"Are you sure about this?" my friend Tori asks, shooting me a doubtful glance as we pull into the drop-off lane at the Austin airport. She frowns. "I still don't think it's a good idea."
"You're one to talk," I tease as I open the door. "I swear I saw rope marks on your wrists this morning."
She has the good grace to blush at that.
I open the passenger door as Tori slams the car into park and gets out to follow me around to the back. Damn, but that woman can be persistent. It's one of the many reasons she's one of the top FBI agents in the field office where we both work, and why I love being assigned to work cases with her. That and the fact that she's one of my closestfriends, along with Kate, the other female agent in our office who's the thirdmember of our bad-ass girl gang.
"If you want to see if you like being tied up, fine," she continues as I lift my carry-on bag out of the trunk."I'm not judging, I promise. I just don't think your first experience with BDSM should be at a weekend retreat out in the middle of nowhere where you don't know anyone. Find a guy you like,get to know him, and then explore your fantasies with him."
"You're the one who told me about the retreat," I remind her.
She rolls her eyes. "I thought you were asking for a case."
I love Tori, but she has no idea what it's like to be me. She's married to one of the sexiest and most self-confident men I've ever met, who in addition to being rumored to have singularly erotic tastes, also happens to be charming, wickedly funny, an incredibly talented singer, and completely and unequivocally in love with his wife.
I set my bag down and look her in the eye."That would be ideal," I agree, "but men like Drake are rare. You're lucky that you found someone who's not intimidated by your job. Men are only into me until they find out who I am or what I do. After that they either run for the hills or become groveling idiots. After eight to ten hours a day of being a bad ass, I just want someone else to take charge. Is that so wrong?"
Tori sighs."Of course not. I just don't know if this is the best way to go about finding what you want."
"I can't think of a better way," I say resolutely. "This is actually perfect. I can explore what it's like, and what I like, without any strings attached, and I won't run into anyone I know since it's in Denver. And you said yourself that your brother-in-law's friend who organized the retreat is both classy and experienced with this...kind of thing."
Tori nods slowly."That's true. He's owned an exclusive club in Houston for years and I know he'll make sure things stay safe and consensual."
"Don't worry. I'll be fine," I assure her."I catch bad guys for a living, same as you. You should know better than anyone that I can protect myself."
"I'm more worried about your heart," she mutters darkly as I give her one last hug before walking into the airport.
My heart is the last thing I'm worried about. I've given up on finding anyone worthy of it, and I certainly have no intention of giving it to anyone. My body, on the other hand, is another story. It craves a man who can own it, who can take my senses, my power, and my choice and give me freedom in return. I want a man strong enough to possess me, a man I can surrender to, who can take what he wants and in the process, pry the world from my tight grip and set me free to just feel and experience.
If I didn't know a man like that existed, maybe I'd be content to settle for less. But I found it once, and that one man who made love to me a lifetime ago has ruined me for everyone since. I don't even know why I'm thinking about MarcusDunn now. It's been ten years since hepinned my hands over my head and drove into me with a force that sent mespiraling into pleasure I'd never experienced before or since. I shake my head, trying to rid myself of the unwanted memory of him--the sculpted hard planes of his tanned face, his powerful body that he worked so hard to keep in prime condition, the way his smile reached his expressive brown eyes, and his naturally commanding presence that demanded respect and deference from everyone he came in contact with.
I shake my head, mentally shoving the memoriesback into the box distinctly marked DoNot Open. I distract myself by talking to the sweet five-year-old seated next to me, and when my plane lands in Denver, I've successfully banished all thoughts of the man I shared the best summer of my life with. I'm ready to have some fun, and if things work out the way I hope, some mind-blowing sex!