Taming Avery_A MFM Menage Romance, страница 1часть #2 серии Club Menage
Taming Avery (A MFM Menage Romance)
Text copyright © 2017 Tara Crescent
All Rights Reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Thanks to Jim and Miranda.
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Boyfriend by the Hour
This steamy, romantic story contains a dominant hero who’s pretending to be an escort, and a sassy heroine who’s given up on real relationships.
I can’t believe I have the hots for an escort.
Cole Mitchell is ripped, bearded, sexy and dominant. When he moves next door to me, I find it impossible to resist sampling the wares.
But Cole’s not a one-woman kind of guy, and I won’t share.
She thinks I’m an escort. I’m not.
I thought I’d do anything to sleep with Sadie. Then I realized I want more. I want Sadie. Forever.
I’m not the escort she thinks I am.
Now, I just have to make sure she never finds out.
Someone called Kai Bowen was going to do a demo on Friday night, but I missed it.
She doesn’t realize it, but with that one sentence, Fiona Clarke upends my life.
Here’s the thing about therapists. People think that just because we counsel our clients and offer them advice, we’ve got our shit together, but that’s pretty much bollocks. We’re just as fucked up as the next person. Probably more fucked up, if we’re being honest.
“You want to join Club M.”
Xavier Leforte is drop-dead gorgeous. Dark hair cut brutally short, dark eyes that seem to see too much. I’m willing to bet that his watch costs more than the down payment on my Adams Morgan condo.
The two of us are in an expensive French restaurant in Georgetown, one I’ve never been to. We’ve been shown to a secluded back room. Our drink orders have been taken and filled. We’re waiting for the food to arrive.
Because Kai and Maddox are members there. And ever since I found out, I can’t get them out of my mind.
I shrug uncomfortably. I hadn’t realized that there would be an interview. Club M is exclusive, but it’s also a sex club. I thought that all I had to do was hand over my ten thousand dollar trial membership fee, and I’d be in.
Ten thousand dollars. Unbelievable.
But it’s not that simple. Evidently, Xavier Leforte has to clear my application first.
Xavier waits for me to answer, no hint of impatience on his face. Unlike me, he’s relaxed, completely at ease. Then again, he probably hears confessions like mine every single day.
There’s no one else here. No one that might overhear me reveal things I’ve never said out loud.
“Over the years,” I murmur, “I’ve come to realize I’m missing something. In bed.” I take a sip of wine for courage. “I fantasize about men taking charge. Telling me what to do, how to please them.”
I’m not lying to Xavier. Everything I’m telling him is the truth. It’s just not the whole truth. Ever since Fiona Clarke mentioned Kai, I can’t stop thinking about them. The men in my fantasies—the ones who put me over their knees and spank me, who force me to my knees and make me suck their cocks—aren’t anonymous anymore. No. I’m fantasizing about Kai and Maddox taking charge.
“Have you explored these urges?”
My cheeks warm. “No.”
“I used to be married to someone who tried to control everything I did,” I reply quietly. “I have no desire to make the same mistake again. I’d prefer to explore my fantasies in the safety of a club.”
He opens the leather folder in front of him and pulls out a sheet of paper. “You filled this out,” he says. “What you’ve tried. What you’re willing to try. You’re very… inexperienced.”
That questionnaire had terrified me, but it had also aroused me. A lot.
“Everyone has to start somewhere.”
“Hmm.” His expression gives nothing away. “Did someone refer you? Do you know any of our current members?”
I lace my fingers in my lap. “I’m a therapist,” I reply obliquely. “I can’t disclose my clients’ identities.”
“Fair enough. What about current members that aren’t your clients?”
I take a deep breath. “I had a brief affair with Kai Bowen and Maddox Wake many years ago.”
Those dark eyes rest on me. “Are you hoping to run into them, or are you hoping to avoid them?” Xavier Leforte asks bluntly.
“Wow. That cuts through a lot of bullshit, doesn’t it?”
He lifts his shoulders in an elegant shrug. “Life’s short, Dr. Welch. Well?”
“We didn’t part under the best of circumstances,” I murmur. I left without a word. “But they’ve been in my thoughts lately.” I can’t stop fantasizing about them. “I guess I was hoping to run into them again.”
“Fair enough.” He hands me a navy-blue folder. “Your access card is in there,” he says. “Along with some information on club rules, club amenities, that kind of thing. You’re on probation for the first three months. After that time is up, if you wish to become a full-time member, we can review your information once again.”
Not likely. Ten thousand dollars for three months of trial membership is expensive enough. Club M is for the wealthy. I’m not poor, but the club isn’t in my league.
I don’t say any of this. “Okay.”
He looks up. “I assign every new member a mentor,” he adds. “Caleb Reeves will be yours.”
He raises one dark eyebrow, picking up easily on the note of disappointment in my voice. Thankfully, he doesn’t call me on it. Our food arrives, and we lapse into silence as we eat our meal.
I reach for the check when it arrives, but he shakes his head. “Call the main line when you’re planning to come
It’s Tuesday. Saturday is only four days away. Panic claws in my throat at the idea, but I push it back resolutely. “Yes.”
Every Saturday morning, I meet my friend Maggie for brunch. Today’s no exception.
She’s seated in her usual corner when I arrive five minutes late, a teapot and two cups already at her side. “You look tired,” she says, pouring me a cup. “Tough week?”
“Dreadful.” I take a sip of my tea, wincing as the scalding hot liquid burns my tongue.
“Tell me about it.” She leans back in her chair and laces her fingers together.
“Where do I start?” I blow on the surface of my cup as I marshal my thoughts. “Every client this week had either parent issues or a controlling spouse.”
Maggie, who knows the story of my past, gives me a sympathetic look. “That hit too close to home?”
Ten years ago, when I’d just turned nineteen, my parents had called me into the living room one Sunday evening. They’d told me that my father’s company was on the brink of failure, and they were on the edge of ruin. “Your father took some loans out,” my mother Maisie had said, her voice trembling. “From some very bad men. And now…”
“What can I do?” I’d blurted out. “I’ve got a couple thousand quid saved up from working at the King’s Arms.”
“That won’t help, Avery.” My father had folded his arms over his chest. “However, there is something you can do…”
“What?” I’d interrupted. “Anything.”
“Victor Lowell offered to bail us out.”
I’d gone cold. Victor Lowell was a new friend of my parents. He was titled, and my parents loved the idea of rubbing shoulders with the peerage. He creeped me out though. One thing I knew for sure—he didn’t do things out of the goodness of his heart. “In exchange for what?” I’d whispered.
But I already knew the answer. It was in the way he undressed me with his eyes every time he looked at me. Victor Lowell was helping my father in exchange for me.
I’d been married to Victor for two years. The two coldest, unhappiest, most miserable years of my life. Then, during an argument the day after I turned twenty-one, he’d slapped me. All because I wanted to go out with my friends for a pint and a curry.
I’d grown used to the verbal abuse, but the slap had jolted the numbness out of me. I’d filed for divorce.
I thought my parents would understand, but they’d been furious. “Victor’s a good man,” Jeremy Welch had insisted.
Maisie Welch had nodded in agreement. “You’re creating such a scandal,” she’d said. “I don’t know why you needed to go out with your friends,” she’d said. “I don’t like Tillie and Hannah. They’re not the right sort, Avery. You should know that by now. I don’t blame poor Victor for being angry.”
I’d always been dutiful and obedient. I’d always believed my parents wanted nothing but the best for me. That day, I’d realized I was wrong.
“Avery?” Maggie prompts me gently. “You still here?”
I shake my head to brush away the cobwebs of the past. “Yeah. Sorry. What were we talking about?” My tea is cool enough to sip now. I gulp down a mouthful.
“You were telling me you had a rough week,” she says gently, concern in her eyes.
“Yeah.” I haven’t let myself think about Kai and Maddox for ten years. Then Fiona Clarke had mentioned Kai’s name, and now I can’t hold back the memories of that stolen two-week period before my wedding. “I went on a first date Sunday night.”
“From your tone, I’m guessing it didn’t go well.”
I tuck a stray strand of hair behind my ear. “It was going fine until he discovered what I did for a living.”
She winces. Maggie’s a therapist too. She knows the reactions. “Did he get nervous, or did he pour out all his problems to you?”
“The latter. For three hours, he complained about his ex-wife. If I’d charged him my going rate, he’d have owed me almost five hundred dollars.”
“Let me guess,” she says dryly. “He didn’t pick up the check either.”
“We split it down the middle.”
Ouch indeed. It’s rough out there. Really rough. “Todd seemed great on paper,” I murmur. “We exchanged a few emails first, you know? And he was witty, funny, and interesting. I was really looking forward to this date.”
“You can’t give up, Avery. Yes, you have to kiss a lot of frogs first, but there’s a prince out there for you. I just know it.”
I take a deep breath. “I came back home after that date, and I got drunk. Really, really drunk. And then I did something crazy and impulsive.” I filled out the Club M application. And two days later, I had an interview with Xavier Leforte.
She raises an eyebrow. I can read her like a book. Right now, she’s thinking that I’m being dramatic. Her expression is skeptical and disbelieving. Maggie and I were in the same Ph.D. program. We were roommates for five years. She thinks she knows everything about me.
Avery Welch never does anything crazy and impulsive.
She’s about to find out how wrong she is.
“What’d you do, Avery?” she says indulgently.
I take a sip of my now-lukewarm tea and think about the packed overnight bag I have in the boot of my car. Trunk, I correct myself. Americans say trunk, not boot.
“I joined a sex club.”
“What?” Her mouth falls open, her shock comical. “A sex club? Why?”
Once upon a time, ten years ago, I’d been selfish. I’d run away with Kai and Maddox two weeks before my wedding. I’d spent fourteen blissful days with them, the best fortnight of my life.
But every interlude comes to an end, and so had ours. My father owed the Irish mob money. I couldn’t stand by and watch him be beaten up as a result of his failure to pay his debt.
So I’d returned to the fold, like a lamb led to slaughter. I’d married Victor.
I’ve done three things in my life just for myself.
I slept with Maddox and Kai.
I divorced Victor.
And now, I’ve joined a sex club.
It’s been ten years. I’m seeking out the men that I’ve never been able to forget, no matter how hard I’ve tried. I’ve paid Xavier Leforte thousands of dollars to join Club M for a trial period.
All in the hopes of running into Kai and Maddox again.
Even though I have no idea if they’re single or married.
Even though they’re bound to be furious with me.
Even though there’s no hope of reliving the past.
I take another deep breath and tell Maggie everything.
There are rules to this lifestyle.
Carefully negotiated boundaries.
Hard and soft limits.
The rules are in place for a reason. To protect us. The dominant and the submissive, both.
I’ve been playing this game for a very long time. Most of my adult life, if I think about it. From time to time, I experiment with vanilla, but it doesn’t hold my interest. It never has.
I’m thirty-six. I’m comfortable in my skin, unapologetic about my desires.
I never spend more than two weeks with a woman. I’m not interested in permanence. I’m not interested in commitment. I like my submissives experienced and trained.
I’ve been called a dick more than once, and if I’m being honest, I’ll admit that yes, it’s sometimes justified.
But I never lie.
I never pretend to be something I’m not.
I never pretend to be in love.
Not like Avery.
I don’t break hearts.
I’m a cardiovascular surgeon. I fix them.
Well, I did. Until Melody Simon died on my operating table seven days ago.
Don’t let yourself go there. Not now.
“You look lik
He chuckles as he pulls up a chair, and then his expression turns serious. “The post-mortem results were due today, weren’t they?”
“I’m in the clear.”
“That’s good, right?”
I down the Scotch. “Good?” I ask bitterly. “Melody Simon was thirty-three. She had a kid two years ago, a little boy who’s going to grow up without a mother. I was the surgeon in charge, Maddox. I don’t care how many times Joanna Wadsworth tells me it’s not my fault.”
Losing patients is part of the job. There’s not a single surgeon out there that’s got a perfect record, not unless they’re cherry-picking only low-risk patients.
I’m not that person. I’ve had people die on the operating table before, but those were high-risk cases. The patients knew that the odds of them surviving it were low. It didn’t make it better, but at least there was a reason. Once the hurt passed, I could make peace with it.
Melody Simon was different. Her death was unexpected. Inexplicable.