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For far too long, I did what everyone wanted, expected of me, and even demanded. I was nothing more than a pawn in their malicious games; used to further their careers, their interests, their desires.
You can't change your family, but you can decide not to pursue unrequited love.
With my heart and soul broken, I gave up and walked away from him – and the lifestyle I loved.
Now, years later, fate has thrown him back into my life. He's too addictive to refuse, too charming to ignore. He's everything I need, want and desire.
But he didn't want me back then, and now, he's asking for my forgiveness and my submission.
I've made mistakes before, but then again, who hasn't? My biggest mistake was letting her give up her membership at Club Vice and walk out of my life. Now I'm hell-bent on making amends and taking back what I hadn't realized I needed.
Time has passed and she has been left scarred and vulnerable. It will take time, love, trust and understanding to make things right, to help her heal. But I will do everything in my power to make that happen.
And this time, I'm not relaxing my grip on her. She will be mine.
Publisher's Note: While this book features characters from Mindy's popular Bound To Him series, it can be enjoyed as a standalone. This story contains explicit sexual scenes, including anal, and elements of BDSM, as well as spanking. If such material offends you, please do not purchase.
Three years of multiple sex partners, and endless scenes between myself and other dominants and even submissives, and I was emptier than I had been in years. I have always been very grateful for all my experiences, but something had changed in me recently. The club was no longer enjoyable and feeling more like a second job. The daunting task—to just show up—was a battle every weekend.
As I stared at myself in the mirror and French braided my hair, I recognized the misery behind my honey gold eyes. I ran my fingers over my dark brown hair, making sure every piece was in the right place. I applied a little more make-up and took one final look at myself. White, tailored, button-down shirt, white cropped blazer, and gray pleated dress pants. I slipped into my black peep-toe heels and grabbed my keys and phone, on my way out of my empty four-bedroom house. In the exclusive Lake Las Vegas neighborhood, I drove past Master Marcus's house and saw his Jaguar was not in the driveway. I hurried to the club, hoping to catch him in the office before the opening of Club Vice.
Once I was in the parking garage, I found his car, along with Master Derrick's Infinity. I took an anxiety relieving deep breath and headed inside. Lilly wasn't at the desk yet. I made my way towards the office without prior approval. I knocked firmly on the door and wiped my hands on my pants as I heard footsteps. The door opened and I looked up at Derrick and saw Marcus rising from his desk chair.
"Jessica, do you need something?" Derrick asked.
"Actually, I need to speak with Marcus, but you can stay and hear what I've got to say, if you wish," I said to Derrick as I stared at Marcus coming around the corner of the desk. He leaned on the back of an old, tall back, brown leather chair.
"Come in," Marcus invited and Derrick looked me up and down questioningly. "Have a seat." He pulled out the chair and I smiled politely and slipped into the stiff seat. Derrick leaned against a bookshelf with his arms crossed over his chest. Marcus sat back in his chair; his hands came together in the shape of a teepee.
"Thank you for seeing me without prior notice," I said formally.
"I figure it must be important, and it doesn't look like you are planning on playing in the club tonight."
"No, and Marcus, I need to speak to you about my role in the club." I looked from him to Derrick, both wearing their own versions of concerned looks. "I'd like to forfeit my membership," I said with strong conviction.
"Wait… what?" Derrick was the first to speak after a few moments of silence.
"Why would you want to do that? You're the best club submissive we have out there," Marcus said as he shook his head free of the initial shock.
"I'm well aware of that, but thank you for confirming it for me." I paused, letting that sink in for a moment. "I'm twenty-eight, I've been here for three years, and I've had more hands on me than I care to even count. With that being said, I am no longer looking for anything short term, or one-night stands. I want something permanent, a master to call my own—hell, even a husband."
"And you think by leaving the club, you'll increase your chances of finding—"
"Do not patronize me," I interrupted. "I know what I want, and I've played with just about every member in here over the years, and guess what? I'm still alone, Monday through Thursday. I think it's fair to say I'm not going to find him here."
"Can I have a minute alone with Jessica?" Marcus looked over at Derrick.
"Yeah, but don't fuck this up." Derrick looked at Marcus and then to me. He stopped by my chair and kissed the top of my head and I waited for the sound of the door closing behind him.
"What the hell are you thinking?" Marcus asked.
"I'm pretty sure I just laid it all out to you in black and white. I do not need your permission to leave, but I thought I owed you the respect of an explanation, at least."
"What's bringing all this up?"
"I watched Kierra come in here and steal Derrick's heart the moment he laid eyes on her. Storm captured Adam just by working a bar he happened to be at. And Lilly and Kole are, well, your guess is as good as mine. When am I ever going to have a chance, Marcus? I'm tired of being used as a dumpster, and tired of using unworthy dominants to get what I need. I need to move on."
"You've never voiced any of these concerns before, or even a desire to have a permanently assigned dom. So forgive me if I'm a little shocked by all of this." He paused and began to rock back and forth in his office chair. "The club can't lose you. You're an amazing mentor to the new, young submissives, and a perfect sub to train the inexperienced doms."
"I know what I have to offer. I'm pretty confident in my skills and experience. But this isn't about what's best for the club, I need to do this and focus on what's best for myself." I leveled my eyes with his and could see the painful acceptance in his dark, almost black eyes.
"You deserve to be happy, Jess. When do you want to cancel your membership?"
"Effective immediately," I said as I stood, pulling my blazer down and smoothing the new creases in my pants.
"Very well. I wish you good luck and you are always welcome back, no questions asked." He stood up and met me halfway to the door. He placed his hand on my lower back and opened the door for me. I stepped through and then looked over my shoulder back at him.
"It's too bad you couldn't make a move when you still had a chance. Goodbye, Marcus." My parting words had their desired effect and I continued to the elevator without a second glance. My pride was still very much intact.
I leaned my head against the closed office door. For too long, I had taken for granted the lovely and bubbly attorney, Jessica Waters, the third generation of Las Vegas corporate lawyers. Her grandfather and father made her a partner at their family firm after she graduated from Georgetown. She was an intimidating woman outside of Club Vice. A woman who was as independent and stable as she was could frighten any master away from looking for something more serious with her.
I had always been searching for the submissive who completed me, who kept that delicate, perfect balance. Jessica was the female version of myself. I had to admit I had watched her in hundreds of scenes, had even been envious at times. No matter how much I could appreciate her beauty and perfection when submitting, she was untouchable with everything else that she had to offer. Her strength and poise, that incredible cut-throat attitude and confidence, and damn, that unwavering fierceness when she was pissed, killed it for me every time I even romanced the thought. I fully understood her wanting to have a committed relationship—I knew the feeling all too well, and to deny her that right would have been unjust.
I swallowed my disappointment and headed inside the club. Once I passed through the heavy frosted glass, I found Derrick, Adam, and Kole shooting the shit around the refreshments bar. I heard Sylas and Julia enter after me and saw Derrick stiffen as I approached. I breathed a big, heavy sigh and waited for Sylas to join us around the bar. They took a seat and I walked around to the entrance and faced my best friends.
"So, I have some wicked shitty news to share with you and then I'm going home for the night," I announced.
"Where's Jessica?" Derrick barked and I saw the tension in his jaw.
"Well, Jessica has decided that she wants something that the club doesn't offer, and she's decided to relinquish her membership as of tonight."
"How the fuck did you let her get away?" Derrick was understandably upset and I threw my hands up in defense.
"This wasn't my choice to make. I can't force a connection between her and a dom. She wants something more, and feels like she's tried everything at Club Vice so now she's moving on. I'm not happy about it any more than you are." I kept my eyes on Derrick as if I was only explaining it to him.
"Everyone but you," Julia said softly. I shifted my focus and looked at her, giving her a small, understanding nod.
"On that note, you all can decide who is going to monitor tonight, and I'll see you tomorrow," I said.
"Goodnight, man," Kole said as he slapped my shoulder. I nodded and made my way towards the exit. I heard quick footsteps behind me as I opened the door. Turning, I saw Derrick.
"Really, I can't do this right now, not tonight," I said.
"Why the hell did you let her go? I've seen the way you look at her, and you know, like the rest of us, that she's wanted you this entire time."
"I appreciate what you're trying to do, D, but I'm not the one for her."
"Just like that? She's perfect for you, needs no extensive training, plays within all your limits, and is fucking gorgeous! I don't get you, Marcus."
"If she's so fucking perfect then why didn't you take her?"
"She's not a masochist and I'm not changing. Besides, the fact is, it wasn't me she wanted."
"The truth is she would be perfect for me in the club, but she's too independent and self-sufficient. She's only a sub in the club and bedroom. She doesn't need me to support or provide for her, or hell, even protect her. She's not the type to swoon when a man opens her door or pulls her chair out. She's Jessica. In charge, and full of feministic pride. I'm surprised she hasn't become a switch already." I leaned my weight against the door and looked up at the exit sign.
"I'm willing to bet that her law degree was the only thing standing in your way. You know as well as I do that there are ways of supporting and providing for a woman other than financially. You were a fool this time and you've got to live with it." He walked off and I slammed the door behind me. I knew he was right. I did fuck up that time, even if my reasons were purely selfish.
"Law Office of Waters and associates." I smiled, passing by Megan, our receptionist, as she answered the phone. "Can you hold, please?" She pressed the receiver into her shoulder and looked up at me. "It's for you. Shall I send it to your voicemail or directly?"
"I'll take it, just give me a minute to get in my office." I waved to her with my coffee in my hand as I walked past her desk.
I sank down in my office chair and tossed my briefcase on my large, L-shaped desk. Breathing out deeply, I waited for the call to be transferred. I hated feeling rushed; it was barely nine in the morning. The phone rang and I immediately picked up the receiver.
"Attorney Jessica Waters, how can I help you?"
"It's been a long time, Jessica." I quickly recognized Marcus's voice and almost hung up the phone immediately.
"It hasn't been that long. What can I do for you?" I asked with a forced steady voice. I closed my eyes and held my hand to my pounding heart.
"I have some business I need to discuss with you. I need to hire you to represent my company and to keep things on the up and up."
"I cannot assist you, Marcus. It would be a conflict of interest and completely unprofessional. I can refer you to another attorney that would better be able to assist you," I responded as I scrolled through my emails, only giving him half my attention, which was still more than he deserved from me.
"That's not acceptable due to the nature of the business. We need you to handle it," he retorted.
"I'm not helping you, Marcus," I responded coldly.
He coughed dryly into the phone. "Would you do it for Chandler?"
"Yes, if he asked me, but he has his own team of attorneys."
"They are working on the Ava debacle. Schneider is lightening his workload and he asked me to find him the best corporate attorney to represent Thorne N' Vice. Which is why I'm calling you." His voice dragged past memories out of my mental filing cabinet and it became too painful to remember. Shut this down, Jessica, now!
"Call Attorney Dean Davis, he'll help you." I hung up the phone before he could argue with me.
I unpacked my files from my briefcase, stacking them in the order in which I needed to deal with them, and added a new stack for the office paralegal, Tony. I took another sip of my coffee and checked my voicemails, making notes of the matters I needed to take care of. There were several voicemails from Marcus requesting I call back or to schedule a meeting. When was the last time I checked these? I had seen Marcus three or four times since I left Club Vice. Maintaining a relationship with my best friends, Chandler and Kierra Thorne, had also forced me to see the man who had broken my heart all those years ago.
Each and every time I ran into him there was still that unexplored sexual tension, chemistry, and unresolved anger and hurt. I recalled the last few run-ins: at the Thornes' wedding, when we were best man and maid of honor during a weekend long pre-opening party for Thorne N' Vice International. We had eyed one another painfully there, and then during the actual grand opening of the resort in Costa Rica. Down there, things had got even more complicated when we ran into one another around every corner.
Every single time I saw him, it threw my life into a downward spiral of 'what ifs' and 'why not mes'. I really couldn't handle the thought of him invading my office.
I began tapping my pen against the desk. When I heard a commotion outside my office door, I quickly stood up, walked over to it, and heard the voices get louder. When I opened the door, I found Megan and Tony arguing with Marcus. Both Tony and Megan turned and looked at me apologetically.
"What the hell are you doing here, Marcus?" I snapped.
"I told you, I need your services," Marcus's voice cut through the deafening silence.
"Damnit! I don't need you here causing a scene," I hissed at him as I held my door open. I shut it once he stepped inside. I pointed to a chair in front of my desk. "Sit…"
We both stared at each other, daring the other to break first. Once he had finally sat down, I said, "I already told you my services are not available to you."
I stared at his lips and then back up into his eyes. How many nights had I spent begging him silently to choose me? Make me your chosen one, take me however you want me. Marcus, I only want you. I shook my head and coughed slightly. I ran my hands around the collar of my blouse as I tried to hide the effects of my memories.
"We can discuss this over dinner." He smirked while raising a brow.
"Absolutely not!" I gasped as I sat up straighter at my desk, trying to remain composed in his presence.
"Jessica, please, I want to make amends with you. Can we be friends and move on from our past?" he asked again.
"No," I said firmly.
He cocked his head knowingly. "Are you still seeing that guy?"
"That is none of your business. I don't want to work for you, go to dinner with you, or even think about you. I thought I'd made that clear to you." I stared at him with vengeance.
"No, I disagree. After Costa Rica, I'm absolutely not clear on that."
"Are we clear now?"
"I haven't decided yet." Marcus stared out my office window blankly. "Does he make you happy, Jessica?"
"Why now? We have been coexisting and managing to avoid each other for almost two years. Why all of a sudden are you intruding on my life?" I said as my anger grew.
"I should have never let you walk out of the club that night," he finally admitted, his thick Boston accent causing me to smile.
"No, you shouldn't have. But you did. What's changed? Why are you here?"
"I needed to see you. I needed to know if you were happy, if you found what you were looking for." He leaned forward, pushed a path clear on my desk, and placed his hand on top of my folded hands. "I can't stop thinking about you."
A few months ago, Chandler, Marcus and Derrick had opened their resort in Costa Rica. The place catered to couples only, with added unique amenities to create new sparks or to keep the spark burning hotter than ever. When Kierra invited me to tag along, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to experience the grand opening of my friend's newest project and catch up with old friends. The trip had been amazing but it also came with a price. I was forced to see and be around Marcus while our friends from the club spent time with their partners. I wasn't entirely sure about Marcus's relationship status, but for that week, it was him and I doing everything to avoid each other. I was surrounded by friends and an audience and was able to dodge my feelings and him. With him in my office, standing before me with no buffers or distractions, I had no escape. As his deep brown eyes melted my very soul, flooding me with emotions, I had no choice but to feel.
I pulled my hands away and stared at his large ones, his tanned skin. "Do you even need an attorney?" I asked quietly.
"Yes, I actually do," Marcus answered and I turned in the chair. I picked up the receiver and dialed Dean's extension, desperate for distance.
"Hey, babe, I have an old friend who needs an experienced attorney to represent his corporation… Yes, he's here. Uh-huh, a big C.O.I.… Okay, thank you. I'll bring him down." I hung up the phone and squared my shoulders, leveling my eyes with his. "I think I killed all your birds with one stone. I'll escort you to his office," I said smugly, and Marcus licked his lips and cracked a smile.
"Well played, Waters, well played. But this isn't over."
"Follow me, sir," I said sarcastically and held the door open. He smacked my ass as he walked past me. "Sexual harassment, as well? You never cease to amaze me," I responded, shaking my head.
"Lead the way, my little friend." Marcus grinned and I rolled my eyes in annoyance.
I knocked softly on Dean's door before pushing it open. He stood up and winked at me as I stepped aside for Marcus to enter. I stared down at my black and gray Michael Korr shoes as Marcus walked up to Dean's desk and shook his hand.
I stepped out of his office and closed the door behind me. Then I returned to my office and leaned all the way back in my chair. My hand clutched my pounding heart as I felt the pain of the old wounds being torn wide open, again. After a few minutes, I dialed Chandler's number on my office phone.
"Hello," he answered lightly.
"Hey, it's Jessica."
"How are you?"
"Confused at the moment. Sorry to bother you, I know you've got a lot going on, but I need to know if you told Marcus to call me to take Thorne N' Vice on as a client?"
"No, I didn't give him those exact directions."
"Do you need an attorney, Chandler?" I asked as I sat back in my chair, smiling. I had been waiting for the chance to represent Chandler for far too long.
"Yes, we do," he replied in a steady voice.
"And he couldn't call his attorney, Harvey, the one he's been using for years?"
"I'm sure he could have."
"Well, I'll think about it. You are a PR nightmare right now," I said teasingly. "But since I care about you and the wifey, I'll seriously consider it. You definitely could benefit from having me on retainer."
"Either way, I will not hold it against you."
"Am I going to be dealing with you directly, or is this particular property in Marcus's hands? I guess what I am really trying to ask is: if I were to agree to handling Thorne N' Vice International, would I be having a lot of contact with Marcus?" I scratched the back of my head, unsure if his answer would really be a deal breaker or not.
"Yes, a great amount of contact with him," he answered, and I sensed he was finding this humorous.
"Hmm, okay, well I'm going to have to think about this. I'm not really sure if I have the time and availability."
"Let me know what you decide."
"Thank you. He's left me three voicemails. I think he's lost his mind. After he barged into my office today, I'd rather not have to deal with him on a regular basis. Do you know why he came to me and not Harvey?"
"I'll give him a call later and find out," Chandler offered.
"No, no, that's okay. I can handle him. I just needed to know if there was a real problem or not. I'll figure something out."
"Well, if you're sure then I will let you handle it."
"I really am sorry to bug you. I know you guys are all laying low in Rhode Island. I will manage Marcus and make a decision about working with you guys or not, and get back to you."
"All right, I'll talk to you later," he responded, and I hung up the phone.