By day, Marin Bryant is the darling of the New York modern dance scene, a job that requires a total surrender of her body to the demands of her art. By night, she has the power, moonlighting as Miss Banks, as a dainty dominatrix in heels and pearls.
To Wall Street scion Cole Fleming, Miss Banks fulfills his darkest desires, until the day when roles and formalities aren’t enough. Cole wants all of Miss Banks’s secrets, and won’t stop until he’s broken down her walls using the pleasure she craves and fears.
Two stories, one pair of lovers, exploring the dark heat at the intersection of pain, pleasure, and something that just might be love…
Find out more about the woman who brought Cole and Marin together in Anne Calhoun’s novel, The List. Are you on it?
These stories previously appeared in Agony/Ecstasy
Praise for Anne Calhoun
“Uncommonly good storytelling.”—Beth Kery, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
“Scintillating sexual chemistry.”—Lauren Dane, New York Times bestselling author
“Calhoun’s romances define the erotic.”—Alison Kent, national bestselling author
After doing time at Fortune 500 companies on both coasts, national bestselling novelist Anne Calhoun landed in a flyover state, where she traded business casual for yoga pants and decided to write down all the lively story ideas that got her through years of monotonous corporate meetings. She holds a BA in History and English, and an MA in American Studies from Columbia University. Anne is the author of many novels including Jaded and Unforgiven. When she’s not writing her hobbies include reading, knitting, and yoga. She lives in the Midwest with her family and singlehandedly supports her local Starbucks.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Cole waits for me as I’ve ordered: on his knees, fingers laced behind his head, in the dark. I walk into the still air of the studio apartment, close the door, twist the dead bolts, the sounds sharp and final. With a flick of the switch next to the door, several table and floor lamps situated around the apartment come on. As I set my purse on the marble-topped table by the door, I treat myself to a long, thorough look at him.
Even kneeling he’s large. His bowed head comes to my rib cage, and while his fingers in their woven position are relaxed against his closely cropped reddish-brown hair, as the seconds tick past I see his shoulders tense ever so subtly under his black motorcycle racing jacket. Threat is implicit in his size and strength, but for me his power is tightly leashed.
Standing close enough to hear his deliberately even breathing, I study him for a moment. In the past he’s waited in a businessman’s armor—suit, tie, wingtips—so this insight into his leisure activities intrigues me. He smells of fall wind and sweat, with a hint of oil underneath, as if he’d worked on his bike before he rode it.
Slowly, methodically, I remove my gloves and my coat. The pace is intended to get Cole into a certain frame of mind, to move him from nervous anticipation to inexorable submission. Until I am finished with him tonight, we move at my speed. At my command. More important, removing my trench coat reveals the antithesis of dominatrix gear. Tonight I am the idealized version of a 1950s housewife in a light green watered silk dress, sleeveless, full-skirted, and belted around my waist. I’m quite petite, with chin-length white-blonde hair, pale skin, and green eyes.
Standing slightly to one side, I lay my palm against his laced fingers, and he tenses again. His breath eases from his broad chest as he makes himself relax. I may look like an ethereal fairy, but Cole knows exactly how deceiving appearances are.
This is the ninth time I’ve met Cole. We are both clients of Lady Matilda, an expat Brit who will, for a rather considerable fee, arrange meetings between like-minded individuals. I heard about Lady Matilda from a friend who found a Cantonese conversation partner. I wanted a man who wanted me to whip him. Lady Matilda didn’t bat an eyelash.
Three weeks later, Cole waited for me for the first time. I don’t know what he does to afford Lady Matilda’s fee. I don’t know his last name. He knows neither my real first or last name or my phone number or job. When he wants to meet me, he calls Lady Matilda; she calls me, and I choose a date and time. I don’t know if he lives in the city or comes here on business. I know he’s not married because I refuse to play with a man who is, and Lady Matilda does a background check run by a very expensive security firm. I know he’s completely self-assured, and hot as hell.
I know he fears this as badly as he wants it. But there is so much we don’t know about each other.
I step behind him, my heels clicking against the parquet floor. Lingering behind him makes him uncomfortable, so I remain there for a few more moments, examining his ass in his faded jeans, the worn soles and scuffed leather of the black motorcycle boots encasing his feet. He can’t be comfortable kneeling in those boots. He will be even less comfortable when I make him undress.
I complete the circle, noting the dark stubble on his jaw, the way he keeps his gaze forward and down. He will not meet my eyes. He will address me as Miss Banks. He will follow my every command. At the end of the night he will say “Thank you, Miss Banks” before he goes. At some level, that will be the most gratifying part of the evening.
I seat myself on the damask-covered bench at the foot of the room’s sole piece of furniture, a king-sized four-post bed, and spread my skirt to either side. Although his eyes are trained on the floor in front of him he gathers details with his peripheral vision. A muscle in his jaw jumps before he controls it. I smile. Something about the delicate nature of this dress, the fabric, the color, makes this so much harder for him. I admire how he faces what makes him tremble.
“Stand up, please,” I say. Please is a necessary part of this game, as is thank you. The niceties emphasize that I am making requests he is free to decline but chooses to obey. He’s not my slave. I’m not his mistress. I’m something worse. I’m what he fears, yet can’t resist.
Hands still behind his head, he rises easily to his feet. A T-shirt clings snugly to his torso; memory fills in the details of his biceps and triceps under the leather biker jacket while I contemplate the lean length of his abdomen, the brown leather belt through the loops of his jeans, the thick shaft of his cock straining against his zipper. He’s tall, heavily muscled, and outweighs me by at least one hundred pounds, which makes him a delight to handle.