Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Reckless by Caitlin Ricci

When his best friend, Lee, offered him his sub as part of a bet, Colton Prier never expected more than a clean condo from the boy. But Tate Nicholson is well-trained, eager , and he likes rope play as much as Colton enjoys tying him up. It should have ended after one night, but they begin meeting in secret, and Colton can’t stop thinking about Tate. It’s a betrayal of his friendship with Lee to fall in love with Tate, but Colton can’t help wanting the sub for himself.

He’s not alone in his feelings, either. Tate thought he was happy with Lee. Not completely fulfilled, but happy enough. But as he spends more time with Colton, he realizes Lee isn’t capable of giving him what he wants anyway. Lee demands his full submission, but Tate doesn’t want to be a lifestyle sub. Colton expects his obedience at times but gives him his freedom more often than not, which is more in line with what Tate wants.

When Tate really needs his Dom and Lee isn’t around to help him, he reaches the tipping point and needs to choose who he wants to give his submission to, and to accept the consequences of his choice when he does.

I LOOKED across the crowded nightclub with its flashing purple lights and fake fog to see my friend and co-worker, David, hitting on some guy twice his age with graying black hair and in a well-fitting blue suit. I’d known my friend had developed a thing for bears, but I’d never actually seen him in action before.

The high bar table I sat at rocked as the other man I’d come to the club with, my best friend and other co-worker Lee, joined me. He put down his drink, a whiskey sour from the smell of it, and leaned over toward me until our elbows touched and I felt the sleeve of his heavy wool sweater against the bare skin of my arm. It instantly made me itch and I pulled away.

We crowded together at the small table in the corner with our backs against the wall and our gazes affixed to our friend, who seemed to be doing his best to get a man old enough to be his father to go home with him. That hadn’t been the point in coming here tonight, but seeing David happy was worth it, I supposed. It beat the hell out of listening to him whine about his lackluster sex life since his ex had left him two months before.

“So, Colton, think he has a chance tonight?” Lee asked me. He took a sip of his drink, the ice clinked against the sides of the glass, and then he set it back down.

I shrugged and drank some of my beer. The drink was dark and rich, just how I liked my alcohol, and I could really taste the hops. I’d already made a note in my phone to pick some up on the way home. “Don’t so much care if it keeps him from whining about the breakup.”

Lee chuckled, and someone turned the music up to the point that I could barely hear him anymore. I didn’t mind the music itself—I’d grown up at a time when the classic rock band blasting out of the speakers had been on all the radio stations as new—but the volume was a bit much.

I took a deep breath and wondered how much longer they expected me to stay around as their wingman. That had been the plan until David had gone for the guy in the VIP section and Lee had become more interested in the game playing on the one TV than in the guys dancing around us in one of Dover’s only gay clubs.

I had wanted to get out of my apartment for the evening, but now, sitting here surrounded by people I didn’t really care about or know while my two closest friends ignored me in favor of their own pursuits—now I simply wanted to go home. I’d pick up some of my favorite Italian desserts from the little twenty-four-hour market a few blocks from my apartment before grabbing the beer and heading home to spend the evening by myself with sweets I’d have to run off in the morning and boring television that would likely put me to sleep.

It might have sounded boring to others, but to me that kind of evening was appearing better and better as this night dragged on.

“Think David will manage to get him to go home with him?” Lee nearly yelled at me over the music, which caught the attention of a few people nearby.

I finished off my beer and looked away from where David and his new friend sat together. I saw David put his hand along the man’s stomach and then slide it under the table before I looked away, not all that interested in being a voyeur to a club quickie. Crowded places worked for David; he’d said so more than once. I preferred to keep my relationships, however brief they typically were, as far away from this scene as possible. I wasn’t trolling for ass, as Lee put it, and hadn’t been for some time. The very idea bored me more than I would have liked to admit to anyone but myself. I tried not to lie to myself, but everyone else was fair game as far as I was concerned. Within reason, of course.

“Care to make a bet?” Lee asked, giving my shoulder a hard push with his own.

When the waiter came over and, using a complex system of gestures I understood far better than if he’d tried to yell at me over the music, asked me if I wanted another beer, I shook my head. He nodded and took away my empty bottle. I wouldn’t be staying long enough to enjoy another.

With that taken care of, I turned my attention to Lee, wondering if he wanted to bet on the game or if something else was going on. I rested my chin on my hand and waited for him to explain. When he didn’t appear to get what I was hinting at, I asked him, “Bet on what?”

“David,” he replied, as if the answer should have been obvious to me.

I glanced over at David, checking on him, then turned my attention back to Lee. “What about him?”

“If he’ll leave with the guy.”

I widened my eyes a bit, surprised that Lee had jumped to that. Soccer, football, horse racing, whether or not it was going to rain… these were all perfectly normal things for a competitive gambler like Lee to want to bet on. But whether or not our friend would be getting laid? Now that was a new one, even for him.

But hey, I was game. From what I was seeing, it would be easy money. I wondered if Lee had missed what David was likely still doing with his hand under their table. “Sure. Hundred bucks that he leaves with him.”

Lee grinned at me, and the corners of his mustache, which really should have been trimmed before we’d gone out, curled around his upper lip. “I’ll go with that the guy tells him to screw off. But I’m low on cash.”

“You aren’t driving my car again,” I countered instantly. Lee loved my car, a classic muscle car I’d spent a good year restoring, and the last time I’d let him drive it my beauty had come back with a scratch in the driver’s side door. It was tiny, barely wider than the tip of a pen, but I noticed it, and I hadn’t forgiven him for it yet.

He leaned toward me and dropped his eyelids a bit. It made him look more dangerous than he really was. But I knew that look well enough to know it meant something entirely different. Lee was planning something, and though I would likely enjoy the end consequences of that look, I wasn’t too thrilled to see it because it usually meant danger in some way.

“I have a new sub. You could have him for the weekend. He’s just turned twenty-two and he’s a college student.”

That came as a surprise, and I narrowed my gaze at him. “Didn’t know you got into prostitution.”

I let my disdain for his offer show through. I enjoyed casual sex as much as the next person, but what Lee was offering me was something quite different, and I wasn’t on board with it.

Lee laughed at me and shook his head. He clapped me loudly, and rather rudely, on the back as if it had all just been in good fun. Even if he was joking, I didn’t really like it or approve.

“It’s not like that. Not in the least. But you should see your face right now.”

I raised my eyebrows. “It’s not?”

Lee shook his head. “Not at all. You see, Tate’s been wanting a bit more of what you’re into. It’s all fun and fine when I whip him a bit, but you know I don’t like my boys tied. He knows about your talents already from watching you at the club. I think you might like him. But just for this weekend. You can’t keep him permanently. He’s too sweet for me to just give him to you.”

I shifted my weight in the chair as my cock started to grow hard at just the thought of tying someone up. It was hard to find a good sub in the city. Plenty of guys wanted to try out a bit of kink, but to find someone who actually interested me for more than an hour or two? That was a rare find indeed, and I didn’t expect that from Lee’s sub, though I was curious about a man that would willingly consent to being shared between two Doms.

“If he agrees, and only if, then you have a deal,” I told Lee, hoping that he understood my point. I wouldn’t be playing host to some poor beaten sub who thought he had no choice in the matter. I’d met more than a few of men like that in my time in the BDSM scene and got tired of trying to explain that consent and submission still went together, regardless of anything else that was going on. It was an old conversation and one I didn’t think I should have ever needed to have, but people often seemed to miss that point.

Lee nodded and got out his phone. I didn’t think he’d ask this Tate person while we were still sitting there at the table, but apparently I was wrong as Lee sent off a text. He’d barely started to put the phone away when it beeped and, after reading the message, he looked up at me with a smile. “Tate says he’s free tonight and eagerly awaits the results of the bet.”

I snorted and shook my head. “He did not say that.” Lee held up the phone for me to see, and sure enough those were Tate’s words. All right. So some sub I’d never met was eager to spend the weekend with me. That felt far more odd than I thought it should have, but no matter. I could still lose this bet.

Except as soon as I’d finished that thought I saw David get up and take the man’s hand in his as they walked away from the table where they’d been sitting. A quickie in the bathroom was a possibility, and I hadn’t thought of that. Thankfully for my wallet, though, David took him past the bathrooms and out the club’s backdoor.

Smiling, I turned back to Lee, who was looking like he was seriously rethinking the terms of his own bet as he scowled after David, likely silently blaming our friend for his active libido. “Tell this Tate of yours to show up by ten and either be prepared to cook me dinner or order from the Thai place before he gets to my apartment. They can charge it to my account.”

“David could be in the alley with the guy,” Lee hedged.

I shrugged as I got up from the table and left a ten for the waiter to cover my drink and a tip for him as well. “If he is, that’s not my problem. The bet was that if they left together, I got a weekend with your sub. They left. You never said they had to go somewhere or anything like that. So you lost, and I get dinner and a clean apartment.”

“That’s all you’re going to do with him?” Lee asked me incredulously, as if he couldn’t believe I’d waste a weekend with a sub so easily.

“Maybe.” Honestly I didn’t know yet. Without seeing Tate, without knowing what he was like or anything else about him, I wasn’t pinning down anything too firmly.

Lee threw a napkin at me, and I tossed it back to him before walking out of the club, eager to get out of the noise and purple lights. I had a guest coming over that night which, while not a rare occurrence, wasn’t something that I’d planned on. Thankfully I was a fairly neat person, all things considered, but there was plenty of cleaning that I’d left off to the weekend that Tate could handle: sweeping the hardwood, wiping down the countertops, maybe even dusting.

I spotted David coming out of the alley with the man behind him. David’s jeans were unbuttoned. I waved to him, then touched the front of my own pants, a silent indication to him to fix his own, which he quickly did. If tonight went well and Tate wasn’t a brat, then I’d have to thank David for being so easy to get at a club. It was because of his libido that I was getting some company for the weekend, after all.

I took my time getting home and walked the long way along the pier and down Eighth Street to the bridge, where the people selling roses to couples walking along High Street were starting to pack up. In the summer they’d be out later, but in March they went home before it became too cold. I flipped up the collar of my long coat and kept walking, the sound of the water along my left and the lights of the upscale restaurants on my right.

My watch read nearly nine o’clock by the time I picked up the beer and headed home with my sweets in one hand and the beer in the other. I had to put the six-pack down in order to unlock the front door of my apartment but quickly picked it up. I got the door open and stepped into my large two-bedroom apartment. I enjoyed living life in an apartment, though my mother disapproved. I made enough as an accountant owning my own firm with David and Lee to afford a house on the edges of the city with a yard, a two-car garage, and the picket fence she’d always pictured me with, likely with a wife and a couple of children by my side. Her trying to understand me had gotten old in high school, and since college we’d barely spoken.

I didn’t mind the separation now as much as I used to. Family was the people I kept close to me, not the ones I forced myself to call on their birthdays and then ignored the rest of the year. I hung my coat up in the hall closet and put away my groceries before walking into my bedroom. I was a neat person by nature, so there was nothing to straighten up or be embarrassed about before Tate came over. I gave my bedroom with its pale creams and deep greens a simple once-over before I took off my shoes so that I could put them on the shelf in my closet.

Next I walked to my dresser and the little quartz bowl I kept on top of the polished mahogany. My cuff links were carefully snapped off and dropped in there. I removed my tie and hung it up next to the full-length mirror in front of the entrance to my closet.

I wouldn’t get too comfortable, not like I would have if I wasn’t expecting company. But I could still undo the top few buttons of my dark blue dress shirt and roll the sleeves up to my elbows. Before I left my bedroom I opened the curtains so that I could see the city. I may have only been on the second floor, but there was a hill below my apartment building, so the view I saw out of the windows behind my bed was comparable to that of people who lived on the tenth floor of most apartment buildings in the little valley below mine.

Author Bio:
Caitlin was fortunate growing up to be surrounded by family and teachers that encouraged her love of reading. She has always been a voracious reader and that love of the written word easily morphed into a passion for writing. If she isn't writing, she can usually be found studying as she works toward her counseling degree. She comes from a military family and the men and women of the armed forces are close to her heart. She also enjoys gardening and horseback riding in the Colorado Rockies where she calls home with her wonderful fiance and their dog. Her belief that there is no one true path to happily ever after runs deeply through all of her stories.