Finding love can be hard. In fact, it’s a minefield littered with booby-traps, false targets, mangled hopes and the corpses of attempts that failed. Ask anyone who’s ever looked for it. Love likes to hide. Love likes to spring traps.
And sometimes love likes to just walk up and say “Hey there.”
I thought about writing something profound and moving, but my life has been kind of crazy. If you’ve been following this blog, you know why. So I decided to post the first part of the conclusion to my ongoing BDSM romance, “Uncool”, because it’s about two gay men who aren’t quite sure how to turn what they have into love. They’re not even sure what they have. (But I’m the author, so…) The final episode posts tomorrow, wrapping it up. So instead of a love post, you get part of a love story… or the whole thing if you care to follow the links.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Here’s the prize information! You don’t need to read the story to enter.
Talk about love!
I’m giving away ONE paperback copy of From Atlanta with Love, a wonderful collection of excerpts and short stories from 18 authors who attended GayRomLit 2013.
This lovely book was available only at the GRL conference, so finding a copy is pretty darn hard. As an attending author I snagged a few extras and am offering up this one.
To enter the drawing:
- Leave a COMMENT on this post.
- Include an email address or Twitter so I can contact you should you win.
- INTERNATIONAL is not a problem, so if you live outside the U.S. please join in.
- I will draw a winner on Tuesday morning, February 18th and contact the winner by email as well as make an announcement on the blog.
I’m sharing a continuation of a story about Carson, a conflicted submissive gay man, and the mysterious dom who rocked his world on Christmas Eve—only for Carson to find out later that ‘Sir’ has a questionable connection to his family and his past.
If you haven’t been reading and want to start from the beginning, CLICK HERE. The chapters are linked. And the story finishes tomorrow. I’d have posted it all here but didn’t want to make the blog hop giveaway post too long for comments.
Uncool # 10
Oh god. He’d been there. Heat climbed my neck as I blushed furiously. Master Kurtz was one of Stewart’s pals, a dominant visiting from Boston, and he’d wanted a submissive for the demonstration….
“And there you were on the stage,” Bradley continued in a voice that belonged on radio, “getting your cock and balls tied by Warren and… you liked it. I couldn’t look away, it was that damn hot, and all I could think about was how much I wanted to be the man doing that to you, putting that look on your face, in your eyes. To have all that power.”
I didn’t say anything at first. One reason was the flock of older ladies walking by, chattering and laughing. Thank goodness for that, because my mind was wild. All this talk about bondage and being in someone’s power was sending blood straight to my cock, something I knew from experience would lead only to trouble—and maybe that was exactly what Reed Bradley wanted. Thinking to call Stewart, I reached for my phone, but then I stopped myself from grabbing it. This was something I needed to do myself.
“Just because I like being tied up doesn’t make it right, what you did… to screw me like that, in secret, to screw me there”—I pointed at the Steelyard—“after what you did to my father!” My throat tightened around the words, making it hard to speak. I blinked at tears burning just behind my eyes.
“I don’t understand.” Now, finally, he stepped around in front of me. “What do you think I did?”
“There was a deal for the steelyard.”
“Mine, yes, a proposal Richard was supposed to take to his board. He never did. He was informed by the steelworkers pension trust that they would slap a judgment lien on the proceeds of any sale of the property—”
“A lien?” My research of the last couple days gave me a framework for that piece of information. The Mid Atlantic Steelworkers Pension Trust had obtained a court decision in their favor just a few weeks before.
“I found out later. That was the day… I’m sorry, Carson. I never thought I would be talking with you about this. Great Valley Steel went into receivership.” Bradley spoke so calmly, with such authority, I wanted to believe him.
“But you bought the steelyard later. From the trust.”
“Yes, and I screwed them at every turn. They tried to get as much from me as I would have paid Richard, but I told them to fuck themselves. So they sued me. I sabotaged the property in court by producing site assessments stating the presence of hazardous contaminants in the soil, and the costs of removing the old rail beds—”
Instead of crying, I began to laugh. I had been too busy researching Bradley, and GVS, and hadn’t researched the Steelyard transaction itself, or I would have found record of that suit.
“Are you telling me it never occurred to you, that you didn’t think… I mean”—I waved my hand at the complex of buildings across the street—“about this—and me?”
The tears still clinging to my eyelashes blurred him somewhat, but Bradley looked like I’d just told him he would lose everything, instead of just losing me. If he could have held onto me with his eyes, the look he was giving me would have done the trick.
“I’m truly sorry. You’re right, I didn’t think of the Steelyard as being… of what it might mean to you. I made a mistake. It’s not like me to not think things through.”
“What the hell were you thinking?”
“That you belonged there, with me.” He sighed. “Before you decide that sounds crazy, I want to show you something. It will just take a minute.”
He angled toward the Steelyard and its industrial strength gate. He wanted to take me there. I hesitated. I’d avoided everything to do with this place for so long my aversion was all but ironclad.
“I don’t think—”
“I think you should.”
Maybe it was the deep, completely assured timbre of his voice or simply the way he took control of the moment that got my ass off that bench. Maybe it was just knowing what awaited. As soon as I stood, I noticed Bradley was not only broader than me but taller. As I followed him across the street, he covered ground with a sure, measured stride.
My heart stuttered a little when he pressed a code at the pedestrian gate and we entered the grounds beneath the arch that for years had proudly proclaimed the property as Great Valley Steel. I walked a road remembered from boyhood, but now it was repaired and new, and so were the buildings to which it led, sophisticated, cool toned, and gleaming with big glass windows. Filling the space in front of the buildings was a grassy plaza with curving walkways and mature hardwood trees that had to have cost a fortune. At the heart of the green space was a fountain—and the Kapoor sculpture I’d never seen in person because I’d refused to come here.
It was one of the artist’s smaller works, two concave disks of stainless steel set at angles to each other to reflect the gorgeous blue of the sky and, in summer, the green leafy trees. I’d seen pictures. It was called “New Age”. Bradley stopped in front of a plaque and looked down at it, so I did too.
There beneath the name of the artwork was a second plaque with a simple dedication: To Richard.
Not knowing what to say, I held my tongue. Was I supposed to feel honored? Flattered? Grateful? In fact, I was only more confused. I really didn’t want to be with a man who’d screwed me for the same reason he’d bought a piece of pricey art, as some kind of warped trophy.
“You know that’s sick, right?” What was I doing here? I didn’t need to know this.
“Why? Because I did what I said I would do? Turned his family’s roots into something enduring and beautiful and—shit, you think this is all about him? You think you’re about him, you and me? Hell no. That’s not what any of this is about. That’s what the Steelyard is about. You and me, that’s something else.” A smooth marble bench faced the sculpture and Bradley took a seat on it. He glanced up at me expectantly. “Let’s talk,” he said.
He wanted me to sit with him, so I did, putting as much distance between us as the bench would allow. I don’t know why I did it. I guess part of me wanted to hear him say something I could believe.
“I’m proud of the Steelyard,” he explained. “So let’s get that out of the way. I see the Steelyard as… as part of this city’s history—its legacy—and I want the memory of that legacy to endure as such, a symbol of industry and wealth, and also of pride. Those are dirty words to a lot of people, but not to me. I fulfilled a promise, and I relished doing it because every day this project throws what I think back against those bastards. The pension trust, the zoning board… all your father’s enemies and mine. I goddamn hope they choke on what I’ve done here.”
I cut him a sidelong glance and saw he wasn’t looking at me. No, he looked at the Steelyard with his jaw set and an expression that told the world to go to hell.
“You”—and now he looked at me again, and I didn’t avert my gaze—“I want for very different reasons. Seeing you again at The Club, and finding out you are into something I would never have dreamed… the newspapers of course never hinted at anything like that.” I knew what the papers had hinted at but there was no need to go into my past. “And yes, I wanted to meet you, find out more. Warren told me the nature of your contract with Stewart and I tried to honor that.”
“Stewart told me.”
“Did he? Well, then you know why I bid on you the other night. I even thought I might do us both a favor and get you out of my system. But I’m not going to lie. I enjoyed celebrating Christmas Eve by having a rich kid in my ropes, squirming for me, begging and pleasing, even if he was the one man in this whole damn city I really wanted to understand what I’d done.”
“But I didn’t understand. I didn’t know who you were, or where we were. Or why.”
“Oh yes, you did. You knew why.” A thin smile crooked his lips. “That night gave us both what we wanted.”
I flushed at that. His reasons still seemed a little suspect, but I’d been there. The bondage had taken me so deep the memory of how he’d tamed my need for helplessness and sex had hardened into chains. This man owned more of me than he knew. Yet nothing about that night had felt disrespectful, or off. And Sir had enjoyed his celebration well enough to want to contact me the next day. I peered up the tallest of the buildings, etched against the gray sky. “Is that where you did it?”
He nodded. “I own the two top floors.”
“You own the whole building,” I reminded him, and managed a weak grin when he looked at me in surprise.
“So I do.”
“I liked your gift,” I told him. It was his turn to smile. A hopeful, forceful heat returned to his eyes.
“Let’s go for coffee. I’ll treat you to lunch.”
“Don’t you think we’re doing this backward?” I was trying, really trying, to keep it light. “I mean we already skipped that part and went straight to bondage and hot sex.”
His smile grew wider. “Is that how you’d rather do this? Through bondage and sex?”
The man knew what he wanted, I had to give him that. He wasn’t shy at all about pursing his prey. All of a sudden I felt like the Steelyard was closing in around me, closing like a fist. I didn’t distrust Reed Bradley anymore, not completely anyway. And I didn’t hate him for whatever had happened. In fact, I was starting to like him. That was what scared me. I didn’t know him well enough, not yet… certainly not enough for any of this.
“I can’t. But ask Stewart again and I might do lunch.” I bolted to my feet and headed for the gate. No one needed a code to leave the Steelyard, and that was what I was doing.
To his credit, Bradley remained seated on the bench, his gaze following me the whole while. I looked back and saw him as I exited the gate, before I jogged away. I just couldn’t bring myself to meet his eyes. And for the first time in a long time, being swallowed by the city traffic and crowds didn’t make me feel invisible at all.
Copyright © 2014 Tali Spencer
Thanks for reading! The story wraps up tomorrow with an extended (5000 words) chapter that includes bondage and a sexy payoff. J Enjoy!
Anyone who’d like to enter this Valentine’s blog hop drawing… please comment here and be sure to visit all the blogs to see what they're up to.