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Authors: Erin Lark

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BOOK: Finding Orion
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Goodbye awkward silence.
Well, I’d
give him one
thing,
he sure knew how to talk through
strange situations. Normally I wouldn’t care for casual conversation like this,
but it sure beat what had been on my mind earlier.
Mr. Evans, you’re a mystery.
Sleep
be
damned. I was going to figure him out.
Somehow.

"So,
about those neighbors?" he asked again.

I groaned.
"Lovebirds.
I swear, when I get a new place, I’m going
to check for paper-thin walls first. It’s one thing to be woken up by them
going at it, and even worse when you have no way to compete with it."

Jace
smirked and
wiped at the corners of his eyes. "Man, do I ever know how that feels."
He showed me the picture from before. "See those two standing next to me?
Best guys I could ever ask for, but get anywhere near them when they have a
girl hanging from their arm? Forget it."

"And
you’re sure that isn’t why you’re out here now with a complete stranger?"

"I wouldn’t
call you a
complete
stranger. More
like a very recent acquaintance. To be honest, I’m kind of new at this
relationship thing. Or well…" He half shrugged and loosened his tie. "That’s
to say that…fuck. Help me out here, will
ya
?"

"It’s
been a long time for me as well." I offered him a sympathetic look which
wasn’t lost on him at all.

He forced a
smile and nodded for me to continue as we rounded the corner to the bar.

"Why do
they have to make relationships so goddamn complicated?"

"Ugh,
tell me about it,”
he
sympathized. “You put yourself
out there and you know at least one of you is going to get hurt."

"So
which was it for you?"

Jace
paused just
outside the bar and leaned his back against the building. "What do you
mean?"

"Who
walked away with the broken heart?"

Now it was
his turn to look away, and I knew the rigidness to his posture was the only
answer he’d give.

"Yeah,"
I said, taking my place beside him.
"Me too."

The last guy
I was with was only in it for one thing. I tried to make it work. I tried to
get him to go out on a real date, but each time it seemed as though we had
something planned, he’d call last minute to cancel. And after months of this, I
decided to count it as a loss and stopped making reservations.

Now whenever
a guy looked at me, I was pretty sure they saw me the same way my ex did.
A quick meal.
Hell, they weren’t even willing to try
half the things I was interested in, and I’m not talking movies either.

"How
long?"
I asked, trying to ease us through the uncomfortable
minefield of exes.

Jace
shook his
head.
"Seven months and then some maybe?"

Why does it feel like I know this guy?
Here he was,
bearing his soul to me as if we were long lost friends. And if this were a
dream, it would probably make sense, but now? First I had a dream about a Dom I
would've loved to meet,
then
I find a guy who looks
almost identical but acts nothing like him.

The
worst part of it all?
I wanted to help him. Deep down, it almost felt
as if
Jace
was Orion. He’d already told me he’d been
hurt, and I didn’t have to ask for details to see it was still bothering him.
The bigger question was if he’d been a Dom in the past and if so, was there a
way for me to get him back.

Give it some time.
Don’t act desperate.
 

A faint
buzzing from
Jace’s
pocket brought us both back to
the present, and I stepped away when he mouthed the word
sorry
before picking up the line. We might not have been able to
grab dinner, and it might not have been a real date by anyone else’s standards,
but I’d actually had a good time.

He didn’t try
to hold my hand. He hadn’t even placed his arm against the small of my back.
He respects boundaries.
Not to mention
we’d just met.
Not like you haven’t had one-nightstands
before.
Yeah, but this was different.

He wasn’t
trying to get in my pants. It almost seemed as if he was just happy for the
company.
That makes two of us.
It was
a casual friendship, which was exactly what we both probably needed.

"I’m so
sorry about that,"
Jace
whispered, placing a
hand on my shoulder. "Unfortunately, I have to go." He held up his
phone.
"Emergency at work."

I furrowed my
brow. "Wow, they really do call you every hour of the day, don’t they?"

He nodded and
fished in his pocket for his keys. "But I’m only on call until six, so the
worst is almost over." Leaning forward, he kissed me on the cheek,
then
said, "We should do this again sometime."

"What
part?" My cheeks were burning and I couldn’t help smiling at the very soft
gesture he’d just made.
"The dinner or the walk?"

"Both."

Before I
could come up with some formal reply, he was running down the street to where
he’d probably left his car.
Fuck.
I’d
completely forgotten to give him my number.
He
didn’t offer you his either.
No, but I did have his phone in my hands.
Twice.

Oh well. It
wasn’t like I wouldn’t see him again, and if this was the last I saw of
Jace
, at least I still had Orion. Sleeplessness aside, it
had been a very productive evening.

 

 

Chapter Five

 

The darkness
cocooned me like a warm blanket as I waited for Master Orion’s arrival, and as
I fell into dreaming, I soon found myself in his arms. He was quiet then, his
breathing slow and steady compared to my erratic heartbeat. Blood welled behind
my ears, and I swallowed as I tried to steel myself for what I might see when I
looked up at him.

After my walk
with
Jace
, I wasn’t sure what to expect. They looked
so much alike. Was it possible they could be the same person?
How can you dream about someone you’ve never
met?
I must’ve seen him in passing, on the television or something!
Otherwise none of this made any sense.

Orion shifted
his weight from one foot to the other as he reached for the nightstand beside
my bed. My stomach twisted, and my breath caught when I heard the jingle of a
buckle as he removed the collar from the top drawer.

"You’re
very quiet this evening," he said, lifting my chin so I could meet his
gaze. "What troubles you?”

I closed my
eyes before I could answer, and he took a step back.

For the
longest moment he was silent, slowly moving around me.
To my
side.
Behind me.
To the other
side.
Circling.
Always
moving.
Breathing.
Never
speaking.

Heat pricked
my skin the longer he made me stand there. His missing touch became even more
evident as my body started to cool down. Just like the night before, I was
naked, and this time so was he. But standing there, under his watch, I was completely
exposed to his sight, his touch. I wanted him to touch me.
To
reach out to me.
To press his lips to mine.

He moved
again,
then
stopped.

Breathe.
I exhaled and almost
wobbled from the lightheadedness.
This is
your dream. You can make him whoever you want.
Question was, who did I want
more—Orion, or
Jace
, whom I knew nothing about?
They’re the same person.
It didn’t
matter. I’d done more with Orion than I had with
Jace
.
And while I felt some sort of emotional connection to
Jace
,
Orion was who I needed most.

"I asked
you a question." Master Orion’s voice was hoarse. "Why won’t you look
at me? Do I scare you?"

By now, my
arms were behind my back and my head was bowed. "No, Master."

"Then
why deny me your sight?"

I took a shaky
breath. "Because…I’m afraid of what I might—who I might see."

He rested a
hand on one of my shoulders. "And what is it that causes this fear?"

"Another…"
Another what? Man?
I frowned as I
tried to find the right words. "Another you, Master.
Someone
who looks like you."

He scoffed. "Is
that all?"

Tears stung
at my eyes, and I looked up at him. "It's not foolish of me?"

"Of
course not.
As I said before, while you’re in this world, you’re stuck
with me. Anyone you meet during your waking life has no hold over what we have
here.
Now."

"Then
why do I feel so confused?"

"Do you
feel like you’re betraying one of us?"

I shook my
head. "How could I? All
Jace
and I have done is
talked."

"And you
feel something for this…
Jace
is it?"

I nodded. "At
least, I think I do." I let my shoulders slump forward and was somewhat
relived when Orion didn’t correct me. "But we only just met."

"So have
we."

"But you
were first. I just don’t know what to trust."

Master Orion
set the collar back on the nightstand. "As much as I’d like for us to
repeat what happened last evening, it would be wrong of me to act dominate
toward you when you yourself aren’t sure of what you want. So tell me, have you
ever dreamed of an ex while you were with another man?"

"A few
times, yes."

"And
during those times, did you feel at all like you’re feeling now?"

"No. It
would’ve been stupid because it was just a—"

Master Orion
was nodding before I finished. "It’s just a dream. What we have may feel
real, and perhaps in some way it is, but you have two lives now.
One with me when you sleep, and another while you’re awake.
And seeing as I can't join you in your waking life, I couldn’t possibly ask you
to be loyal to me all the time. All I ask is that you let me have your dreams.
The men you meet during the day can have the rest. Understand?"

 
Leave it to my subconscious to make me look
like a complete ass. I forced a smile and inclined my head before closing my
eyes. I sensed Master Orion's presence as he shifted his weight again, a slight
breeze brushing against my skin as he moved.

He returned
moments later, possibly with the collar. And like before, he made me wait.

He’d buried
my fears, shot them down. Now all that was left was my anticipation of what was
to come. And given the fact that we were nearing the early morning hours, I had
to wonder if he’d vanish when it got light outside or if it only ever happened
when I was about to wake up.

I hoped for
both our sakes it was the latter and tossed that concern to the side completely
when something cold slipped against my neck. I froze and held my breath. It was
instant submission. In the time it took Orion to fasten the collar around my
neck, my mind was in another place entirely.

Instead of
worrying about daylight and living two different lives, all I could think about
was that collar, Master Orion’s control over me, and how badly I wanted to
please him. I didn’t care if things ended just as abruptly as they did the
night before. So long as I could taste him—so long as he let me
touch
him, I’d be happy.

His lips
brushed against my ear when he spoke. "Kneel."

Steadying
myself with both hands, I dropped to my knees and widened my stance before
placing my arms behind my back. I yelped when he grabbed at my hair, yanking it
back so hard it hurt. I opened my eyes and closed
them
seconds later when I read the silence on his lips. His eyes had darkened.
Whatever gentleness I’d seen in him earlier was gone.

"Tell me
your safe words," he ordered, releasing his hold on my hair so I could
relax.

"Yellow
to slow down."
I swallowed and corrected my posture before he
could have a chance at fixing it himself.
"Red to stop.
Master."

"Good
girl." He caressed one of my cheeks, trailing his very light touch over my
lips, down my neck, between my breasts. He stopped. "Am I scaring you?"

"No,
Master."

His thumb
brushed one of my nipples. "Do I make your nervous?"

"Yes,
Master."

"Good. A
sub should be nervous. Anticipation and games of the mind are what we do best.
But your submission isn’t enough. You give that to me willingly, but to see you
like this?" He let out a contented sigh. "To see how hard it is for
you to practice patience—that's what I like most of all. Does this anger you?
Are you upset with me for making you wait?"

BOOK: Finding Orion
11.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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