IN CONTROL – Zach Roberson – 8/25/13 – Amber Heat/Amber Quill
IN CONTROL is due to arrive on the (electronic) shelves August 25th. Weeeee! As such, I’d like to introduce you to Zach, the younger brother of Jeremy. Many first came to know Jeremy as the squat dweeb inside the pages of IN TRAINING. He’d done some damage and had been damaged, and now Zach is in town to even the score.
What he comes to learn is that Annabel wasn’t the ball-busting bitch he’d been expecting. In fact, a tender heart hid behind that cast iron armor and, most of all, that she hadn’t been the abuser but the abused.
With your permission: Zachary Roberson
Despite the lukewarm words the possessive gleam in Seth’s eye warned Zach away from asking further about the slave-in-training. She was off-limits. He nodded his respect for the unspoken boundary and turned from the sweetness in blue. The blonde remaining at the table didn’t look available either since she watched Mike. Probably awaiting instructions like any well-trained slave would do.
“I have a townhouse that you may rent. I’m no longer in it and it’s furnished.”
Seth’s voice broke into Zach’s musings, the offer slapping him back to more important issues than a slave’s bouncy ass. Reality quickly squelched a brief flare of hope. “I doubt I could afford it. My paycheck isn’t what it used to be these days. ‘Ouch’ comes to mind.”
The other man picked up a peppermint candy from a tabletop dish. “I’m sure we could work something out.”
Hope returned. “Where is it?”
“Downtown. Nice district. Close to the light rail, and buses up the ass if you have no car.”
This was ideal! If only… “You sure?”
A few minutes were spent unwrapping the candy before Seth slipped it into his mouth, obviously spent in thought. Then, he said, “Ooh-Rah,” and held out his hand to be shaken.
Pleasure zinged along his nerves. Finally, after months of pain, physical therapy, and sitting like a gimp in his brother’s spare bedroom, things were looking up. He shook Seth’s hand with enthusiasm, their agreement confirmed. “Damn, that’s good of you.”
The slave returned carrying a tumbler filled with amber liquid. “Your single malt Scotch, Master.”
“Good girl.” Seth accepted the glass and took a swallow.
The slave-in-training looked at Zach with large, pretty eyes. “May I get you something from the bar, Master?”
Something long dormant in his soul stirred at the address. A silk-draped girl hadn’t called him ‘master’ in long time. It felt good. Damn good.
He shook his head in answer. “Not necessary. I’ll attack the buffet soon so I’ll get my own.” He glanced over and saw his brother headed toward an empty table with an over-full plate. Fuck, I should have brought something to the potluck.
“There are some expectations,” Seth said, continuing their conversation.
Zach refocused on him. “Such as?”
“You’ll be expected to treat it honorably. Like it’s your barracks not like it’s a motel.”
He nodded and offered a smile. “You gonna check on it?” he chuckled. “Monthly inspections? A quarter bounced off the bedspread and white gloves?”
Seth’s chuckle joined his even as the man moved into his personal bubble just like a Drill Sergeant would and gave a threatening bark, “You’re damn right I will.”
Another laugh roared across the warehouse floor, this one from Zachary. He spent a bit of time caught in laughter’s fit before managing to locate enough air to offer up a salute and a wheezed, “Aye-aye, Sarg.”
Her master summoned the blonde from the table. Zach watched her walk away. She accompanied Mike over to where Jeremy sat alone at a table and joined him. His brother bloomed. That was the only word he could find to describe what happened.
Jeremy had felt excised and expunged from the community for a while now. Mike’s choice of settling down at that table offered reassurance that Jeremy was welcome, trusted, and valued. That simple act seemed to open necessary floodgates and others came to the table. At a motion from Mike, slaves flocked around them.
“You’ll want to join them, no doubt,” said Seth who had also watched the drama. “It’s been hard for your brother. He could use the support.”
“Not just yet. First,” Zach brought his gaze back to Seth as a burning began in the pits of his guts. “Who did this to him? Where is she?”
Unlike many, Seth didn’t flinch from Zach’s stare. “She is not here. Hasn’t been seen since the flare-up.”
Zach ran his eyes along the flock of slaves who clustered around the table like finely plumed birds. “Damn.”
“You want to meet her?”
He glanced over his shoulder at the other man. “Do I want to meet the bitch who broke my brother’s wallet and fucked his self-esteem? Hell, yeah, I do.”
Seth tipped his head to one side as if in thought. He then selected another candy from the dish and unwrapped it with deliberation. “There is a question of consent involving the financial submission.”
“What?” Zach straightened. His knee protested, which only pissed him off. “I hardly think my brother—”
A sudden silence fell like an inverse thunderclap. Everyone with the exception of him and Seth stared at the entrance, looking shocked and uneasy. Curious, Zach traced their line of vision to the warehouse door. A woman stood there, one wrapped in leather and attitude. She stared back at the watchers, her expression one of contempt.
“Out of hiding she comes,” said Seth. “Your target, devil dog. Annabel.”
Zach tasted her name on a whisper.