Tuesday, April 15, 2014


“I set down again, a-shaking all over, and got out my pipe for a smoke; for the house was all as still as death now, and so the widow wouldn’t know. Well, after a long time I heard the clock away off in town go boom—boom—boom—twelve licks; and all still again—stiller than ever. Pretty soon I heard a twig snap down in the dark amongst the trees—something was a stirring. I set still and listened. Directly I could just barely hear a “me-yow! me-yow!” down there. That was good! Says I, “me-yow! me-yow!” as soft as I could, and then I put out the light and scrambled out of the window on to the shed. Then I slipped down to the ground and crawled in among the trees, and, sure enough, there was Tom Sawyer waiting for me.”

Slipping the Top Shelf bookmark into place, I give the cover a gentle nudge, and it closes with a soft swoosh. Dane reaches up and locates the book with his fingertips. “Hardcover?”

“Yep, I’m kind of old-fashioned that way.”

“Old-fashioned.” Dane grins. “Are there drawings?”

“Yes, I’ll show you tomorrow,” I answer, setting the book on my nightstand and switching off the light. Because right now, it’s time to attend to my boy.  

I locate the silk knot at the back of Dane’s head. “Keep your eyes closed.” The scarf glides out from under him, tickling the hairs on my bare leg as it slithers along. “Okay, you can open now.”

“It’s dark,” he says, blinking up at me. Illuminated by the electric blue digits of the alarm clock, he appears almost translucent.

“Mmhmm.” My fingers find their way into his hair; apparently, he’s become my own personal rabbit’s foot. “It’s hard to come out of a blindfold into the light.”

“You have a nice reading voice.”

His compliment takes me by surprise, as do so many things about this boy. “Thanks.”

“Do you sing, too?”

“I’m okay in groups—the bigger the group, the better I sound.”

Dane smiles. “You’re a choirboy?”

“Yes, Dane. An old-fashioned choirboy. You’ve got me pegged.”

And here we both stay, locked in this sweet, flirty moment, my hands taking turns in Dane’s hair, his gears turning a mile a minute trying to learn me.

“How was the blindfold for you? You looked pretty relaxed.”

“It wasn’t as hard as I expected.”

“That’s a good thing. What did I do that helped?”

“You stayed with me. You talked to me. You touched me.” His gaze wanders along the ceiling as he reviews our evening. “You let me use my hands. You didn’t hurt me while I was blinded. You didn’t do anything very sudden or unpredictable although . . .” his focus returns to me, “I can’t say I was expecting Huck Finn.”

“Good. I can’t have you predicting all my moves.

Dane huffs, relaxing, thinking, just resting in the moment with me.

You know, Dane, you probably focused on my voice more clearly because you were blindfolded.”

The mischief I saw before has returned in full force, his twinkle evident even in the dim light. “Does that mean you’ll be wearing a blindfold when I read to you, Master?”

My instinct is to laugh it off, maybe ask him if hell has frozen over, move on. And yet, there’s something in his question that gives me pause. It wouldn’t be an act of submission so much as voluntary sensory deprivation with the purpose of enhancing my other senses. Could I go there? Do I dare?

What could be lost?

What could be gained?

My non-answer stretches into a long, complicated silence between us. I’ve drifted into a head space of risk and uncertainty, a place where I don’t always have to be in control. Am I scared of what I might find? What I might need?

Come on, Marcus. It’s a silly scrap of fabric.

I don’t find a speck of mischief left in his expression when I finally answer him. “I’ll think about it, Dane.”

He rolls off my lap and pops up onto his elbow beside me. “Really?”

I don’t need to answer him, but every other morsel of myself I’ve freely given to Dane has been accepted with gratitude and moved him forward. “You inspire me, Dane.”

I said WHAT now?

“I do?” His voice is an incredulous whisper. The sheets flutter as I slide down the headboard and stretch out next to him.

I fold my hands behind my head and let my eyelids droop closed, imagining how it felt for him, how it might feel for me. “You’ve gone way outside your comfort zone for me, time and time again, Dane. When you do that, we both reap the rewards.”

“So, this would be one of those ‘challenges’ for you?”

“I think that would be an accurate description, yes.” Of something I’ve never done before.


I crack open one eye. “What is it, Dane?”

“Is it okay if I get out of bed for a minute?”


“No, I need to get something.”

I assume it’s important. Dane wouldn’t ask otherwise. “Sure.” As his weep-worthy back side rises from the sheets, I add, “Make it quick!”

He does some kind of half-leap/half-skip dance-ish move that leaves me laughing, but not thrown off the scent. Curious as hell, I listen with all my might. Footsteps, a zipper, quicker footsteps back, and a spectacular swan dive onto the bed that puts his face not three inches from mine.

“Jeez, Dane!”

“Master,” he starts, with a toothy grin even the darkness can’t dim, “would you please be my guest at my first show as Chad this Friday night?” An envelope waves between two fingers.

“Hell yes! I wouldn’t miss it for the world!”

I flip Dane onto his back and pin him with my body. He wraps his arms around my neck and smiles up at me, ridiculously kissable. “Congratulations, Dane. I am so proud of you.”

“Thank you, Master. I’m happy I can share this with you.”

“Me too.” I push away the nagging thoughts, the reminders that Dane has no one else to ask. Those lips are mine for the taking, and Dane is less passive than usual in the receiving—which pleases me enormously. Hopefully, he’s learning that submissive does not have to equate to passive. In Dane’s case, the raw passion he exhibits is a reflection of how much healthier he has become.

But still, a guy’s got to breathe. I pull back, winded but amused. I like this position: our naked bodies aligned toe to chin, Dane trapped beneath me but holding me against him, the two of us trading exhaled breaths back and forth. Things could get heated.

The poor guy has been holding this news in all night and somehow managed to achieve a state of complete relaxation, which is really where I’d like to keep him for the night. I roll off to my side of the bed and onto my back, where we’re both safer. We’ll do this tomorrow—in style.

“Let’s go out tomorrow night and celebrate.”

“Sounds great.”

“Will you have a steak or should I pick something else?”

“I suppose this is worthy of a steak. But, uh . . . if you’re planning on somewhere nice, I don’t really have the right clothes for that.”

“We could drop by your place tomorrow afternoon and pick something up.”

“No, Master, I don’t think you understand. I don’t own the right clothes. That tux I wore to the wedding? Riley found it on clearance. It’s pretty much just the tux, jeans, or sweats. That’s my wardrobe.”

“Well then, Dane, sounds like you and I are going shopping tomorrow.”

If I don’t already know I’m in deep, the fact that I slink out of bed—with the sole concern of not waking my soundly sleeping submissive—tells me everything. And here’s the beautiful part: I am fucking ecstatic about it.

After quietly snagging a pair of boxers and a t-shirt, I slip out of the room, closing the French doors separating the bedroom from the rest of the suite. The Keurig makes a decent mug of coffee, which sustains me while I take care of the wreckage from last night’s meal. I don’t regret for one second prioritizing my submissive’s needs over the dirty dishes, but the dried-up food doesn’t make for the most pleasant wake-up call. 

While Dane catches the tail end of his beauty rest, I call the front desk and extend my reservation for another week. Dane will be on six nights starting tomorrow, and I have no intention of sharing his free time with the Big Apple Car Service.

I itch to get him in my dungeon again, but I’m in this for the long haul. Besides, Dane requires very little in terms of hardware right now, and my bag of tricks will go a long way. Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to either of us not to explore some of my more exotic apparatus before our thirty days expire—just so the boy gets a flavor of the possibilities.

And I’m hard.

Dane’s announcement last night tossed a bit of a monkey wrench into today’s plan, but nothing I can’t manage with a couple extra phone calls. The concierge promises to change our dinner reservation to Del Frisco’s; before I even hang up, my mouth is watering for—

“Good morning, Master.”


“Good morning, Dane. I didn’t hear the doors open.”

He stands naked in the shadows of the dark bedroom, feet spread and hands clasped behind his back. “I apologize, Master. I didn’t hear you get out of bed this morning.”

“I didn’t want you to hear me, Dane. I wanted you to get your rest. How’d you sleep?”

There’s a pause, a grimace, then, “I, uh . . .”

What’s this?  “Not another nightmare?” I’m out of my chair, heart in my throat, poised to offer him whatever support he needs.

“I messed up the sheets.”  

Oh my god. I probably shouldn’t laugh, but how perfect is it that he just took care of himself with me in the very next room?

A small chuckle might have escaped me, and my eyes may have inspected the guilty member hanging in shame between his legs. “I’ll consider that today’s report.”

“You’re not mad?”

“Of course not, Dane. A, you have my permission to masturbate whenever you like unless I’ve specifically told you otherwise, and b, we’re in a hotel. We’ll have clean sheets by late morning. Go take a shower; we have a busy day ahead of us.”

“Yes, Master.” He turns away, very much relieved.

“Oh—and Dane, don’t shave your face.”

I catch the profile of his smile before he disappears from view. How he loves knowing he has that power over me!

The phone sitting in my hand reminds me I wasn’t quite finished with my calls. This next one ought to be fun.

Exactly how well do you know Sean?

And a very pleasant Monday morning to you too, Marcus.

I think marriage is making you overly sensitive.

That would explain the crying spells lately. Why the questions about Sean?

Dane needs a friend. Someone to talk to.

Um ...hello?

Sorry, Edward. You’re a raging dom.

Aww. You noticed.


Sean’s a good guy. Dane already trusts him. He’s comfortable around Riley too.

Shoot me Riley’s number.

Bossy! Not gonna lie, you’re making me a little hot.

I love you, Edward.

And I love you.

A text doesn’t feel right—Riley and I are two planets that orbit around a common sun. I can’t be sure what Edward shared of our time together in my dungeon, and I certainly would never be the one to whip and tell. In the few times I’ve met Riley, I have felt a kinship born of our mutual love for the same man. Okay, I’ll go ahead and say it, our mutual unrequited love. Of course, that’s all water over the dam, under the bridge, and way downstream for both of us at this point.

Too bad Riley and I never got together, a random thought that used to pop into my head from time to time. But Riley’s no sub. He’s no dom either, but he’s clearly on the spectrum, in my humble, uninformed opinion. As for Sean, the guy’s got a submissive tendency or two, something that probably makes him enormously empathetic toward Dane and some of the other young men who cross his path.

It’s a workday for most normal people, and when I dial Riley, he picks up on the second ring.

Lots going on here. What struck you?

Many of you suggested Edward and/or Bella act as a mentor or confidant for Dane. Looks like Marcus has a different idea. :)

By the way, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written by a guy named Mark Twain. One thing I remember about hearing it read out loud in 6th grade was the warning Twain put at the beginning of the book that it absolutely not be used as a teaching tool! Loved him for that!

The pumpkin has landed- finally- back at my desk, where I am diligently working on the last part of this story. LOVING your comments, especially those from last chapter, which was pretty emotional. Thank you all, and as always, thanks to my amazing team: Jayme, Jean, Meredith, and Sue. MWAH! 


  1. And a good morning to you too MotW!
    Well, may I say how surprised I was to no reaction fr M towards D pulling off his lap w/o consent? I didn't hear M saying 'scene is over' or something like that. Wld that be admissible?
    And D 'taking matters in his own hand *no pun lol* Whoa, the walls are tumbling down!
    Was that a hint? "How he loves knowing he has that power over me!" Interesting ... sappy me of course wld go in search of my other half and love him in plain sight in the balcony *Muse, you've been reading too many romances lol*
    Awww ... D giving a personal invitation *sniffs*

    Ok, as for E befriend D ... no, I agree that wldn't work ...
    I maybe? Hum ... perhaps D wldn't feel comfy around her?
    R can be a very good influence giving D the confidence he needs ... yeah, I think it was a very good choice. I almost forgot S had a 'thing' for E ...
    Fr my side of the theater box I can say M is really opening up to this experience and although 'suffering' fr the same doubts that assault every lover in the beg of a relay, he's open to the challenge. And indeed he shld, it's time for him to lvoe and most important, BE loved. And jsut like that, the Alice in me is planning their wedding *shakes head, incurable, irrevocable romantic Muse*
    Thx BOH! As usual, loved it.

    1. OOOH, a wedding! That would make 3 for this story! :) You raise a really interesting point about where scenes begin and end. Whereas other stories I've read and written do have a clear delineation of "play times" these two haven't established those boundaries. This is purposeful, as I don't see them as ever not being in their roles, even when they're clearly not in a sexual or even intimate situation. Dane has a way of sinking deep into subspace when the time is appropriate, and otherwise, Marcus really wants him to take those liberties to be himself, express his needs and his desires, and by all means, to have fun! So, your question "would that be admissable?" is a great one, and I don't know how anyone else might do it, but for THESE TWO RIGHT NOW, I'm going with yes (or maybe even HELL YES!). Marcus knows that Dane's respect runs deep, and I doubt the boy could misstep if he tried in that regard, but it's a great question, and one I have pondered so often in this story! THANK YOU for raising it.

  2. Yes, lots of great stuff going on, no sex but that is fine also.

    Marcus should definitely wear the blindfold, I know he is a great Dom and everything but I imagine it is always good for a Dom type to put themselves back in the mind space of a sub every now and then.

    I thought Dane had had a wet dream at first and am also surprised that he would see to himself and that Marcus wouldn't mind but I'm happy with that, it just shows how far Dane has come in such a short space of time, I don't want him to get into trouble and as you say above, they haven't established those boundaries yet.

    I loved the texts with Edward and I actually hadn't thought about him or Bella being a mentor to Dane but later perhaps it would be nice if Bella and Dane became friends, we don't know yet if he has any female influences in his life and it would be nice to have a woman's perspective.

    Looking forward to their day and loving this story.

    Thank you Born


    1. I love your thoughts on Bella and Dane becoming friends, and you can see from the prologue (at Riley and Sean's wedding) that Marcus and Bella are pretty intimately connected, so a lot has happened in the 18 months since their wedding. And we know Marcus and Dane are together at the wedding and pretty much right afterward and again 18 months later (and likely every second in between, right?) so....yeah, I like your idea and now you've got me thinking about what that would look like. #neverendingsequel

    2. Only now I'm reading the comments of this ch - and may I say Jarvis, your idea of a female influence is purr-fect? *thumbs up*

  3. A couple of things jumped off the page for me. One, that Marcus would even consider dane's request to blindfold him astounded me! I love that that really stretches Marcus' boundaries....a lot! Two, that dane masturbated to ejaculation on his own without any direct prompts is also very telling here. Their growing relationship is a joy to watch. Your writing just humbles me.

    1. I LOVE surprising my readers. And I'll let you in on a little secret, most of the time, it's my characters surprising me! I really do just try to sit here and listen and watch and not direct them too much. It's shocking what they come up with on their own!! (the cheeky bastards!) I'm so so pleased you're enjoying it and thank you for your beautiful words.

    2. Judith, you deserve a round of applause specially for the blindfold obs!

  4. Oh Born, The part that hits me the most is when Marcus considers being blindfolded by Dane. That right there says it all. He and Dane are in this for the long haul, its going to be more than sub and Dom. Also, he could have made his sub clean up those dried up dishes but he did them lol. Thats love right there!
    Vicki xoxo

  5. Love their little chat after Marcus finished reading- Dane was able to admit that he handled the blindfold better than he thought he would, and he was even able to articulate all the things his Master did to ease his fears. He is soo appreciative of his Master helping him jump this hurdle tonight, and I love that in the next breath he gets back to his teasing! :)

    I am soo intrigued by the idea of Marcus being blindfolded while Dane reads to him. As Marcus wondered, "What could be lost? What could be gained?" Would it lead to even more intimacy? Would Marcus be uncomfortable? Heck, would Dane be uncomfortable?!? I think the two of them could make it a very meaningful experience, if Marcus chooses to go that way... :)

    I love Dane's exuberance as he runs out of bed and takes a flying leap back into the bed! soo happy and carefree!

    And Marcus sneaking quietly out of bed so as not to wake his boy- soo cute!

    You know how I feel, but I'll say it again and again: I love love love the relationship between Marcus and Edward here! lol. And go figure, it's even better now that Marcus has someone. Even though, Marcus has always been Master between the two of them, his unrequited desire for Edward made the friendship uneven, and now that each of them has their own perfect subs, the friendship can be that much stronger and on equal footing.

    I look forward to seeing Dane make more friends. Being a part of this lovely group of friends can only be good- some great people who just so happen to understand the way his mind works (at least when it comes to certain things! :) )

    Pat yourself on the back, ma'am, for continuously creating a multitude of characters I care about. Your secondary characters have never felt like convenient plot devices. They all feel like real people with histories that intertwine with, and exist independently of, the main characters. I could read spin-off stories of your characters forever!

    1. What an interesting question- will Dane be uncomfortable with Marcus putting himself in a vulnerable position? I guess you have a few clues about that; specifically, each time Marcus shares something about himself to help Dane through the rough stuff (for example, offering his own safe word). HA! Dane loves to leap!

      YES to your comment about Marcus and Edward finding themselves on more equal ground, just as Edward was raised up in his own eyes when Isabella came into his life and he found himself the perfect dom to her. I love the idea of Dane surrounded by loving friends. He so deserves it! Plus, yum yum yum, remember him dancing with Riley and Sean at the wedding? Yeah.

      Oh dear, Digi. Please don't tempt me. I hardly need much of a push where any of these characters is concerned. MWAH. You're too kind and sweet and thank you.

  6. ooh a blindfolded marcus? the mind is conjuring up such deliciousness! :D The title is sure as heck accurate - Marcus is a changed man already and he will only continue to grow which makes for a great relationship with Dane. I think it's great Marcus is trying to find someone for Dane to be there, and the conversation with Edward made me smile. Edward is happy with Bella, and now that Marcus has Dane he and Edward can have a stronger friendship. Dane is the glue that binds them all :D Loved it hun.

    1. Dane is the glue...sweet. He does seem to be spreading sunshine all around, doesn't he?

  7. First of all let me say this: Hamana-hamana-hamana, Edward!! even if it was a brief cameo LOL Thank you, thank you thank you.
    WOW so much going on on this chapter, I don't even know where to start.
    Maybe by sharing a bit about myself, after all sharing is caring :)
    When I met my husband everybody thought we were not a good match, they said that we were rushing things since we were married only 3 months after meeting, and also that we wouldn't last. (Flash forward and we are about to have our 13th anniversary.) He is 16 years older than me, from a different country-continent-hemisphere, grew up with different religions, had different native tongues, well the list goes on and on.
    Where am I going with this? I have a point, I swear... Well as it turns out we fit perfectly together not in spite of our differences, but because of them. We also learned to appreciate our differences and we have both acquire new likes or in some cases strong dislikes.
    My friends often ask, "What is your secret?" I laugh because the secret is that there is no secret... We just respect our vows, we talk a lot, we do as much as we can to help each other, we both want to be happy individually and as a couple, and we enjoy the little everyday things as much as the big accomplishments.
    So what I love about this chapter is just that, they are so different and yet perfect for each other in so many ways and as they fall in love they are both learning new things about each other and themselves. I also appreciate how they both do so much for each other, and they want to see each other happy.
    Every action from Marcus here was so incredibly loving and thoughtful, always caring so much for Dane and his well being. He was a MASTERful Master providing his submissive with a new challenging experience, but surrounding him with comfort and love. There is love in every single action the scene, the reading, the kissing, considering Dane's request, looking for someone with whom Dane can talk, and even in washing the dishes.
    As for Dane he is opening up like a beautiful blossom and he is growing towards the light. So confident and happy ready to be free as he submits to a worthy Master. But most importantly allowing love into his life and though he might yet not even know it showing love through his actions: Trusting the blindfold, allowing Marcus to groom him, relaxing into his Masters touch,sharing his success with Marcus, being honest about his wardrobe, even admitting to messing up the sheets.
    So once again thank you for sharing your writing and thanking time to read and respond to the reviews. (PS Sorry it ran to long)

    1. I absolutely love what you shared about your marriage! You two sound like you really know how to do it- respecting each other as individuals and enjoying your mutual interests. As my husband and I slide into our 29th anniversary, with all the personal changes each of us has gone through (particularly in the last 3 years- me with my writing and he with his professional poker playing) I can tell you we are more individuals than ever and it has been wonderfully refreshing after all this time! I wish you many more years of blissful marriage, and thank you for seeing that in my characters. There are just some things that matter and some that don't!
      Your imagery for Dane is so lovely. If the story had been told from his perspective, it probably would've been called "Toward the Light" or something like that. Thank you so much for your beautiful insights.

  8. Love, love, LOVE the texts between Marcus and Edward.

    Had an enormously trying last couple of days not to mention the past 10 days prior. So forgive me if I am having a time trying to remember exactly who Riley is? Obviously Edward's friend. Think that Marcus asked Riley about Dane at the wedding? But didn't remember that Riley had the hots for Edward as well.

    I think that the boy's shopping trip might be interesting for both of them for some reason.

    Reading on...

    1. Ah...yeah, sorry about your trying times. :(

      Riley was the friend who took Edward shopping for his tux in OUAD, then brought his friend Sean over to watch the football game. Riley always lusted over Edward, same as Marcus, and they were best friends growing up as well. You might remember a scene in KEA where Riley and Edward go to a deli together and Edward basically eats everything in sight while Riley has a small something or other- like Edward's sandwich's little brother. The prologue of this story is set at Riley and Sean's wedding. :)

    2. *face palm* Yes, I remember all that now. Thank you for the reminder. Sometimes there is not enough coffee in the world to make you fully coherent. LOL Sometimes I am a cup low.

    3. Honey, most every day I am a "cup low." And if I remembered even half of what I should- even about my own stories- I'd be way better off. Please don't sweat it. I checked yesterday because a friend was going through KEA and reviewing, and I finished that puppy in Feb of last year, so I don't expect anyone to remember much!

  9. Marcus is such a nurturer with Dane. He is trying so hard to show him that a Dom doesn't have to be harsh, that he is worth being cared for, he has value. Don't we all want that. I think it is especially important that M wants D to succeed outside the relationship. He takes pride in D's professional accomplishments. M understands how important his physicality is to his job. Consequently he takes extra care with his body. That's not to say M doesn't appreciate the outcome of that care.

    The emotional care Marcus is taking with D is meticulous. I really love how he wants more people for Dane. We all need more than one person, no matter how important that person is. I don't believe one person can be everything for someone. I also know that people are transitory. We move, we move on, we associate in ways others can't understand, we die. Perhaps this is resonating as I lost someone important in my own circle recently. Because of the circle I have, where I lost, I also gained. I'm babbling.

    I think Sean and Riley are perfect. Dean is clearly comfortable with them. They have a big enough circle that some of those are likely to orbit around Dane as well (who wouldn't).

    I always love the Edward/Marcus interaction. I was particularly enjoying the image of Marcus as a Choirboy.

    1. LOL, yes Marcus totally appreciates the "outcome" of Dane's care with his body. Wouldn't we all? Sigh...

      That's a beautiful observation about people moving on, for whatever reason. I'm sorry for your loss, and it sounds like it's opened a new door for you.
      I've loved being able to explore Sean and Riley further with this story. Riley was always a character I liked for his ease in the world and his slightly unresolved feelings for Edward. He and Marcus always seemed like kindred spirits in that- although I knew the two of them wouldn't exactly have an easy friendship! It's fun to find another character who doesn't have to cow tow to master Marcus! I think Sean always will to some degree, because of his nature. Thank you for all your lovely insights.

  10. Well my memory is shot apparently - I have a few more chapter until I'm in new territory. Marcus considering being blindfolded for Dane - THAT is telling about how much he is growing and evolving.

    1. Bahaha YOU FORGOT!! I agree- Marcus doing the blindfold thing was HUGE!

  11. Ah yes. Lots going on here indeed. Marc reading Dane a bed time story. CUUUUUUTE!!!! Then jfc when Dane swan dived into the bed to share the news with Marcus *giddy fucking smiling*
    I FUCKING LOOOOOOVE SEEING HIM LIKE THIS! And I do think that what they were able to share tonight made it a lot easier for him. They are quite a pair. So proud of him...

    Dane getting off this morning was the best thi ng. Who remembered that guy who was afraid to allow himself to feel pleasure? Can't be our Dane, right? Gah so far he's come. Pun intended! Heh...

    1. :) There's Dane letting a little of that inner happy guy out to play. What a delight to write he was! Each time Marcus shows Dane-whether purposefully or by accident- a slice of his own vulnerability, he is rewarded with a beautiful revelation of Inner Dane. And so are we. Oh yes, we have all come so far with Dane...but this story ain't over yet! ;)