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Friday, July 15, 2016

Roar Blog Tour and Author Interview

@kallypsomasters #blogtour #ROAR

ROAR, by Kallypso MastersHaunted by a tragic accident that yanked his beloved wife from his side, Kristoffer Roar Larson has been going through the motions in life. But when he meets the dedicated surgeon and humanitarian, Pamela Jeffrey, he feels an undeniable connection to her, stirring feelings he’d buried long ago. After encountering her in a compromising position on a tour of a BDSM academy, he realizes there's more to her than meets the eye. Fascinated by her assertive alpha personality coupled with her desire to submit and serve, Pamela intrigues him. 

As Pamela shines light once more into the dark corners of his life, Kristoffer finds himself struggling between remaining in his safe and lonely world or emotionally opening himself up to a vibrant woman, who asks for nothing more than he’s able to give. Guiding her in mind-training exercises to prepare her for some future Dom, Kristoffer finds his body awakening as well. Will Kristoffer be able to close the door to his past and open his heart to the ginger-haired sprite who makes him question everything he once believed?

ROAR is a standalone, although some familiar secondary characters from the Rescue Me Saga (particularly Gunnar Larson, Kristoffer’s cousin, and Mistress Grant) will make some delightful cameo appearances.

 
Interview


La Crimson Femme: What inspired you to go this new direction?

Kallypso Masters: ROAR isn’t a totally new direction. In fact, in some ways, it’s vintage Kallypso Masters with BDSM for fun and not healing (much like in NOBODY’S HERO). There are a number of erotic BDSM and sexual scenes, but my trademark is the slow build-up so those looking for erotica might be bored until the end. I focus more on the Romance, but when I write hot scenes, they’re erotic.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

My niche audience wants a deep, emotional STORY along with the kink and sex—and, oh, my, what a story ROAR tells. The hero’s wife has been left in a persistent vegetative state following an accident four years earlier that he feels responsible for, and he has no intentions of looking for love again. In his mind, he’s still married, even if his wife is unable to participate in the marriage (which for some would negate his vows). He’s extremely honorable and loyal. Then along comes Pamela Jeffrey, a surgeon he met briefly in a meeting only to find her standing naked in a BDSM academy’s anatomy class.

He still isn’t interested in starting an intimate relationship, but they begin to work together on a humanitarian-aid project and his innate Dom is drawn to her and some issues she wants to work on. Of course, BDSM doesn’t equate with sex, so he has no problem offering his help. What begins as friendship then becomes a limited Top/bottom dynamic, but the two are fighting a strong attraction. How they carve out their unique happily ever after will have readers on pins and needles. Just don’t expect them to go from point A to point B to point C, though, without lots of twists, turns, and surprises. With my books, it’s the journey as much as the destination—probably even more so.
Another factor that made the telling of this story challenging is that I did a crossover with my friend and fellow author Red Phoenix. In 2014, she told me she was setting one of her serials in her third novel in Denver and asked if she could mention Adam Montague (the head of my “family” in the Rescue Me Saga) in it. Sure! Then I suggested we come up with a scenario in which characters from my world would be placed inside Master Anderson’s The Denver Academy. I chose two characters who were either extremely minor (Pamela) or nonexistent (Kristoffer) in my Saga. So more than a year before ROAR came out, I needed to flesh out this scene, not knowing the characters at all, as it turned out. I thought I’d write a sexy romp with them—until Kristoffer killed that notion by revealing Tori’s condition to me in chapter three. (I thought for sure she was already dead before the story began!)

So, I had to try and stay within the spirit of that scene without negating what had been revealed in Red’s book (the serial published in June 2015 and subsequent full-length novel in September of that year), even though my characters had done a 180 and my book would be totally different from what I’d originally imagined. Somehow, though, it all turned out and I know that my readers have enjoyed the crossover in Red’s Brie series and having her characters part of the beginning of ROAR.

La Crimson Femme: What IS different about ROAR?

Kallypso Masters: Aside from the unique happily ever after ending, this is my first story with an alpha submissive who is as strong and independent as her Dominant. It’s a tricky dynamic to even define because in the lifestyle there are extremely differing opinions. But I define it as it pertains to these two and I know readers are enjoying her quiet, but insistent ways of steering Kristoffer in the right direction. NOT in a BDSM scene—because he does tend to call her on her tendencies to manipulate scenes by topping from the bottom—but in life and their relationship. I can see another alpha on the horizon with Gunnar Larson’s woman, Heidi. (Gunnar, Kristoffer’s cousin and a familiar secondary character who has minor roles in the Rescue Me Saga, shows up in ROAR, but Heidi is only mentioned. They will get their book in a romantic suspense trilogy I plan to write later on.)

La Crimson Femme: What direction are you interested in that you are hesitant to try and why?

Kallypso Masters: There are plenty of directions that I have NO interest in, but I think with ROAR I’ve discovered that anything my characters want, I’d better become interested in. I didn’t set out to tell the story this way and when first confronted with the scene a bit into the story where Tori’s condition is revealed. I probably screamed NOOOOOO as loudly as my readers are doing now.
But my characters come to me adamant about that their stories be told their way. While they don’t arrive with the full story, usually their presenting circumstances won’t change—only how I deal with them. They rarely know how to find their relationship and issues, either, so it’s up to me (sometimes with lots of brainstorming with subject experts and editors) to sort things out and take them to their happily ever after ending. 

Among the many genres I don’t think I’d ever be interested in writing would be paranormal, horror, mystery (although ROAR sets up an interesting trilogy that will be heavier in suspense than anything I’ve done before and still have strong romance plots in each of the books). But I’ve learned to never say never because as soon as I do, some character will show up demanding that I tell his or her story THEIR way.

La Crimson Femme: Favourite relaxation technique?

Kallypso Masters: I plug into the web site Brain.FM using my iPad and Bose noise-canceling headphones every night or when taking a nap and set it for 8-hour sleep mode (regardless of how long I actually intend to sleep) and it calms me and my busy mind immediately. If I’m trying to relax without falling asleep, taking a walk or having a glass of wine helps. I’m not much on watching television, but if I do, it’s a DVR’d show I can skip through the commercials on.

La Crimson Femme: When you are stuck in a scene, what do you do to get you unstuck?

Kallypso Masters: I’ve learned that when I’m stuck in one scene, it usually means I’ve gone in the wrong direction and that the characters have left me. I can try jumping to another scene, because I don’t write linearly, and deal with the troublesome scene later (after I figure out the errors of my ways). Or I can do one of three things to try and get the characters back—take a walk, take a nap, take a shower. If none of those activities work, then I resort to journaling over a few days. I really should journal every day, but have gotten out of the habit. However, it’s a great way to tap into my subconscious (or the heads of my problem character(s) at the moment) and to sort things out.
With ROAR, I came to a screeching halt last September and after some brainstorming, realized I’d become paralyzed with worry about how my readers would accept a story so different from anything else in the Romance genre. After some brainstorming and finding a way to a happy ending that I thought would work, I did a rewrite, and then got some brutally honest feedback from an editor and her Dom who let me know my heroine was weak and unlikable. So, more brainstorming and FINALLY I nailed Pamela’s character. A few days later, I started the final iteration of ROAR, and it flowed like crazy. Many of the scenes I’d written before still worked, but with changes in perspectives and details (or sometimes implements/toys used). This time, unlike the first two, the words just poured onto the screen. Within three months, I had written, edited, polished, and published my second longest novel. Judging by readers into my style of storytelling, it’s one of my best (if not THE best) books I’ve written. Of course, I’m the type of writer who won’t put a book out until I am 100 percent happy with it. I knew I’d nailed it this last time and was happy to share it with readers. Because I don’t write short books, they’re an investment in time and money and I don’t want my readers to waste either.

As a writer, it’s really important to trust your intuition and I lost sight of that twice with this project. I wasn’t happy with Pamela’s original characterization either, but  felt hemmed in by what readers knew about her when they first met her in chapter eighteen of SOMEBODY’S ANGEL. Clearly, she was searching for something (and thought she wanted one thing but that was totally wrong for her) and was with someone (Marc D’Alessio) who was equally lost, so neither of them had it right.

La Crimson Femme: Sex toys… what have you seen that makes you go – hell no!

Kallypso Masters: Clover clamps. I love nipple clamps (tweezer, clothespin, etc.) and like a little tit torture as much as the next woman, but from everything I’ve heard about those clover clamps from submissives who have tried them, they are vile and might cause a submissive to want to rip the face off her/his Dom. Extreme pain isn’t my thing, so I will avoid them, thank you very much. But I’m sure I’ll be using them in a fictional scene someday.

La Crimson Femme: Thanks for stopping by and answering my questions.


Excerpt

“You’re doing very well, Sprite. I am proud to be your Top tonight.” He reached up and stroked her cheek. She smiled.

Someone in sleek black leather pants delivered their drinks. When she spoke, Pamela recognized her as none other than Mistress Grant. She’d served as the bartender many times when Pamela had played here before and must still enjoy that duty even with her current status. Pamela had met her again once at the Forseti Group. The woman had the ability to do anything and everything at once, apparently.

“What a pretty lap decoration.”

Don’t respond. Don’t react. She wasn’t even supposed to thank her for the drinks. She wasn’t sure she could speak without revealing how insulting she found the label.

“May I touch?” she asked Roar. He must have nodded because Mistress Grant began to stroke Pamela’s hair as if she were a dog. While the two women had been equals in Gunnar’s boardroom last month, the Domme clearly wanted to put Pamela in her place.

She chuckled as if aware of the effect she had on Pamela. “Roar, I’ve prepared the room you requested for you and Sprite to play in tonight. No hurry, though. You have the room for the entire evening.”

Roar stroked her back. “Excellent. Thank you. She just began training with me a couple of days ago, but we were in need of something special for tonight’s lesson.”

The two of them spoke a bit about plans for Gunnar’s upcoming mission, and despite Pamela’s best efforts to stay focused, other conversations around her filtered into her mind. She tried to see if she heard any voices she recognized, but none sounded familiar. People came and went all the time in clubs like these.

A pinch to her thigh brought her back to the moment. “Mind telling me what you’re thinking about, Sprite?”

She worried her lower lip, but knew she would have to respond. Maybe she could also find out some information. “I was wondering if anyone I know is here tonight.”

“What difference would it make? You’re supposed to be focused on me.”

“Oh, and I am, Sir.” Liar. “It’s just that you haven’t given me anything to do yet.”

He chuckled. “Why do I get the feeling I’m going to be working with a brat?” She batted her eyes innocently, and he shook his head. “Finish your water. I want you to stay hydrated tonight.”

She picked up the glass and chugged it, anxious to start. Well, continue. They’d started back in her apartment tonight.

“Thank you again, Mistress Grant.” Roar indicated for Pamela to stand, and she did.

He took her forearm and directed her toward the hallway that led to the eight private play rooms.

Don’t anticipate.

Don’t analyze.

Stay in the moment.

She kept up the mantra all the way down the hallway until he stopped at the second door on the right. She’d never been inside this room before.

He knocked, which seemed odd. Hadn’t Mistress Grant just told him the room was available and reserved for them for the night?

She didn’t hear any sound from inside before Roar reached for the knob and opened the door. The scent of candles or incense—an exotic mixture of scents that included patchouli and possibly jasmine—greeted them, but the room was empty of other people’s feet as best she could tell.

Trying to peek at the room without lifting her head enough to be noticed by him, she was able to make out a round tent of heavy maroon and gold curtains at the opposite end of the room. The flaps to the entrance were open enough to see mounds of enormous pillows inside. The room was decorated with faux gold-leaf ornamentation against sky-blue walls and ceiling. The floor looked like marble, but had to be fake.

Lifting his hand to point toward the corner, Roar commanded, “Go behind the privacy panels and choose whatever costume you’d like to wear for me tonight. No need to remove your panties, but lose the bra and tank.”

How’d he know she also wore a tank? Observant man. Before heading off to the dressing area, she wanted to ask if he had a favorite color but hadn’t been given permission to speak and wasn’t supposed to concern herself with his pleasure tonight, so she’d have to do her best in choosing. Behind the panel, she found an array of harem pants and bra tops with beading and sequins. Lots of scarves in every hue lined what looked like a tie rack.

Shucking off her mules, she felt the cold floor beneath her. Wow! Maybe it was real marble. Regaining her focus, she removed her turtleneck, tank tee, bra, and jeans, before trying on several pairs of harem pants until finding the best-fitting pair. The decision on what color he might prefer was answered for her—the ones that fit. Green. A peaceful color that complemented her eyes. She hoped he liked it. The matching bra was a little tight in the cup area, but that probably was intentional because most Doms would want cleavage. She’d never dressed in such a revealing manner before with Kri—Roar.

Good thing her panties were skin-toned. Otherwise, it might have shown through the sheer material of the pantaloons. She saw a vanity at the far end of the dressing area and started toward it to apply some color to her eyelids, but he hadn’t asked her to do anything but put on a costume. Unsure if harem makeup was part of her costume, she stood indecisively for a moment.

Don’t anticipate what he wants. Just follow his exact instructions.

He clapped three times, summoning her to his side. Giving the bra one more tug upward to cover as much of her breasts as possible, she grabbed several green scarves to tuck into the bra and hide her bare middle. She’d been doing sit-ups and walking more, but had gone a little flabby since she’d returned to the States.

For good measure, she grabbed one more and used the hairpins available to secure it over her nose and lower face leaving only her eyes showing. No time to check the mirror to see if she’d achieved her goal of being alluring. She scurried barefoot out from the dressing area to see that Roar was lounging on the pillows inside the tent, the flaps drawn back even more, and resting on hooks near the entrance.

He’d dressed as a sultan in gold lamé robes, but without a sultan’s turban. His hair had been loosened from its usual leather thong. He motioned her to join him on the bed.

“Crawl to me, like a proper harem girl.”

She’d only gone a short way on the marble floor before realizing the veil was in the way so she quickly tucked the end into her cleavage at the top of the bra. Thankfully, he hadn’t given her the instruction to crawl until she was only six feet away from the cushions, because her knees ached in a very short time from crawling across the cold, marble floor. The pillows in front of her appeared to be plush and comfortable, and she made her way toward them.

“Eyes on me. Seduce me as you come to me. Pay attention to nothing else.”

She lifted her head, her emerald eyes indicating she smiled as she closed the distance between them. The veil now hid her most obvious charms from him, so she wasn’t quite sure if she was succeeding in seducing him. She moved like a cat on the prowl, slow yet purposeful. 

Before she reached the entrance, he ordered, “Position number three.”

She nibbled the inside of her lower lip as she knelt, straightening her back and tucking in her butt as he’d shown her the other night. She hoped there’d be no more kneeling on rice, especially on this hard floor. In his apartment, the hard grains had been scattered on a towel on top of carpeting.

She placed her open hands in a box hold as she lowered her head once more and waited for him to inspect her pose. Rising to a kneeling position, he moved toward her. The first thing he did was to remove the veil from her face and cleavage. The scarves she’d hoped would hide any sagging parts were cast aside next.

“Better.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“Did I give you permission to speak?”

But she’d only thanked him! What was wrong with that?

Oh! She’d better adhere to the letter of the command from now on. “No, Sir. Your harem girl apologizes for her lapse in obedience.”

“Your apology is sweet, but a transgression nonetheless. You’ll pay for them all later tonight as part of your training.”

Oh, dear. That didn’t sound good! He sounded as though he expected her to fail at a number of things. She’d show him!

“We are going to work more on mindfulness and keeping you in the moment. You are not to think about, say, or do anything unless I tell you to do so. Your only duty tonight is to please me with your obedience and your attention. Is that understood?”

She nodded.

“When I ask a direct question, you’re to answer with words.”

“Sorry, Sir. Yes, I understand.” Had she just added to her punishment?

Focus. She didn’t want to have any further slip-ups tonight.

“Crawl closer to me.” She moved onto the round mattress and progressed forward until a leather-tipped riding crop and a bowl of stemmed grapes and hulled strawberries filled her view. He told her to stop mere inches away from him.

“With your mouth, pick up the crop and present it to me.” She opened her mouth and caught the leather between her teeth, lifting her head and turning it in his direction as she maneuvered over the bowl, hoping not to spill anything. “Very good,” he said as he took the crop from her. He stroked the leather tip down her back, causing goose bumps to rise.

He hadn’t instructed her to change position, so she remained on all fours, face lowered.

Her stomach growled. What the heck? She’d eaten both lunch and dinner today. But Roar didn’t offer her any fruit. Instead, he continued to stroke her with the crop. She wondered when he would use it on her—and where. Her breasts? Her butt?

He laid the crop sideways at waist level on her back and stretched out on his side with his elbow on the pillows, propping his head in his hand to admire his handiwork, she supposed.

“Turn your head toward me.” She’d gotten a bit of a crick in her neck from straining in this unnatural position, so she moved slowly to allow the muscles to cooperate.

“Feed me. No hands. And do not let that crop fall off your back.”

How was she supposed to achieve any movement without that end result? Pamela glanced at the bowl of fruit and quickly realized that meant using her lips and teeth only. Bending to retrieve a plump strawberry between her teeth, she crawled toward him. Balancing the crop seemed impossible, and she groaned when she felt it slipping toward the waistband of her harem pants, but it stopped there. She breathed a sigh of relief.

Moving even more cautiously, she lowered her head to his. He smiled before opening his lips and accepting the plump berry.

“Now, one for you, Sprite. Didn’t you eat dinner?”

“I did, Sir. I think the fruit looks delicious, though.” She wanted to refuse for fear any more movement would send the crop tumbling, but refusal to obey wasn’t an option. She crawled backward the short distance until she could choose another strawberry and chewed slowly, savoring its sweetness. He must have found a source for berries from the valley. Delicious.

“Continue to feed us both alternately until the bowl is empty.”

Why had he chosen such an enormous bowl? She dipped her head again and moved forward, wishing she could just move the bowl closer. But he most likely had placed it there for a reason. She safely delivered a grape into his mouth and returned gingerly to the bowl, cursing him for placing it so far away.

“What was that thought?”

Drat! “I wondered if this might be easier if we moved the bowl closer to you so that I might feed you more efficiently, Roar.” Normally, efficiency was important to the man, at least in business dealings.

His laughter made the mattress shake beneath her, and she worried that movement alone might topple the crop. “Nice try, my sweet girl. Remember—I’m the Top in this scene.”

One of the things she’d fought against in medical school and after was being deemed childish and therefore lesser than, but she knew in the presence of a Dom, it often was just another way of establishing authority over the submissive.

He grinned. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you had a few choice words for your sultan as well, given the look on your face.”

She needed to school her features better. The man seemed an expert at reading expressions. Maybe he read minds, too. Of course, she’d left off the part about swearing at him, not that he hadn’t guessed anyway.

“I’m adding two more lashes to your punishment for taking so long to resume your duties just now.”

Pamela wondered how many total there would be by the time they finished. How many would be added if she dropped the blasted crop? But she quickly went back to work, alternating between feeding first him and then herself while keeping the crop balanced on her lower back. She fed him the last strawberry and then bent her head to await further instructions. He reached out to stroke the top of her head.

“Thank you, Sprite. You did well.”

She smiled. One thing was certain; she’d remained focused almost the entire time on the tasks she’d been given. When he said nothing else but only continued to stroke her head, she wondered what would be next. She dared not move, though, for fear of losing the crop.

She’d never acted out the harem-girl fantasy with anyone before, but enjoyed it, wondering how he’d guessed at her love of Jeannie.

Roar thumped her on the head with his finger, bringing her back to the present. She wasn’t paying attention, but what was she supposed to be thinking about? He hadn’t really given her any new instructions.

“Your only duty tonight is to please me with your obedience and attention.”

Why was it so difficult for her to empty her mind of everything but what he’d instructed her to do? She’d have to try harder.

Once again the minutes stretched out without any additional instructions from him. Whenever her mind started to wander, she reined it in—and waited. Voices from the hallway drifted in, momentarily distracting her.

Another thump on her head told her she’d been busted again. How did he catch her so quickly? What tells were giving her away? She felt the crop slipping and straightened her back again, curving her spine until she’d managed to right it to a balanced position again. That was close. She didn’t want to think what punishment she’d receive if the crop fell off.

His hand fell to the pillows beside her. He remained silent, and she wondered when he was going to give her another command. Merely being here on all fours with a crop balanced on her back didn’t seem like it would provide him with much pleasure.

A soft snore broke the silence. Sleeping? He’d fallen asleep? Seriously? She might be here all night if he didn’t awaken soon. No, someone would clear the rooms at some point. She ventured a glance at him and saw his features had softened, almost to that of an innocent boy. The man had to be exhausted from all the responsibilities he shouldered with Tori’s care and Gunnar’s financial empire. Why he’d taken her on as well was beyond her. She shouldn’t have agreed to let him do this.

As another ten or fifteen minutes dragged on, her mind wandered several times to a conversation in the hallway.

Oh, no! The crop slipped off without warning, landing on Roar’s thigh. She waited for him to awaken and chastise her for not keeping her mind focused on such a simple task, but he didn’t move. Surely he’d felt it. Would he know if she picked up the crop and placed it on her back again? Probably. Even if he wouldn’t, she didn’t want to disobey him. There would be consequences when he awoke, but she’d prefer to suffer those than to add a punishment for willfully doing something without permission.

“Quite a predicament.”

She startled when he spoke. His eyes were still closed, but his lips held a hint of a smile. Had he been sleeping at any point, or had he only wanted her to think he was asleep and no longer attentive? Thankfully, she had used good judgment.

At last, he opened his eyes and caught her staring at him. She quickly remembered her place and lowered her head and gaze to her hands. He picked up the crop and placed the end under her chin, forcing her to meet his gaze.

“Now we need to carry out your discipline for the many times you failed to keep your mind focused on me tonight.”

She said nothing, as if anything she said would make a difference. She wondered what type of corrective measures he had in mind. The crop? Probably not. He knew how much she liked spankings of all types. His disciplinary action would be something she didn’t care for, no doubt, or it would be funishment, instead.

“Still trying to figure out what happens next, Sprite?”

Damn it. She’d done it again—and so soon!

“I’m sorry, Sir. I can’t seem to turn off my brain.”

“Pray tell, what were you thinking just now?”

“I was wondering what implement you would use to punish me, Sir.”

“Is that any of your concern? Do you expect to affect the outcome by dwelling on such matters? Why worry unnecessarily about something that might not happen at all?”

“No and no, Sir. And, yes, it is a waste of my time to worry and takes me away from paying full attention to you.”

“Exactly. I will say you performed better than I expected you to do when you had actions to perform. I’m pleased you’ve only racked up the six for dropping the crop plus another six for inattentiveness and letting your mind wander several times.”

His words of praise were lost momentarily as she continued worrying about what he would use to deliver those dozen strokes, but she pulled her errant thoughts back, cleared her mind, and waited.

Roar rose from his reclining position to his knees and crawled off the pillows to stand outside the harem tent’s entrance. She waited some more. After a moment, he said, “Crawl out, Sprite.” When she reached the edge, before she placed her hand onto the marble flooring, he reached for her arm. “Stand.” He helped her to her feet, making sure she was steady before releasing her.

 “Follow me.” He turned toward the corner, and she followed until he stopped. “Tell me why you’re being disciplined.”

“For my inability to maintain my focus on you and for allowing the crop to fall from where you had asked me to hold it for you.”

He nodded and reached into his robes to pull something out. Placing a quarter on the wall, she knew her punishment immediately. He commanded that she press her nose against the coin and keep it from slipping away from her.

Why couldn’t he just paddle her with a crop or spank her with his hand?

You are not to question his actions.

The coin was placed slightly higher than where her nose would be with her feet flat on the ground, so she stood on tiptoe.

“Twelve minutes. You will remain attentive to the position of the coin. If it falls, you’ll begin again until you complete a stint of twelve consecutive ones.”

Nothing was going to distract her from this assignment. Only a dozen. I’ve got this! The coin was warm from where it had been against his skin, she supposed. After some unknown amount of time, Pamela began sweating and worried that the coin would slip, so she pressed it even harder.

Focus.

Roar would let her know when the punishment had been completed to his satisfaction. He said nothing, but she was certain he stood directly behind her.

Don’t think about him or anything but the quarter!

A hitch in her shoulder made her twitch, and the coin clanged to the floor. Damn it!

“Five and a half.”

That’s all?

“Straighten up.” Pamela corrected her posture, and he worked the kinks out of her shoulders with strong, sure hands. He gave an excellent shoulder rub. She cringed when, all too soon, he placed the coin against the wall again and indicated for her to move forward again and hold her nose there.

“Let’s make it to a full count this time.”

Focusing her mind on one simple task was more difficult than she thought. Determined not to fail him again, she gave it her best. Nothing existed in the world right now but her nose and this coin.

Before she knew it, Roar spoke. “Time.”

A sense of elation soared through her, but she hadn’t been instructed to pull away yet. He chuckled. “Very good, Sprite.” He stood behind her, his body warm against her chilled backside, and held her face between his hands as he pulled her away from the wall, letting the quarter drop to the floor unheeded.

“You did well that second time. I’m proud of you.” When he lowered his hands, she wished he’d touch her again, but knew tonight had been far beyond his comfort zone. “Let’s get dressed, and we’ll go out to the great room for a while to discuss tonight’s exercises.”

With a mixture of satisfaction borne of pleasing him and pride in having maintained her focus better tonight than she had in the past with him, she returned to the dressing area and tossed the costume into the bin marked laundry. After changing into the clothes and shoes she’d worn here tonight, she followed Roar to the great room where music poured from speakers near the stage. She kept her gaze on the floor once more as he held out a chair for her. She’d hoped to be his lap decoration again, because he never made her feel humiliation. But, instead, she felt him pull away.  

“Would you care for something more than water now?”

“Yes, Sir. A Wallbanger, please.”

He laughed and walked over to the bar to retrieve their drinks. She listened to the music and conversations flowing around her. Roar hadn’t told her what to do other than wait for him, but she assumed she was not to make eye contact with anyone.

He returned with their drinks. “What are your thoughts about tonight’s scene, Sprite? You can look at me when you speak.”

She met his gaze and smiled. “My mind did wander some, but not as badly as it usually does. Being in the private room with fewer distractions helped, I think. And you didn’t allow me to go too long without bringing me back to the moment. I’m surprised at how quickly you pick up on the fact that my mind is drifting.”

He smiled, but didn’t reveal his secrets. “Was there anything that made you uncomfortable?”

“When I thought you’d fallen asleep and that I might be there until the club closed.” Again, he only smiled enigmatically, keeping her guessing as to whether he actually had fallen asleep.

Whatever the next few weeks held, no doubt Roar would have a profound effect on her psyche.

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