The first time Sean Bates sees Alessa Alexander at a lifestyle club without one of her friends attending with her, he doesn’t approach her or interfere, deeming it’s none of his business. The second time, his protective, dominant instincts force him to confront her, and then offer his professional counseling for her needs.

Alessa’s desire to turn herself over to a man’s full control always kept her from believing she’d ever enjoy a long-term relationship like her friends recently committed to. When she gets up the nerve to ask Sean Bates to tutor her in her unorthodox fantasies, the first scene he devises leaves her aching for more of his strict control, but worried about keeping her feelings uninvolved.
Past heartbreaks keep Sean and Alessa leery of hoping for too much from their agreed upon temporary relationship.

Between escalating problems with an ex at work and her insecurities, Alessa runs from Sean before she ends up hurt. But it doesn’t take her long to realize how much she wants him and his strict discipline, enough to risk the height of humiliation to earn his forgiveness.

Publisher’s Note: This steamy contemporary romance is the fifth installment of the Miami Masters series but can be read and enjoyed as a standalone. It includes elements of power exchange and ménage.

Chapter One

 

Parking in the Gold Star Marina lot, Sean Bates cut the engine and sat for a moment, trying to drum up enthusiasm for the Friday evening cruise his friends had planned on their new mega yacht. Since he deemed himself way too young at thirty-eight to be going through male menopause, he couldn’t blame that malady on his recent decline of interest in the BDSM lifestyle he’d been indulging in since his early twenties. He supposed he could lay the blame on post-Christmas blues, or tiredness from a busy workweek, or the fact he hadn’t come across a new play partner who interested him enough to extend an invitation to in a while. But he wouldn’t. Those would be crutches used to avoid the truth; at least that’s what he’d tell one of his patients if they tried such a thing. No, he knew the reason for his recent antipathy toward his favorite pastime.

Sean slid out of his car thinking he’d set aside the desire for someone of his own, resigned himself to never finding a woman willing to give him the control he knew he’d demand in a committed relationship. He’d been happy with his decision to remain single, keeping himself detached and aloof from personal involvement with the subs he spent time with. It wasn’t hard to do, he thought as he strolled down the boardwalk under the marina’s night-lights. At least it hadn’t been until four of his six close friends had taken that leap the last few months.

With a mental shake of his head, he sprinted aboard the three-tiered pleasure vessel and adjusted to the slow bob as he strode toward the helm. Zach, the wealthy heir to a finance company who had gifted the gang of seven the yacht last summer, sat behind the glass partition in the plush captain’s chair.

“Where’d you send Sandie?” Sean asked him as he settled in the co-captain’s seat and Zach revved up the engine.

“She went with Hope to prepare the snacks down in the galley.” Zach turned his head just enough to flip Sean a dry look that matched his tone when he added, “You didn’t think Miles would wait to ensure there was food, did you?”

The martial arts champion never went long without wanting something to eat. “No, I know better. So, I’m the last to arrive?”

“Just like the last time you joined us weeks ago. We were surprised to hear you were in for tonight, but damn happy about it. It’s been a while, bro.” With the skill of an experienced yachtsman, Zach maneuvered the boat out of the slot and steered them toward the black expanse of the wide-open water. The smooth glide through the harbor stirred up a nice breeze through the open sides of the helm.

“The holidays are always a busy time of year, at least for those of us who keep regular work hours,” Sean returned in his defense. “I’ve been lucky to have the energy to get away at all.”

“Why? Does Santa Claus bring out more loonies?”

Sean didn’t take offense at his friend’s sarcastic drawl. One, because everyone knew Zach could be an ass, and they accepted him, and loved him, the way he was. Second, because as a psychologist, he did see more people with issues around the holidays. “They’re not loonies, you moron. And yes, the holidays can trigger suppressed emotions more than other times during the year.”

“Yeah, I know.” Zach hesitated a moment and kept his blue eyes riveted straight ahead as he admitted, “Christmas was harder than I thought, even though Mom hadn’t been cognizant enough to be aware of the holiday the previous year. Having Sandie helped.”

“She’s your family now.” They’d all been surprised when Zach fell fast and hard for his stowaway last summer, not long after his mother passed away from Alzheimer’s. Seeing Sandie freed from her corrupt stepfather had been a pleasure for all of them. Sean thought of his only family, his father, and the rift he couldn’t seem to bridge between them, despite his education and experience with counseling strangers with similar issues.

“Yeah, she is.” With a wide grin, Zach throttled the engine down, turning it off a few miles out of port. “And it’s time to see what the little minx is up to. Coming?”

“I’ll be right behind you.” Sean left it at that as Zach slid out of the helm without another word. Just because he hadn’t brought a guest tonight didn’t mean he would be stuck observing instead of participating. Even though the guys who had committed in recent weeks had turned selfish with sharing, they still indulged once in a while. But lately, even the ménages he used to enjoy held little appeal. In fact, the Carlson brothers had been more apt to show up with just one guest between the two of them instead of Sean being able to count on one of them to join him, which left him the odd man out whenever he would arrive alone and was just one more reason he’d cut back on attending the play parties.

The fact that didn’t bother him was another reminder he wouldn’t ever have what Zach, Dax, Jackson and Miles had found. What he wanted, what he needed in a committed relationship, went one step beyond Dax and Krista’s twenty-four/seven Dom/sub relationship, making it even harder to meet that one person who might tempt him to settle down.

Wondering why he’d bothered to come out tonight given his current mood, Sean left the helm and followed the faint strains of music coming from the center enclosed playroom. Opening the door, he stepped onto plush teal carpeting, the sound of leather striking bare flesh and the light scent of perfume mingling with sex stirring his senses like always. Content to watch for now, he settled back on the curved sofa along the back wall and enjoyed the view of the entire room. It had been too long since he’d indulged, even just to watch.

Dax, the one he’d bonded closest to when they were younger, walked behind Krista where he had her bound between the two center poles, her slim body already glistening with a sheen of perspiration. The renowned heart surgeon had finally overcome the demons that had sent him on an eighteen-month overseas tour with Doctors Without Borders, and his reunion with a colleague’s widow had led to their engagement and wedding last month. Zach and Sandie had beaten them to the altar by a few weeks, their talk of a double wedding with Dax and Krista falling by the wayside to accommodate Krista and Sandie’s families. Jackson had recently revealed his plans to propose to Julie soon, meaning Sean would be renting another tux again before long. He shifted his eyes to the trio of spanking benches and Hope’s lush body strapped face-up on the end one, her up-thrust breasts quivering as Miles snapped a short spanker on the fleshy underside of one plump mound. From the way Miles was looking at her, those two wouldn’t be far behind.

That left Troy and Trevor. Sean slid his gaze to the far corner where the brothers were binding an attractive brunette on the fucking swing. With her arms and legs raised and spread, the woman whom Sean had never seen before was left wide open and on display. Even from his position across the room, he could make out the pink swath of her pussy and hear her sharp cry when Troy pinched a nipple. Neither brother showed any signs of wanting to settle down with one sub, but then nor had any of the others a scant six months ago. Things had changed fast, yet for him, everything remained the same. He blamed his friends’ newfound happiness for upsetting his acceptance of the status quo of his personal life.

Jackson entered, Julie’s damp, naked body slung over his shoulder, her long black hair hanging in wet tendrils to cover her face. “Hot tub or fountain?” Sean asked when Jackson carried his sexy burden over to the couch, slid her down then took a seat next to Sean.

“Fountain.” Holding Julie on his lap, Jackson gazed down into her flushed face and Sean experienced a pang at the look of tenderness the veterinarian didn’t bother to hide. “Enjoyed that, didn’t you, baby?”

A visible shudder went through her slim body when Jackson tweaked a pale pink nipple. “Yes, sir.” Julie smiled at Sean, her unusual purple eyes still dilated with sated pleasure. “How are you, Master Sean?”

“Good, thank you, Julie.” She, like Sandie and Hope, had taken some coaxing to refer to him as Master with consistency when they gathered for a play party, but after he’d delivered a few swats as a reminder for their lapses, they’d caught on. Krista, who had been in a twenty-four/seven Dom/sub relationship with her first husband, hadn’t required any punishing reminders. Too bad he didn’t enjoy the same satisfaction at hearing that respectful title as much as he used to.

“Are you solo again tonight?” Jackson’s inquiry accompanied his curious look.

Sean had no problem putting in his two cents when one of his friends appeared to be struggling with a personal issue, but now that the shoe was on the other foot, he found he didn’t care to be the one scrutinized. Maybe if there was a possibility he’d find what they recently had, he wouldn’t mind so much. Since there wasn’t, he gave Jackson the same vague reply he’d given Zach, something he’d gotten good at lately.

“No time to set something up. The week was over before I knew it.”

“I know how that goes.” Jackson nudged Julie up then rose and took her hand. “That’s why you should hook up with a regular. It saves a lot of time and effort, and who knows, just might lead to something more.”

Sean smiled, amused at his blatant matchmaking. “Nice try. Go take care of your girl.”

“Come see us if you get bored.” Julie’s face reddened even more at Jackson’s invitation but the instant pucker of her nipples and tightening of her thighs proved she wasn’t opposed to Sean’s touch.

Nodding, he didn’t commit one way or another. Not that his friends’ women weren’t attractive or desirable, each in her own enticing way, but his restlessness and disinterest wouldn’t change by involving himself with another couple. He’d already discovered that in past weeks. With a sigh of disgust aimed at himself, he stood and left the room to lean on the deck rail and gaze at the black expanse spread out before him and the star-studded night sky above. The faint strands of sexual activity and quiet music seeped through the closed door, the only sounds other than the constant swoosh of waves slapping against the hull. Even though he found the litany soothing, Sean still wished his recent ennui could be solved and overcome by indulging himself with someone else’s sub.

He heard the door open and close and knew without turning around who’d followed him out here. “Did you leave poor Krista hanging?” he asked Dax, his amused drawl drawing a chuckle from the doctor.

“No, I released her, and she’s quite content curled up on the sofa.” Dax leaned on his forearms next to Sean, keeping his green eyes on the midnight-black view as he asked in a quiet undertone, “What gives, bro? You haven’t played in weeks, unless you were doing so in private those times you didn’t join us.”

Sean frowned, thinking back. “It hasn’t been that long.”

“Not since Miles brought Hope aboard with everyone present and we took that overnight cruise. You brought Leigh.”

Surprised, he cast a swift glance toward his best friend. “That was October.”

“Like I said, what gives?”

It hadn’t been over three months, had it? Hell, maybe so. The holidays always crept up with an increase in patients, and then there were the family issues to cope with. It might only be him and his father, but there was enough baggage between them it left no room for anything or anyone else during certain, emotion tugging times. He’d accepted the responsibility of looking after his dad a long time ago, but that didn’t mean the bitterness of the past was gone.

“Huh, what do you know about that?” he murmured, not really put out by his long dry spell. Hell, he wasn’t a randy teen anymore, or even a twenty-something out to explore how far his interest in kink went. Been there, done that. “Haven’t you gone that long without sex?”

“It’d surprise you by how long I went while overseas. Third world countries aren’t good places to indulge in our lifestyle,” Dax reminded him of his recent long tour with Doctors Without Borders.

“Then I have nothing on you.” He looked over at Dax again and tried to quietly reassure him. “I’m fine, Dax, just working on coming to terms with something. But thanks for having my back.”

“Always.”

And wasn’t that the best thing to come from his wild teen years? After his mother’s death, Sean had gone off the deep end, doing anything and everything to piss off his father and get his attention. Those misdeeds eventually landed him in juvenile court followed by a three-month stint in a summer camp for juvenile delinquents where he’d met and bonded with the gang, the best family he’d ever been blessed with.

“Isn’t it my job to psychoanalyze all of you?” he questioned Dax, wanting the focus off himself.

“Yeah, that’s why we’ve all decided it was time for a little payback.” Dax slapped him on the back. “Come on. If you won’t talk, then quit brooding out here and have some fun.”

Sean shook his head and followed Dax back inside. May as well join them, otherwise they would take turns coming outside to check on him. “Bunch of pussies,” he muttered as Dax held the door open.

“Just doing what you would do with any of us,” Dax returned, Sean’s good-natured barb bouncing off him as he knew it would.

As soon as Sean stepped back inside the playroom, Trevor hailed him from the sofa where he and Troy were settling with their guest sandwiched between them. Dax scooped Krista up and strode toward the trio of spanking benches, leaving them the entire leather seat to themselves.

“Master Sean, Janice here has always favored ménages, but just confessed she’s never been with more than two men.” Trevor lifted Janice’s left leg over his thigh while Troy did the same with her right, leaving her spread again. The glistening sheen coating her labia and the inner pink recesses of her pussy revealed her heightened state of arousal as much as her turgid nipples and the flush staining her cheeks.

“Is that so?” Sean wanted to call them on their obvious attempt to get him involved, but since his cock decided to perk up at their suggestion, he opted to go with his resurrected libido instead. Fulfilling fantasies was one of the things they’d all done best since getting into the BDSM lifestyle.

“She’s got a talented mouth, don’t you, girl?” Troy looked down into her pretty face while sliding one hand up her thigh to tease her slick entrance with two fingers.

Janice’s breath caught with her whispered reply. “Yes, sir, I do.” She shifted her brown eyes back up to Sean and licked her lips when he loosened his belt and unzipped his slacks.

The ‘eager to please’ expression on her face was one Sean always took pleasure in seeing on the subs he played with, but as he released his cock into his hand, he wished that look was just for him and not the shared scene. Dax’s wife reserved such looks for her master, and he’d never envied his friend until the first time he caught one.

“Why don’t you show me then,” Sean instructed, stepping between her spread legs. Leaning forward, he braced one hand on the sofa behind her as she dropped her head and met him halfway. Her eyes widened when she spotted his piercing then closed as he slid his length between her soft lips.

“Damn,” Trevor groaned. “We’ll have to shift around in a few minutes if she keeps that up.” He cupped one full breast and plucked at the nipple while watching her take Sean’s cock even deeper.

“Just let me know when you’re ready to join in,” Sean managed to say despite the escalating pleasure her stroking tongue and tight, suctioning mouth were responsible for. Maybe it was because he was coming off a dry spell, but he usually maintained better control of his body than he was doing now. He much preferred long, drawn-out blow jobs with him giving explicit instructions and controlling his partner’s head movements, but he let her have the lead and work him with her eager mouth. Other than keeping one hand wrapped around the base of his erection, she took the rest of his length deep, the press of her tongue stroking under the rim of his cap, sending sparks of pleasure sweeping up from his balls. “But make it quick because she’s as good as you said,” he warned as he slowly pulled back, let her suckle his cock head a moment then stepped back to make room for the brothers to maneuver her body to take all three of them.

Working together, Troy pulled his fingers out of her pussy then lay on his back, arranging her thighs over his hips before drawing her down on top of him. Trevor shifted behind her and sheathed his cock in a lubed condom before aiming it between her spread buttocks. Both men groaned as they entered her together then set up a well-practiced, tandem rhythm that drew her gasp.

Working his hand up and down his shaft, Sean would have been content to jack off, but Janice turned her face and licked her lips again. This time, he did take control by clasping her head and drawing her mouth onto his cock then holding her still as he pumped in and out. Her lips clung to his ridged length, her tongue once again swirling in constant strokes that drove him to the brink within moments. The carnal grunts from the Carlsons as they pumped inside her pussy and ass mingled with the low moans coming from Janice’s throat and vibrating against his flesh.

“Shit, looks like I’m going to beat you two,” Sean groaned when he felt the small eruptions of his climax rippling up from his sac. Like a pro, Janice swallowed his cum, her throat convulsing as she continued to draw his seed from him. The sting from the sharp tug on the small bar piercing his crown drew another burst of pleasure and he shut his eyes, letting it wash through him.

Pulling away, he let her enjoy the rest of their fucking as he righted his clothes and strode across the room to the bar. They refrained from alcohol during play parties, so he snagged a soft drink from the small refrigerator and wondered why he didn’t feel as content as he usually did after sex. Leaning against the bar, he observed his friends, saw Miles carrying Hope over to a chair and settling her on his lap next to another seat where Dax sat with Krista kneeling at his feet, resting her head with undisguised contentment on his thigh. Sean was always diligent about aftercare himself, but he knew Janice would be in good hands with Troy and Trevor, and as he looked over at them, saw he was right. Trevor already held her against his chest, stroking her perspiration slick body as Troy stood, leaned down and kissed her before adjusting his clothes and strolling Sean’s way. The ache to have someone of his own to care for returned, but he shoved it aside with a ruthless push, refusing to dwell on what wouldn’t ever be.

“You don’t look too pleased about just getting your rocks off,” Troy stated with his usual bluntness as he snatched a bottle of water and tilted it to his mouth.

“Your sub did an excellent job in pleasing me,” Sean returned, leaving it at that.

“Oh no, you don’t. She’s a sub, not my sub. Neither Trevor nor I have any intentions of going down the road of the others. That leaves you to be next.”

“That’s about as likely as you two. What have you heard about the perp abusing women at the clubs? Anything new?” Over the past few months, someone who had proved to be very adept at disguises and getting false IDs had gotten away with three assaults at three different clubs in the state. So far, he hadn’t struck twice in the same club, that they knew of. Since a lot of assaults went unreported, there could be more they weren’t aware of, which made all of them eager to see this guy stopped and punished. Troy was the lead detective on the case, and from the frustration darkening his eyes, there were still no clues to the man’s identity.

“Funny you should ask,” Troy said. “That’s what I came over here to discuss with you. Another report hit my desk today, this one out of Daytona Beach. Checking in with club owners across the state, there have been more incidents, most of them altercations where the woman became suspicious before he could harm her.”

“Fucker’s making his way around,” Sean said with disgust. “How can I help?” Maybe involving himself with catching this guy would take his mind off the dissatisfaction that had been eating at him for the past few weeks.

“We’re starting to see a pattern to his travels, and it looks as if he might be making his way back here via the coast. Trevor and I will be out of town next weekend, visiting Ray, and I have people covering the clubs between here and Daytona Beach except in Coral Springs. Think you can spend a few hours at Dominion next weekend?”

Sean knew the brothers spent as much time as they could with the retired cop who had taken them in after their parents’ deaths and they returned from the juvenile camp. “No problem. I’ll get in touch with James—does he still own Dominion?”

Troy nodded. “Yes, I spoke with him this morning. So far, there have been no altercations at his place, but this guy is good, too damn good.”

“Then let’s take him down.” Sean spotted Zach and Sandie leaving the room and a minute later, heard the rev of the yacht’s powerful motor. Tossing his empty soda can into the recycle bin, he told Troy, “I’ll be in touch later this week and confirm my plans. Thanks for inviting me to scene with you.”

“I’m just glad you did. Now, I have to go do my duty and take over for Trevor if we’re headed back in.”

Sean reached the door as Troy assisted Janice up from his brother’s lap and began helping her dress. The two of them may not be ready to settle down, but no one could fault them for the care they bestowed on their subs. He left the playroom and strolled around the quiet deck as they sailed back to port. Despite his moody disposition when he’d first arrived, he was glad he’d come tonight. Being around friends, those he shared such close ties with, went a long way toward reminding him how lucky he was. They all came from troubled childhoods, something he often dished out unsolicited advice for when he noticed one of them brooding over the past. He supposed it only fair they had wanted to do the same for him and had to admit their concern helped lighten his mood. Now, if he could just hang on to the contentment he now felt.