“So, how rough do you like your sex?”
Not sure that the guy across from me actually said what I thought I heard, I lower my menu a little and peer over the top into the faded-blue eyes of Stephen Blake, mild-mannered accountant by day and—it appears—closet BDSM enthusiast by night.
“Excuse me?” I ask, keeping my voice deliberately vague just in case I did hear him wrong. We are only twenty minutes into our first date, after all. And it’s a blind date at that.
“I’m a fair to middling guy, myself. Some spanking, a cat-o’-nine-tails here and there, maybe a St. Andrew’s cross—with shackles, not handcuffs, because they don’t provide much room for my woman to squirm around when it hurts. Oh, and I do have a new bullwhip I’d like to try. Along with the standard nipple clamps and ball gags, of course.”
“Of course,” I answer, because who doesn’t like a good nipple clamp and ball gag?
Oh yeah. Me. I don’t like nipple clamps or ball gags. And while I don’t mind handcuffs when the mood is right, I sure as hell am not letting anyone near me with a bullwhip.
“And needles,” he continues, completely oblivious to the sarcasm in my answer.
“Needles.” I can’t believe this is happening.
“I’m into blood play,” he explains, mistaking my repetition of the word as a call for further clarification. “Nothing too severe, obviously, but needles through the nipples are definitely a favorite. No water sports, obviously—”
“Obviously.” Jesus Christ.
I reach for my glass of cranberry juice and down it in a couple of quick swallows, wishing even as I do that it were something stronger. This is what I get for trying to clean up my act. Stuck at a table with the nerd version of the Marquis de Sade in a navy-blue suit with a pin-striped tie and not even a drop of vodka to cushion the blow.
“And breath play. Have you ever tried it?” His own breath hitches a little as the subject visibly arouses him.
“There’s nothing quite like wrapping your hands around your partner’s throat while they come. Watching as their eyes go frantic at the lack of air, then a little glazed as they start to float away—”
“I have to go to the bathroom.” I stand up so fast my chair makes a screeching noise across the designer concrete floor of this very upscale restaurant that the “very serious, very nice” Stephen has taken me to.
“I bet.” He eyes me knowingly. “Do you want me to follow? I’m happy to take care of—”
“I’m good, thanks. I’ve been potty-trained since I was two.” I grab my clutch off the table then start to walk past him, but he grabs my wrist before I can take more than a couple of steps.
“Take a picture while you’re in there.” His voice has gone all dark and authoritarian—and definitely not in a sexy way. “And send it to me.”
Eeew. “Of me going to the bathroom?”
“Of you getting yourself off. That is what you’re going to do, right?” Before I know what he’s going to do, he’s pulled my hand into his lap and rested it on what turns out to be his not-very-impressive erection. Not that that is exactly a surprise. Then again, at this point in the date, I’m not sure anything could surprise me. “While you’re gone, I can get myself off to it right here.”
I squeeze hard enough to make him gasp—again, not in a good way—before twisting out of his grip and trying to pretend the thought of him jacking off to anything about me hasn’t scarred me for life. Then I reach for his untouched Jack and Coke and down it in one long gulp.
Tomorrow is soon enough to start cleaning up—if I’m over the trauma of this dinner by then, that is.
“Exciting, isn’t it?” he says when he can talk without squeaking. “When you’re done, take your panties off and bring them to me. I want to know what you smell like when you come.”
I nod jerkily as I walk toward the restroom—and then right past it and into the kitchen.
“Hey!” someone in a little white coat says, looking up. “You can’t be in here.”
Unfortunately, it’s not the right kind of little white coat—and there’s no straitjacket in sight. More’s the pity. Nice-guy Stephen could definitely use one.
Then again he might take it for some wild new BDSM fetish and ask me to photograph him as they strap him in . . . at this point, who the f*** knows? Either way, I’m not sticking around to find out.