Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Dane knows you love him.

That’s what I carry in my thunderously thumping heart as I push the large button on the wall next to the door. Dane’s eyes lift from the book, meeting mine through the square window, then full on as I clear the security door and charge across the room. I am 185 pounds of exposed nerve endings barely contained by skin and garments, and I have no plan for what might happen when I reach him—only that the space between us feels like death.

Dane stands and tenses, steadying himself for an onslaught. Screw the fact that we’re in a roomful of strangers; I swear to fucking god I would leap through the air and have him catch me if I had any clue how to do it without maiming both of us. Memories of being knocked to the floor by my overeager submissive earlier this morning have me stifling giggles by the time I reach Dane.

My boots bump toes with Dane’s, and our bodies snap together from the ground up: toes, knees, thighs, hips, chests, and finally, lips. My arms snake around his back, pulling him hard against me as our lips gnash together. Dane’s hands close around my shoulders, the heavy book slapping my back.

A small chorus of catcalls breaks out in the lobby. I pull back, slightly guilty for losing control, offering Dane a soft, “Sorry.”

“Not a problem,” he replies. “Are you okay?”

“I’m very, very okay, but we need to get the hell out of here.”

“As you wish.”

“Have fun, you two!” is the last thing I hear before our feet hit the pavement.

I’m the one who forced this meeting with the therapist, and Dane seems perfectly fine. I heard nothing but great news and reassurance and a glaring green light for everything I want to do next. So why do I feel so damn out of control?


Dane’s one step down, squeezing my hand and fixing me with a very frightened look.


No, not fuck. Shit. There! Take that, Doc!

“Did things not go well with Eleazar?”

“I’m sorry, Dane. Everything is fine. I’m a little wrecked at the moment though.”

“Yeah, I get it.”

I take a deep, long drink inside his chocolate brown eyes, and everything gets better. “He gave me a lot to think about.”

Dane smiles. “He’s a pain in the ass, huh?”

“Yes. I don’t want to mess up your plans for the day any further than I have already, but can we go somewhere and talk?”

“Of course. I was thinking we could walk over to the park.”


With our hands linked together, we head uptown on 7th. Central Park is a good mile and a half away. It’s a little nippy out, but winter’s harsh jaws are taking a break. My head is spinning with all I’ve learned and all I want to share with him, but this is still about Dane.

“Do you want to talk about your session?” I ask.

He shrugs. “We can.”

“I’d love to hear whatever you’d like to share, but don’t feel pressured.”

“Well, basically,” Dane starts, “he told me to let the shit spew!” He looks over at me with a wide grin. “So, I guess you better get ready!”

I give his hand a squeeze. “I’m ready, Dane.”

“I know you are. We talked about that too.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. He asked me if I trusted you—not just to do all the sexual stuff we do, but to really know who I am. I said yes.”

I can barely contain my grin. “All the sexual stuff, huh? Were those the doctor’s actual words?”

“Nope. I’m paraphrasing.”

“Haha, okay. All kidding aside, Dane, you cannot know how much it means to me that you trust me the way you do.”

Dodging my comment, he replies, “We ran you through a rubric.”

“Did you, now?”

“Mmhmm.” Dane looks quite smug right now, and I fucking love it. “It was a trustworthiness test. You passed with flying colors.”

“Good to know.”

“So, yeah, that was pretty much it. Oh, and he said I looked happy.”

Mr. Nonchalant. I give him a side-eyed glance. He looks like he wants to whistle right now. “What’d you say to that?”

“I told him he was smarter than he looks.”

“You are a cheeky one.”

“What’s he gonna do, spank me?”

Dane gives me one of those I’ll-take-my-chances grins, and my blood heats up. I’m more than edgy enough right now, spank you very much. This is one worm I need to leave dangling on the line.

My phone vibrates in my back pocket. “Saved by the bell,” I tell him, checking my screen. My sister’s contact picture—a chubby baby whose parents thought it was a good idea to stuff her into a carved-out pumpkin shell and post her picture online—fills my screen as a wide smile covers my face. “Hi, sis.”

I tug on Dane’s hand and step around in front of him, holding the phone between our ears. We both laugh when Kaye and the kids start singing Happy Birthday. I’ve always found this extremely goofy, but ever since we lost Mom, we’ve had an unspoken agreement to carry on the tradition for each other.

“Ah, that never gets old,” I tell her.

“No, but you do, big brother!”

“Oh, very nice.”

“Happy birthday, Uncle Marcus!” Jayme and Meredith chime in. “What are you doing to celebrate?”

Dane’s eyebrows do a mischievous couple of push-ups. I shake my head at him, but I’m grinning. He’s won again. “I’m actually going to the park right now,” I answer, then add, “with a friend.”

That shuts him up for a minute. Dane swallows, licks his lips, and manages to look a little contrite.

“Is it warm there?”

“About the same as it is in Boston,” I answer Meredith.

“Would that be a ‘friend’ friend?” my sister asks, not one to leave such a nugget unexplored.

“I don’t know. Would you like to ask him yourself?”

Dane panics, waving his hands in front of his face, mouthing no, no, no.

“Sure,” she says. Of course she would.

“Be nice. He’s a little shy at first. Say hi to Dane.”

“Ohmygod,” he’s muttering, shaking his head wildly while I bring the phone up to his ear.

“Relax,” I whisper. “What’s she gonna do, spank you?”

Dane gulps, realizing he’s been outplayed.

“Hello, Dane. This is Kaye . . . and Jayme and Meredith!”

“Um, hello, everyone.”

His eyes are pinched shut, and he’s gripping the phone so hard, his knuckles are white.

“So, are you a new friend of Uncle Marcus’s?” That would be Jayme.

“Mmhmm, kind of.”

“Where’d you two meet?”

He clears his throat. “At a, uh, wedding.”

“I love weddings!”

Meredith,” I mouth.

“Me, too,” he answers.

“So, do you two have big plans for tonight?” Leave it to Jayme. At the ripe old age of twenty, the girl could put the FBI to shame with her ferreting skills.

“We do,” he answers, then looks over at me with that gotcha! grin. “But I can’t tell you what they are because I’m surprising him.”

“Holy shit,” I hear my sister say. “Are you crazy? He hates surprises!”

And now I am treated to Dane’s biggest smile yet. “He’s gonna love this one.”

“Oookay, that’s enough,” I say, pulling the phone away from him. “Thank you for calling, everyone. Talk soon.”

We all say goodbye, and the girls make sure to shout out to Dane as well.

“Any more like you at home?” he asks once we resume walking.

“Not sure he’s much like me, but my little brother Randy lives in Atlanta.”

“Does he live in a jack-o’-lantern, too?”

“My sister’s birthday is Halloween. It’s all about the pumpkins.”

“And your parents?”


His head whips around. “Wow, I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, Dad went first, about eight years ago. Mom lasted about six months without him, but her heart wasn’t in it.”

Dane moves closer, twining our arms together and pressing his weight against my side.

“You know, Dane, one of the things I discussed with Eleazar was reestablishing the lines of communication between you and your parents.”

He doesn’t answer right away, and we walk along in that silence that is becoming so familiar with Dane. I can almost see the cartoon bubble over his head as thoughts and emotions grind away inside that brain of his.

“What did Eleazar think about it?” he asks.

“He said from what you’ve told him about your parents, it seems like a healthy bond, and it would be good for you to reconnect.”

“And this is what you want?”

Something about his question sends a chill down my back. He’s only known the kind of insecure creep who needed to cut him off from every other person in his life. “This isn’t about what I want, Dane—not for my own sake. It’s about you being happy and whole again. Of course I want that for you.”

He stops walking and shoves both fists into his coat pockets. “What if they ask questions? What will I say about us?”

“Whatever you want. Whatever you feel safe sharing. It’s not up to me to dictate what you share with your parents about us.”

“Not even as my Master?”

“Sorry, Dane. That’s outside my purview. You’re going to have to own this one yourself. If you want my advice or my support, you’ve got it one hundred percent, but in the end, you’re responsible for your own relationships. Sure, I won’t hesitate to interfere if something encroaches on our relationship or if I feel that you’re at risk. That’s why I was so insistent about your seeing Eleazar—and why I talked to Sean.”

“I’m sorry, I just never expected to be encouraged to make other friends and now this . . .”

I smile, relaying as much warmth as I can. “Expect the unexpected, Dane.”

“I’m learning,” he answers, returning my smile.

The distance is too much. I step in and place my hands on his arms. “It’s all good. You’re the fastest learner I have ever seen.”

That’s enough of the heavy stuff for today. I need to do more thinking and strategizing with Aro before I’m ready to present anything to Dane about Waynehole. The important thing is that Dane and I are on the right track together, and I don’t need to fear my instincts or my emotions.

The last few blocks fly by, and before I realize we’ve arrived at the Central Park Zoo, Dane is pulling me inside the penguin house. He tugs me over to the window, jockeying for space next to a sign that reads: Please do not tease us. I place my mouth near the soft curve of Dane’s ear and say, “The kinky penguins must all be tied down in the back.”

“Are you even seeing how adorable these little guys are?”
“I’m seeing how adorable you are when I tease you.”

Dane shrugs. “As long as you’re having a good time.”

I want to lick this boy from head to toe, or actually, from head to head. And I’m hard at the penguin house. Well done, Marcus.

Snow monkeys and red pandas and sea lions round out our visit, each animal managing somehow to arouse my interest in a new and torturous way. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s Dane, at every turn. His heartfail for the cuddly, his giggles for the goofy, even his fear of the boas—which causes him to use me as a human shield just so he can view them through the triple-paned glass—every bit of it makes me fall a little bit deeper. It’s probably a good thing we run out of animals to watch and hold and feed.

“Speaking of feeding time at the zoo . . .”

“Yes, Dane. I’m starved.”

I did that. Hey, why shouldn't I get to be Marcus's little sister? And did you see Jayme and Meredith in there? I got "Jeannie" earlier, so the only Team Marcus player left to immortalize is Chaya. Be vewwy, vewwy careful, Chaya! Randy is the little brother I lost five years ago, so he got a spot as well. I feel a little guilty about killing off Marcus's parents (mine are blessedly alive and well).

You might want to check out this video of the penguins at the Central Park Zoo. Damn, they are cute! Not as cute as the Dane cuddle doll, but cute. The sign I included is posted in the Melbourne Aquarium in the penguin exhibit. I knew it would come in handy sooner or later! ;)


  1. You put yourself in there! Awesome.

    More adorableness. When they hold hands you make me feel a "clunk" and that the connection physically moves up to their hearts. Well done. After showing how much M wants for D to have more connections, specifically with family, it's wonderful to see his own.

    They just keep turning the tables on each other. Egg me on while I talk to my sister? Here, you talk to her. So playful. And a wonderful segue into Marcus Family and getting Dane to think about his. And for Dane to see what his choices are.

    These two are so charming and dear and then you go add penguins. I want a day at the zoo!!

    1. Yes, I did! CLUNK! Awesome! So happy you enjoyed their table turning. Using family members as revenge! It's the only way to go!

  2. Oh my goodness, Marcus' birthday just keeps getting better. Three cheers for you and your family making an appearance in this chapter and a moments thought for Randy.

    I wasn't sure how Marcus was going to exit the therapists office but I didn't imagine him so happy and vital and seeing him in my mind wanting to jump through the air is a great visual.

    I see Marcus at the zoo watching Dane's reactions to the animals rather than the animals themselves and all the while falling more in love, are the words coming soon Born? Maybe on this birth day? (I know you won't answer that, obviously, and that is fine as I love the suspense!!)

    And finally, Dane's little tease about Marcus loving his surprise for the evening ahead, I love it and I can't wait.

    Thank you Born


    1. Thanks for your cheers and moment of silence! I totally see Marcus making that flying leap into Dane's arms. GAH! I LOVE that you got that visual. That's exactly the way I picture Marcus as well. Penguins? What penguins!
      YES, obviously I will NOT answer your spoiler questions, but thank you for asking! xoxo

  3. you camouflage this deep and lovely chapter very well in cuteness and light. It's ALL good. I love your reference to the baby in the pumpkin. I know you were literally your facebook namesake and born on Halloween. It was my ex-husband's favorite holiday and the day he left this world in 2006, just 3 weeks before he turned 60. Now I have 2 reasons to celebrate Halloween. Back to the chapter....I continually am struck by how deep and real you get here with this "story". I swear it feels like a biography and love what it does to my nerve endings every time! Can't wait to see what dane has in store for, his upcoming birthday surprise for, his man Marcus! I also love his cheeky side that emerges more and more as his love for, and confidence in, his Master grows. Love that Marcus is all twitterpated by his newly recognized and named feelings for his lovely dane. LOVE!! is what I have for you and this story!

    1. Don't worry, sweet Judy Blue. I didn't take it that way about your ex!

      I really appreciate your comment about getting deep and real. Thank you so much for that.

  4. oops I didn't mean to say that I celebrated Halloween because my only husband died on that day. It's a day of remembering how much I loved him even though we weren't together for over 40 years when he died. In the end our relationship was cordial and even loving.

  5. Bruahahahhahaaha:

    My sister’s contact picture—a chubby baby whose parents thought it was a good idea to stuff her into a carved-out pumpkin shell and post her picture online

    You don't say! *wink*

    This would send chills down my back too:

    “And this is what you want?”

    Something about his question sends a chill down my back.

    Love "waynehole." No I didn't capitalize it. The man is not worthy of capitalization. *nods*

    Dane and Marcus continue in covering some ground beneficial to both of them and their relationship. So proud of them. I like seeing them happy little campers even if they do feel uncomfortable sometimes. At least they are communicating. I like that.

    1. Yeah, I think it was the idea that Dane might just do something just for Marcus, or that he thinks Marcus might actually demand something like that for his own sake. It's kind of sickening. They do still get awkward, but it's always real.

  6. My heart flipped for joy when Marcus came barreling out of Eleazar's office to tackle Dane!!! I thought he was going to express his love right then and there...

    You don't even know how much I look forward to Marcus and Dane in my inbox.

    1. Awww, thanks for this beautiful review.
      I really appreciate knowing that.

  7. yay to you and the girls being in there my lil punkin' :) I loved how urgent Marcus' need was to get to Dane when he walked out of Eleazars office. Poor Dane freaked when Marcus asked him to talk to his family, but it all turned out well in the end. He's such a sweetie. When Marcus told Dane of his parents loss, thus leading to the subject of Dane perhaps getting in touch with his own - made me feel so sad for them both. Life really is short, and if you can have your parents there with you for the ride all the richer it will be. As Marcus says of himself - expect the unexpected. Dane will need to get used to positive things happening in his life from now on. :)

    1. Heehee, it was a little indulgence but why the hell not, right?

      You are so right. Dane is gonna need to buck up and accept that GOOD things happen! MWAH, Lisa.

  8. You big tease… I actually thought Marcus was going to confess his feelings for Dane at the beginning of the chapter. He was so buoyant and off-kilter, it is lovely to see him like this, though it threw Dane off a bit. It is great to see Dane so openly talk about his session, specially telling Marcus that he trust him and that he makes him happy. Love the phone call and how you wrote yourself and your friends in the story, and you are absolutely right, Marcus deserves a nice family. Marcus openness and generosity in including Dane in his phone call, paved the way for bringing up Dane's family. It is great to see that slowly but surely Dan is coming back to life, regaining so many things and people he had lost along the way. I couldn't stop imagining Dane enjoying the visit to the zoo so much and Marcus loving every minute of Dane's joy and exuberance. Dane keeps getting cuter and sweeter, I think you should go ahead with the prototype for the cuddle doll (preferably life size) and be ready for the record breaking orders. I'm looking forward to the rest of Marcus Birthday. Now I'm going to go organize some cookies for my coworkers for tomorrow since it's Teacher's Day. (It actually falls on the 15th in here, but we get the day off.)
    Thank you for creating these amazing characters, for writing and sharing their story, and also for taking the time to reply to all the reviews.

    1. I love that you noted that Dane gets thrown when Marcus is off-kilter. That has happened over and over in the story, from less dramatic to more dramatic moments (such as when Marcus is carrying Dane from the bath tub to the bed and kind of loses his footing). Ever see your mother cry? It's terrifying! Every time Marcus truly needs an inroad to Dane, he uses his own vulnerability as the open door. I love how you commented about Marcus loving Dane's exuberance and joy. That's perfect.

  9. Oh these lovely, in love (even if they haven't said it yet) boys!

    I love how Marcus came barreling out to greet Dane after meeting with Eleazar. You described his tension with such urgency that I could feel it coursing through my own veins!

    I also love how openly Dane was able to discuss his session with Marcus. He explained that he told Eleazar that he really trusts Marcus, but we're also SEEing it first hand in how much he chooses to share with Marcus.

    I enjoyed seeing Dane's reaction talking to Kaye. He was reluctant, but what was she gonna do to him over the phone?!?! In contrast, Marcus could certainly get back at Dane if D refused to speak to his sister *wink wink*

    I can't imagine many things better than starting off your birthday's festivities strolling through the zoo arm in arm with your sweetie! Can't wait to see where Dane takes the day from here!

    1. Nope they haven't quite said it, have they, Digi?
      I agree, Dane's openness with Marcus was huge. Therapy is really really tough and personal and for him to be so open about everything is pretty darn incredible. Dane just splays himself open for Marcus in every way.

  10. awww, I love that you are in there. Just one more sign of how much you love this story as much as we do. Those two are so damn cute together. Bet people seeing them in their undisguised passion makes their hearts beat a little faster. Zoo has got to be fun, I haven't been in a long time but will be soon. Cannot wait. xoxo

    1. Sigh...I do, Vicki. I know it's weird as heck, but I want to meet these two! You'll have to report back on your trip to the zoo!

  11. I'm sorry about your brother. I lost mine five years ago next month. Here's to remembering brothers.

  12. Ahhhhh!!! I love the cheeky banter. I adore how much happier they both are at this point. Opening up, talking, and having fun.
    I was a giggling mess at you and the girls. Tooo cute.
    Expect the unexpected, Dane. :) I love that. The way Marcus showed Dane that he wants him to be happy and healthy by encouraging Dane to reconnect with his family makes me all giddy. Even though you can see Dane is unsure about how to handle it, with Marcus by his side guiding him, it can only be amazing reconnection.
    I can't wait for his surprise!!!!

    1. Heehee, glad you enjoyed my little injection of personal connections.

      YES, I love the imagery of Marcus by Dane's side, guiding and encouraging him always to reach for the most and the best in himself. Glad you like it too!

  13. I made it! Happy Birthday Uncle Marcus!!!! You are too cute - even when you are stuffed into a pumpkun. I loved how you put us in there - and with your little bro too!

    Marcus barreling out of that office and devouring Dane. Oh Mylanta that gave me all the feels. He is also doing a fine job encouraging Dane to make amends with the rents on his own terms. Marcus really is quite good @ this!

    1. Well, FINALLY! LOL

      Oh YOURlanta? How about mine? I wanted to jump out of my (Marcus's) skin right there! Shows how much self-control he has! Marcus must've had a lot of therapy or something. *wink*

  14. I have a vid of those penguins. They are a bunch of adorable little fuckers. Oh and the sign? How appropriate for Dane and Master. Hahahha

    Love the little inclusion of Marcus' family and Dane was too adorable clamping up and being all shy to talk to you... errr, Kaye. Its super cool that you had characters named aftee your readers/team too. That's always a nice warm surprise.

    I like the little talk they had about the meeting with Eleazar. And that Marcus brought up the topic about Dane reconnecting with his fam. I understand Dane gas some concerns regarding his family's judgement of his relationship with Marcus. As I expressed in the last review, I somehow worry too, what they'll be weary of Marc bc of Dane's past troubling, hurtful experience with Wayne. But i especially liked that Marcus made sure Dane knew that the ball is in his court with this one. That they'll move on his timing and speed. As they should bc family is something that everyone needs and I appreciate Marc being there for him 100% and will step in if need be, but it's not move to make or its not about what he wants this time. This particular instant belongs all to him. Marcus will be there to ground and guide him every step of the way, but the true moving and steering has to be done by Dane. Marcus giving him the reins here shows his level of trust in the boy's judge as well as also offers him a bit of personal independence.

    Ouch about Marc's parents. Incredibly sorry for his loss. :(

    So far so good for Master's birthday. What else could Daney boy have up his sleeve?

    1. Thank you for your support where Marcus and Dane kind of separate out Master's areas of responsibility vs Dane's in his personal life. I put a lot of thought into that whole dilemma, as it was fairly central to the story and their dynamic going forward. :) Glad you're enjoying and invested, Packy. Thanks for your wonderful reviews!