Ellis Parker is a military man who puts his faith in truth, duty, honor, and living for the moment.
Keeping that peace isn't easy, and he reveres the person who helps him stay on his chosen path: Ellis' former Dominant lover and New Amsterdam's most well-connected bartender, Maxwell Clark.
So when Clark makes a rare and unexpected offer that might let Ellis relive the days when Ellis was Clark's, who is Ellis to refuse such a chance?
Now Clark had every iota of Ellis's attention. "That sounds ... great."
"You'd think so, wouldn't you?" Clark sighed and ran a hand through his hair. Thick, rich hair that had gone gray early in life. "But I'm having a bitch of a time finding someone who agrees with us. I mean, sure, there's a couple, but then I run into this other problem."
"What problem?" Ellis blinked, wondering how anything could be a problem once Clark got someone into a room with a lock on the door.
"Eh." Clark shrugged and appeared almost sheepish. "It's hard, you know, telling somebody what you want. I get that. Swear to Christ, I do." Clark's eyes widened for a second. "But lately I've been running into people who either won't cough it up no matter what, or when they 'fess up, it's not anything I can do for them."
"You can't do something? But you can do anything," Ellis said, waving both hands in the air. He'd seen Clark in action at the gun range, at the Dojo, and during the support group meetings. The man was fearless.
Clark's smile was tender. "Thanks, Ellis. Your confidence means a lot. But I meant more like limitations on kink. I don't do waste management, I don't get behind the bloodletting stuff, no rape fantasies, no humiliation ... Shit, hard enough to get into the Crypt to play. The last thing I'm going to do is make somebody feel like hell for agreeing to be there."
Ellis nodded, trying to look like he knew what Clark was talking about. "That seems reasonable."
"Thank you!" Clark exclaimed, throwing up his hands. "I think so too, but the other night I get halfway through this list, and some guy's like, 'You won't call me 'whore' while you smack the fuck out of my balls?' and I'm like, 'Ah, no, buddy. Sorry.' And off he goes to the land of misguided, so-called better Domming." Clark rolled his eyes. "There's plenty of shit I will do. Am happy to do. Bondage, rope, leather, flogging, electro-play, crops, knives, paddles, I can even manage a single tail, but does he hear that? Noooo ..."
"Well ... um ... why does it matter what he wants or doesn't want?" Ellis asked, puzzled. "If you're the Dom ..."
"What the submissive wants and will or won't do are the rules by which I play," Clark said, suddenly sober and serious and much, much closer. Ellis's cock twitched, and he had to adjust his position.
Clark smiled. "In my Dominant opinion, that's what any good Dom will do for his sub partner: hear what he wants and make something that works in those realms. And any good sub will be honest with what he can or can't abide and call safeword if he's in trouble or if something scares or surprises him or he needs a break."
"Oh." Ellis closed his eyes, and flashes of the things he'd been seeing in his head since he'd met Clark flowed behind his eyelids. Ellis opened his eyes to see Clark studying him. "That sounds amazing."
"Don't get me wrong," Clark said, sitting back again. "I'll change things up if the need arises or do things within the boundaries we set that my guy's not really suspecting, but ..." Clark sighed. "You have to have a good idea of where the hell you're going before you saddle up, and lately people just won't talk to me." Clark sounded very upset by this development. "I mean, c'mon, Ellis, you know me. I'm easy to talk to, right?"
"Yeah." Ellis remembered the sessions at the support group, and how simple a thing it had been to confess to Clark that he was gay. "Real easy."
"See?" Clark said as if Ellis's opinion proved the rule. "I know if you and I were to play that you'd just tell me what you wanted. You know I'd listen, you know I'd get it, and we'd have a damned good time. I'm not this scary fucker you can't approach because you're afraid I'll beat your ass with a crowbar for bothering me, right?"
"Right!" Ellis looked up at Clark and chuckled. "You're only scary in the dojo, sir. And it's been easy telling you shit in the support group I've never said to anyone else. So, yeah, I would do my best to really talk about what I wanted."
"Perfect," Clark praised, sitting to face Ellis with an elbow on the bar and the other on the back of his chair. "Dry run, then, just to help me out. Go for it. Just ..." Clark appeared to mull over his words. "One thing you think sounds like fun."