It"s been two and a half years since the mysterious W disappeared from Chere"s life, and things are getting better. Sort of. She"s nearing the end of her design program and looking forward to a new career, even if her heart is shuttered for good.
But loneliness is a powerful thing, and she finds herself tempted by a no-strings-attached BDSM partner who happens to be her former professor. She knows it"s a terrible idea, and that he could never live up to W"s level of passionate mayhem, but she"s been waiting so long to be bound and hurt. She"s been waiting so long to feel something"
Unbeknownst to her, someone from her past has been waiting too. And when that someone realizes she means to move forward with this new partner, he barges back into her life to express his displeasure in the only way he knows"
Note: This book is super rough. There"s love, but it"s rough. Hence, Rough Love series. This full-length novel is book two of a three-part storyline that culminates in Happily Ever After. But, full disclosure, it"s going to be a rough ride.Books in Series:Rough Love Series by Annabel JosephBooks by Author:Annabel Joseph Books
I turned my head in the pulsating dark room, caught by a flash of blond and the hint of a white, tailored shirt. My heart rate accelerated as I looked past spanking benches and web racks to a cluster of clubgoers in the corner. By the time I filtered out the leather vests and silk bustiers, the white shirt was gone. A trick of the light, or that girl flitting across the room with the white collar.
It had been two and a half years, but I still thought I saw W sometimes. I"d catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye, but then I"d look closer and realize he wasn"t there.
Random things reminded me of him. A dominant stance, a hint of cologne, a man"s ironic look or sneer. I stayed on the subway an extra hour once to watch this guy smile down at his device the way W used to smile down at me when he was torturing me in one of his depraved sex games. Sometimes I followed tall, muscular men down the street because they moved the way he moved or looked the way he looked. I hated myself for doing these things, because it meant I was still as weak and stupid as I"d been the first day I met him at the W Hotel.
I despised W for what he"d done to me in the course of our escort-client relationship, the way he"d humiliated me and turned me inside out, and made me love him when he"d never wanted more than a sex toy. Two months. He had fucked me up completely within the space of two months. Years later, the wounds still lingered, festering emotion and unsettled angst.
Now I watched for him at places like this, in slick, exclusive BDSM clubs in Manhattan, in hopes I might get to confront him one day. I stood on the outskirts, in all the dark corners, thinking of the things I"d tell him, the things he hadn"t let me say. I hate that you left me. I hate that you pretended to care.
The last and only time I"d heard anything from W was a little over a year ago, when I"d received my apartment deed and title in the mail. It had come from the legal offices of Klein and Dunsingbush, containing my full legal name and address, and the name and address of the conveying party. W"s real name" Of course not. The property came to me from "Taunt, Incorporated," his dummy corporation. I remembered the poetic allusion at once, as I"m sure he meant me to:
I"d rather have the want of you
The rich, elusive taunt of you
He was an asshole. A generous asshole, but still. His taunts were all around me and he knew it. Living in his apartment was a taunt, visiting these BDSM clubs was a taunt, my memories of him were a taunt I wished I could forget. He"d left me, deserted me, knowing full well I"d never be able to get over him. Taunt, Incorporated" Fuck you very much.
Since then, there"d been no other W-related contact, which was probably for the best. I wanted my heart to be free, and I"d kept it free of other entanglements since I"d walked out of the Gramercy Park Hotel with W"s glib dismissal in my hand. Good luck, starshine, he"d written.
I repeated that to myself whenever I started to feel too much, or care too much about someone who attracted me. It had become my mantra of self-awareness. Good luck, starshine. You"re just going to get fucked again. I didn"t even want to try. Love hurt too much, and I was clearly bad at it, based on my past and the selfish, harmful jerks I"d fallen for.
Instead I prowled the kink clubs in search of W, in search of closure, as if there could ever be closure for our fucked-up thing. I"d try to resist, stay home and watch TV instead, but then I"d think, what if this is the day he shows up" What if I miss him" I was a design major, not a math major. I chose not to think about the insurmountable odds of running into one soul-destructing pervert amidst the thousands in attendance at fetish clubs in New York City on any given night.
Forget the odds of running into him in New York"a rich guy like him might play in a different city every weekend. Vegas, London, Manila, Hong Kong, Berlin, the fucking Bahamas… By the time you added up those odds, running into him again seemed pretty impossible.
Good luck, starshine.
I watched a nearby couple whispering to each other, a thin, blond submissive male and his bear of a Dominant. The sub wore a black leather harness that accentuated cut muscles while simultaneously making him seem lithe and petite. Directly across from me, a woman moaned under her Domme"s whip. I couldn"t see anything of W in that statuesque and businesslike dominatrix. She was restrained elegance, and he was…