Today for Teaser Tuesday, I'm giving you a little peek at "House Call" -- this is the bonus short story in the back of the paperback version of CALL ON ME. For those of you who read the series, this is Dr. Theo Montgomery's story, the smug but submissive doc who shows up in FALL INTO YOU and NOTHING BETWEEN US. Enjoy!
There was a flicker in his gaze—worry. It looked out of place on him. “Mistress, please make an exception.”
He looked away, jaw tightening.
She took a few steps forward until she was right in front of him and snapped her fingers, the sound echoing in the cavernous room. “If you expect me to consider it, you will look at me and tell me why.”
He turned his head toward her—the fight within him visible in the tense lines of his face. He was a proud man, one who was used to everyone deferring to him, but his submissive streak ran deep. He wanted to fight. He wanted to please. “I had a bad day at work and could use a distraction.”
She kept her expression smooth even though a little surge of victory went through her that he’d actually given her an answer. “Tell me why it was so bad.”
His jaw twitched. The request was razor close to the one that had made him use his safe word last time. She braced herself for him to bail. Instead he said, “Tell me why you stopped taking clients.”
Her lips curved. “You’re not the one who gets to make the commands in here, Theodore. But maybe if you comply with mine, I’ll consider answering.”
He sent her a steely look—one that she’d normally happily punish him for—but she hadn’t agreed to play with him, so she couldn’t go there. Their gazes held for a long moment, a silent war, but finally, he said, “A patient died on my operating table tonight. I had to tell her husband and daughter.”
Maggie’s lungs squeezed tight, all the breath whooshing out of her. “That’s awful, Theo. I’m sorry.”
He shifted, obviously uncomfortable with her sympathy. “Part of the job, Mistress. We all have our own ways of dealing with it.”
And his was getting the hell beat out of him by her. She didn’t blame him. If she had to face that kind of thing every day, she may need those memories beaten out of her, too. But that didn’t mean she could do this.
She grabbed a chair from the side of the room and pulled it over so she could sit in front of him instead of looming over him. What she was going to say wasn’t coming from Maggie the domme but Maggie the woman. “Thank you for telling me. I stopped taking clients because a guy got angry one night when I wouldn’t perform according to his wishes, and he backhanded me, split my lip.”
Theo’s attention snapped upward, fire in his eyes. “Someone hurt you? Who the f**k was he?”
The fierceness in the words took her breath for a second—the cool doctor looking like he could turn violent offender on her behalf if he got the guy’s name. She wet her lips. “Who it was doesn’t matter. The staff jumped in immediately. I wasn’t hurt badly, just a little shaken. And a lot pissed. The guy was banned from the premises. But after that, I decided I didn’t want to take money for this anymore. I never did this to be a performer in someone’s play. And it was beginning to feel like that’s what it had become. So now I know that when I scene, I’m doing it for me and the person I’m with. It’s real.” The last part slipped out and she winced inwardly. “Not that what we did together wasn’t real—“
He lifted a hand. “I’m well aware I was paying you for a service, Mistress. I didn’t assume it was anything more than that.”
No, apparently it was her job to weave fantasies that their business arrangement was more. She blew out a breath, unsure what to say.
Theo put his hands to his knees and nodded. “All right. I understand. I appreciate you telling me. Though, these are the times I wish I were one of the doms. I could order you to change your mind.”
She laughed. “You realize that would so not work on me, right? I’d tell that dom to take his riding crop and shove it in his special place. You’d have a much better chance of persuading me than they would.”
Theo lifted his head, and the little quirk of his lips could’ve been mistaken for a smile.
The sight nearly knocked her out of her chair. Goddamn. He was dangerously good-looking on any day. Broody and smug worked for him. But hell if that little hint of humor in his blue eyes didn’t take the wind right out of her.
“Thanks for that, Mistress.” He stood. “I hope you have a good new year.”
“I—“ Seeing him head toward the door sent a sharp dart of panic through her. She’d been enjoying this—a taste of a real conversation with him. And she had a feeling if he walked out, he would never be back to see her. “Wait. I didn’t say you could leave yet.”
He turned, one eyebrow lifted. “I apologize. May I leave, Mistress?”
She stood, trying to gather her courage. She’d put this man on her knees, had put her hands on him, but doing this was giving her heart palpitations. She cleared her throat. “We’ve both had long days. I’m really ready to get out of here. But what if…well, there’s a little diner up the road from here. They serve great pie. We could, you know, go have some pie together.”
God. Her inner cringe was absolute. Badass domme, step side, awkward teenager is here to humiliate you and undermine all street cred you’ve built with this man.
Theo looked stricken for a second then his expression closed down. He tucked his hands in his pockets. “That’s generous, Mistress. But I don’t…have pie with people.”
She frowned and put a hand to her hip, considering him. “You realize the pie wasn’t a euphemism, right? There will be actual pie involved.”
That half-smile appeared again but with a somber edge to it. “I don’t date.”
Her lips parted for a second at that bomb. “Like ever?”
“Ever. Goodnight, Margaret.”
Her given name on his lips sent a warm curl of awareness up the back of his neck. He’d never called her anything but mistress. She hadn’t even been sure he knew her name. But before she could respond, he turned on his heel and strode toward the door.
She stared at the empty doorway for a long minute. If she walked out to the main floor, would Theo be setting up an appointment with another domme? Would he let someone else exorcise his bad day? The thought sent a wash of hot jealousy through her.
She sighed and leaned against the wall. “Give it up, girl. You asked him out and he shut you down. You were just the hired whip. Let it go.”
Great. Now she was talking to herself.
She massaged her brow with her fingertips, exhaustion settling in like a wet coat. She needed to get home and get to bed.
And she definitely needed to forget about the doctor with the ridiculously hot body and the haunted eyes.
Wrong tree. No barking allowed.