Achieving a Dom’s undivided attention can have unpredictable consequences.
Steele Denton’s business doing custom paint jobs for fast bikes is booming. He’s in demand and has a reputation for being a perfectionist. Tattooed and intimidating, Steele is also in demand as a Dom at his local BDSM club, Chain of Thorns. He requires perfect submission from any sub he deigns to play with.
Mackenzie Soames is desperate for Steele to notice him, but he might as well be invisible. He has no idea how to get invited into the VIP members’ area that Steele rarely strays from, so he concocts a plan to get Steele’s attention. Kenzie is a talented graffiti artist with a secret identity, known only by his tag, a pair of handcuffs. He spray-paints a BDSM scene on a wall at the side of Steele’s workshop, hoping Steele will see the security footage and track him down. However, Steele is working late and catches him in the act.
Steele recognizes Kenzie from the club and demands twenty-four hours of sexual slavery as penance for the graffiti. Kenzie has no choice but to agree and soon discovers that being Steele’s sub will either make him or break him.
Publisher's Note: This book has previously been released as part of the His Rules anthology with Pride Publishing.
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Alpha Character
Word Count: 10180
Setting: San Francisco, USA
Languages Available: English
“Look at him, Ricky. Isn’t he the most lust-inducing man-shaped piece of yumminess you’ve ever laid eyes on?” Mackenzie Soames prodded his best friend’s biceps, causing him to yelp then pout.
“Ouch! What is the matter with you, Kenzie? Let me guess…Steele Denton just arrived.” Ricky swiveled on his stool, contorting his body to peer across the club.
“Don’t stare! He’ll see us.” Kenzie shifted subtly to the side so that Ricky’s slightly broader frame shielded his own slender body.
“Isn’t that the point? You’re not dressed like that”—Ricky waved vaguely in Kenzie’s direction—“to blend into the background. What is the point of getting all dolled up like the subby little twink you are, if you just hide behind me all the time?”READ MORE
Kenzie examined his outfit with a critical eye. The red PVC trousers hung off his slim hips and molded to his thighs. The glossy sheen of the fabric reflected the club’s dim lighting. He loved the matching cuffs buckled around his wrists. They were nicely padded on the inside to protect his skin. He marked easily, which most Doms loved, but he didn’t want to put those marks there himself. He wore a black club collar indicating that he was available to play, and apart from his boots, that was it. The fine dusting of shimmering body powder didn’t count. He didn’t boast a single defined ab, let alone a six-pack, but his frame was toned and firm.
“It doesn’t matter what I wear. I could be dancing naked right in front of him and he’d walk straight by. What’s the point in putting myself out there just to get rejected?” Kenzie watched as Steele paused to chat to two leather-clad Doms at the bar.
“I don’t recall him rejecting you. He hasn’t had the chance.” Ricky used his soothing voice, the same one he most likely used on the spitting balls of furry fury at the veterinary practice where he worked as a nurse.
“Stop using the voice on me.” Kenzie couldn’t rip his gaze away from Steele’s back.
It was a particularly fine example, chiefly because it topped a perfect ass hugged by well-worn leather.
“You’re drooling. You may as well be an overexcited puppy, especially with those big brown eyes of yours, so the voice is appropriate,” Ricky snarked. “Anyhoo, would you really want Steele Denton spanking your ass? He has a rep for being ultra-tough. He only plays with really well-trained subs and from what I’ve seen, he goes for big, tough types.”
“I know, I know.” Kenzie knew his deep sigh was melodramatic but he craved Steele’s attention. “I’m a sad, attention-seeking brat with a bad case of unrequited lust for tattooed dominant types. With twinkly blue eyes.” He sighed again. “He has the most amazing eyes.”
“You’re a lost cause,” Ricky said, turning back to his drink.
Kenzie held his breath as Steele strolled across the room. There was so much power in his stride. So much confidence and certainty. Kenzie froze. Steele’s gaze fell on him briefly then moved on—the beam of a lighthouse drifting over a rock and putting it in the does-not-need-saving category. He headed through the diaphanous drapes that separated the VIP area of the club from the main bar and dance floor. Disappointment tightened Kenzie’s throat and to his disgust, tears welled up. His cheeks burned. He was glad the lighting in the club was dim enough that no one would notice.
“I’m so fucking dumb,” he muttered.
“Well, that’s a given.” Ricky hugged him. “Take your mind off him. Go flutter those killer lashes at someone else. It’s Saturday night—there are plenty of Doms wanting to exercise their flogger arms and they don’t mind mingling with us minions instead of hiding back there with the movers and shakers.” He spoke without bitterness. “Master Chad has been giving you the eye for the last half an hour. If you weren’t so Steele-obsessed, you might have noticed. He’s hot as molten lava.”
“Lava?” Kenzie snorted. “Where the hell did you get that from?”
“It’s hot, isn’t it?” Ricky pretended to be offended.
Kenzie summoned up enough interest to glance across at the bar. Master Chad was a good-looking guy. His close-cropped beard suited him and when he smiled it showed in his eyes. He had a solid reputation around Chain of Thorns, but tonight, though the familiar longing to give up control surged through Kenzie’s veins, he couldn’t bring himself to kneel for anyone but Steele.
“I think it’s you he’s interested in.” Kenzie gave Ricky a nudge.
“Really?” Ricky examined the floor. “They always want you, not me.”
“That’s such bullshit, Ricky. He’s coming over, so we’ll soon find out.”
“Oh God.” The surface of Ricky’s drink quivered.
Chad loomed over them. He reached out and fingered Ricky’s collar. “Howdy, sweet boy. How ’bout we discuss your limits for the evening?”
Kenzie grinned, glad to be proved right. Chad held out his hand and Ricky took it. He allowed Chad to lead him away but managed a quick glance over his shoulder, giving Kenzie a cheeky wink. Kenzie gave him a thumbs-up, happy that his friend was in safe hands. Melancholy at being left along soon followed. There were plenty of other subs around that Kenzie could chat with and several Doms who’d be all too happy to deliver a sound spanking, but Kenzie had lost his appetite for playing. He swallowed the last of his drink then drifted toward the exit.
He stopped off at the sub’s locker room and collected his thin but voluminous stripy sweater that reached to midthigh. It was a warm evening and his walk home was only a few blocks, but even in San Francisco, he didn’t want to draw unwanted attention. Confrontation was absolutely not his thing. The sweater was a disguise of sorts, though Ricky said it made Kenzie look like a mutant bumblebee from Oz. The green and black stripes over red pants marked him down as a sartorially challenged student. He was blessed, or possibly cursed, with a face that still got him carded even though he was twenty-four.
The doorman ruffled Kenzie’s hair as he reached the exit. “Past your bedtime, kid?”
“Funny, Ed.” Kenzie took the ribbing with good grace. “Just needing some fresh air.” He unbuckled the collar he wore and handed it over.
“You likely to be in tomorrow night?” Ed asked as he took it.
Kenzie gave him an appraising glance. He’d played with the bald, goateed bouncer on a couple of occasions and they’d both had a good time. “Not sure yet. I could be persuaded.”
“I have the evening off and a brand-new paddle to break in if you’re in the mood.” Ed gave him a hopeful leer.
Kenzie caught his lower lip between his teeth and ducked his head.
“Aw, no need to get shy, sweetheart.” Ed squeezed Kenzie’s shoulder. “If you show, I’ll come find you. No pressure.”
“’Kay.” Kenzie’s disappointment at being ignored by Steele Denton was tempered a little.
He pushed through the exit and bounced up the steps to street level. Chain of Thorns had once been an underground parking garage and access was still through the old pedestrian door. Thick metal and battered red paint had only been updated with a discreet sign. It wasn’t an upmarket club, but it was well run and attracted men genuinely into the lifestyle. Kenzie had always felt safe there.
“Safe to be myself,” he muttered as he strolled along the busy sidewalk, weaving between the Saturday evening revelers.
There was no moon, making it the perfect night to indulge in his second-favorite passion.
He walked a bit faster, keen to get home to collect his equipment. Every blank wall drew his attention. He itched to cover bare brick with color. If he couldn’t find his release at Steele Denton’s hands, he’d find it in cans of spray paint.
* * * *
Steele wove a path to the VIP area at the rear of Chain of Thorns. On the way he chatted with some friends but didn’t hang around. The bouncer making sure uninvited guests didn’t stray behind the curtain nodded Steele through. The room was laid out in a semicircle. Each of the eight tables was lit by a central lamp and surrounded by half a dozen plush chairs. Smoked glass mirrors covered the walls, reflecting the golden light, giving the space a warm glow. Steele wasn’t interested in his surroundings. He scanned the area, seeking out his friend Chord, the club’s owner. He spotted him on the far side of the room, seated at a table with a group of Doms, his long-term sub, Charlie, in his lap.
Steele strolled over, raising a hand in greeting. “Hey, Chord.”
“Steele! I’d about given up on you. Come and join us.” Chord half stood and gestured to a free seat before resuming his own.
Charlie pouted at the disturbance and wriggled back into a comfortable position.
“Sorry, man, I can’t stay,” Steele said. “I only came by to let you know I have to work.” Steele wanted nothing more than to drop into the offered chair and down a couple of cold ones.
“You’re fucking with me—it’s Saturday night.”
“Don’t I know it.” Steele’s annoyance seeped into his voice.
“So what’s with that? You own your own business—can’t you give yourself the night off? Subs are lining up to fall to their knees for you, and you’re supposed to be doing a sounds demo tonight.” Chord raised a disapproving eyebrow.
Steele bit back a growl. The reprimand, if only implied, raised his hackles.
Chord held up a hand. “Sorry, man. I’m just disappointed. Charlie was looking forward to the demo. Sounds are a soft limit and it might have given him the confidence to try them out.” Chord ruffled his sub’s hair.
“I’m not impressed myself. Sorry, Charlie, one of the kids I took on screwed up a job then did a runner on me. The owner’s picking the bike up tomorrow. I’ve made a decent start but it’ll take me most of the night to get it finished.” Steele rolled his shoulders in an attempt to ease the knots in his muscles.
Charlie glanced at Chord for permission to speak. Chord nodded.
“It’s not your fault, Master Steele.” Charlie gave him a shy smile. “Another time, I hope?”
“Soon as I can, Charlie. I promise.”
“Just can’t get the staff, huh?” Chord gave him a sympathetic smile. “The rumor mill is active tonight. I hear on the grapevine that you’ve broken Kenzie Soames’ heart. That boy is hot as fuck, don’t know how you manage to keep your hands off him.” Chord licked his lips. “If you decide you’re not interested, I’d be happy to give him what he needs.”
This time Steele did growl. The idea that anyone else would lay a hand on the man he already considered his made his grumpy frame of mind even worse.
“You’re treading on dangerous ground, Chord.” Steele knew his friend was just yanking his chain, but he wasn’t in the mood.
“Yes, you are, Sir!” Charlie protested.
“Ganging up on me now?” Chord chuckled. “Don’t fret, Charlie, you know I only have eyes for you. But, Steele, you at least need to give Kenzie some indication you’re interested. If he weren’t mooning over you already, he’d have been snapped up long ago. You’re living on borrowed time where that young man is concerned. He won’t wait forever.”
Steele grunted. “He’s…a bit fragile compared to the guys I usually play with. I’ve just been waiting to see if he’s got the backbone he’ll need to submit to me.”
“From what I’ve heard, he can take a lot.” Chord stroked Charlie’s bare shoulder. “You’ll kick your own ass if you miss out.”
“I’m too fucking busy to take on someone who’s as raw as Kenzie is, just now. The timing’s not right.” Steele glared, daring Chord to disagree.
“I call bullshit. If you had to, you’d make time. Maybe you don’t want him enough.”
Once, Steele might have lost his temper, but he’d matured over the years and much of what his friend had said made sense. Steele was sick of playing with an endless stream of men who could take everything he threw at them. He needed the challenge that would come with someone more vulnerable.
“He’s mine, Chord. He just doesn’t know it yet. If he’s in tomorrow night, I’ll give him a chance to show what he’s made of.”
Chord raised his glass in a toast. “I can drink to that. Don’t work yourself into the ground, Steele. Save some energy for tomorrow.”
Steele rolled his eyes. “Yes, Dad. Now, unfortunately, I’ve got a job to do. Enjoy the rest of the evening.”
He got a collective goodbye from the occupants of the table and a shy wave from Charlie. As he headed for the exit, Steele kept his back straight. It was a small thing but it wasn’t in him to betray how tired he was, how frustrated that yet again his own desires took second place to his business.
Steele had parked his bike in its customary spot at the rear of the building. The warehouse housing his custom art business was within walking distance but he had a lot to do and couldn’t waste valuable minutes making the round trip to Chain of Thorns on foot.
He shoved on his helmet, not bothering to do up the chinstrap, and straddled the powerful machine. The thrum of the 2000cc engine between his legs did little to dispel his frustration. The lure of the club was strong. He wanted nothing more than to strap a willing, needy sub to the St. Andrew’s cross and deliver a memorable flogging. Instead he turned his bike toward home, displaying the same strength of will that gave him the reputation of a strict, unforgiving Dom.
By the time he pulled up in front of his premises, Steele felt calmer. He switched off the ignition but sat astride his bike for a while, contemplating the unprepossessing frontage. The two-story brick building occupied one side of a dead-end backstreet. Metal shutters covered the front vehicle access, above which hung a brightly painted sign. He’d come up with the name, Design Rebellion, over beers with Chord one evening five years earlier. A small legacy from his grandfather had provided the seed money to start up his business doing unique, custom paint jobs on high-end motorcycles. The business had taken off in a big way and he now had three employees and more work than he could handle.
Steele grimaced. It was frustrating to lose his night out, but he still loved his job. He could accept that it wasn’t that much of a hardship to spend the night painting. He wheeled his bike across to the forecourt of the shop and kicked down the stand. Once he’d unlocked and opened the roller door, he moved his baby inside.
He turned on the lights, set the coffee maker going and collected his gear. The parts he needed to paint were set out on a bench. The epoxy primer had already been applied, sanded and wiped down with a rag wetted with thinner. The surfaces were perfectly smooth and ready.
Steele used a low, wheeled stool to move around the bench while he was painting. A trolley containing his paints, brushes and templates—also on wheels—came with him. He’d bought a few from a hairdressing salon that was closing down.
He made sure the oscillating fan was going, to disperse any fumes, then tuned the radio to a rock station. He switched on the monitor linked to the security cameras outside—that way he could see if anyone came calling. He flexed his fingers, popping his knuckles. He was all set to turn the ugly duckling of a machine into a fire-breathing dragon.COLLAPSE
on Rainbow Book Reviews:
Super short but really good. Good lord, I so wanted this book to be longer! Hot guy who paints bikes…check. Tattoos...check. Dom…check. Then you have the invisible Mackenzie who is about to give up and takes one last desperate chance to snag the man of his dreams. Holy hotness, I needed 200 more pages of all this goodness!
I was not surprised, in the least, that one of my favorite authors wrote me a bratty sub. This author has a great deal of practice with bratty submissives, particularly ones who go out of their way to, well…get their way. *grins*
An extremely hot addition to this anthology, the author gave me everything I needed, and then some.
Originally appeared in the His Rules Anthology.