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Show Me, Baby: A Masters of the Shadowlands Novella (1001 Dark Nights)
Show Me Baby A Masters of the Shadowlands Novella 1001 Dark Nights 10
She stared. “Saxon? Our Saxon from the Shadowlands, who likes puppy play?”
“That’s the man.”
“Sweet-suffering fudgesicles, I need to get better gossip.”
Jake laughed and rolled to his back. “Members rarely talk about their vanilla lives.”
“True enough.” She snuggled next to him and put her head on his shoulder. Her silky hair spilled over his arm and chest, tickling him.
Nice. And wasn’t this a good position? He adjusted her breasts so one lay on his chest to fondle.
When she gave him an exasperated scowl, he gave her a warning look as his fingers traced over the lingering dents in her flesh. “I like sex toys as much as you do, sweetling. The difference is that I consider you one of my toys, and I intend to play with you off and on all night.” He remembered the well-handled movie cover and added, “As the Dread Pirate Roberts, I have a rep to maintain.”
Even as she gave a choked laugh, her body softened against his in a submissive’s instinctual surrender. “As you wish.”
* * * *
The next morning, Rainie yawned and tried to force herself to wake, but her muscles had the consistency of overcooked spaghetti. Aching spaghetti. Her arms were sore, as were her thigh muscles. The skin on her breasts burned. When she moved, she realized her pussy was tender. Because…
Because she’d had awesome sex last night. Oh God. With Jake. Her heart gave a painful thump as she held herself totally still, letting the thrill roll over her.
He’d let her sleep for a couple of hours. She’d woken when he pushed Rhage out of the bedroom again.
Ignoring her halfhearted objections, Jake had tied the thin bed curtains around her ankles to hold her legs up in a high V split. After teasing her orally…forever…he’d stopped right before she could come and taken her in his own version of missionary style.
With her thighs pulled out of the way, he went deeper than she was used to, and she was so primed, she’d started coming with his first thrust.
He’d laughed, settled in, and hammered her into another orgasm before getting off himself.
When he’d woken her again—before five a.m., damn him—she’d hit him. Her lips curved. Not a good move with a Dom.
He’d hauled her out of bed and onto her knees before she’d had a chance to finish swearing at him—let alone apologize.
Needless to say, he’d made sure she gave him a hell of a blowjob with a ruthlessness that’d make Dread Pirate Roberts proud.
But she’d enjoyed it. The man was wonderfully endowed, thick and long, with potently heavy testicles. And he had a sexy sense of humor. When she’d commented on his neatly trimmed manscaping, he’d grinned and answered, “If I prefer pussies to be bare, seemed only fair to partly return the favor.”
After he’d come, she’d thought to go back to sleep. But nooo. The blowjob had been for refusing him. She’d gotten a damned spanking for hitting him. Then he’d used his hands and fingers and more toys until she was begging to be allowed to come. When he’d finally let her climax…well, her neighbors probably thought someone had been murdered.
No wonder she was sore and positively, completely satiated.
A noise made her jump, and she rolled over to see Jake beside the bed.
“You getting up now? On a Sunday?” she asked.
“A couple of dogs in the clinic didn’t make it home on Friday.” He’d already pulled on his pants. His shirt hung open, displaying his tanned pecs and where his curly brown chest hair narrowed to a line down his flat abdomen.
Still wet from the shower, his hair was shoved carelessly back. Why did he seem even sexier when not all neat and tidy?
“An attendant is there, but I need to check on them too,” he finished.
She wiggled upright in the bed. He didn’t sound upset that he had to get up early. Just matter-of-fact about his responsibilities. How long had she been around boys pretending to be men?
But even a decade ago, he’d already been a man. He was also a Shadowlands Master—the best of the best—and the first requirement of a good Dom was to accept responsibility for himself and his actions. “Got it. Do you have time for breakfast?”
His hands stopped in the process of buckling his belt, and he said in unconcealed hope, “You’d cook me breakfast?”
God, she’d bet he’d been an adorable child. “Sure. I like to cook.”
Even knowing he had impeccable manners, she almost expected to hear a crack about her weight. But he said with open pleasure, “Works for me. I like to eat.”
She slid out of bed and reached for her robe.
He slid it out of her reach. “Nope. You’ll wear this.” He pulled off his dress shirt and helped her into it.
He was tall enough that the hem hung below her butt cheeks, but…her full breasts pushed the front open. “I’ll never get it buttoned.”
“I don’t want it buttoned.” He took advantage by circling his finger around her nipples “I prefer these be accessible.”
God, no matter how many times he’d taken her, he could waken her lust anew with just the dark desire in his green eyes.
An hour later, Jake sat back from the table with a supremely satisfied groan. “You can sure cook. That was damn good.”
She flushed but managed to respond with a calm, “Thank you.” She’d made him a customized spinach, cheddar, and sausage omelet—and added hash browns to balance out the healthy green stuff. The meal would keep a hard-working veterinarian going for quite a while.
Thinking of veterinarians, wasn’t it funny that Saxon, the veterinarian, loved furry play? Of course, she wouldn’t gossip about him or his career, but…during the next puppy and kitty role-play, she’d talk the submissives into coming down with a wealth of injuries. They’d be limping, with broken tails and crumpled ears, and whining at the big blond Dom until he “healed” them.
Poor veterinarian. Would he be at the Shadowlands next weekend? “I didn’t notice Saxon at the club on Friday or even the week before. Is he all right?”
“Oh, he’s fine.” Jake’s low growl was alarming. “He’s been on vacation. But—”
“Has he done something wrong? Aren’t you friends?”
“Don’t look so concerned. I didn’t murder him—although it was close,” Jake grumbled. “You saw our receptionist, right?”
The blonde bimbo. “I did.”
“Sax caved in to family pressure and gave her a job. She was—bar none—the most incompetent receptionist I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, before we caught on, she did a number on everything in the computer, including the schedule. I fired her Friday.”
“Oh.” Rainie felt a twinge of sympathy for the poor receptionist. Deserved or not, losing a job really hurt. She cleared her throat. “So, did Saxon yell at you for dismissing her?”
“I beat him to it. I called and yelled at him yesterday and told him to haul his ass back by tomorrow. It’ll take us both to clean up her mess.” Tension tightened his mouth. “We’ll have to assign a tech to answer the phone until we hire someone—but we don’t have time to interview because of the disaster.”
“Catch-22, huh?” Rainie hesitated. She needed to start making calls and get her butt into a new job, but…how could she not pitch in? A receptionist position wouldn’t improve her resume, but certainly she could help the guys out for a little while. Until they found someone. “I don’t know anything about animals but I’m superb at answering phones. If you want, I can fill in until mid-February.”
“Hey, Rhage needs his vet in good shape.”
“Done.” He extended his hand across the table.
She started to take it and then pulled back. Now she had a problem. Work versus sex. She didn’t combine the two. Ever.
Her inner self cringed at the thought of speaking her mind. But…this was the Dom who’d spanked her at the Shadowlands for not being honest. “Jake.”
His eyes narrowed before he took her hand in his callus
ed one. “Tell me, sweetling.”
Even with his encouragement, the words wouldn’t come.
“I need a refill—how about you?” She picked up their cups and rose.
In the kitchen, she poured the coffee, seeing the blackness swirl in the bottom of the cup. Why couldn’t she refuse Jake—or other Doms? Her problem was due to more than being submissive.
With Miss Lily’s help and the counseling she’d required, Rainie had learned that the uncertainties in her childhood—because of her mother and foster parents—trained her to be a pleaser. By knowing the cause, she’d managed to overcome the behavior.
But she’d never discussed the ugly habits acquired during her year on the streets. There, if a girl didn’t give a man what he wanted, she starved or got hurt. Confrontations led to slaps, punches, kicks…or worse. Rainie had suffered it all before Shiz had taken her in. And even with him…she’d never said no. Giving in had been safer.
Well. Now that she recognized the reasons for her wimpy behavior, she’d work through it. And she’d not keep being a wimp either. She set Jake’s coffee in front of him and met his patient gaze. “I… I don’t mess around with my bosses.”
“You got it out. Good for you.” His smile was filled with approval.
And she deserved it. A glow of self-satisfaction filled her.
“Mess around,” he repeated. As the meaning registered, his smile turned rueful. “Hell. Well, hell.” He ran his hand through his hair, messing it up even further. “Unfortunately, I agree. I don’t screw my staff.”
Relieved, Rainie sighed.
After a second, Jake rose. “You do realize though, I’ve never worked with an employee I’d previously fucked.” Looking down at her, he ran his thumb over her kiss-swollen lips. “It’s going to be difficult, sweetling…since I already want to take you again.”
On Monday morning, Jake headed into the feline room.
“Jake.” His buddy and co-owner of the clinic grabbed his arm and spun him around. Saxon’s blue eyes and shoulder-length pale hair almost glowed against the dark tan he’d picked up on the Caribbean beaches. “That’s Rainie.”
“That’s Rainie out there answering our phones.” Saxon hadn’t looked so shocked since a subbie doing puppy play had actually bit him. “Bro, you might be a Shadowlands Master, but you can’t just draft the submissives no matter how much we need a receptionist.”
Jake laughed. “Jesus, Sax. If I tried conscripting the subs, Z would hand me, balls up, to Mistress Anne.”
“So, you didn’t…?”
“Rainie’s between jobs and heard I fired Lynette. She volunteered to man the desk until the middle of February.”
Saxon let out a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Deity of All Veterinarians.”
“We can hope it works out. I didn’t check for references. Hell, I don’t even know what kind of job she had before.” At Saxon’s skeptical stare, Jake shrugged. “She’s an honest woman. If she says she can do something, I figure she can.”
“Pretty trusting for you, bro.”
True enough. However…Jake shot him a pointed look to remind him of who’d hired Lynette.
“Right. Shutting up here.”
* * * *
Not long before noon, a retriever pup was brought in, having tried to eat something sharp. After handing the case to Saxon, who loved surgery, Jake, who preferred his patients awake, took over the exams. Hairballs, cancer, ear abscesses, removing stitches. Helping and healing. He loved his job.
If only running a vet clinic didn’t involve running a business, he’d be a happy man.
When he finally emerged from the exam rooms, Rainie sat behind the reception counter, looking as calm and collected as when she’d first walked in. Although she’d removed the jacket to her dark red suit, she was still too classy for the clinic.
He eyed her, trying to decipher what appeared different. Ah. Her tattoos were completely covered by her three-quarter-length sleeves. With her hair pulled back in a French braid, she was a poster child for professionalism.
“Doctor Sheffield,” she said, making him smile with her formality. “When you’re free, I have a list of calls for you to return.” She gave him a notepad with several—completely readable—messages. “Nothing is urgent, and they’re all willing to wait until you take a break.”
“Your tech Ceecee said the kennel attendant schedule hadn’t been done, so I took a stab at creating one. Kris gave me the pile of vacation requests from your desk and the usual hours each person works.” She handed him a neatly labeled folder. “I printed out a tentative schedule and put it in here with the requests. I think I satisfied them all, but you should check it over and okay it.”
“I could use you at my office. What are you doing working as a receptionist?” a new client holding a cat carrier asked from the waiting area.
Rainie smiled. “Just helping Dr. Sheffield out temporarily.”
With her terrier perched politely beside her on the bench, Mrs. Pritchert peered over her reading glasses. “You lucked out with this one, Doc. That snippy receptionist last week wasn’t worth the ink on her paycheck.”
He found no discreet answer available, so he nodded his response, then studied the papers in his hand. “Excellent work, Rainie.”
At his pleased smile, pink bloomed in her cheeks. Submissive. And delightful.
Obviously flustered, she rose to greet Mrs. Flanders, who’d brought in her grumpy Doberman. Even the techs were careful when dealing with the ancient canine.
But when the old woman dropped her checkbook, Rainie hurried around the counter to pick it up. She remained crouched and held out her hand. “Good grief, you’re a big guy. You’d probably eat my little dog for breakfast and still want more.”
Prince Albert’s ears pricked forward. After sniffing her palm, he gave a butt-wiggle of approval. Know how you feel, old man. Rainie was soft, caring, and a real heart-tugger.
“Where is Rhage, by the way?” Jake asked, hoping she hadn’t left the animal at home. A bored pup could rip an apartment to pieces.
“Under my desk. Kris was a sweetheart and took him outside when she walked the other dogs.” Rainie grinned. “She wore him out so thoroughly he’s been sleeping since.”
Jake glanced over and saw the dog sprawled in a hand-fashioned bed. “Good enough.”
“Are you taking your lunch now?” Rainie asked.
He snorted. “Hardly. Lynette never bothered to schedule breaks or lunches.”
“Seriously?” She scowled. “That surly, sway-backed strumpet.”
She waved an airy hand. “I’m practicing pirate curses.”
At the thought of her sumptuous curves beneath him while she cursed him like a fishwife, Jake laughed. And his body hardened.
She didn’t notice, but with her beautiful mouth set into a determined line, she stared at her monitor. “I’ll make sure you get time for lunch tomorrow.”
He barely managed to refrain from stroking her hair. Instead, he took the folder she’d given him and headed into his office.
Saxon would be praying to his Deity of All Veterinarians to keep this woman.
Jake might set up an altar himself.
* * * *
The sun was rising when Rainie unlocked the clinic by herself two days later. Good thing Jake had given her a key since a client had arranged to arrive early to drop off her puppies to be vaccinated. Ginger hadn’t wanted to be late to work.
Having experienced the joy that was Cory, Rainie understood all too well.
“Hey, come on in,” Rainie said. With Rhage tucked under her arm, she held the door open for Ginger to edge past with her big box.
Rhage’s ears pricked up at the squeaking noises.
“You can put them behind the counter,” Rainie said. “As soon as one of the kennel staff is free, she’ll get them settled in the back.”
sp; “I really appreciate you taking them early.” Ginger set the box down and lifted up one of the puppies. “Y’all be good for Rainie, you hear?”
“Oh, they’re adorable.” When Rainie made an involuntary movement, Ginger put the tiny squirming ball of fur in her hand.
Plush and soft. Rainie held the baby up to her face, and a teeny tongue touched her chin.
Ginger grinned. “It’s difficult to imagine they’ll grow to seventy pounds or so.” She rubbed the little perked-up triangular ears. “Shepherds make such cute puppies.”
Rainie sighed. “I don’t know much about animals, but so far, I haven’t met an ugly puppy.” And she’d managed to hold most of them. It was a weakness.
Rhage planted his paws on her knees, stretching up for a sniff.
“Don’t worry, my hero dog,” she told him, tucking the puppy back into the box. “You own my heart.” Although the puppies had stolen a piece or two.
Ginger glanced at her watch. “I’m gone. I’ll see you at lunch to get my batch of fuzzy-butts.”
“They’ll be ready for you.”
In the wonderfully quiet office, Rainie worked steadily for an hour until the staff showed up, followed by the first appointments. As time passed, the waiting room filled.
Jake and Saxon were keeping up fairly well. It helped that the technicians handled the shots and initial exams. The clinic hadn’t yet achieved the super-smooth functioning that was Rainie’s goal, but the work was totally fun.
And then it wasn’t.
A man entered with a slender black dog. “Rainie, what are you doing here?”
Her heart leaped at the familiar tenor—and crashed. She wiped away her expression. “Geoffrey, it’s good to see you.”
Her ex-fiancé looked…good. His lightly tanned face showed off his clear blue eyes and a new trim mustache.
“Are you working here?” he asked. His white shirt was stiff and bright, his silk tie perfect for the silver-gray pinstripe suit. Beautifully tailored, as always.
Not her. She grew keenly aware of the bloody splotch on her sleeve, and the stain from where Rhage had put his paws on her skirt. At least her legs were under the counter; a fleeing kitten had climbed her like a tree and snagged her hose.