She might have some experience as a submissive, but most of it was being fucked and watching others fuck. Besides an idiot boyfriend, Joanne was innocent in the ways of club life. He’d need to start from scratch.
The tension in her shoulders told him she was interested but nervous. Unsure of herself or the situation. Going slow was the best option. However, Derek had chores outside this gig and knew from past experience that the more time he took training her, the harder it would be to separate his body and mind into different entities.
Having her in his bed wasn’t an option.
And regardless of where he got her submissive-wise, he wouldn’t subject her to the darkness he reined in every minute of every day. He flat wouldn’t do that to the novice standing in front of him with her mouth hanging open.
With one finger, he tucked her chin back into place. “You don’t have any idea what these things are, do you?”
Mentally expounding on Mark’s poor parentage with a silent string of explicit phrases, Derek stepped around her and snagged another folding chair from the hallway. “Sit.”
Joanne’s eyes jumped to his face, panic making her pale.
Shit. He didn’t want to do this, but she needed more than a rudimentary lesson in dominance and submission. He set the other chair in front of her and straddled it, his arms looped across the back while they spoke face to face.
More like he lectured and she listened.
“This club isn’t a strip club or a porn shop. It’s a place where men and women who chose to participate in an alternative lifestyle are free to openly do so. That said, the members will often be nude or semi-nude and may or may not be engaged in public sexual encounters. Possibly like the ones you witnessed while you were involved with that asshole you mentioned.”
She sucked in a breath but he didn’t let her speak, his raised brow all the reminder she needed, thank God.
“As a paid submissive, you might be asked to participate in sexual acts or in scenes where members act out fantasies. You will not be passed around like a whore the way your previous boyfriend did with the other women in that group.”
“You will be paid a salary and we don’t allow gratuities for any of our employees. There won’t be any allusions about paid sexual favors. Understand?”
“Good. Glad that’s settled.”
Derek cocked his head in her direction. “Did you expect to be on your back every night?”
“No. I was waiting to find out if that was the case. I would’ve quit first thing.” Her voice faltered. “I was hoping for something better than...originally, I applied for a waitress position.”
“Understood. Still with me or ready to go home?”
“Still here. Thank you.”
“Good.” Her body language remained a little off, but in slow steps he recognized the signs of relaxation. No doubt in his head she was still way outside her comfort zone, but he could get her there if she’d let him.
“Working here, you’ll see plenty of intimate acts. If you’re asked to participate, you may. But it will always be a choice you make. No one will force you. If anyone tries, you report it to management immediately.”
As close as their faces were to each other, the quick flash of surprise on her face caught him off guard. “Don’t believe me?”
The hard swallow and carefully blank face wasn’t the reply he wanted. Her eyes were down again and her mouth kept opening and closing even though no words escaped. When she finally looked at him again, her expression was almost defiant.
“I believe your intent. But the kind of high end clients, members, I mean, well, in my experience, the more money a man has, the more...favors he expects. Most businesses tend to follow the money instead of the employee.”
Derek leaned back and stretched his arms, not immediately realizing his show of muscle put her off. Not his intention at all, but it made him wonder how much damage that old boyfriend had done and whether she’d be able to work it out. If he could gain her trust and show her how a true Dom took care of his submissive, she’d be well on her way to enjoying the lifestyle.
With a flash of insight, he realized Mark had been smart to put her in his hands. He had more patience than his old friend, and more experience in training subs. It was the right choice for all but one reason. He didn’t want a woman in his life. He didn’t want to play in the club, just help manage it. He didn’t want to feel the pull of sensuality from a cute little submissive.
Want and need were two different issues, and watching Joanne had his body overriding his brain, his emotional reluctance. In fact, he was perilously close to giving up his celibate streak for this straight talking woman.
Damn little lady had a way with words and didn’t cut corners. The strength of her convictions impressed him. She’d be a hell of a submissive and the idea of his hands on her filled his head.
“Thanks for your honesty, but I can assure you the employee’s report will be substantiated and actions will be taken as necessary. The partners running this club will see to it.”
“How can you be sure?” she asked, then slapped her hand across her mouth. “Sorry. That was out of line.”
“I’m sure because I’m one of the partners. All three of us take offense at a woman being abused. We’re in the process of putting together membership packets to maintain the safety of everyone involved in Private Delights, employees and members alike.”
“If that’s true, why are you stocking this room with instruments of torture?”
“Darlin’, they may look like dangerous weapons, but erotic pain is often the path to orgasm. Don’t dismiss it until you’ve tried it.” He stood and went back to the boxes. Might as well introduce her to a few more tools of the trade.
All motion stopped and his chest flooded with heat. Son of a bitch. Did she really ask that question, or was it a figment of his imagination? Turning his head, he saw determination in her eyes even though her knees were shaking.
“What are you asking, Joanne?”
“If...if I’m going to work here...and do this, I need to know if...if I can handle it.”
“And you’re asking me to spank you?” Damn body wasn’t cooperating with his celibacy plan and it was Mark’s fault.
She planted a hand on her hip. “Who else should I ask? Some guy off the street?” Her chest rose and fell on a long, deep breath. “I can assume you know how to do this?”
Oh, hell, he knew how and he wanted to, even knowing she wasn’t his to play with, but she had a point. If she couldn’t handle a little erotic pain play with him in an empty room, how would she manage in a full club?
The less than perfect environment bothered him. Until the carpet was installed, all the equipment was stacked in a corner, meaning no restraints. The only option was the table.
Derek pulled a cat-tail out of a box and slowly removed the wrapping on each of the nine soft leather strands. Each one ended with a braided knot. With the packaging put away, he gave it a few practice swings and turned to face her.
“Strip and present yourself.”