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Copyright © NICOLE AUSTIN, 2016
Claire ran a brush through her hair, grabbed the checklist and walked the few blocks. A cheery bell tinkled as she opened the door to find the ice cream parlor empty. She picked a table facing the glass shop front and waited.
Did Mason do this to her on purpose? She always seemed to be waiting on him. She understood his business was relatively new and required long hours. Still, constantly waiting grew old fast.
When his Bronco pulled up outside she glanced at her watch. Fifteen minutes late. He strolled toward her table, calm and in control.
“Hello, Claire.” No apology. Mason simply nodded toward the refrigerated cases. “Did you pick a flavor?”
“Not yet.” Hearing the irritation in her voice, she made an effort to lighten her tone. “I was waiting for you.”
He held out a hand to help her up and didn’t let go as they perused the offerings. Once they each had a cone they sat on a bench outside. Mason looked over the checklist without comment then locked it in his car.
“It’s a nice day. How about a walk?”
She nodded and they took a leisurely stroll, stopping every so often to window shop. As usual, Mason was in no hurry, their conversation casual.
“Why did you become a property appraiser? What drew you to the business?”
“I used to be a real estate agent, which was an okay job but I’m not a good salesperson. I do like buildings though, especially older ones.” She thought back on her childhood daydreams, how she’d stand outside a building and try to picture the interior layout.
“My friend works in a bank and complained about the excessive wait for appraisals because no one in our area did them so I checked into it.” She licked her ice cream for a moment as she remembered how everything had just clicked. “Turned out it suited me. I get to make my own hours, meet new people, use my math skills and indulge my curiosity.”
Mason nodded as if he read more into her explanation than she’d said. “And how did you discover you were a submissive?”
She didn’t even attempt to hold back a wicked grin. “Guy I was dating got invited to a munch and took me. The more I learned about BDSM the more interested I became. At first he was into it, thought it was fun. After a while he lost interest but I didn’t.” She shrugged. “We broke up and I continued to explore. Like the job, it suited me.”
Yes, there was a great deal more to it but same as with her job, getting into BDSM she’d felt the pieces click into place.
“So you’ve always been happiest when seeing to the needs of others. A true, natural submissive.”
Claire stopped in her tracks and stared at Mason for a long moment. How the hell did he do it? A bit of general small talk and he saw deeper into her heart than lifelong friends ever had. Deeper than even she had seen.
“You adapt, changing yourself to please those you love.”
He dropped that bomb so casually, as if making a general observation but getting right to the heart of the matter. And it made sense. It put several pieces of her life together. Made her take a second look at the big decisions and changes. Each and every one had been sparked by the needs of others.
At heart she was a nurturer, a caretaker. When someone she cared about needed something, Claire did whatever she could to fill the need. She’d done so her entire life and never made the connection.
“When’s the last time you did something because it pleased you?”
Good question. Racking her brain, she came up blank. She couldn’t think of one instance where something she’d done had been just for her. As she thought, Mason’s ice cream melted, a slow-moving river of chocolate rolling over his fingers.
Her first instinct was to reach out with her napkin and wipe the chocolate away for him. But what did she want? What would please her?
She’d love to taste both the ice cream and Mason.
Claire took a step closer, held his wrist with her free hand and acted without overthinking it. She moved even closer, stuck out her tongue and watched his expression from beneath her lashes as she slowly licked the chocolate from his hand.
Mason’s intense, ice-blue eyes heated, filling with lust. When she reached the top of his hand, she swirled her tongue around the ice cream, imagining it was his cock. She circled the scoop of chocolate, humming in appreciation of the flavor. His entire body tensed and she knew he pictured the same thing she did.
Glancing down, she noted the hard length of his erection outlined by the faded denim extending from his groin all the way across his right hip. Long and thick and hard.
Meeting his gaze, she blurted out what was on her mind. “It would please me to taste you, Mason. To drop to my knees, wrap my fist around your shaft and suck your cock to the back of my throat.”
He closed his eyes and his Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed hard then took several slow, measured breaths.
A naughty grin tugged at the corners of her lips as she watched him struggle to regain his composure. That little crack in his hard veneer gave her wicked ideas. She wondered how much teasing it would take to push Mason over the edge and out of control. Finding out would be fun.