Party planner Hero Ledger is convinced she’s not a submissive. After her last attempt, with a wannabe Dominant, she never wants to try again. She enjoys having steamy relations with a Dom, but she hasn’t found one she’s able to trust.

And then she meets Randy Westin, one of the owners of the Silver Creek lifestyle resort. Randy is a weekend gift for Hero as a thank you for a job well done on her best friend’s wedding. Hero is ready for some bedroom fun, but Randy is looking for a submissive.

Can the two of them meet in the middle so they both get what they want?

Publisher’s Note: This steamy contemporary romance contains elements of power exchange, and a guaranteed HEA. It is book two in the Silver Creek Resort series but reads as a standalone.

Chapter One

Hero Ledger stared at her image in the mirror and sighed. “I didn’t plan this outfit right.”

“Nonsense, you look incredible.” Amanda Meyers, the bride for the Alice in Wonderland wedding that was about to take place, stepped close to her friend and hugged her from behind. “This is the most perfect wedding. Last night’s party was a blast, and I have a present for you after it’s all over that will knock your socks off.”

Amanda giggled and Hero turned to her. The bride wore a red whale-boned corset that would probably shock many of the attendees. The satin skirt was fastened around her waist and had a four-foot train. She didn’t have on the veil yet, but it would be attached to the tiara that was already woven into her long, dark hair. It was all in red, as Amanda’s Master and future husband, Dylan Clampe, would be dressed in black, except for a red vest. His top hat was red and black striped. The groomsmen wore outfits much the same, only their suits were all black; each one had a different color shirt, from green to blue to purple. Everything but red. The bridesmaids all wore blue gingham dresses with white pinafores.

When Amanda had told Hero years ago that she wanted an Alice in Wonderland wedding, Hero had thought she’d been joking. But when Dylan had decided they should marry, and Amanda had repeated her desires to her best friend, Hero had taken on the job.

As an event planner, Hero had done some exciting themes, but, as she’d told Amanda, she knew nothing about Alice in Wonderland.

“I never even read the book as a child,” she’d said. She’d read it several times since Amanda announced her desires, but Hero had taken a light hand with the details. The hardest part had been finding a caterer who could make a Cheshire cat cake and put the rest of the characters on different levels and not make it look childish. But find her she had, and it made the whole event complete.

Hero was proud of this wedding, and she’d made sure to tell the photographer she would pay him extra if he documented the costumes and decorations without the guests featured too much so she could use them on her website.

“I have a wedding cake for your one-year anniversary that most people won’t see,” Hero told her friend. “It’s my present to you. I’ll give it to you after the ceremony is over, right before you leave.”

“No hints?” Amanda asked.

“Not a one,” Hero said with a laugh. “I’m so happy for you.”

“Your turn next,” Amanda said. “What sort of wedding will you have?”

Hero cleared her throat. “Since I haven’t had a date, much less any interaction with a man, in almost a year, I don’t think I’m next.”

Amanda wiggled her eyebrows, then her hands went to her neck. Hero narrowed her eyes. “What are you doing?”

“I’m about to be married,” she said. She turned to the mirror. “I haven’t been without my collar in three years. I feel naked.”

“Well then I have a surprise for you,” she said. “Dylan didn’t want you wearing leather with steel rings in front of the straights, so he gave me this to tie around your neck right before we go into the ceremony. He said to tell you that you are together forever, in heart, mind and body. He said you would always be his pet.”

“You’re going to make me cry, and it’s going to ruin my makeup,” Amanda said. She sniffled and then turned around, the train of her dress wrapping around her legs. Hero’s hands shook as they fastened the lace collar around her friend’s neck.

“I have to admit I’m jealous,” Hero said as Amanda put her fingers on the collar.

“You’re the rich one,” Amanda said with a laugh. “You only work when you want, you travel around the world, and you can have any man you want.”

“Then why don’t I have one?” Hero asked. “You are marrying a man who owns a stake in the Silver Creek Resort. I’ve always wanted to visit there. Hell, I can’t remember the last time I got laid. Makes me wet just thinking about it.”

Amanda lowered her head and coughed.

“Do you need some water?” Hero asked. “We need to do a touchup on your makeup if you cried, and then get your train in place. But I guess we need to get the other two bridesmaids in here to help.” The other two, Leslie and Edith, were checking to make sure the best man and the groomsmen were in tiptop form. Hero had sent them out of the room specifically so she could clasp the lace collar around Amanda’s neck and tell her what Dylan had said.

“I don’t need water,” Amanda said. “I’m laughing at you wanting to go to Silver Creek. You’re not submissive. You’ve told me that for ages.”

“I could get some good, hot sex there,” Hero answered. “I may not like to be told what to do, but I do love a good, hard whipping.”

They both laughed, and Amanda put her fingers on her lace collar. “I’m so happy about this. But you know, my mother is not very happy about my choice of wedding themes. I’m surprised she didn’t try to slip you money to do things the so-called normal way.”

“Who said she didn’t?” Hero laughed. “I should have taken it and done what you wanted anyway.”

“How much did she offer you?” Amanda said, her anger evident in her tone of voice.

“Five thousand dollars was the breaking point,” Hero said.

“That conniving little… damn her.” Hero was sure her friend had been about to utter the B word when she stopped herself. She felt bad for bringing it up just moments before the wedding.

“I’m sorry, Amanda,” Hero said. “I shouldn’t have told you.”

“Told me that my mother hates my lifestyle so much that she would go behind my back to try and change my wedding? I’m surprised she didn’t have a different groom picked out.”

“Maybe she did,” Hero said.

“That’s why she’s not in here, you know,” Amanda said. “She said she wouldn’t be in a room where I was being dressed to look like a streetwalker.”

“You’re the queen of hearts,” Hero said as she went to the table in the back of the room and picked up the gauzy veil. “You’re the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen.”

“You designed the dress, which means you’ve gone above and beyond the call of a wedding planner,” Amanda said. “She’s unhappy that I’m marry a man who owns a sex toy company.”

“Who cares what she thinks,” Hero said. “She’s never liked me, either. She said I led you down a wicked path.”

“I’m glad you did,” Amanda said. “If you hadn’t, I never would have met Dylan. Thank you for that.”

“No problem,” Hero said. “Of course, I’m a little ticked that you’re getting married and I don’t have a man in my life. You need to return the favor and find me a husband.”

“I’m working on that,” Amanda said.

“We’ll discuss it when you get back from Paris,” Hero said. She indicated her friend should sit down. When she’d settled onto a stool, and Hero had smoothed out the skirt to make sure it wouldn’t wrinkle, she started to put on the veil.

Once she’d settled it on Amanda’s head, she began to attach it to the tiara.

“You’re going to turn heads,” Hero said when the veil was in place.

“Yeah, some will like it, some will say, as my mother did, that I look like a hooker.”

“You know, white wedding dresses didn’t become all the rage until Victoria married her Albert,” Hero said. “Plus, you can wear whatever the hell you want.”

They broke into laughter, and Hero checked the clock on the wall. “We should be lining up in about ten minutes. I’m going to go check on Leslie and Edith, and make sure the groomsmen are all ready. I’ll come and get you in about five minutes, if there are not still a lot of guests arriving. We want to make sure they’re all seated before you come out. You’re the star of the party, after all.”

Hero leaned over and hugged her friend. “Are you going to be okay by yourself?”

“For all of five minutes? Yes, I think so.”

One more hug and Hero was out the door. She felt a little strange roaming around in a gingham dress with a white pinafore, her hair in ponytails. But it was what Amanda wanted, so she had to make the best of it. At least she wasn’t wearing a corset, which was what Amanda had first wanted. Hero wasn’t overly fond of corsets, because they pushed out her boobs and made it hard to breathe.

She made it to the entrance of the room where the ceremony would take place and peeked around the corner. The place was full, but the ushers were still seating guests.

“Good,” she said as she turned around, and bumped into a mountain of a man. She took a step back and looked up at him—dressed in black with a purple shirt and a top hat. “And you are?” She already knew who he was because of his outfit, but she wanted him to talk, so she could see if his voice matched his size.

“Randy Westin, best man extraordinaire,” he said. He cocked his head and gave her a look that made her go weak in the knees. His deep voice definitely matched his looks. “Is your name Alice?”

“Hero,” she said, her voice soft. Then she cleared her throat, “Hero Ledger. Maid of honor extraordinaire.”

“I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband.”

Hero’s mouth dropped open as he quoted from Much Ado About Nothing, and the character for which she had been named.

“She’s not my cousin,” she said, and then she wanted to slap herself upside the head.

“Well, it was the closest quote I could think of that related to marriage,” he said. He took a step back and Hero worked to keep her breathing under control. He wasn’t classically handsome, but he was impressive, with his dark, penetrating eyes, dark hair and carefully trimmed beard. The suit he wore barely covered the muscles in his arms and thighs.

“You’ve missed all the rehearsals,” she said.

“Yes, we’ve had a bit of a situation at Silver Creek.”

Oh, yes, this was Dylan’s friend who was a partner in the BDSM resort. That would make him a Dom.  She imagined him standing there in jeans with no shirt and a riding crop in his hand. She must have swayed because he reached out and grabbed her by the arm.

“Are you okay? Have you and Amanda been hitting the tequila bottle for a little courage?”

“No, I was just…” How did she tell him that she imagined him spanking her ass until she couldn’t sit down without crying? She might not want to wear a collar, but she loved to have her ass whacked, repeatedly. “It’s nothing. I just need to, um, well, I’m supposed to be coordinating things and I’m not. I do have an assistant who has been taking care of things for me, but I do need to get the ceremony started.”

She took a step back from him. This man made her want to drop down onto all fours and offer him her ass.

“Would you go and tell Dylan and the others that we are about to start? Dylan needs to be at the front and you and the um, the, well, the other two need to wait for your female counterparts back here.”

“That would be you for me,” he said. “See you in a few moments.” He doffed his hat and then took off in the other direction.

Hero took off toward where Amanda waited for her. She was surprised to find her friend alone when she rushed into the room and slammed the door behind her. Where were Leslie and Edith? Maybe they were waiting at the entrance to the main room.

“You look flushed,” Amanda said. Hero could hear the panic in her friend’s voice. “Dylan didn’t run out on me, did he? He’s still here, right?”

“Yes, he’s here,” Hero said. “I just, well, it doesn’t matter. Let’s get you out there and ready to go down the aisle. I’m surprised your dad hasn’t been here knocking on the door.”

“I think he’s scared of you,” Amanda said with a laugh.

Hero crossed to the mirror to make sure she wasn’t bleeding from the nose because of a rise in her blood pressure. She fanned herself and then crossed to the table to get a glass of water. Perhaps she should look for the tequila bottle that Randy had mentioned.

“What happened?” Amanda asked.

“I sort of ran into Randy,” Hero said. She turned to look at her friend. “Why didn’t you tell me I was going to be walking down the aisle with sex on a stick?”

“I wanted it to be a surprise,” Amanda said. “Gorgeous, isn’t he?”

“Like something sculpted by Michelangelo,” Hero said. “I wonder if he’s circumcised. I mean he’s like a walking Statue of David, but the statue is not circumcised.”

Amanda’s laughter filled the room. “Um, could we debate the fate of Randy’s penis after I’m married?”

“This is so unfair of you,” Hero said. “I mean I haven’t been laid in a year, and you shock me with this guy.”

“Surprise,” Amanda said. “Now, can I get married?”

“Yes, yes,” Hero said. “Let’s get you married.” Before I decide to tackle Randy and drag him into a corner and fuck him.

A knock on the door drew both their attentions. “Amanda?” her father called out. “Are you ready?”

“Yes,” Amanda replied.

He opened the door and Hero enjoyed the look of delight on his face when he stepped into the room. “You look beautiful,” he said.

“Thank you, Daddy,” Amanda said. “Well, let’s get this show on the road.”

They made their way to the main door. The ushers and groomsmen all commented on how beautiful Amanda looked. But Hero seemed to melt once more under Randy’s gaze. He winked at her and whispered, “Damn, you’re cute.”

She laughed and took her basket from Leslie. They had baskets with flowers instead of bouquets. In the center of each one was a stuffed rabbit, complete with top hat and monocle. Each rabbit wore a suit identical to the groomsmen, so Hero spent a few moments making sure purple was with purple and so on. When she was sure it was perfect, she pointed at the piano player.

When the music started and Leslie and Paul – she’d known his name, despite the fact that she’d been distracted by the appearance of Randy – had gone down the aisle, she ushered Edith and Vincent on their way. Then Randy offered her his arm.

When she touched him, she felt as if she might have an immediate orgasm.

As she started down the aisle, she prayed she’d stocked up on batteries for her vibrator the last time she was at the store. She was definitely going to need it tonight.

***

Randy lifted his glass and then clinked his knife against it. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not late, but I’d still like your attention.” The alcohol had been flowing freely since the reception started. Dylan had made everyone leave their car keys at the door. He’d told Randy it had been Hero’s idea.

“We have a fleet of drivers to take people home, so nobody gets behind the wheel after having too much to drink. It’s a brilliant idea, really.”

Randy had to agree with him. He clinked his knife again and the crowd kept talking. “Off with their heads!” he yelled out.

Everyone laughed and quieted down. He glanced over to where Hero sat, and she lifted her glass as if to say he’d done something good. She was definitely the highlight of this whole event. When Dylan had told him Amanda wanted an Alice in Wonderland themed wedding he wasn’t sure what to think. In private, Randy, Paul and Vince called the marriage ‘Going down the rabbit hole’.

When he had to come into Vegas for fittings and the like that’s what he’d tell his partners at the Silver Creek. It came to be a huge joke between them all.

But now there was Hero, wearing a dress he’d never seen on a bridesmaid before. He thought about skipping the toast and taking her into a closet and fucking her brains outs. But there would be plenty of time for that later.

“When I met Dylan in fifth grade, I was happy to see there was someone wimpier than me that the bigger kids could pick on.” The audience laughed. “We became fast friends over toilet swirlies.”

The laughter grew. “But, as the years passed, we both grew up, and out, which meant the big kids could no longer pick on us and we had fights over who got the pretty girl.”

He looked over to where Dylan took Amanda’s hand and kissed it. Randy couldn’t resist looking over to where Hero sat, her champagne glass in hand.

“Unfortunately for me, he always got the good ones, and it looks like he found the perfect fit right now.”

“Oh, thank you,” Amanda said.

“So, I want you all to raise your glass to life, love and lots of babies for Dylan and Amanda. But say a special prayer that none of them fall through the rabbit hole.”

Everyone laughed and took a drink. He lifted his glass in Hero’s direction to show it was her turn. When she stood, she looked wobbly, and he wondered how much she’d had to drink. Not that it really mattered. She wouldn’t be driving anywhere.

 “Well, that’s a hard act to follow,” Hero said and cleared her throat. “So, I’ll just say I knew from the moment we all met that Amanda and Dylan were perfect for each other. She told me that night, when we were on the required visit to the ladies’ room as a team, that she’d just met the man she was going to be with for the rest of her life.”

The room broke into applause. “I told her to think on it. She told me she didn’t have to, that he’d told her he’d known she was the woman for him the moment he laid eyes on her.”

More applause. “So like Randy said, raise your glasses to toast the union of the perfect couple, and pray they take a path that has lots of twists and turns, to keep things exciting for them both.”

Randy watched as she lifted her glass, then drained it as if it contained water. He wondered what had put her off her game. Dylan told him she was a perfect woman, independent and successful in the outside world, and ready for some rough and tumble sex when it came down to the nitty gritty.

What he hadn’t told him was how beautiful she was, with her short dark hair and her luscious hips and breasts, the latter of which looked as if they might pop out of her dress and spill onto the pinafore. He imagined her on her knees, wearing nothing but the pinafore, her mouth open to receive his cock.

He shifted in his seat and looked down. “Not now,” he whispered to his dick, which thought it was time to rise to the occasion.

The music started to swell, and he watched as Amanda and her father made their way onto the dance floor.

Dylan sat down next to him and said, “Give me strength. I have to dance with the wicked witch.”

“Wrong story,” Randy said. “And you’ve already married the Queen of Hearts, which is the bad guy in the story your wedding is based on.”

“All the better to tame her, my friend,” Dylan said. “That dress she’s wearing is gorgeous. Part of me wants her to wear it when I fuck her tonight.”

“She could wear the corset, and nothing else,” Randy said. He looked at Hero and his cock stirred. He looked down. “Not now.”

“You talk to your dick?” Dylan asked in surprise.

“Sometimes,” Randy said. “He listens.”

“Please don’t tell me he has a name.”

“Oh, he does, but not one you need to know.” Randy snapped his fingers. “The woman in question is snapping her fingers for you.”

Randy winked at Hero, who waved at Dylan and then pointed at Amanda’s mother.

“Time to face the music,” Dylan said. He went to his new mother-in-law and led her onto the dance floor. Hero came to Randy. “You need to dance with Dylan’s mother while I dance with Amanda’s dad. After that it’s every man for himself.”

“Save me a dance,” he said as he walked toward his intended dance partner. Dancing with Sally wouldn’t be hard. He’d always liked his friend’s mother, who had been kind to him in the years after his own mother had died when he was barely eleven.

He led Sally to the dance floor, then watched as Amanda’s dad, Phil, did the same with Hero. She looked like heaven while she danced. She threw back her head and laughed at one point, and he imagined tying her to a pole and taking advantage of that position to ravish her breasts.

Randy did so love breasts. They were his favorite part of a woman’s body.

The song ended and they all changed partners. Randy claimed Hero and began to twirl her around the floor when the new music started. He pulled her close, pressing her against him as his cock stirred.

“You’ve put on a fantastic event here,” he said.

“I’m glad you like it,” she responded. Her cheeks were flush, and he had a feeling she’d had more to drink tonight than she was used to. “I have one last surprise for Amanda and Dylan. I hope you can help me with it.”

“I’m at your beck and call,” he said. “Just tell me when and where.”

“The room where the ladies dressed,” Hero said. “In half an hour. I have to get the gift out of the refrigerator.”

“Strawberries and cream?” he asked. He imagined feeding her those strawberries while she was still tied to the pole he’d envisioned earlier.

“It’s a little more complicated than that, although that does sound good.” She giggled and, to his delight, she put her head on his chest. “I need you to get them to the room in half an hour.” She hiccupped, and then giggled. “I think I’ve had too much bubbly. I’m not used to it.”

“Good thing there are drivers to take you home.”

“Yes,” she said. “I’m staying at Amanda and Dylan’s place until they get back, to watch their cat.”

He nodded but didn’t respond. He didn’t want her to know he already knew that information. The song ended and she stayed in his arms. But when the next song started, Dylan came to claim Hero, and Amanda held out her arms to him.

“You’re ready to leave for your trip?” Randy asked as he twirled Amanda around the floor.

“One night here, and tomorrow we’ll be in Paris.” She giggled and Randy kissed her forehead. “I’m so happy for the two of you. Jealous, but happy.”

“Your time will come,” Amanda said.

The song ended and they broke apart. He turned to watch Hero scurry from the room. “You and Dylan meet me in twenty minutes in the hall.”

“Why?” Amanda asked.

“Don’t ask questions,” Dylan said as he came up behind them. “You’re far too curious, my pet. Just let it all flow and enjoy the experience.”

“Yes, Sir,” Amanda said. They gazed at each other, and once again Randy felt a bit of jealousy.

“Meet me in twenty minutes,” he said. They danced off, but when the time came, they were standing right where they were supposed to be. They went into the dressing room and Randy was happy to see Hero still wore her Alice costume.

She had a baker’s box in her hand. “This is the topping I wanted to do for your cake, but I knew your mother would throw a fit, Amanda.” She held out the box and Amanda took it.

They all crowded around as she opened the lid. Inside was a small cake. The topper inside was a woman wearing a red corset and a thick slave’s collar with O-rings all around. The man stood above her, with a flogger in his hand.

“It will freeze well for your first anniversary,” Hero said.

“Well, I have a gift for you, too, Hero,” Amanda said. “You’ve worked so hard on this, and it’s been perfect. Well, I think I worded it wrong. It’s a gift for you, but you are the gift.”

Randy’s cock stirred.

“What?” Hero asked.

“You’re the gift,” Dylan said. “Randy’s agreed to give you some good, hot sex this weekend. But you have to agree. If you do, offer him your ass. I’ve told him you’re not a sub, but that you like it rough. So turn around and bend over slightly to show him you want it. If you don’t, it’s no harm, no foul.”

Randy studied Hero’s face as emotions passed over it. He could see she was shocked by the news, and at first, he thought she was going to say no.

But then, to the delight of his cock, and himself, she turned and bent slightly, pulling up her skirt to show an ass that was perfect for whipping. Then she wobbled and almost dropped to the floor. To keep that from happening he wrapped his arm around her waist and held her close.