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Capture & Surrender
A Market Garden Tale
By L. A. Witt, Aleksandr Voinov, Rachel Haimowitz
Riptide PublishingCopyright © 2013 L. A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov
All rights reserved.
On Friday night, Nick strolled into Market Garden for the first time in days, and Frank breathed a sigh of relief. Nick had looked awful the other night—more stressed, exhausted, even haunted than a Dom-for-hire ought to be, which was why Frank had sent him home. Now, Nick was smiling, which was unusual. His professional face hovered somewhere between a glare and feigned disinterest. Or the focused stare of a hunting hawk. But not tonight.
Frank was halfway through a coffee when Nick came by his table. Frank nodded to him. "Have a seat. How's it going?"
Nick slid in opposite him and ran his long fingers through his hair, mussing the blond strands, then stared down at the table. "Got things sorted. Thanks. But ... um ..."
Frank tapped his mug with his thumb. "Something else?" A sense of please don't let it be bad fluttered in Frank's chest. Nick had needed time off; no doubt the new boyfriend's fault. Remember, Frank, it can always get much, much worse.
Nick took a deep breath. "I'm not staying. I can't do this anymore." He gestured around the club, but Frank kept his gaze fixed on Nick, reading him for worse news. "Wish I could, but I've been sloppy and that's not what the Garden is about, is it?" The slight lift at the end of the sentence was only for politeness's sake. Nick had that very Dommish habit of making a sentence sound like a question, checking for consent, when the underlying decision was as good as made.
In this case, he'd made the decision to leave. A shame, that. The kid was amazing with anything that caused pain. A couple dozen clients gushing on the members-only internet forum attested to that.
"What's the problem?" Frank took a sip from his coffee.
"To put it bluntly, I've fallen so hard for someone that I can't concentrate on anybody else."
Lucky bastard. "Congratulations."
Nick smiled wryly. "Thanks."
"I'm sorry to see you go." Frank put his mug down. "But, I certainly won't try to keep you. Especially if someone's managed to tame the—"
"Tame?" Nick laughed. "Oh, I don't think so."
Frank chuckled. "Keep telling yourself that, kid." He paused. "I, um, I don't suppose I can talk you into coming back for some BDSM seminars? Yours are almost always standing room only, and if I'm going to lose the money you bring in, that would sure soften the blow."
Nick tapped his black-painted nails on the table, then shrugged. "I'm not going to turn away the income. I just—" He stopped and looked away, his expression suddenly as serious as it had been when Frank had told him to take some time off.
Frank pushed his mug aside and leaned forwards, folding his arms on the table. "Something wrong?"
Nick met his eyes again. "Demonstrations and seminars are fine. But I can't ... I won't be with anyone else. Flogging and bondage for a demo, fine. But I'm not fucking anyone."
Nick's adamancy didn't surprise Frank, but his monogamy certainly did. "Well. Uh." He cleared his throat. "That's fine. I'm sure we can arrange for volunteers if you need anyone to demonstrate techniques you're not comfortable performing."
"Okay." Nick nodded. "You have my email address and my mobile. Give me some warning, though. I'm not coming in on a moment's notice."
"Of course not." Frank extended his hand across the table. "Good luck with everything else."
Nick shook his hand, his long, slim fingers tiny compared to Frank's, and smiled. "Thanks."
They didn't bother with small talk—Nick hated it and only used it when he was trying to get into a john's wallet; and Frank wasn't much of a conversationalist, either—and shortly after they broke the handshake, Nick left. Frank sat back and watched him go. There would be a dent in his wallet, that was for sure. But he still had moneymakers, of course. With the way word was getting around about Tristan and Jared, it wouldn't be long before they were making up for the loss of Nick.
He fought the impulse to replace his coffee with a cocktail or a triple whiskey, but he'd quit drinking a long time ago because of the myriad medications he had to take a hundred times a day. Those had a tendency to turn the effects of alcohol very unpleasant. Didn't mean there wasn't the impulse every now and then, but these days, he mostly blew off tension in the gym. Maybe he could go do that tonight.
He checked his schedule on his phone and noted he was supposed to meet someone in half an hour. New guy. Raoul had said he checked out, had even spoken to the man's clients. Private entrepreneur trying to get under a roof, from the sound of it, and Frank wondered why. Client acquisition too hard even in the days of social media? Attracted by Market Garden's reputation? Not that it mattered; with Nick gone, he needed to recruit, and Raoul had said the guy had the assets. Frank would reserve judgement until he'd met the new guy in person.
He nursed his cold coffee for a while longer, until a bartender brought him a fresh one and nodded meaningfully towards the left. Frank half turned and saw a stranger facing Raoul across the bar. Tall, well built, even compared to Raoul, who was no small man himself. This man was built more like a bouncer than a rentboy, with a tight tee and black military-style trousers that held Frank's gaze for a moment longer than necessary. Strong legs, slim waist, looked like he could bench-press his own body weight without much effort—a characteristic Frank found extremely alluring.
Raoul noticed he was watching them, lifted a questioning eyebrow, and Frank nodded. Raoul pointed in his direction and the stranger walked over. Not a saunter, but not a damn thing insecure about it, either.
Frank pointed at the bench opposite. "Please have a seat."
"I understand you're Frank?" He spoke with the slightest hint of a Southern American drawl and settled down like he had all the time in the world.
"I'm Frank, yes."
Stefan? An unusual name for an American.
Stefan offered his hand. Frank shook it, and the grip was firm, almost challenging. He glanced up into the guy's face. Hazel eyes, and pretty ones, with an even, confident stare.
Frank broke the grip and felt a moment's hesitation on Stefan's part. Frank frowned. "Keep that for the clients."
Amusement curled the corners of Stefan's mouth just slightly, and he drew back his hand. "I'll keep that in mind."
"Good call." Frank folded his hands. "So you're American."
Stefan gestured at his dark, crew-cut hair. "It was the hair that gave me away, wasn't it?"
Frank laughed. A dry sense of humour. That, he liked. "What brings you to this side of the pond?"
"Wanderlust." There was no humour in that single word and just enough firmness to suggest that it was the only answer Frank was getting.
"I see. And now you want to work as a London rentboy?"
Some of the amusement returned to Stefan's expression, crinkling the corners of his eyes. "Beats sitting behind a desk, don't you think?"
"It does, yes."
"And I figure"—Stefan's shoulder rose slightly—"I'm going to get fucked up the ass one way or the other, so I might as well enjoy it."
Frank laughed. "You're a bottom, then?"
"Can be." Something else glittered in Stefan's eyes. "I can be whatever someone wants me to be."
"What's your preference?"
"Top." He said it quickly, without a second thought. "Definitely top."
"Great." Frank grinned. "Especially since we have a vacancy for someone like you. Though there's a difference between a top and a Dom." He arched an eyebrow.
Stefan returned the grin. "Yes, I'm well aware of the difference."
"And where would you say you fall on that spectrum? Only a top? Or more of a Dom?"
"Well." Stefan chuckled as he sat up straighter. He leaned on the table, closing some of the distance between them. "I definitely wouldn't call myself 'only' a top."
Frank resisted the urge to gulp. Cocky son of a bitch. Pity he didn't allow himself to get involved with the men on his payroll. An arrogant motherfucker with a military look and a penchant for topping? Bloody hell. Though he doubted a hot kid like this would want anything to do with a grizzled ex-con.
Frank cleared his throat. "What kind of top would you call yourself?"
Stefan's broadening grin did crazy shit to Frank's blood pressure. "You ever seen Full Metal Jacket?"
This time, Frank did gulp. "I have."
"I thought about being a drill instructor before I got out." Stefan ran the tip of his tongue along his upper lip. "And I would've made R. Lee Ermey's character drop to his knees and beg me for permission to suck my dick."
Oh. Bloody. Hell.
Frank needed a moment to collect his thoughts. Prime piece of American beefcake with a military fetish, a cocky attitude, and a malicious playfulness that he didn't doubt even for a moment could turn scary in a very good way. He shot Raoul a nasty glare. The fucker had known. He must have. The only argument against his sneaking suspicion was that Raoul had once upon a time tried to get into Frank's pants, so why would he dig up a guy who he knew Frank would find damn near irresistible?
"So what brings you to Market Garden? There's a military scene in and around London."
"I like to pay rent."
"Yeah. Fair enough." Frank leaned back and crossed his arms. "Well, looking at you, I think you should be popular."
"We can hope, right? When can I start?"
"Your background checked out." Frank never read the background info or paperwork with his guys' personal info on them. He didn't want to mistakenly call someone by their real name. He trusted Raoul, and Raoul said Stefan checked out, so that was good enough. He eyed Stefan's clothes. "There is a dress code."
Stefan nodded. "I was hoping to wear camos, though."
And I'd like to see you in those.
"I like my guys to be in uniform. That way clients know who's staff and who isn't. Though ..." He paused. "Know what, we'll widen the scope. Normal guys wear leather; you'll start the camo trend. Maybe it'll catch on."
"I was surprised you didn't have anyone dressed like this already, considering the name of the place." Stefan winked at him.
Frank laughed. "Yeah, well." Few people ever caught the reference. No new hire had ever asked, and johns didn't tend to come in with World War II trivia on the brain, but it wasn't surprising that it didn't get past a bona fide military guy. Damn, but Frank liked this one already.
Clients will, too.
Frank sobered a bit. "If it's a success, we'll get a couple more in. Unless you can cope with the demand."
Stefan nodded. "Great. I can start right away."
"No plans for a Friday evening?"
"Not unless you're free."
Good thing Frank wasn't taking a drink just then. Holding Stefan's gaze, he couldn't tell if the man was being a smart-arse or ... not. He coughed into his fist. "Well, I'm probably the only man in this club who'll tell you no."
Stefan's eyebrow rose, and his expression had "Is that a challenge?" written all over it.
Frank smirked. "I don't do my employees."
Stefan leaned forwards, mirroring Frank's smirk. "I can always start tomorrow."
You son of a bitch. Frank laughed to get his breath moving. "I'll have someone show you around the club." He glanced at the bar. "In fact, since Raoul isn't busy ..." He beckoned Raoul over to the table, and when the bartender wandered over, looking a little too proud of himself—oh, you fucker, you brought this one to me on purpose— Frank nodded towards Stefan. "How about showing our newest employee around the Garden?"
Raoul and Stefan exchanged grins. Then Raoul nodded at Frank. "You got it, boss."
Frank just smiled and let the two men leave to tour the building. He'd kill Raoul later. Slowly. Painfully.
Chuckling to himself, he shook his head and reached for his coffee again. At least he had someone to fill the vacancy Nick had left. If Stefan didn't have much experience as an actual Dom, he could learn. He certainly had the attitude for it. If nothing else, he'd be perfect for those corporate bastards who wandered in here needing some roughing up and a cock up the arse.
Which reminded him, he hadn't given Stefan's package much of a look. And usually, he didn't hire rentboys without someone vouching for the size and functionality of their equipment, but once in a while, he could tell he was facing off with someone whose dick was plenty big enough and definitely worked. He'd been in this business long enough. He'd made the assumption with Nick and with Tristan, and from everything their clients said on the forum, he was quite right about both of them.
What he wouldn't have given to be the one to verify if he was right about Stefan. That thought made him shiver. Tempting. Very tempting.
But Frank had his reasons for keeping his dick out of the rentboys, and not just because he was their employer. He wasn't bending his own rules.
Not even for this guy.CHAPTER 2
Within a week, Stefan was pulling clients regularly. He had some strong endorsements on the forum, too. People either called him the drill sarge or the Yank or both, and Frank read the raving from the clientele with a weird flutter in his stomach. Seemed all was fine with the equipment. C0ckl0ver said he was a fan.
Stefan put in the work, was reliable and clean and polite—until the scene started and he unleashed the Dom. Frank could imagine it, but tried not to. The man was easily fifteen years his junior. And the flirting the other night had likely only been in his mind.
Frank checked his emails; his paintballers were meeting this weekend. For the first time in several weeks, he actually felt like going. Even he needed to blow off some steam every now and then, and the companionship was nice, too. They'd laugh at him if they knew that running a sex club wasn't at all about free arse and blowjobs.
Game this weekend, usual place/time. If you know anyone who wants to join in, bring them along! Geoff and Mike.
He let the message sit in his inbox awhile to think about it. It was Thursday, and still somewhat early, and when he came down from the office, a few of his best people were still in the bar instead of off to hotels and flats and manor bedrooms.
Frank checked in with Raoul, who gave him the "Everything's under control, boss" thumbs-up. Once he was up-to-date, he headed for his usual booth in the back. On the way, he stopped at Stefan's table. "How are you getting on?"
Stefan nodded and smiled wryly. "Getting it on."
"That's what I like hearing." Frank felt the urge to pat the man on the shoulder but didn't; he barely touched anybody else, so that would look odd. And he certainly wasn't going to stare at the camo trousers clinging tightly in all the right places, so he forced himself to look at the man's face. Uniforms did things to him, and even worse when the man knew how to wear it and brought the attitude that came with it. Stefan was naturally at ease—he'd definitely been armed forces of some description.
Frank was about to continue to his booth but paused. "You into playing privately, too? Outside of this place?"
"Absolutely." No hesitation.
"I have an invite. A group of guys, no money changing hands. Secluded area. Starts as a paintball match, but it can and usually does turn into more for guys who're interested. Everybody's into rough play. Crowd's mixed, from bankers to social workers, most guys in their thirties, a couple falling either way of that. Been going well the last few times I went there."
"It's essentially capture kink."
Stefan's eyes were bright.
Frank went on. "Basically, you capture someone on the field, he's yours. Capture a team's flag? Your team gets the spoils."
"Spoils of war." Stefan beamed. "I like it."
"Figured you might."
"Sounds like fun. When?"
"Saturday afternoon. There's the safety instruction and the guided tour, but we have the area for the whole day and into the night."
"Sweet." Frank did pat him on the shoulder now. No harm done, right? "It'll be fun seeing you get your arse handed to you."
Excerpted from Capture & Surrender by L. A. Witt, Aleksandr Voinov, Rachel Haimowitz. Copyright © 2013 L. A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov. Excerpted by permission of Riptide Publishing.
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