“The pleasure is all mine.” I shook hands with Langston, then Landon. “The ceremony was beautiful.”
“And I’m sure she was just as star-struck then as she is now,” Langston noted.
“She was,” I agreed. “In fact, if I recall, that response broke one of Landon’s rules and you spent most of the night walking around naked.”
“Mostly naked,” Landon corrected. “I allowed her to keep on the G-string.”
I grinned, and Luci blushed again.
Needless to say, it had been interesting to witness, as it was any time a new submissive was introduced into our world.
“Thank you for overlooking my blunder that night, Master Ramsey,” Luci replied, her voice husky and soft.
“You were quite sweet.”
“But seriously,” Landon said, his tone sobering. “We’re honored that you attended.”
“Don’t be honored,” I told him with a smirk. “I have every intention of drinking my weight in champagne. It won’t be cheap.”
Landon laughed. “I don’t doubt that.”
“Truth is,” Langston said, “I didn’t think you were that easy, Ramsey. You didn’t even put up a fight when I invited you.”
He was right. I wasn’t easy. Usually.
“I’m only easy for you, my friend,” I told him, grinning.
In the past year and a half, Langston and his three partners at his PR firm—his twin brother, Landon, along with Justin Parker and Benjamin Snowden—had become good friends of mine. We met through Dichotomy, the BDSM club I opened in Chicago roughly two years ago. The four men were part of the first wave of members who had joined the club and I’d gotten well acquainted with them.
Partially because of them, I’d been spending more and more time here in Chicago in recent months, needing a break from the monotony that had become my life.
“Probably not wise to let word get out that you’ll roll over with very little persuasion.” Langston chuckled, his gaze darting to the people milling about behind us. “Those subs following you around like lost puppies might think twice.”
I didn’t bother looking back at the submissives I knew were mingling nearby. I had yet to show any interest whatsoever, however they still trailed close behind. It was something I despised, and any submissive who hoped for even a small amount of my attention knew that.
“One could only be so lucky,” I told him.
Langston’s gaze slid to the far side of the room and mine followed.
“Your assistant looks a little out of sorts,” he said with a grin.
I allowed my eyes to rake over the handsome man donning a designer tux and a wild-eyed expression as he took in everything around him.
"This is a first for him,” I told them.
“Well, you wouldn’t know it,” Langston said facetiously.
“What gave it away?”
“Probably the fact that his jaw is dragging the floor,” Langston said with a laugh.
At least the boy had the sense to keep his tongue in his mouth.
“Give him time,” Landon chimed in. “He’ll get used to it.”
I had to wonder whether that was true or not. While I had purposely kept my assistant out of this side of my life, something had compelled me to invite him today. I was glad that I had because I enjoyed his company. He was one of the few people in the world I trusted implicitly. It had taken three years to get to that point, but I knew he had my best interests at heart.
I turned my attention back to the triad before me. “Is King around?”
Langston’s eyes scanned the area behind me, obviously seeking out his father. “He’s around here somewhere. Probably tryin’ to keep a tight leash on our mother.” Langston looked back at me and grinned. “You know how parents can be. I’m not sure anything is good enough for her boys and our mother’s been flutterin’ around, tryin’ to ensure everything is perfect.”
“Well, someone should tell her she accomplished her goal,” I informed Langston, choosing to slide right over the reference to mothers.
If anyone wanted parental advice, I was the last person they should come to. My own mother had put me up for adoption when she was a whopping fourteen years old. I didn’t know who she was, much less who had sired me. Nor did I care.
A nice couple had adopted me when I was a newborn, but a fire in our home had taken their lives when I was seven. The neighbor had managed to get me out, but by the time he did, the house was fully engulfed. According to the medical examiner, they died of smoke inhalation.
At that point, without any family who could care for me, I ended up back in foster care—where I was obviously destined to be. I spent several years in and out of homes, largely due to my age, along with my inability to behave. When I was fourteen, Rosa and Daniel Singer had come into my life. Although they never officially adopted me, they did foster me through most of my formative years.
While it hadn’t been a childhood grounded in routine or consistency, I couldn’t complain too much. I wasn’t broken in the sense I’d had a shitty childhood, and I damn sure didn’t want anyone’s pity.
However, I did attribute the lack of control to my innate need to be in control now. It was one of the reasons I’d ventured into the realm of BDSM and then practically built my life around it.
I noticed several others lining up, probably hoping to give their congratulations to the threesome. “Well, I should stop monopolizing your time.”
Langston smirked. “You headin’ back to Texas after this?”
“Actually, I’m off to California to meet with my agent.”
Landon cleared his throat. “Official business?”
I met the other man’s curious hazel eyes. “We’ve got a few things to discuss.”
“We’re still considerin’ your proposal,” he admitted quickly.
I shook my head and huffed a laugh. “While I’m a businessman first, today is not for that. We’ll catch up in a couple of weeks when you’re back from your honeymoon.”
Landon nodded, but I could see his reluctance. While I was eager to find out whether or not the partners had come to a decision regarding the proposal I’d made, I wasn’t going to allow that to interfere with the festivities today.
“Well, thank you again for handlin’ the venue,” Landon said, motioning toward our surroundings. “We couldn’t have asked for a better place.”
“Even if I remember specifically tellin’ you we weren’t lookin’ for anything fancy,” Langston tacked on. The significant stress on fancy did not go unnoticed. “I should’ve known how you rich boys work.”
I laughed. With a net worth of 750 million dollars, I could hold my own, sure. However, I happened to know that Langston and his partners weren’t doing too bad in the finance department. In fact, they were in the process of expanding an already outrageously profitable business. Chatter PR Global was officially the third-ranked public relations firm in the world.
Granted, my side ventures were quickly increasing my wealth and I could credit that to good business decisions on my part. Not only was I one of, if not the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, I was also a venture capitalist and I had my hand in many pies. Along with the dozens of start-ups I’d helped fund, I was a silent partner in many things, owned some impressive real estate that was turning nice profits. I’d learned to diversify early on and it had paid off. Even more so since I’d invested in a technology company that was in the process of launching a software platform that would change the way most people did business.
In a word, I was rich. No sense denying it. However, I was also pragmatic.
“I promised you wouldn’t be disappointed, Moore,” I reminded Langston.
“That you did,” he agreed. “You were true to your word.”
Admittedly, this had been the perfect venue for a formal collaring ceremony. In fact, it was a place I’d considered for myself should I ever find a submissive of my own. Unfortunately, at the rate I was going, I wasn’t sure that would ever happen.
“All right,” I told them firmly. “I’m off to see if I can get my assistant to relax a little.”
“Maybe offer him some champagne,” Landon suggested. “Or bourbon.”
I glanced over at Troy. I wasn’t sure any amount of alcohol was going to help.
“Thanks again for comin’,” Langston said.
“My pleasure.” I turned my attention to Luci one last time. “You keep these boys in line.”
“I will, Master Ramsey,” she answered, still slightly bewildered.
With a smile, I turned and ambled away, my gaze landing on my assistant.
Troy Shelton—my personal assistant for the past three years—looked as though he wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. Even in spite of that, he was a very attractive man. He took good care of himself, which I found ridiculously appealing. Well-built with his sculpted chest and narrow waist, tall. He filled out a tuxedo nicely.
His shoulder-length, dark brown hair hung loosely in that style that said he didn’t care what it looked like but he spent plenty of time getting it to do what he wanted it to do. His jaw had that purposeful stubble, his cheekbones were high, his nose perfectly proportioned to his face, and his mocha-brown eyes didn’t look tired or strung out. In my world, that was not the norm. Considering my demanding schedule and my equally demanding personality, that was a wonder, really.
The thought made me smile.
There was something inexplicably masculine about him, but underneath, there was something innately submissive.
When a waiter offered champagne, I took two glasses from his tray.
“You all right?” I asked when I approached Troy, handing over one of the glasses.
Uncertain brown eyes flew up to my face as Troy nodded. “Of course, boss.”
I smiled to myself as I scanned the crowd, taking note of the numerous bodyguards strategically placed throughout. While security of this magnitude wasn’t usually necessary at a function such as this, I’d had to come up with a backup plan when word leaked that I was going to be attending today’s ceremony. Luckily, I had friends in high places and it had only taken one phone call to ensure the press wasn’t going to sneak into the party without an invitation.
“By the way, boss, Ken called. Twice. Said he needs an answer.”
I frowned. “Ignore his calls,” I instructed. “I’ll discuss with him in person on Monday.”
“Have you made a decision?” he inquired.
“Yeah,” I told him. I’d known from the beginning of the unnecessary negotiations that I was turning down the part I was being offered. Although the movie would no doubt be a success, I was taking fewer and fewer roles these days for personal reasons. The only person who didn’t seem to get it was my agent.
“Is there anything I can get you?” Troy offered.
Casting a sideways glance his way, I kept my initial response to myself. There was something I wanted from him, but we had a long way to go before we ever got to that place.
“I’m good for now,” I replied. “We’re here to relax, not work.”
“Right, boss.” His eyes widened as a Domme walked by, leading her scantily clad submissive around with a leash.
While Troy was otherwise preoccupied ogling the people around us, I let my gaze trail over him momentarily. I had no idea what I was doing checking him out, but I found something uniquely appealing about the man. Although my mind had been set on one particular woman for so long, I couldn’t deny the fact that I had an overwhelming urge to dominate Troy.
Better yet, both of them together.
At the same time.