Honoring Hudson (Surrender #6) by Becca Jameson

Chapter 1





Master Hudson



“You okay?” I lean my elbows on the edge of the counter and watch Cindy closely. She’s been quiet for the last five minutes.

She lifts her gaze and furrows her brow while straightening a pile of papers for the tenth time. “Of course.”

I lift my brows. “It’s just that you were in the middle of telling me a story before Master Kellen came in with Sabine.”

“Oh, right. I forgot. What were we discussing?” She doesn’t meet my gaze. In fact, she turns around and organizes the pens in a jar, as if this is a thing.

I was watching her closely as Kellen and Sabine met up with Lucy and Roman in this reception area. She’d gone from her usual laid-back self to stiff and unnerved.

The truth is, I watch Cindy closely every time I see her. It’s become a habit, hanging out with her at the front desk, befriending her, trying to figure out what makes her tick. Some nights I make headway. Some nights I don’t.

I’ve been doing this for months. There is a lot I know about Cindy. There is a fuck ton I do not. “You were telling me about the puppies someone brought in to the animal shelter.” I lean closer, inhaling her scent. Something floral. Probably her shampoo. Her long wavy brown hair is in a ponytail at the base of her neck, and every time it swishes, I catch the scent.

Cindy Kertis intrigues me. It’s irrational and probably a lost cause, but I can’t stop myself from spending time with her. I could be inside the club right now dominating someone, but instead, I’m in the entrance area flirting. As usual.

She gives me a fake smile. “Oh right.” She shrugs. “They were just cute is all. And we have to hand feed them because they’re too young.”

“How many are there?” I encourage.

“Five. Boxer mix, we think.” Now her smile becomes more believable as I watch her remember the puppies.

It’s contagious, her smile. I grin also. “I bet they’re cute. Did you take pictures?”

A wider smile now. “Of course.” She picks up her phone and taps the screen several times before showing me a picture. The puppies look like nothing but a pile of brown fur.

I reach out and take the phone from her to get a closer look, not because I need to see the picture better but because I want my fingers to touch Cindy’s.

She leans in and points at the screen. “See their little faces?”

All I know is that Cindy’s face is now inches from mine. “Yep.” I continue to stare for as long as I can just to keep Cindy close. Finally, I release the phone back to her.

If Cindy were mine, I’d be such a pushover that we’d have ten dogs before the end of the week. But Cindy is not mine. She’s not anybody’s. She’s not even a participant at Surrender. As the receptionist, she has a full membership, but she has never exercised it. I asked Roman. She’s been at Surrender seven years, and she’s never once played.

“How are your classes going?” I ask next to keep the conversation alive. When it becomes too awkward, I’ll need to head into the club. I only do this for as long as I can each night Surrender is open. Some nights it’s five minutes. Other nights it’s as much as a half an hour I get to spend with Cindy.

“Good.” She sighs. Apparently “good” was a bit of a stretch. “I mean, well…” She glances at me, her face flushed. “I’m only taking calculus this semester. I abhor it. It makes no sense to me.” She meets my gaze and admits, “This is the third time I’ve taken it.”

Fuck me. Bingo. I suddenly feel like I’ve hit the jackpot, and it’s difficult to keep from fist-pumping. “I’m good at math. I could help you.” I try to say that as casually as possible.

I have no idea why I’m so careful with this woman. It’s bordering on ridiculous. I’ve forced myself to befriend her and keep that growing. She’s skittish, and I don’t want to risk her turning me down, so I have not asked her out.

What I’d like to do is take her hand, lead her into the club, and wander around with her at my side until I can figure out what kind of kink she’s attracted to. And then I want to dominate her. So badly that my cock gets hard thinking about it.

Her eyes go wide with momentary excitement, and then she glances away. “I couldn’t ask you to do that.”

“You didn’t ask me. I offered. If I didn’t want to help you, I wouldn’t have suggested it.” I don’t want to give her time to retreat. “Tomorrow is Saturday. I don’t have to work. Let’s meet for coffee somewhere and start a tutoring lesson.”