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"Who the hell are you? And where is Master Devon?"
Gabriel Stone raised an eyebrow. Instead of being on her knees, her legs spread, her head lowered, her gaze focused on the floor like a good little submissive, Victoria West stood in his domain, her blue eyes narrowed in anger.
Her blonde hair was pulled up, but a few wisps escaped to frame her face. Her jaw was set in a tight line, and she tipped back her head to stare at him. Stare. Even though she wore a bustier with an unbuttoned blouse over it, a short skirt, silky stockings and mileâ€”high stilettos, she still managed to look like the highâ€”profiled attorney that she was.
Instead of answering her question, he steeled his voice and commanded, "You received a handwritten note, sub, with specific instructions. Follow them." Gabriel couldnâ€™t say he hadnâ€™t been warned about her bad behaviour.
A month ago, Devon Burton, a longâ€”time friend and his partner in the three nightclubs they owned together, had asked Gabriel to join this cruise.
For the past five years, Devon had been contracted as a Dom on the annual fourâ€”day fetish cruise from Galveston to a private resort in Mexico. This year, they were shortâ€”handed, and Devon had offered Gabriel several thousand dollars to fill in. The money would go a long way towards paying past taxes on the mountain cabin heâ€™d recently inherited from his father. Crossing that worry off his list had sealed the deal.
Tonight, Devon had had to teach a class for attendees new to BDSM, leaving Gabriel to deal with the wayward Victoria. Devon had apologised in advance, shaking his head and warning that the woman was a handful, accustomed to being in charge, and used to winning.
Gabriel had dealt with subs for the better part of a decade. Heâ€™d yet to meet one he couldnâ€™t tame. Devon had snickered at the words, saying Gabriel hadnâ€™t come across anyone like Victoria.
Gabriel had been confident. She was a woman. A sub. All she needed was a few sharp commands, punctuated by relentless hits from his leather belt, and sheâ€™d fall in line like the rest.
Trouble was, getting her into position to taste his leather might be a challenge, he thought wryly.
"Surely you realise who I am, Mrâ€”"
"Master," he interrupted. "Master Gabriel Stone, your Dom for the evening. And I know exactly who you are. I read your file, which includes press clippings."
"Iâ€™m not impressed."
She blinked. "I beg your pardon?"
"Here, Victoria, you are a sub, not a lawyer, not a television host."
"Tell Master Devon to telephone my room when heâ€™s available. I donâ€™t accept substitutes."
Gabriel felt a pulse tick in his jaw. His training in martial arts helped him restrain his temper and not give in to the temptation to paddle her until she cried out her surrender. "Thatâ€™s certainly your choice. Youâ€™re free to walk away, but, as you know, youâ€™re paying thousands of dollars for this experience."
"Youâ€™re an attorney. Iâ€™m sure that means you read your contract before signing it."
She tucked the few wayward strands of hair behind her ear. "I did."
"Then you know the cruise ship Commander made no guarantees of you having a scene with a specific Dom. And there are no refunds once the cruise has set sail."
"Master Devon has always been my Dom," she said, with a stubborn tilt to her chin.