Excerpt for Breaking Roadblocks (Bend Over Series #4) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


BREAKING ROADBLOCKS

BEND OVER SERIES #4


By BRINA BRADY



M/M/ Gay Erotica

Bend Over Series Order

Bend Over #1

Don’t Throw Me Away #2

Spanked in the Woodshed #3

Breaking Roadblocks #4




Copyright Text by Brina Brady © 2016 All rights reserved.

Edited by Ally Editorial Services

http://allyeditorialservices.com/

Cover Art by Kellie Dennis at Book Cover by Design

http://www.bookcoverbydesign.co.uk

Disclaimer: Any person depicted on the cover is a model used for illustrative purposes only.

WARNING:

This is a Gay adult consensual story focused on themes of corporal discipline punishment and explicit sex between men.


DEDICATION

Thank you to all my awesome Beta Readers.

Ella Wilson, Cj Lewis,

Jamie Culican, Michelle Simm, Debby Demedicis Elliott,

Diane Dannerfeldt, and Debra Bookers


CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

EPILOGUE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Connect With Brina Brady

OTHER BOOKS



CHAPTER ONE

Shane

After Shane’s philosophy class at UCLA, he stopped at the flower shop and checked on the special order of fifty rainbow-colored roses for Julien to celebrate their four-year anniversary of living together. He paid extra money to have the flowers delivered within the hour to their home since he couldn’t carry them on his motorcycle. As soon as he arrived at home, he fed his black German Shepherd, Sheba, in the backyard, and spent some playtime with her, running the perimeter of the backyard, then throwing a ball for her to fetch. Shane had extra time before the limo picked him up to meet Julien at The Woodshed. He insisted they work without taking their special day off. Julien didn’t like to take time off from work, but Shane would have welcomed the time to party.

Shane rushed into the kitchen and prepared Julien’s favorite chocolate cake for their celebration after work. Cocoa powder, flour, and sugar covered the white counters and dark wooden floor. The sparkling kitchen miraculously transformed into a filthy mess; cake ingredients coated Shane’s black jeans. He wiped the counters until they were spotless and up to Julien’s standards. Shane knelt to hand scrub the kitchen floor. He glanced at the wooden spoon hanging on the wall, reminding him that Julien demanded an immaculate kitchen at all times or there would be severe consequences. Julien had used the wooden spoon on Shane many times because he left the kitchen in complete disarray. Today, he especially wanted to be on the right side of Julien and make him proud to have Shane as his sub.

When the timer chimed, he removed the cake from the oven to the cooling racks. Shane wrapped up Julien’s present and set it on the table with a card for tonight. Once it cooled, he iced the cake and set it on a decorative cake stand on the table. When the doorbell rang, he opened the door, tipped the flower shop driver, and carried the flowers to the table in the kitchen. He couldn’t wait until Julien opened his gift. He might think Shane had gone overboard with the fifty rainbow roses; but his Dom loved roses, and Shane aimed to please him in every way possible.

Shane sent Julien a text as per his morning directive.

Shane: “See you soon! I have a surprise for you, Sir.” Shane attached an image of two bears hugging each other with I love you written in a red heart.

Julien: “See you soon, my white angel. Be ready for a long hard night.”

Thoughts of Julien’s brown cock penetrating his white ass sent tingles to his balls, his cock throbbing and demanding attention. Shivering at offering his ass for his Dom tonight, Shane hoped Julien appreciated his adoration and love. Shane eyed his gold band again, wishing Julien would wed him soon. With wedding bells on his mind, Shane rushed to the enormous master shower, stripped off his clothes, showered, and washed his hair. He took special care to prepare for rough sex with Julien.

Usually, they drove to The Woodshed together; but Julien had an earlier meeting with a realtor to sign papers for the new property. Julien declined to discuss the new getaway location because it was a surprise. Shane looked forward to finding out where it was, plus Julien told him that he added Shane’s name to the property deed. For the first time, Shane would co-own property with Julien. Shane’s life had improved in so many ways with Julien.

After his long shower, Shane toweled himself dry and then he massaged lotion on every part of his body, slowly rubbing it in, beginning with his arms and shoulders and working his way over his nips and tummy. He applied extra to his legs and ass, especially his ass. Julien loved spanking it and Shane wanted the skin as soft as velvet for him if he chose to do so. Shane was ready for anything and everything tonight.

His cock twitched, reminding him to apply some lotion there, but Shane neglected his throbbing member on purpose. If he massaged his cock, he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from jerking off. He preferred waiting for Julien, especially since he had specifically instructed Shane not to jack off without his presence. He wanted to be the best sub for Julien, especially today. Trying to take his mind off his needy cock, Shane sent a text to Keme.

Shane: “Hey! I’d like to see you when you’re not busy. Make time for me.” He added a sad emoticon with tears to show how much he wanted to see his friend.

Shane waited for a few minutes for Keme’s reply but he didn’t get one. He had been too busy to return Shane’s phone messages unless it was to say no for whatever Shane had asked him to do. A few times, Shane attempted to set up dinner at their favorite restaurant in Santa Monica with Keme, but he was unavailable for one reason or another, which struck Shane as odd. Even Julien was concerned that Keme had been avoiding Shane. Keme had forgiven Shane for doing a demonstration with Dario at The Woodshed. Shane wanted to show his ring to Keme, even though Julien hadn’t mentioned another word about when they would get married. Shane still had the ring on his finger and Julien hadn’t asked for it back. Though it worried him why Julien hadn’t talked about it anymore, he refused to bring it up because he feared the answer to his question.

When the house phone rang, he didn’t know if he should answer, knowing it wouldn’t be for him since he hadn’t given anyone this number. Standing naked, Shane decided to pick out his leathers instead of talking to a stranger. He pulled out his leather pants and vest, the ones matching Julien’s leather pants. He relished wearing identical clothes and Julien would call Shane his mini twin. The phone rang again, and again he didn’t answer it, but the loud, constant jangling abused his ears and rattled his nerves. As soon as the ringing stopped, it fired up again. He marched to the desk and picked up the phone because it might be someone important to Julien.

“Julien Collier’s residence,” Shane said, still naked.

“Who the hell are you?” A French-accented woman shrilled into his ear.

“Shane O’Rourke, ma’am.” Damn, she’s fucking loud. Oh shit, that’s Nollie, Julien’s ex-wife. Fuck! Fuck!

“Put Julien on, boy,” Nollie screeched.

“He’s not here, ma’am. Can I take a message?” Shane asked, wishing he had let it ring endlessly. She was the last person he wanted to speak to, especially today. He had forgotten she even existed and here she was turning up to disrupt their relationship once again.

“Tell him Nollie, his wife, called.” Nollie emphasized the word wife.

“You mean ex-wife, ma’am.” Shane corrected the blatant lie, but the pain of her troublesome words lashed at him, stealing his breath and gouging at his broken heart. Julien said he had divorced her years ago and now she claimed to be his current wife, not ex-wife.

“I’m Mrs. Nollie Callier, you little fool, and don’t forget that when he fucks your skinny ass. He’s still legally my husband. Did he tell you he divorced me so he could marry you?” She asked in the most hate-filled tone Shane had ever heard. Some of her words were half-English and half French, but he understood exactly what she meant and he didn’t like it one bit.

He blocked the burning urge to scream profanities at her. Why did he bother to answer the phone? He rarely ever answered that phone. She killed the joyful mood he had before the call.

“You’re lying. He’s going to marry me. He told me he divorced you a long time ago. What do you want with him anyway?” Shane shouted.

She cackled and then said, “I can assure you that my darling Julien is still my legal husband; so he can’t marry you. He lied to you like he did to the other boys. There’s no way my Julien would share his immense wealth with white trash like you.”

With trembling hands, he slammed down the phone, ending the ugly banter. When she said, “her dear Julien” followed by “white trash,” he terminated the conversation. Julien was leading him on all this time and Shane fell for it just like a little fool that she had called him. Why would Julien lie to him and make him believe they were going to get married? Julien should have told him that he was still married and not divorced. In one frantic moment, Shane needed to leave the house, get away from all of this foul drama with Julien so he could think alone to clear his head, and come to some understanding of what was really going on in his relationship with Julien.

Nothing made sense. Julien lied to him on purpose to keep him as his when he belonged to Nollie. His Dom had no interest in women. Shane remembered the first time that Nollie had called. At the time, he hadn’t known that she existed because Julien never mentioned his marriage to Nollie. Eventually, Julien had explained that he planned to tell him, but couldn’t find the right time. Julien also said he had divorced her years ago, plus he had a daughter close to Shane’s age. There was no reason for Shane not to believe him then, but now Nollie had showed up again and claimed to be married to Julien.

Shane’s head pounded and his hands shook as the reality that Nollie and Julien might be still legally married. Julien wasn’t living with her; but to lie to Shane about his so-called divorce, which only meant they would never be able to marry unless Julien or Nollie filed for a divorce. Julien had a dark mysterious side to his personality and Shane met the black side when he didn’t follow his Dom’s rules. He demanded Shane be honest at all times, but why didn’t that apply to him? Shane understood in their relationship he was to serve Julien, but trust and honesty had to go both ways and right now, it travelled only one way. Shane’s emotions landed somewhere between grief-stricken and angry about Julien’s lies and Nollie’s verbal abuse. Shane would never understand what Julien had seen in Dario, he didn’t see what Julien loved about Nollie, plus – she was a woman. He tried to imagine how Julien dominated the overbearing woman and wondered if he was a Dom to her, too.

Shane threw on a pair of jeans and shirt, then he stuffed about five days’ worth of clothing, his laptop, and iPad into his large backpack. He rested the backpack on his back and shoved his arms through the corresponding straps. He adjusted the belt on his waist. The backpack weighed a ton, but the belt eliminated a portion of the weight off his shoulders and onto his waist.


CHAPTER TWO

Shane

Shane knew exactly where he could go without Julien finding him right away. He needed a little time away to make some sense of what Nollie had said about Julien’s secrets and lies. As he entered the garage doorway, he remembered the chargers he had forgotten to pack, so he went back inside, collected them, and crammed them into the backpack. He passed through the kitchen and looked at the beautiful cake with Julien’s present and roses. His eyes flooded with tears at the overwhelming loss and sadness. He ran to the garage, climbed on his motorcycle, and put on his helmet. He should have written a note to Julien, but no words came to his mind because the deep emotional pain and blistering anger stung Shane. Before he started the engine, he quickly sent a short text message to the limo driver, cancelling his pickup without giving a reason, then he placed the phone into the backpack.

He rode along Pacific Coast Highway, avoiding the freeway traffic at this hour, all the way to Huntington Beach. Whether he was right or wrong about taking off without any word to Julien, Shane had to think about his future with or without Julien. Nollie answered his unasked question about why Julien no longer mentioned their wedding plans. He couldn’t marry Shane when he was still married to Nollie. Julien played him in such a cruel way and Shane was too stupid to recognize it. Yet, Julien treated him with love and care, so that didn’t make much sense either. Shane didn’t have a clue what he was doing by taking off without confronting Julien. Going to work wasn’t something he could handle right now. He hated to miss work without calling in. Julien would find a substitute for him when he figured out that Shane wasn’t going to show up.

Shane parked his motorcycle in a paid underground parking lot, then walked to Julien’s condo, the first place he had lived with Julien. He had given Shane the keys for the condo for when he surfed during the week and it was the closest place, not to mention he loved Huntington Beach. Sometimes, they spent a night or weekend at the condo, but not often. Julien wouldn’t think to look here, or at least he hoped not. Once he unlocked the door, he turned on the air conditioning and made his way to the bedroom. He quickly unpacked and hung his clothes in the closet so the wrinkles would hang out for tomorrow’s class. Once he completed unpacking, he charged all his devices and checked out the kitchen. He pulled out two cans of beer and took them to the living room. He sat on Julien’s recliner and set his beers on the end table. Alongside the chair was an old Martinique newspaper, reminding Shane of Julien’s French crossword puzzles. Shane kept himself busy without dwelling on Julien. If he drank enough, he’d fall asleep, thus excluding any thoughts of his misery. As soon as he had nothing else to do, he felt a deep pain in his stomach. He thought he knew who Julien really was, but maybe he never had. Shane checked his phone; Julien had left several texts and a few voicemails. He read the first message.

Julien: “Where is my beautiful angel? Call me.”

Shane didn’t want to hear Julien’s voice or he might break down; giving in to him, then end up becoming a double fool, making him hurt even more. Shane wanted to stop his hurt, not increase it. He couldn’t believe that Julien had deliberately made a fool out of him. Julien had never planned to marry him. Why would he when Shane had nothing to offer Julien?

After Shane finished two cans of beer, he crushed them and threw them on the carpet. He didn’t feel any better and needed something more to block out his feelings. He remembered the Irish Pub down the street that he and his surfing friends frequented after the beach. He took the elevator to the ground floor, crossed the street, and walked along the beachside until he could barely move one leg in front of the other. He must have walked for hours without a thought, and he had managed to make it to the Huntington Beach Pier. Staring at the waves hitting the sand didn’t solve anything neither did the heavy-duty walking. He remembered the Irish Pub was across the street.

Before he embarked on his journey to the pub, Shane sat on a bench allowing the cool breeze to sweep his hair back. He felt lonely and desperate without Julien. He was everything he had ever wanted in a man and Dom. The day’s horrible events destroyed any hope he had of a marrying Julien. Shane inhaled the salted air and felt sad as he watched the couples walking hand in hand on the sand. The pain closed in on him and the weight of it crushed him. Deep inside, he knew Julien loved him and took care of him, yet he withheld the truth from him. There was the slightest possibility that Nollie had lied, but Julien had stopped talking about their wedding plans. All the lies burning a deep hole in his shattered heart left Shane dumbfounded. He stood and stretched, unable to deal with his pain another minute.

Shane crossed the street when the light turned red. All he could think about was getting high or drunk to kill the pain. He needed something to numb the hurt and make him feel better. After a few more blocks, he stepped inside the pub. The familiar Irish band played traditional music, which he loved. He searched for a tiny table for two and sat. Memories of Julien standing against the wall stalking him came to mind. He stared at the exact spot on the wall where Julien had leaned and wished he stood there now. He recalled how excited he was when Julien had finally come over to talk to him. That evening began his new life and ended his old one.

He left his table to order a tap beer since the server was too busy to take his order. While he waited for the bartender to get his beer, he tapped his fingers to the music while he looked at the Irish flag hanging behind the bar with the stars and stripes hanging opposite it. The Irish band played Whiskey in the Jar. He remembered the band members from the last time he had come here, especially the drummer. The bartender set his beer in front of him.

“You here alone?” the bartender asked.

Shane nodded. He liked Liam O’Malley, the bartender and owner, who had been here for years.

“Maybe you’ll get lucky tonight. I heard there’s a group of young gals coming in soon.”

“Thanks for the beer.” Shane paid for the beer and left a hefty tip. The last thing he needed was some young gal in his life. He wanted Julien, only him. No one else would do. Liam didn’t know he wasn’t interested in girls.

When he returned to his seat, he scanned the bar to see if anyone was watching him. No one paid any attention to him, not that he wanted anyone to. He checked his phone again and Julien had sent him another message.

Julien: “I don’t know why you left in a huff. We can talk about it. You know how much I love you, so there’s nothing that will make me stop loving you. I can help you in any way you need. I’m worried about you. All I ever wanted was the best for you. I love you. Please call me.”

Shane sipped his beer and reread Julien’s message. He thought Shane was in trouble and ran away from home like some troubled teen. Julien didn’t have a clue that Shane had found out about his ugly secret.

“Hey, Shane?” a tall young man asked as if he wasn’t sure he recognized him.

“Hey, you’re still around here?” Shane finally remembered the young man’s name was Jason, the drug dealer he had purchased pot from when he first landed in Huntington Beach.

“Of course, business is good to me here. What’s up with you?” Jason had a beer in his hand.

“I’m going to UCLA,” Shane said.

“Mind if I sit with you?” Jason asked as he sat on the chair across from Shane.

“It’s yours.” Shane laughed and pointed to the chair opposite him. Jason didn’t wait for Shane’s response one way or another. Of course, that was how Jason was. He rarely took no for an answer and was a bit on the bossy side.

“I haven’t seen you around in a long time. I thought you moved away.”

“I did.” Shane sipped his beer, keeping his eye on Jason.

“Do you want to come to a party with favors?” Jason’s brown eyes were bloodshot, and his pupils larger than they should be.

“Favors?” Shane grinned, knowing he meant free alcohol and drugs. There was a noticeable change in Jason’s personal grooming habits, not in a good way. His stained T-shirt looked like he hadn’t washed it in a while.

“You know beer, hot chicks, and some blow,” Jason slurred.

Shane took another sip of his beer and thought about it. He was tempted to go with Jason so he could get high and forget the entire mess with Julien. However, he didn’t trust himself to go to a party without overdoing the drugs and alcohol. He had promised Julien he wouldn’t ever do drugs. What was the use in keeping his promise now that Julien lied and was out of the picture? The thought of Julien out of his life didn’t sit well with him. He wasn’t ready to give Julien up for that stupid Nollie.

“I can’t.” Shane fidgeted in his chair.

“Hey, is something wrong? You can tell me.”

“Nothing’s going down,” Shane lied.

“If you say so. You look really bummed out to me.”

“The only problem is I already have other plans, but I’ll take a raincheck.” Shane had no plans tonight, nor did he ever want to go to a party with Jason. The last time he partied, Shane ended up in trouble with the police and he didn’t need that right now.

“Need some blow?”

“I don’t do that.” Shane ran his hand through his hair.

“What about some pot?” Jason’s hands trembled.

“No. I’m training and get tested randomly,” Shane lied even though he wouldn’t mind smoking some pot.

“Training for what?” Jason scanned Shane as if he didn’t believe one word he said.

“Baseball.” Shane never played on any sports team in his entire life. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to, but more like he wasn’t any good at it. On the other hand, his brother Michael was a football captain and made him feel less than a man. He detested sports. His father often said that Shane lacked the discipline for sports.

“They test you to play baseball?” Jason looked more skeptical.

“Yes.” Shane scanned the band, avoiding eye contact with Jason.

“What about if I give you one joint for when you’re not getting tested?” Jason half-smiled.

“How much for two?” Shane asked.

Jason waved his hand. “Free for you. I’m glad I ran into you. Can I have your phone number?”

“Sure.” They exchanged business cards. No doubt, he wanted Shane as a new customer. Shane slipped him two twenty-dollar bills under the table. Jason looked like he needed to eat.

“That’s too much,” Jason said as he looked at the bills, then stuffed the money into his wallet.

“Take it.” Shane noticed Liam was watching their exchange.

Jason slipped two rolled joints from his pocket, wrapped a napkin around them, then passed it across the table. Shane immediately stashed it into his pocket. Jason must have rolled them for himself because this was the first time he sold rolled joints to him. Shane was glad since he didn’t have any papers.

“Thanks.”

“If you change your mind, we’ll be at the fire pit near Brookhurst and PCH.” Jason staggered out of the pub and left his beer. He pressed his head against the glass window from outside and waved to Shane.

Shane was tempted to go to the party, but he needed to walk to the condo, which was in the opposite direction. He could go back to the condo and ride his motorcycle to the party, but he knew drinking and doing drugs while riding his bike was dangerous and against the law. Jason had deteriorated since the last time he had seen him. From the way he dressed, Shane figured he wasn’t profiting much from selling drugs. Shane wouldn’t doubt he was living on the streets because his addiction was too expensive to maintain. Shane was lucky Julien straightened him out or he might have ended up like Jason: a drug dealer, living on the streets.

A young server interrupted Shane’s thoughts.

“Can I get you another beer?” she asked.

“Another beer and a shot of Jamison.” Shane was in for a long night whether he changed his mind about the party or not.

He checked to see if Liam was still watching him, but he wasn’t. Within five minutes, young women dressed scantly bombarded the pub. Shane checked them all out, then he pulled out a picture of Julien and placed it in his lap so he could look at it while he drank.


CHAPTER THREE

Julien

Julien answered his ringing phone when the limo driver’s name crawled across the screen. James was supposed to pick up Shane an hour ago and should have been here by now. Julien demanded punctuality from all his employees.

“Where’s Shane?” Julien asked, looking through The Woodshed’s office window. Their cabin peeked through the clustered old trees. They spent weekends there when some of the events required them to be at the club full time.

“Sir, Shane cancelled the limo for tonight via text message. I called him to see if anything was wrong, but his phone went to voicemail. So I sent him a text message and he didn’t return it. About fifteen minutes later, I left a voice message to call me,” James said.

“Thank you. I’ll take care of Shane so you’re free for the night.” Julien ended the call and immediately called Shane. The phone went to voicemail. Damn that boy!

“Shane, where are you? Call me now.” Julien doubled up by sending the same message via text in case Shane had the volume turned off.

Julien was so busy he didn’t notice that Shane was late at first. Julien had a long phone call with his partner Adam earlier to discuss Master David. Adam wanted Julien to fire him because he didn’t approve how he monitored the playrooms. Julien had known Master David was rough around the edges and Adam required everything to run by the book. Julien agreed with Adam, but he wanted to give Master David another chance. He promised Adam he would discuss the issues that Adam had outlined.

Master David walked into his office with Nick behind him. Julien wasn’t looking forward to the conversation with Master David, who had been a good friend for over twenty years. Julien had hired him as lead Dungeon Monitor for The Woodshed because he had two decades experience in the leather and bondage communities. His green bandana covered his cleanly shaved head and matched the club’s decor. Various skull tats covering his arms marked his trade signature and had all the young subs idolizing him. His closely cropped beard gave him almost a coarse look, as if he hadn’t shaved in a week or so. This stocky, six-foot five-inch man intimidated most men because he was a rare find in their world. No one messed with Master David including Julien; however, his old friend was his employee and things changed.

“Where’s Shane?” Master David asked.

“Well, he was supposed to be here by now, but he cancelled the limo so I don’t know.”

“I can bartend, Sir, until Shane gets here,” Nick said.

Julien glanced at Master David for his approval and he nodded.

“Thanks Nick. Stay there until Shane comes in,” Julien said.

“Yes, Sir.” Nick left the room with a big smile across his face. The boy loved to please Doms, and he didn’t care if the man was his Dom or not.

“What’s the deal with Shane?” Master David asked.

“I don’t know.” Julien looked at his watch. Shane had been out of reach for two hours. Something must be wrong, but nothing came to his mind. He was lost for any logical explanation because this was so unlike Shane.

“Why don’t you go home and check? I can take care of things,” Master David offered.

“Sit.” Julien sat at his desk. “I need to discuss something with you first.”

Master David sat, waiting for Julien to begin their discussion. Julien moved some papers on his desk, trying to work out how he would approach his friend’s job without offending.

“Is Nick working out as a sub?” Julien asked to break the silence.

“No. He gets on my nerves. I don’t know that we’re a good fit.”

“Is there anything I can do to help you with Nick?”

“No. Nothing. My three slaves wrote to me and requested to return to me as their master. I don’t know what to do.”

“Nick was clear he didn’t want to share you with your slaves.” Julien figured Master David and Nick experienced a few problems, but he never expected this.

“I know. I need to have a long talk with Nick. My former slaves understand the situation. They’re willing to wait and they don’t mind Nick being there.”

“I hope you don’t throw Nick out on the street and break your contract with him. He doesn’t have anyone.” Julien had never known Master David to break a contract, but he didn’t look happy when he was around Nick. Granted, Nick was a handful, but when a Dom signed a contract with a sub, he must honor their contract if it was possible.

“I’m aware of that. I would never throw him out on his own,” Master David said, marking his annoyance with his tone.

“Of course, you wouldn’t. I’m concerned since I’m the one who suggested you take Nick in.”

“What did you want to discuss?” Master David barked.

“I know you’re used to owning slaves, but as you know, the rules are different for Doms with subs. We have some members who are playing for the night and not contracted partners. It’s important that every single Dom uses a safeword and meets all the safety measures in the club’s manual.”

“Why are we having this conversation? Are you unhappy with the way I do my job?” Master David’s face reddened and his eyes widened.

“I’ve heard several reports that you weren’t enforcing the safeword policy when you check the scenes in the different rooms.”

“Some of the Doms claim they have a prior agreement with the sub.”

“Every single person signed a contract to abide by all the rules before they could become members. It states clearly no scenes without a safeword. Your job is to enforce each and every rule according to the member’s contract.”

“Fine. I don’t understand why you can’t bend a little and allow home contracts to overrule the club’s.”

“I’m responsible for the safety of all members. I don’t care what they previously agreed to on their own time. My club and my rules.”

“No problem.”

“I also don’t want any breath play in the private rooms. No warnings! Ban any member who takes part in any unsafe play as outlined in the club’s pamphlet. Reread the rules so you can enforce them properly.” Julien slid a pamphlet across his desk.

Master David picked up the pamphlet and stuffed it in his pocket

“Is that all?” Master David clinched his white knuckled fists on the desk.

“Check your assigned duties on your employment contract.” Julien handed him a copy of his contract. “Will you do the job I hired you for?”

“Of course. You made yourself clear.” An angry scowl crawled over his face.

“I’m going to look for Shane. Adam will be coming in shortly.” Julien stood.

“I hope Shane is okay.” A half-smile replaced his scowl.

“I do, too.” Julien walked out of his office with Master David and then took off in his SUV.

***

When Julien stopped at a red light on his way home, he checked his phone. No messages from Shane. In the morning, Shane had been excited to celebrate their four-year anniversary of living together. Skipping work without a phone call would have gotten anyone else fired. Shane knew better than to ditch his job. Julien curbed his anger and concern. He drove the rest of the way with the hope that Shane had fallen asleep.

As soon as Julien opened the garage, a deep disappointment overpowered him because Shane’s motorcycle wasn’t there. Julien parked the SUV and jumped out. Julien had scheduled the limo to pick Shane up at six. Julien ran through the garage to the kitchen without closing the door behind him. On the table, there was a chocolate cake, rainbow roses, and a present with card. Shane had baked him a cake and planned to give him a gift. He rushed to their bedroom and Shane’s leathers were on top of the bed. Apparently, Shane had been home and was preparing for work, but something must have happened for him to take off without any word. Shane didn’t stop to think and he always reacted by running. He knew that much about Shane. Four years ago, he had left home in New Jersey for California because he didn’t want to deal with unpleasant family issues. However, Shane didn’t have any problems that Julien was aware of, unless he kept it to himself.

Julien called up Dario; then Bruno, only to find out that neither had seen nor heard from him. He shot Master David a message that he needed Nick to bartend the entire night. Julien sat in the kitchen looking at his cake and worried where Shane would go if he had left him. Shane had money and could go to a hotel if he needed one. He would go to a place he felt comfortable. The one place Shane loved was Huntington Beach and he did have the keys to the condo. He would have figured Julien would check all his homes because Shane had the keys to all of them. He didn’t know how to get to the desert on his own, but he knew how to get to Huntington Beach and went there many times to surf. Maybe he would rent a hotel room there instead of staying at the condo. Shane didn’t plan well once he decided to run from his problems, but he didn’t have any problems, or did he?

Julien thought it would be better to wait for Shane to come home instead of looking for him. He wasn’t going to get upset until ten o’clock, then he would worry. Most days he thought Shane was his and only his, but a slight doubt crawled over his skin. Shane wanted to get married and maybe he was upset that Julien hadn’t mentioned any wedding plans since they had returned from Martinique. Julien had to straighten out his paperwork and didn’t want Shane to worry, so he didn’t tell him. He might as well call Nollie to check on the status of their divorce. He had sent her money to fast-file their divorce because he didn’t want anything standing in the way of their getting married. That was if he ever showed up again. Julien had told Shane he was divorced for years and that was what he believed until he had written to the Martinique court for a copy of his divorce papers. Years ago, when Nollie promised to file the papers, she had lied and sent him a copy of a fake divorce decree. After several heated conversations recently, she finally sent the papers with both of their signatures to the courts. He called Nollie, even though she was the last person he wanted to deal with at the moment.

“I’m astonished your white boy left my message,” Nollie said in French.

“What are you talking about?” Julien shouted in French. They always spoke French, although they both knew English. He hated dealing with her, especially since she had lied to him all these years and had sent him fake divorce papers, which Julien had never checked to see if they were official. She wasn’t worthy of his trust. He wanted to strangle her; but in the end, he paid her off to file the papers swiftly. This time Julien had his lawyer fax his signature.

“Your white boy answered the phone and he wasn’t polite in the least. He hung up on me.”

“I didn’t know he spoke to you. I hope you didn’t say anything to upset him.” Julien knew she must have said something for Shane to hang up and disappear.

“Never mind about your little drama queen. I called to let you know that the court received our divorce papers, so it won’t be long. Maybe a week, then they will send you a copy directly from the court as you requested.”

“What exactly did you say to Shane?”

“I told him I was still your wife, which I am until the papers come through.”

“That wasn’t your place to tell him, or anyone else, our personal business. You deliberately hurt him because you’re a fucking bitch. Once I receive the final divorce papers, neither of us will have any reason to communicate. You’re dead to me.” Julien ended the call.

The phone rang again and Julien blocked her number. He had enough of her. If his daughter needed him, she could call.

Julien understood why Shane was upset and as much as he wanted to cast the blame on Nollie, he should have been the one to explain to Shane what had happened. Secrets always came out. Julien had preached to Shane to tell the truth, all of it; and now Julien was the one keeping secrets. He didn’t want to upset Shane, but now Nollie’s newsflash crushed Shane. Julien had to find him soon and apologize for not telling him first. Eventually, Shane would attend class, so tomorrow he would wait outside the classroom and speak to him if he didn’t come home tonight.

Where could he be? He’d be safe because he had money and keys to the other houses Julien owned. Julien knew he wouldn’t be homeless, but he worried Shane would harm himself. He might get into trouble the way he had the last time he had taken off. Julien couldn’t sleep. He wrote a note to Shane and left it on the kitchen table.

Dear Shane,

I’m on my way to the condo in Huntington Beach. I’m hoping you’re there. If you come home, call me and I’ll come back to talk to you. I love you.

Julien

Julien made his way to Huntington Beach with the hope of finding Shane. It was an hour away from their home without traffic and at this hour, it would be reasonable. He took the 405 all the way to Huntington Beach. The Pacific Ocean was across the street from Julien’s building. He parked in the condo’s underground lot, then he scanned the guest parking spots for Shane’s motorcycle since he didn’t park in one of their assigned spots, but he didn’t see any motorcycles. He felt Shane’s presence here, but it could be his mind working overtime, wishing for Shane. He took the elevator straight up to the top, opened the door to his penthouse, and immediately the forced cold air hit his face. Shortly after, Shane’s clean scent invaded his nose. Two crushed aluminum beer cans were scattered on the carpet and a crumpled newspaper on his chair. He noticed the marks on the carpet from Shane’s boots. He guessed Shane didn’t care about the no shoe or boot zone in the condo, same as it was at home. Apparently, Shane wasn’t following rules, and that alone worried Julien. He picked up one of the cans and it was still cold, indicating Shane must have been here recently or was here now. Julien set the empty cans on the coffee table.

“Shane! Shane!” Julien ran to their bedroom with the hope he was tucked in bed sound asleep. The room was empty. Shane’s backpack sat on the dresser and his devices were charging on the nightstand on his side of the bed. He checked inside the bathroom and he wasn’t there either. A suffocating sensation tightened his throat.

Julien returned to the kitchen, pulled out a beer, and collapsed on his chair in the living room. Shane would eventually return to the condo to sleep. Julien gathered his old newspaper and attempted to work on the unfinished crossword puzzle for a bit when he imagined Shane getting into serious trouble at a bar or on the beach, all in walking distance. His biggest fear was that Shane would try to score some drugs and hurt himself. Shane was a magnet for trouble on his good days let alone on a bad day like today. Julien would never forgive himself if anything happened to Shane.


CHAPTER FOUR

Shane

After three drinks, Shane left the pub, but he really didn’t want to go to bed alone, thinking about Julien lying to him and leading him on for four years. Julien taught Shane to speak the truth and never keep any secrets; but apparently, that didn’t apply to him. Shane stopped at a convenience store, purchased cigarettes and a bottle of Jameson.

“Do you need a lighter?” The man behind the counter asked after Shane stuffed his change back into his wallet.

“Oh, yeah. Thanks.” Shane was so out of it that he had forgotten about a lighter. He paid for the lighter and scanned the condoms behind the counter. Julien made him carry two in his wallet and told him he hoped he never used them, but every man should carry them regardless. For some reason, Julien wanted Shane protected in case he lost his mind and decided to mount some stranger. What would Julien do if he discovered one missing? Shane laughed to himself because Julien thought he was so naive not to replace what he used, but he would never cheat on the love of his life.

Carrying the brown bag containing his purchases, Shane looked for a place to get high alone. He figured he better walk toward the condo, so if it would be easier to go home. He stopped at a bench and took a swig of whiskey from the bag. He pulled out his lighter and one of the rolled joints. He stared at it in his hand while Julien’s voice scolded him in his head. Julien had warned him so many times to confide everything to him; even when he thought Julien couldn’t fix it. He told Shane he could take care of him no matter what. He pulled his phone out and wanted to call Julien, but he was still too angry and hurt. He found himself tapping his mother’s number if only she would pick up the phone. The phone rang five times before anyone answered.

“O’Rourke’s residence, Mrs. O’Rourke speaking.” His mother’s Irish brogue comforted him.

“Ma, this is Shane.” Shane took another swig of whiskey. The ocean breeze cooled his face.

“Are you okay?” Her voice displayed her panic.

“I miss you. I just needed to hear your voice.” Shane didn’t want to worry her.

“I know something is wrong. You wouldn’t call if things were good. Come home, Shane. You don’t belong in California.”

“I love it here. I can’t come home, not after the last time.”

“If you come home, I’ll make sure your father lets you stay here.”

“No, I can’t. I only called because I’m upset about something.”

“What’s wrong?”

“The man I’m living with has a wife. He told me that he divorced her, but she called when he wasn’t home and she said they were still married.”

“Oh, Shane. I told you not to love that man too much. Stop giving all of yourself to everyone you love. Come home and let me love you back to your old self.”

“What do you mean my old self? You mean until I’m not gay anymore?” Tears filled his eyes as he had remembered what his father had said to him when Shane tried to talk to him.

The dead don’t speak.” His father told him.

Shane’s words would never be heard. He was dead to him. For how long? Forever?

Shane could never go home, not unless he promised to be straight and forget about being gay. He wiped the tears away from his eyes with the back of his hand and took another swig of whiskey. His father had made it clear that Shane was dead to him. The only home he had was with Julien and now he might not have that one either.

“No, Shane. I don’t care what you are. I love you, all of you.”

“Are you sure?” Shane knew his mother had loved him no matter what horrid thing he did.

“Of course, I’m sure. I’ll always love you. It doesn’t matter, my dear sweet Shane.”

“I love you, Ma. I’m so upset.” Shane took another swig and lit a cigarette.

“Where are you staying? Do you need money?”

“I work and have money. I’m staying at Julien’s condo in Huntington Beach. He gave me the keys so I’m not homeless. If we don’t make up, I’ll get my own apartment. I’ll be okay, but I just hurt so much. I love him and I don’t know what to do.”


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