
In the center of the stage, a woman stood, naked, attached to some kind of X-shaped contraption that kept her arms and legs spread wide.
“That’s called a St. Andrew’s Cross,” Malcolm whispered.
His warm breath on her ear made her shiver, and she fisted her hands to keep from touching him.
She’d read about things like the St. Andrew’s Cross. It was less elaborate than she expected. “What’s going to happen to her?”
From stage right entered a man dressed in all black leather—vest, pants, and a hood that covered everything but his eyes and mouth.
Kerri’s gut clenched, and she looked away. The figure was scary, but that wasn’t why she couldn’t watch. Her self-control was slipping, and she couldn’t let that happen. She was strong. She needed to fight the urges.
Malcolm’s gentle hand lifted her chin and turned her face toward the stage. “Watch.” His voice was firm, yet soft, and she glanced up into his eyes once again.
“I want you to watch and tell me if what you see makes you wet.”
Her breath caught for an instant because her nipples tightened at his words. Who was this man? Malcolm didn’t talk to her like that.
He turned her head again so she looked at the stage. The hooded man held a riding crop, and he was teasing it over the woman’s breasts, flicking the little leather piece across her nipples.
Malcolm wrapped his arm around Kerri’s waist, his big, warm body along her side, his hand settled proprietarily at her hip. The position was common enough in their relationship, but right now, it was different. Very possessive. Very sexual.
Those books she’d read talked about the give and take, push and pull of a discipline-submission relationship. All very technical. Scientific.
Her tummy quivering as she watched that horribly masked man fondle the woman’s breasts with a hard piece of leather had definitely not been discussed in those books.
The shot of excitement at seeing a naked woman spread out like that was new and a little terrifying. Kerri was one-hundred-percent heterosexual, but that woman, with her big breasts, small waist, and flared hips was beautiful. Tantalizing to look at. The expression of rapture on her face as the man slowly moved the tip of the riding crop lower, over her belly, to the neatly trimmed thatch of pubic hair, made Kerri yearn to let go and let herself experience all she tried so hard to avoid.
Did she, herself, want to be bound naked and watched by several dozen people?
Kerri bit her tongue and gave her head a small shake.
No, she was sure she did not. That was not who she was. This was not who she was. She was not leather and silk. She wasn’t a woman to submit to anyone, especially her husband. She’d worked too hard to maintain her independence, to never let her sexual needs dictate how she functioned.
When the woman’s soft moan carried to her across the room, Kerri’s core clenched, and she had to look away.
Tears stung her eyes and she tried to blink them back. She could not battle the urges when surrounded by so much brazen sexual conduct.
“Shh,” Malcolm whispered in her ear. “It’s okay.”
He didn’t try to make her look at the naked woman again. Instead, he stepped in front of her and laid his warm, soft lips against her temple. “You’re not ready for this. Let’s go home, baby.”
Her heart ached. Disappointment in herself weighed her down, but she nodded and turned for the door.
Malcolm needed more than she gave him. But to give him everything would ruin her. He was unsatisfied and it broke her to know she kept him from being happy.
She was weak, and it shamed her. She should be strong enough that she could watch such sexual congress without so much need building within her.
Malcolm held the door for her, and she stepped out into the night, sucking in the damp chill of early fall into her lungs. Malcolm slipped his hand into hers, and they walked to her car, where he held the door for her and she got behind the wheel.
Finally, Kerri looked up at him. “I’m sorry, Mal. I…”
He kissed her to silence her. “I’ll follow you home.” He kissed her again and then shut her door, smiled at her through the window and winked. He wasn’t upset with her.
He never got upset with her.
* * * * *
Malcolm pulled into the two-car garage just moments after Kerri, but she was out of her car and at the door to the house before he could shut the door of his pickup.
She stopped and turned toward him, her hand on the doorknob.
God, she looked hot in that short skirt and skin-tight tank. He’d never seen his wife so bare in public, and it had done what he’d thought it would do. Only, it obviously hadn’t done it for her. He’d been a fool to ask her to go to The Devil’s Den. She wasn’t ready. She probably never would be.
He stepped up to her and kissed her gently. “I love you, babe.”
She smiled up at him, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “I know. I love you too.”
The door opened. “Mommy, Daddy!” Justin cried and threw himself into Kerri’s arms.
“Hey, munchkin!” Kerri said with a laugh and hugged him tight. “How was your night with Shelly?”
The girl in question came around the corner from the kitchen. “You guys are home early. Hey, Mr. Shields. Cool outfit. Like the shirt.”
“Thanks,” Malcolm answered a little self-consciously. Shelly was the daughter of their next-door neighbor, sixteen and cute in a pimply teen kind of way. She babysat for them on a regular basis and was more of a big sister to Justin than a sitter.
Kerri moved past Shelly and into the kitchen. Malcolm pulled his wallet from his pocket, extracted thirty dollars, and held it out to Shelly.
“Mrs. Shields was only gone an hour and half. I didn’t earn the whole amount.”
“Take it. You can watch him another day for an hour and we’ll call it even.”
Shelly shrugged and took the cash. “Thanks. Guess I’ll get going then.” She turned away, and Malcolm followed her into the kitchen where Kerri had set Justin on the counter and was talking to him.
“Thank you, Shelly,” Kerri said, and gave the girl a quick hug. “If you still want help tomorrow afternoon on your math, stop on by around two. I should be back from the shop by then.”
“Great!” With a little bounce in her step, she kissed Justin on his head, gave him a fake punch to the arm, and headed for the front door. “See ya!”
“Later,” Malcolm said. Turning to his son, he asked, “So, how is it you’re still awake at…” He glanced at his watch. “…nine-thirty?”
Justin grinned. Four years old and all cuteness. “Shelly said I could stay up ’til ten.”
Kerri made a mock face of disapproval. “Hmm. We’re going to have to have a little talk with Shelly, aren’t we? Your bedtime is eight-thirty.”
Malcolm gave his boy a kiss on the head and a little squeeze. “Listen to your mom, boy. She’s always right.”
“Come on. I’ll read you a book.” Kerri set their son on the floor and took his hand. They disappeared up the stairs with Justin throwing out little protests about not staying up later.
Malcolm went to the liquor cabinet above the fridge and pulled down a bottle of Crown Royal. He poured himself a healthy shot in a rocks glass and headed up to the master bedroom.
He took off his shirt and flung it over the back of the chair under the window, kicked off his shoes, then settled against the headboard and grabbed the TV remote. Story time often lasted an hour, depending on Kerri’s mood and Justin’s level of begging.
Not twenty minutes later and forty different channels on which he’d found nothing to watch, Kerri came into the bedroom and shut the door behind her.
Damn, damn, damn. She still wore those spiky black heels with the leather straps crisscrossing up over her ankles. The soft leather skirt clung to her like skin.
He came up off the bed, took one last swallow of his drink, and moved toward her. They met in the middle of the bedroom. “Justin asleep?”
“Oh, yeah. He’s out for the night.”
Malcolm fingered her bare shoulder, teasing the strap of her tank top. “Good.” He leaned down and kissed her lips softly as he stroked his hand down her side, over her hip, the soft leather warm from her body.
Kerri leaned into him, raising her hands to his chest and letting out a soft sigh.
He wanted to pin her against the door and take her hard and fast. He needed to command, demand. But he held himself in check, as he always did with Kerri, and kissed her tenderly, just barely dipping his tongue between her lips while he touched her with gentle hands, when all he wanted was to crush her body against his.
Even so, his cock grew hard. His wife was beautiful, sexy, and she smelled like sunshine and lilacs. Closing his eyes, he kept his touch light while in his mind he did all the wicked things he dreamed of and his erection strained against his slacks.