Shifting in her boots, she raised one hand in a brief wave. “Hi, my name is Sunny. My, uh, my mom is a drug addict. Has been since I was fifteen. I…um. I kind of became the mom in my house once she started using. I’m having a hard time getting over my bad habit of cleaning up her messes, I guess. So, that’s me.”
Sunny sat down so quickly, her chair squeaked back an inch. Embarrassed at having said all that shit aloud, in a fast rush like a chipmunk with an espresso habit, she looked down at her hands and her pretty nail polish. The sight of the calming blue was momentarily obstructed by a large, tanned man’s hand clasping over her own. His fingers were so long, they enveloped the tightly fisted balls of her hands. Big, silver and turquoise rings adorned two of his fingers, and he had a small eagle tattoo on his inner wrist.
When she looked up, Hawk looked her right in the eye and gave her a smile that clearly said he was proud of her.
He only held her hand for a second, but that was all she needed to pull herself together.
Turning her thoughts back to the circle, she forced herself to pay attention to the person that was speaking, not the incredibly handsome, kind, and compassionate man who sat too close, yet too far, from her.
One Year Later
Setting down his coffee cup, Hawk nervously drummed his fingers on the long, dark wood bar. It was still early at Club Wicked, and the combination bar and lounge area was one of the tamer rooms. Built to look like a Victorian men’s club, the Absinthe Parlor provided an intimate space with groupings of high-backed chairs set around circular marble tables. Watered green silk walls and massive gilded mirrors surrounded the room, making it a surprisingly dim and comfortable space.
The perfect place for Sunny’s first night at work.
He’d helped her get this job, and he hoped he was doing the right thing. After paying for two years of college, Sunny was having money issues and needed a better job that would still allow her to go to school. Hawk would have gladly given her any money she needed, but when he’d suggested it, she’d flipped out on him. A fiercely independent woman, Sunny wanted to stand on her own two feet. She was determined to not need anyone, not ever, for anything.
In reality, Hawk was pretty sure she was terrified of having faith in anyone. He could understand. Her mother, the one person she should’ve been able to trust to put her first, repeatedly broke her word. He hated Lisa for that, hated what the woman had done to Sunny.
Somehow, as odd as it might seem, Sunny had become one of his best friends over the past year. They hung out a lot when he was in town and talked on the phone all the time. She was a good listener, and while sometimes a little judgy, she still kept an open mind. In many ways, she reminded him of himself when he was younger—determined to get away from his family and prove that he wasn’t like them. Even though she was only twenty, she was jaded and older than her years in many ways.
And she constantly surprised him.
When he’d brought up bartending at Club Wicked, then explained that it was a high-end sex club, he’d expected her to be shocked. Or slap him. Or accuse him of being a pimp. Instead, she’d smiled and said she’d love it if he could get her an interview. Evidently, they’d studied BDSM in one of her psychology classes, so she was familiar with the idea of BDSM Clubs.
She was a good kid, and he knew she’d make bank working at Wicked. There was something very charming about her, as if she gave off a glow that drew people to her. Sunny was attractive in an unconventional way, sort of like a 1920s silent film siren with her big eyes, heart-shaped face, and perfect rosebud lips.
Lips he’d become all too interested in lately.
Somehow, over the last few months, she’d gone from someone he viewed as a kid sister to something more. But that shit couldn’t happen. They were both still dealing with heavy family issues and he traveled all over the country for work. But most important of all, she was one of his best friends. He knew a million beautiful women he could fuck, hundreds right there at the club, but he only had one true female friend.
“Master Hawk,” came a welcoming woman’s voice from his left. “It’s so nice to see you here tonight.”
He looked up to see one of his favorite club submissives, Jenna, smiling at him from the other side of the dark wood bar. A pretty strawberry blonde, Jenna wore a green lace teddy with a black leather corset. A green silk mask hid the upper part of her face, but it drew his eye to the new addition of a shiny black collar with a dangling silver tag.