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Onyx

Book 2 of the Precious Stone Series


M. A. Silver

Copyright © 2018 by M. A. Silver


This novel is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead is coincidental.


All rights to reproduction of this work are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced to a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the permission of the copyright owner. Thank you for respecting the copyright.


For permission or information on foreign, audio or other rights, contact the author. ag47ma@gmail.com


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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Dedication

Onyx

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Dedication

Once again, this book is dedicated to my parents, both of whom instilled the love of reading in all their children. Papa, thank you for believing in me. Mother, thank you for showing me the true meaning of the word “lady”.

I miss you both so much. I love you.

Again, I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to Andrea H for her continuing support.

Thanks to Tatiana Villa for putting up with me. I love the cover art!

And to the one person I left out of the first book’s dedication.

Thank you Jesse! You were my first contact and you took the time, answering my questions with patience, pretty much taking my hand and leading me through the process of trying to bring this labor of love to fruition. Thank you again for all your help!

Onyx

What follows is information for entertainment purposes only and taken directly from several internet sites. It is not meant to provide any kind of medical advise. So, if you’re sick or have any of the malaise mentioned below, seek medical help. But maybe take a bit of the metaphysical to heart. I mean, what could it hurt? MAS


Onyx is associated primarily with the root chakra. It assists with challenges in life, especially those caused by a drain of energy. It prevents the draining away of personal energy and can be used for protection from such. It also helps with grounding and controlling or eliminating excess or unwanted energies. It has been used for wound healing, childbirth and to increase stamina and self-control. Black onyx and red onyx are associated with the base (root, first) chakra. White onyx is associated with linking the base and crown chakras to have balanced energy throughout the chakra system. Other colors are associated with the related chakra by colors.

Black onyx is thought to have protective properties and to bring inner strength, self-confidence and mental discipline to its wearer. Additionally, onyx is said to help to release negative emotions and alleviate fear and anxiety. Physically, onyx is believed to help in wound healing, childbirth, eye and ear problems and to benefit the skin, hair, teeth and nails. Onyx is the birthstone for the zodiacal sign of Leo and the seventh wedding anniversary gemstone. Like many gemstones, some cultures believe onyx to be unlucky, but others consider it to be virtuous and to protect against black magic.

Prologue

Lizzie was waiting in the open doorway while Mack lifted Diana out of his Corvette and carried her into the house. Because he’d been here before, he knew the layout and walked directly to the bedroom. Standing Diana on her feet, he turned to see the look of curiosity on Elizabeth’s face.

“Elizabeth, would you help Diana change, please and make sure she gets into bed? She’s had a… um… rough night.” Then he kissed Diana on the top of her wig, before retreating to the living room.

Lizzie walked over to Diana, pushing her softly to sit on the bed and knelt before her. She took both of Diana’s hands in hers and when Diana was finally able to met Lizzie’s eyes, Lizzie recognized the look of shock there. She’d seen it many times in the eyes of accident victims or their relatives when they came into the emergency room or surgical waiting room where she worked. Lizzie immediately went into nurse mode. She stood and went to the bureau and pulled out one of her father’s tee shirts. She’d seen Diana wearing them numerous times and knew it would comfort her.

“Let’s get this stuff off you, Diana.” Slowly Lizzie’s fingers started searching for the pins that held the wig on Diana’s head. She pulled them out and gently lifted the wig off her head, taking the nylon hair cover with it. “That must be a relief to have that thing off. It must be really hot.” Lizzie continued talking to Diana as if she were a child. “Wow, I love this bustier and if I thought it would fit me, I’d ask to borrow it.” Lizzie saw the little smile flit across Diana’s lips. “Okay, we’re going to stand you up now. There you go. Good girl. Turn around and I’ll unhook you. There you go.”

For the next ten minutes, Lizzie kept up a string of useless prattle, watching carefully as Diana’s eyes cleared. When she got the bustier and garters unhooked and the nylons down and off Diana’s legs, she pulled the tee shirt over Diana’s head. She pulled down the spread and folded back the sheet. Diana crawled to the middle of the bed, settled her head on the pillow, before grabbing Jake’s pillow and hugging it to her chest. Lizzie watched and waited until she fell asleep. She picked up the discarded outfit, examining it, from the beautiful bead work to the custom hand stitching, before folding everything as best she could and laying it on the bureau. She left the dimmest light burning, but turned off the overhead and left the room, leaving the door open a couple of inches in case Diana woke and needed her.

Lizzie, stormed barefoot into the living room where Mack was standing in front of the TV, channel surfing, a glass of ice tea sitting, forgotten, on the coffee table behind him. She came toe to toe with the six foot, four inch hunk of total maleness and with her index finger, poked him in the chest.

“You damn well better tell me what’s going on, Mr… Mack! Why was Diana dressed like that? And where the hell is my father!?” She whispered vehemently, not wanting to wake Diana.

Mack looked down at the little sprite, jabbing her finger into his chest. He didn’t know one man that would dare talk to him the way she was, much less touch him as she’d just done. Damn, this woman intrigued him.

“Mr. ‘Mack‘?” Mack questioned, one eyebrow arching towards his hairline.

“Well, I don’t know your last name. Or maybe Mack is your last name. How do I know!?” Jabbing her finger against his chest with every word she said.

“Now” jab “Tell” jab “Me” jab “What’s” jab “Going” jab “On”… Before she could jab him again, Mack picked her up and threw her on the couch, coming down on top of her.

“Uhff! Get off me you big lug!” Lizzie bucked and executed a move that was guaranteed to throw off any adversary.

Unfortunately, Mack wasn’t just any adversary. He was a half a foot taller and almost a hundred pounds heavier. He grabbed both her wrists, and held them above her head, pressing his body into her, effectively pinning her beneath him. It was then he realized his mistake.

Lizzie went still when she felt the length of his erection pressing against her core. She looked up into Mack’s eyes and saw the blue blaze erupt. Her breath caught in her chest. Her throat suddenly went dry and she had to lick her lips.

Mack groaned as his eyes locked onto her tongue darting out to moisten her lips. “Damn it, Elizabeth. I almost had it under control.” And before she could ask, Mack dipped his head and touched his lips to hers. It was the most tender kiss Lizzie could ever remember receiving.

Mack raised his head and looked into her beautiful brown eyes. Her lovely little pixie face reminded him of a young Audrey Hepburn. Not “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Audrey, but ‘Sabrina‘, pre-Paris Audrey. All innocence. Mack started to lower his head to kiss her again, but stopped just short of contact. He cocked his head and started to lever himself off her.

“Daddy’s home.”


* * *


Jake walked in the door and nodded to Mack who was sitting on the love seat, a glass of ice tea in his hand. Lizzie was on the couch, right leg crossed over her left, foot pumping a mile a minute and her arms crossed around her mid-section. Looking at them, Jake nodded. Something was off here.

Mack was able to get his body under control, but just barely. He didn’t want to greet Jake at the door with his camo’s tented. Jake might get the wrong idea. Or figure out the right one. Mack stood and walked over to Jake, extending his hand.

“Good work tonight, Captain. What do you think the chance are that Mr. Penn will be convicted”

Jake shook Mack’s hand. “DA thinks it will be a slam-dunk. Between the confession and the DNA we were able to get when he ejaculated we can tie him to several of the other murders.” Jake motioned with his head towards the bedroom. “How’s she doing?”

Lizzie stood up then, walking around Mack to face her father. “I’d say she has a mild case of shock, but other than that, she should be okay. She was sleeping a while ago. I can‘t wait to hear the story, but tonight, I think you need to climb into bed with Diana and hold her. As much for her as for you. You look like hell, papa.”

Jake enfolded Lizzie in a bear hug, kissed her on the cheek and thanking her for being there. He then opened the door and walked both Mack and Lizzie out. He stood and watched Lizzie get into her car. He watched as Mack watched Lizzie and wondered what he interrupted. Lizzie flashed her lights, backed out of the drive way and left. Mack stood staring after her retreating tail-lights.

Chapter 1

The two women sat at the table, heads together going over the seating chart in front of them. Two heads as different as night and day. One, 30 years old, onyx black hair, pixy cut, younger than the other. The other, 27 years older, long, snow white hair, braided, down her back. It was late July in the southern California low desert and the high today was expected to be 115 degrees. Both women wore shorts, tank tops and each had a glass of hibiscus tea in front of them.

“I think it’s pretty neat of the club to let you have your wedding there. I mean, I don’t know of too many people who have been up there, much less been inside the clubhouse.” Lizzie told her soon to be step mother Diana. Diana worked at one of the most prestigious country clubs in the country where just the lots went for five million and up. Set up in the hills above the desert floor, it was a haven for billionaires, movie stars, corporate CEO‘s and giants of industry.

“Yes, I wasn’t even thinking of it, but when the General Manager offered it at such a deal, I couldn’t think of any reason to turn him down. And with Pauly and Gina no longer having to do the catering, they’ll be free to join the rest of us and enjoy the celebration.” Pauly and Gina and their five month old son had been friends of Diana’s since Pauly helped her out many years ago by stepping in at the last moment to help cater an event at the country club when the caterer Diana had originally hired had flaked on her. Their restaurant in the city of Palm Desert had also been the place she and her soon to be husband, Jake, had their real first date.

“But what about the other party? Will Pauly be catering that one?” Lizzie asked wondering about the “other“ party Diana would be hosting. She had been to the restaurant many times with her father and Diana and knew it was one of the best Italian food places in the desert.

“No, I’ll use the usual caterer for that one. Since Pauly and Gina aren’t aware of that side of my identity, they won’t be there.” Diana replied

“I still don’t quite see why you keep that part of you life separate, Diana. I mean it is the twenty-first century and I would think most people would be accepting of your alternate persona.”

Diana sighed. She’d asked herself that question so many times.

“You would think that, wouldn’t you. But you would be amazed at how many people might be accepting of certain lifestyles when they’re talking about it with other people, but behind closed doors, they still think of it as wrong. Sick and harmful... Abusive. How long do you think I would keep my Admin job if the General Manager and Board of Directors knew that for the last thirty plus years I was a professional female Dominant? Even if several of the people who own homes in the club are my clients. They might not know who I am because of the costumes I wear, but I can guarantee that they don‘t want to walk into the office and see the woman that blistered their bottom sitting in the GM‘s office.”

Lizzie thought about that for a moment and then unable to help herself, giggled. The giggle turned into a laugh and pretty soon, both women were laughing so hard they were holding their sides.

“Yes, I’m not sure how I would react if I knew that one of the surgeons I was assisting was one of your clients. I mean… Wait, Diana! What’s that look? Oh… My… God…!”

Diana looked at Lizzie with a small smile on her face.

“Diana!? Are you telling me that one of the surgeons I work with is a client of yours?”

Diana’s small smile never left her face, but she held up three fingers.

“Three?” Lizzie asked dumbfounded.

“That was more than I should have said Lizzie. I’ve been able to do what I do for as long as I have by being very discrete. I have never spoken the names of any of my clients to anyone. Even other Dominants.”

“Not even Dad?” Lizzie asked.

“No, not even your father. Mack knows most of them, but I trust him with my life. I know he would never say anything to anyone. And you have to remember, that not all the men I session with are submissives. Actually, quite a few are Dominants who feel that they are better by having been in a submissive position once or twice a year. And the more Dominant the personality, the more a person needs the release of a good submissive session.”

Diana had noticed the look on Lizzie’s face at the mention of her long time friend and protector, Mack, and smiled. She had seen the interest when, last year, a man who wanted to become Mistress Jade’s submissive had started murdering women across the state. Mack had been instrumental in helping Jake keep Diana safe and taking down the murderer, William Penn.

“So, have you and Mack… You know. Is he your submissive?” Lizzie kept her eyes on the seating chart as one finger moved a couple of the names on the chart around, but looked up when Diana snorted out a laugh.

“Lizzie-girl,” Diana said using Jake’s pet name for Lizzie, “Can you see Mack as a submissive? No, Mack and I are friends. And truth be told, as long as I’ve known him, I really know very little about him.”

“How did you two meet, anyway?”


* * *


Diana thought back over ten years, when she was just getting ready to open her club, the “Play-Pen”. She had been looking for a head of security due to the clientele she knew would be members and attending as guest at the club. She’d needed someone in whom she could trust with her secrets, someone with the utmost honor and discretion. After interviewing close to thirty people, both men and women, Mack had walked in. Having been in the business for as long as she had, along with working with the rich and famous, the movers and shakers in the entertainment, corporate and government worlds, honed her skills on reading people quickly. And first impressions were lasting.

He’d pulled up in front of the building on a large Harley-Davidson with everything he owned strapped to the back. Her first impression of Mack was BIG. But once she got past the six foot four inches of pure muscle, she had been impressed with his quiet strength of character. But it was the laser blue eyes that carried the pain of hurt and loss that captured her attention. Pain of loss for what, she didn’t know. He’d answered her questions with thoughtful answers, never trying too hard to impress her. He never said ten words when five would do. She’d known without a shadow of a doubt that this was a man she would be able to trust with her secrets, her business and even her life.

She’d stood at the end of the interview, shook his hand and offered him the job. She could tell she’d taken him by surprise with the offer, but he hadn’t accepted the job immediately.

When she’d asked him to fill out some forms for a background check, it was then he admitted that he didn’t have a current address. Since getting out of the Marines, he’d pretty much been a vagabond, working when he had to, but never settling in one place for too long.

Again, surprising him, she’d taken him upstairs to the third level attic area of the warehouse that would become the “Pen” in a few months when construction was complete. She’d explained that only the first two levels would be used for business and offered the upper, open space to him. There was a small kitchen area complete with old gas stove and oven, an old refrigerator and older sink. The full bathroom was small, but housed a toilet, shower stall and running water. She’d offered to have a crew come in and put up walls to divide living areas, but Mack looked around and told her he liked the open feel of the area. In accepting the living arrangements, Mack had insisted on paying rent for the space or taking lower wage in exchange for living there. No matter how much Jade protested, Mack had been firm. Jade felt it boded well for their future dealings.

Now, if he didn’t totally freak out and decide he didn’t want to take the job, when she explained about her business, they were in great shape.

Back in the office, she’d explained to him what the club was to be and why she needed security. Without a word, he listened to her, nodding now and then to let her know he understood. It was nothing he hadn’t known went on. Even participated in behind closed doors with willing partners. He was a Dominant pure and simple. He hadn’t gotten where he’d been in the Marines by being submissive. But an entire club devoted to BDSM, he thought? Brilliant and his estimation of her business acumen rose a bit as she’d explained her business plan. It was when she came to the part about private sessions, that his eyebrows shoot almost to his hairline.

So, you want me to deal with them after, is that correct?”

She’d nodded. “They will most likely be naked and exhausted. Some might need help getting to the shower, or even getting dressed. Then escorted out the door. You won‘t have to worry about cleaning up after.” She continued. “I have submissives who are trained and will take care of that.” She spoke so easily about it and he had to admire her forthrightness. When she stood, signaling the interview was over, Mack stood also.

Before you complete the construction, I would like to offer some ideas about security.”

She’s inclined her head and retook her seat, signaling that Mack do the same.

No time like the present. Tell me what you suggest.”

For the next hour, Mack and she brain stormed ideas. It had been his idea about the outer “alcove” holding area before the actual entrance to the club. It had also been his idea of the camera’s mounted around the roof to monitor around the perimeter of the club. If the clientele was as private as she intended, they needed to be aware of anyone trying to get close. Camera’s might be a last, best defense in identifying snoopers, but it was a start. Wireless fences with alarms around the property’s boundary line could come later, if needed. And a control room in which to monitor everything.

When they’d finished, Mack accepted the job and they’d never looked back.


* * *


“Hey, you still with me?” Lizzie asked.

“Yes, just thinking. Mack and I met when he applied for a job. That was just over ten years ago. And I haven‘t regretted hiring him for a second since.”

“So, Di, can I ask you a question?”

Diana had to stifle a laugh. She’d once told Jake, Lizzie’s father, that he could ask the question, but she didn’t necessarily have to answer.

“You can ask, Lizzie, but I might choose to not answer.”

Lizzie nodded, her hands were suddenly busy shredding paper. First the paper towel under the tea glass used to sop up the condensation, then picking up a piece of paper with a guest name on it.

Diana grabbed the paper with the name, and covered both Lizzie’s hands with hers.

“Ask, Lizzie… I won’t bite, I promise.

Lizzie’s dark eyes, so like her father met Diana’s.

“I want you to teach me. Teach me to be Dominant.”

Diana knew this was coming. She’d seen the way Lizzie had watched her and knew she’d been in the back room that now housed Diana and Jakes play room. And since finding out about Diana’s alternate persona, Lizzie had asked question after question when she and Diana were alone. And as much as she might want to help, Diana had always been truthful to a fault.

“Lizzie, I would love to train you. But I can’t in good conscience train you as a Dominant. I just don’t see you in that role.” Diana said softly, trying to soften the blow. “But I do see in you the makings of a world class submissive.”

“Why don’t you think I would be a good Dominant, Diana? I mean, don’t you..”

“Elizabeth!”

Lizzie had never heard that tone of voice from Diana and her eyes widened, then shifted down to the table top and the words died on her lips as her mouth snapped shut.

Lizzie’s dark eyes rose and met Diana’s jade green ones. Shoulders slumped as eye lids came down and covered those dark brown eyes and Diana knew Lizzie understood. A Dominant would have met the gaze head on.

Only a submissive would lower their eyes in such a way.

Lizzie blew out a deep sigh and finally raised her eyes to meet Diana’s apologetic ones.

“I understand.”

“Lizzie, you know I couldn’t love you more if you were my own, but you have to understand that you, your entire nature, your gentle soul, the profession you’ve chosen, is one of a caregiver. And as such, you have that strong instinct to take care of and serve others. And being a submissive is no small task. A submissive really welds more power than a Dominant. And while I might be able to help train you, I have a man whom I will be, let’s call it, ‘instructing’ for lack of a better word, that I think you’d be the perfect submissive for.”

“You’ve given me something to think about. If not as a Dominant, then maybe as a submissive. Let me think it over. But I got to tell you, I really had my heart set on cracking that whip of yours.” She’d said it as a means to break any tension between them and when Diana laughed, Lizzie knew it’d worked.


* * *


“I’m sorry, what do you want me to do?” Mack knew the second Mistress Jade had entered the building. The little system of alarms around the building let him know when anyone entered or exited the building. And from the remote login on the tablet he kept in his apartment above the “Play Pen” he could access the camera’s throughout the building. The minute the alarm had been deactivated, he’d checked who’d come in and then joined her in her office to inquire why she was here on a week day evening.

“I think you heard me. But if I have to say it again, I will. I want you to start training as my replacement. I realize that very few of my male customers will want a male Dominant for sessions, but what if I could find a submissive to act as a switch? A submissive you and I would train as your submissive and between the two of you, you would be able to handle any old and new customers that might come your way.”

Mack didn’t need to ask what a switch was. He’d been with Mistress Jade from the beginning of the club and figured he’d seen it all in that time. Well, not all, but a lot. A switch was a submissive or Dominant that switched easily between the two rolls. Most of the switches he’d seen were female submissives who would occasionally take on the Dominant roll with a submissive partner. He’d also seen Mistress Jade session with Dominants who felt it kept them ‘honest’ by once or twice a year switching roles and becoming a submissive for a day. Well, an hour or two, at least.

“And what makes you think I would want or even need a submissive?” Mack asked. He’d been standing when she’d first told him her plan. Now he pulled up one of the chairs in front of her desk and sat down, legs extended, elbows bent, resting on the arms of the chair, fingers interlaced and resting on his chest.

“Mack, I’ve watched you for the last ten years. In that entire time, with the exception of a night here or there with Samantha, I don’t think I’ve ever known you to date anyone.” Jade watched the slight flush of color rise in Mack’s face. He didn’t think she’d known about Samantha.

“And,” Jade continued, “I would like to think that in the next few years, when Jake retires, I can start taking time away from the club to do the things we plan to do. Travel. See the states. I‘d need someone to run this place. Even maybe buy in as a partner. And you would be my logical choice.”

“Just for the record, Sam and I are friends. Without benefits. As long as she was still married to that ass wipe, that’s all we could be.” Mack explained. “What about Master J or any of the other Dominants in the area? I would place money that any one of them would love to take over and run this place for you.”

Mack didn’t know why he wasn’t jumping at the chance to become a part of this. Well, yes he did, but he didn’t want to think on that right now.

“Yes, I’m sure they would, but I trust you, Mack. And, I get the feeling that without this, you’re going to bolt soon.”

Mack lowered his blue eyes, unable to meet Mistress Jades all seeing green gaze. Damn, he always knew she was perceptive, Mack thought.

“Let me think about it, Jade. I do like the idea of becoming part of all this” he waved his hand, encompassing the building. “But if I do accept, I’m going to have to take some time off. Take care of some things back home.”

Jade’s blink was the only indication of her surprise. It was the first time Mack had indicated that there was a ‘home’ somewhere other then where he was.

“Take the next month Mack. I’d like your answer, one way or another after the wedding though.”

Mack rose to his feet and started to leave. When he got to the door, he turned and asked the question he was afraid he already knew the answer to.

“Who exactly have you chosen as my submissive, Jade?”

Mistress Jade leaned back in her chair with what could only be described as the “cat eating the canary” grin on her face.

“Why, Lizzie of course, Mack.”

Only one word came to Mack’s mind as he turned and left the room, closing the door softly behind him.

Fuck!

Chapter 2

It was just six in the morning and already almost too hot to run. But putting one foot in front of the other, four miles into her five mile run, Lizzie thought back to her conversation with Diana. It had taken everything she had to bring up the topic of being trained as a Dominant. But Diana had been honest, even kind to Lizzie, when she let her know that she wasn’t going to help her. At least not become a Dominant. But a submissive? Lizzie had been doing a lot of research on the internet with regard to Dominant/submissive relationships. Now, at the age of thirty, and having worked long and hard for her independence, she just didn’t know if she had it in her to let a man dominant her. She knew that submissives held most of the power, or so the articles said, but she wasn’t sure she could trust any man enough to let go totally. She wasn’t a prude and she wasn’t a virgin, hadn’t been since her first year of nursing school. But she could count the number of sexual experiences she’d had since her first time on less than the ten fingers on her two hands. Being a medical professional and knowing all about AIDS, HIV, herpes and other STD’s kept her from casual encounters.

When she reached the point of her run, a half mile from her car, she fell into her cool down walk. She opened the spout on the bottle of water she carried and drank deeply. By the time she reached her car, she’d cooled down enough and climbed into the Pathfinder. She loved this car. It was too big for her and she’d considered trading it in for a smaller, more economical car. But every once in a great while, she would pack up her Scottish Terrier, Laddie and throw her tent and camping equipment into the back and take off for a few days camping along the coast. Driving home, Lizzie thought maybe it was time for a weekend get away.

By the time she’d showered and changed, it was time for her to head to the hospital. With several surgeries scheduled today, she knew it was going to be a long one. She pulled into the parking lot and felt the heat hit her when she opened the door to slide out. The temp today was only supposed to get to 110 degrees and she figured it was close to that now. She entered the surgical area and walked to the locker room, greeting nurses, orderlies and doctors as she went. She quickly changed into her scrubs and went to the scheduling board to see what was going on. As one of the dozen OR scrub nurses, she would be helping between two rooms today. One would be pretty routine and she liked and respected the doctor doing the procedure. The second would be more tricky. She and Dr. Andrew ‘Drew’ Mathews had never had what you would call an easy relationship. Lizzie had learned early in her career that all surgeons where egotistical, megalomaniacal and thought themselves to be Godlike. But for the most part, they also realized that a good OR support staff made their jobs easier. Dr. Drew Mathews wasn’t one of those. He was by far one of the best surgeons Lizzie had ever seen, but he was an pompous ass. Lizzie wondered if he could benefit from an hour under Mistress Jades’ hand. Then her eyes went wide. What if he was one of the three Diana had eluded to? That thought had Lizzie chuckling though her wash up.


* * *


Mack could feel the muscles in his legs burn as he ran the final stretch up the Bump and Grind Trail with a full pack on his back. The headband he wore to keep the sweat out of his eyes was saturated at this point and no longer able to stop the sweat from running down his face and stinging his eyes. The tank top he wore was also drenched and he was sure he smelled like a wet dog that hadn’t been bathed in a year. When he reached the top of the trail, he stood, bent at the waist with his hands braced on his knees, his chest like bellows pumping in air. When he got his wind back, he removed the pack and pulled out a two liter bottle of water and downed half of it. He then poured the other half over his head and stood straight, leaning back slightly to pull much needed oxygen into his lungs. He put the empty bottle back in the pack and pulled out another, walking in large circles while he drank, hoping he wouldn’t stiffen up too much. He’d let his training go in the last few months. Daily, he used the weights in his apartment, but running wasn’t anything he enjoyed doing since basic training. He’d done too much of it, but continued after he left the corps to help keep his body and mind strong. Now, standing at the top of the trail and looking out to the east and over the valley, he thought abut what Mistress Jade was offering him.


* * *


Mack was twenty and he’d been in his last year of college in Boston when the planes had hit the World Trade Center Towers, Pentagon and Flight 93 crashed in the field in Pennsylvania. Like many of his frat brothers, he’d enlisted the next day and been accepted into the Marine Corps. After graduating with his MA in business finance he reported for boot camp. For the next twelve weeks he’d trained and after boot camp, he’d reported to the middle east with his unit. After three years, Mack was able to apply and was accepted for the elite Marine Special Forces MARSOC Raider program. Then back to the middle east where, over the next several years, he’d seen things he never wanted to think about, much less see again. William Tecumseh Sherman knew what he was talking about when he said, “War was hell.”

But Mack considered himself one of the lucky ones. While on a particularly hairy extraction, the helo he’d been in had taken a hit in the back rotor. Only through the skill of the pilot had any one survived. But not with out injury. Mack had been shipped stateside and after several surgeries to remove shrapnel and repair his left shoulder and leg, he’d mustered out.

He’d returned to his parents home in upstate New York to recuperate and had planned to return to Boston to get his Bachelors degree. But after less than three months, Mack found he couldn’t get used to all the people. His well above upper middle class parents tried, but didn’t understand that the son they knew was no longer that boy. Their hovering irritated Mack to the point where he’d became sullen and withdrawn. When he was able, he sat his family down and told them he was leaving. He wasn’t sure when he would be back, he needed to take time. He would call and keep in contact. He loved them, but he needed to go.

Now ten, years later, at the ripe old age of thirty seven, the only evidence of that time, that war, were the scars. Some visible, some not.

Now, Mistress Jade, the woman he’d come to love and think of as a little sister, even if she was twenty years his senior, was offering him the chance of a lifetime. A chance at buying into a very profitable business and a chance to finally, settle down in one place. Jade had been right when she said she thought he was going to bolt. He’d felt the need in the last year to head back to New York and see his family. His parents weren’t getting any younger and the last time he spoke to his kid sister she’d mentioned his father had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Neither of his parents had said anything to him.

Then Mack thought about what else she’d offered. Lizzie… Elizabeth.

Mack hadn’t been in a long term relationship with a woman since college. Oh, he’d been with women, he wasn’t a monk. But those encounters were few and far between. But like a dog, Mack didn’t crap where he ate. He always took off and went to Orange County or San Diego to women he‘d met over the years. Never here in the valley.

No one here had ever piqued his interest until a little sprite, holding a big gun, opened the door to him almost a year ago. The one kiss they’d shared was impossibly sweet and unforgettable. Remembering the feel of her tiny body under his when he’d thrown her on the couch, caused his cock to harden at the most inopportune times. Like now… Shit! Mack picked up the pack and settled it back on his back. He adjusted his wayward cock and started the run down the trail. When he got back, he’d give Jade a call and set up a meeting and give her his answer.


* * *


The last eight hours had left Lizzie drained both mentally and physically. The first surgery had gone well. The team had performed seamlessly. But the last, a double by-pass had been a total screw up. Dr. Mathews was as sullen and rude as always, but it was the freshman scrub nurse, scared and fumbled fingered that had everyone on pins and needles. Lizzie’d had to replace her half way through the procedure when she’d run from the surgery in tears after the doctor had barked at her for the umpteenth time. The normally four hour procedure had taken two hours longer than it should have.

When she saw Dr. Mathews next, she was going to give him a good talking to.

Yeah, right… and lose her job.

Surgeons were the money makers for hospitals and they would replace her before they would him.

After Lizzie showered and changed in the locker room, she grabbed her purse and headed out the door to her car. When she got in the Pathfinder she turned the key in the ignition and turned on the AC full blast. Only then did she remembered she hadn’t turned her phone back on. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to, actually. After a day like today, she really didn’t want to do anything more than get home, put on her suit, head for one of the 22 pools in the condo complex and take a nice long swim. Not that it would be refreshing. As hot as it had been, the pool was more like a big bathtub. When the phone finished powering up, the four rapid tones let Lizzie know she had missed calls and texts. The message on Lizzie’s phone from Diana had Lizzie smiling.

“Lizzie-girl, come for dinner tonight. Your dad’s doing tri-tip on the grill and we’ll have Hawaiian Beans, coleslaw and tres-leche for dessert. We‘ll start when you get here. Give your dad a call and let him know when you‘re on your way.”

Lizzie had to smile at the message. Diana knew her Hawaiian Beans were the best and Lizzies favorites. And her papa did the best tri-tip. Lizzie checked the texts and both were from her father regarding dinner. Lizzie used the hands free controls on the steering wheel and called her dads cell.

“Hey Lizzie-girl, are you on your way?” Her father answered.

“Yep, should be there in about fifteen minutes. What’s the occasion? You usually save your tri-tip for company.”

“You’re company, Lizzie. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to sit down for a nice dinner together. You work too hard.”

“And who do I blame for instilling that work ethic in me?” Lizzie spoke smiling.

Jake grunted. “Must have been your mother. I’m not sure I did much more than teach you to shoot and fight.”

Lizzie laughed. “See you in a few.” She said and disconnected the call.

Chapter 3

Lizzie saw the fire engine red Corvette parked in front of her fathers house and slammed on the breaks jolting herself against the seatbelt. Damn. They didn’t tell her Mack was joining them. In the year since they’d met, Lizzie could tell you exactly how many times she and Mack had been in the same room. Thirty seven. And each time she could feel his laser blue eyes watching her. The attraction between them was palpable. She’d dreamt of the one kiss they’d shared. It had been a mere touching of lips. Innocent. And the feel of his body pressed against her when he’d taken enough of her finger poking him in the chest and had thrown her on the couch. Hard. Every inch of him was hard.

Lizzie let up on the break and coasted down the drive to her usual parking place, put the car in park and closing her eyes, took a deep breath. When she got her pulse under control, she grabbed her purse and opened the door. The evening heat hit her like a brick. God, when would it cool down again?

She knocked and not bothering to wait, opened the door, letting herself in the house. The smell of the Hawaiian beans filled the house. And the coolness of the AC was wonderful.

Diana came around the breakfast bar and enfolded Lizzie in a big hug.

“Put your stuff down. Did you bring your suit? We can have a swim after dinner if you did.” Diana talked over her shoulder as she walked back to the kitchen, Lizzie following on her heels.

“I always keep a suit is in my car. Never travel without one.” Lizzie replied.

“Good! Your father and Mack are on the patio just finishing up with the meat. You know men. Bonding over the grill.” Diana poured a large glass of the hibiscus tea over ice Lizzie had become addicted to since meeting her and handed it to Lizzie. “Why don’t you go out and say hello and I’ll finish up here and join you in a minute.”

Lizzie walked out the sliding glass door, closing it behind her. The smell of bar-b-que hit her and she inhaled deeply. She watched for a moment as the two men talked quietly. Her father, beer in his hand, while Mack had a glass of ice tea. She knew the second Mack became aware of her presence. She watched as his nostrils flared and he inhaled deeply through his nose as if he could smell her. His posture became straighter, his body harder, as if that was possible, and his laser blue gaze locked with her soft brown eyes. She met his stare, but didn’t drop her gaze.

Oh my, he was a beautiful man. His hair, the color of ripe wheat was a little longer then most of the men she knew wore it. With a slight natural wave, and thickness that most women would envy, it reminded her of a lions mane. At six foot four, he was a couple of inches taller than her father, but where her father had a swimmers physique, Mack was all hard muscles, that were barely contained by the polo shirt tucked into the cargo shorts he wore.

Her father looked over his shoulder following Mack’s gaze and spotting her, turned to enfold Lizzie in a bear hug. Lizzie returned the hug, but her eyes never left Mack’s.

“Good to see you, Lizzie-girl.” Jake held her at arms length and a small frown formed over his dark eyes. “You look tired. Was it a tough day?”

“No tougher than any other, papa.” She said pulling out of his arms, finally breaking the gaze with Mack and kissing her father on his cheek.

“Hello Mack. How are you?” Lizzie asked softly. This time her gaze settled in the vicinity of his chin.

“Hello Elizabeth, I’m well, thank you. And you?” Mack returned just as softly.

“A little tired today, but this too shall pass.”

“Well, instead of heading home after dinner, why don’t you plan on staying here tonight? You know we always have room for you.” Jake said as he opened the top of the grill. “Be right back. Need to get a platter for these and after they rest for a few, dinner will be served.”

The minute the door closed behind Jake, Mack took a step towards Lizzie. His hand raised and his thumb gently brushed against her lower lip. The breath caught in Lizzie’s chest. It was the first time he’d touched her since that night. Then he was stepping back, putting space between them as the sliding door opened and Jake returned to take the meat from the grill.

“Why don’t you two go in and have a seat. I’ll be in as soon as I get this off the grill.”

Mack stepped around Elizabeth and opened the slider, ushering her in before him.

“Thank you, Mack.” His name was barely a whisper from her lips, but it was enough to have his cock twitching. He placed his hand on her back and she felt the warmth radiate though her body, as he ushered her down the hallway and to the dinning area. He pulled out her chair and as she sat, she could have sworn she felt his hand stoke across her shoulders before he took his seat.

“I need to see if I can help Diana with anything.” Lizzie started to scoot her chair back and just as the words were out of Lizzie’s mouth, Diana came in from the kitchen with the beans and sent the dish on the trivet next to her seat.

“No, Lizzie, you stay. Everything is under control and as soon as Jake cuts the meat, we’ll eat. In the mean time, you keep Mack company.” And with that, Diana went down the hall.

Mack heard the slider open and close. He had to chuckle to himself, which brought Elizabeth’s gaze back to him.

“What?” Lizzie asked.

“Diana. She’s giving us time, Elizabeth.” Mack replied.

“It’s Lizzie. Only my mother calls me Elizabeth and only then when she’s angry with me.”

“No, Lizzie was the girl. Elizabeth is the woman.” His woman, Mack wanted to bellow and thump his chest. “A beautiful woman who hasn’t realized her power, yet. But you will, Elizabeth. Soon.” Again, his hand came up and his thumb caressed her lips.

His hand returned to rest on the top of the table, but Lizzie could still feel the caress on her lips. Her tongue snuck out, licking the lower lip before biting gently with her upper teeth.

She heard Mack inhale sharply. Then swear under his breath when he heard the sliding glass door open and close signaling the return of their hosts.

“Come out with me this Thursday, Elizabeth.” he said softly before Diana and Jake returned to the room.

“Yes, Mack.”

For the next two hour Mack enjoyed himself. In the ten years he’d been in the desert he’d made no attempt to develop friendships. He was very comfortable with his own company and the quiet soothed his soul. Not feeling he had to constantly hold up his end of a conversation was what he was looking for in a relationship. He watched the interplay between his friend Diana and Jake. The love they felt for each other was palpable. But it was the little pixie sitting on the love seat next to him that captured his attention.


* * *


After his run, Mack had called Jade and asked to speak with her privately. He’d accepted her offer to take on more responsibility at the “Pen”, but with conditions.

Sitting in Mistress Jade’s office, Mack offered another alternative to Elizabeth becoming a switch.

“I will agree to have you train me to take over for you and to train Elizabeth as my submissive, but I don’t think she has it in her to be a switch, Jade. She’s a healer. She could no more blister a man’s ass then commit murder.”

Jade nodded and waited for Mack to continue.

“I think the answer to the problem is Samantha. In all the years you‘ve known her, has she ever taken a lover or shown any interest in being submissive to any of the single Masters here at the club?”

Mistress Jade thought about it. She did have to agree with Mack. Lizzie didn’t have it in her to do what needed to be done. But Samantha?

“No, I don’t think she ever has, Mack. But do you think Samantha has what it takes to be Dominant?”

“Yes, Jade, I do. Over the last several of years, she and I have spent a lot of time together. She’s such a strong woman, Jade. She couldn’t have survived what she has if she wasn’t. And, I think for her, it would be a “job”. Mack’s fingers air-quoted around the word. “I know she’s not interested in the sexual aspects like a lot of Mistress’s are.”

The more they talked, the more what Mack suggested made sense.

“I see that you’ve given this a lot of thought Mack. And I appreciate that. I think when the time comes, I will be able to hand over the reins without a qualm.”

“One more thing, Jade.” Mack shifted in the chair in front of the antique desk Jade sat behind.

Jade sat, hands on the desk, fingers interlaced waiting for Mack to continue.

“Have you told Elizabeth that she is being trained for me? That I am to be her Master?”

“She approached me wanting to be trained as a Dominant, Mack. And as we have just discussed, she couldn’t do it. I offered a solution. I told her I was instructing a new Dominant and felt she would do well as His submissive. I didn’t mention you by name, no.”

Mack nodded thoughtfully. “Stall her, please. Give me a few weeks. I have to go back east for a few weeks to take care of family business. Then, when I come back, I’d like to start.”

Mack saw the look of concern in Jade’s beautiful green eyes.

“Don’t worry, Jade. I’ll be back before the wedding.”


* * *


“I hate to break up the evening, but I have to get home before I fall over.” Lizzie followed up her statement by stifling a yawn.

Mack stood and extended his hand to help her from the couch, dropping it once she was on her feet. Thanks from Mack and Lizzie for dinner was offered and then both headed out the door. Before they got to Lizzies car, Mack heard Jake exclamation of “What the hell?” and the front door slam shut. Mack took the fob from Elizabeth’s hands and punched the control to deactivate the alarm. Before she could open the door, Mack turned her towards him, leaning her back against the driver side door. He was so close Lizzie had to tilt her head back to see his eyes.

“I‘ll follow you home, Elizabeth.”

“You don’t have to do that, Mack. I’m a big girl.”

“I’ll follow you home, Elizabeth. I’ll need to know where you live.”

“Oh, Thursday. Yeah, sort of forgot about that.”

Mack raised one eyebrow. “Am I so forgettable, Elizabeth?”

“No, what I mean is…” Damn, she was a thirty year old woman, reduced to stammering with one look from him. “No, Mack, you are anything but forgettable. I only meant that you might want to meet somewhere. Since I’m never quite sure what time I will be out of the OR. I usually arrange to meet my dates. It also makes it easier in case it doesn’t work out. I’m not stuck in a car with someone I know I have no intention of ever seeing again. Also makes that moment at the front door a lot less awkward. It also…”


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