“V1.” The aircraft had reached the point when we could no longer abort the takeoff if we needed to. Seconds later we reached V2.
A rush of adrenalin shot through my veins as Captain Matt Jensen pulled back on the yoke and the massive Boeing 777’s nose lifted into the air.
I pulled the landing gear lever while keeping my eyes on the panel in front of me. As the plane soared higher, the captain and I focused on the usual procedures: adjusting our heading as we turned downwind, before retracting the flaps. It wasn’t long before we broke through the thick grey cloud covering London and we were greeted with brilliant sunshine and the bluest sky. By the time we reached our cruising altitude and the plane had leveled off, the autopilot was flying it, allowing Matt and me to concentrate on the instrument readings. There was no room for distractions, so I ignored the occasional hint of spicy cologne that joined the cool air as it circulated through the cockpit.
It must have been a good half an hour or so after takeoff before our workload slowed and we could relax a little. I pulled the visor down to block the sun and Matt grinned.
“Nice day,” he said as he put on his sunglasses.
“It is up here. I’m not so sure the people down below would agree.”
The atmosphere had changed as soon as the sterile cockpit rules had lifted so I allowed myself the luxury of letting my eyes linger on his hand as it rested on the yoke. He had large hands, I noticed, with long fingers that would be perfect for playing a musical instrument.
“It looks like a clear run ahead,” he said, leaning back in his seat and stretching his legs. “There are no major weather warnings reported.”
“That makes a change. Let’s see how long it lasts,” I replied, as I checked our speed. Thunderstorms were notorious for appearing out of nowhere on this route, usually right in our flight path.
“By the way, Stefan has booked us all a table for dinner at eight o’clock tonight. Let’s hope he behaves this time,” said Matt with a smile.
I grinned as I recalled the last time I had flown with Matt and Stefan. “Trust Stefan to take us to a gay club. It was a good night, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, especially when he joined those two male strippers on the stage.” Matt chuckled. “Your face was a picture.”
I laughed as memories of Stefan’s wild antics flashed through my mind. “He’s the only person I know who can lose his inhibitions without so much as a drop of alcohol passing his lips.”
“Are you two friends outside of work?” asked Matt.
I nodded. “Now we are, yes. It took several of his wild nights out before I warmed to him, though. I found him a bit loud at first.”
“I must admit that, on paper, you’re not the likeliest of friends.”
I threw him a pretend glare. “Are you saying I’m not outrageously funny and wild?”
“I don’t know you well enough to comment on that, but I’ve got a feeling there’s a lot more to you than meets the eye,” he replied with a sexy grin.
I came very close to giving him some sort of flirty reply, but thankfully managed to keep my mouth shut. Instead, I just shrugged, happy to let him think I was more interesting than I actually was.
“I must admit I was pleased when I saw the crew list for today’s flight,” he said, after a brief check-in with Air Traffic Control.
“I didn’t know you liked Stefan so much,” I joked, knowing full well he hadn’t been referring to our purser.
His laugh was immediately followed by a look that seemed to paralyze me. Something about the look of authority that projected from his cobalt blue eyes sent a dart of electricity through my body, and I quickly averted my gaze before he could see the affect he’d had on me.
“How long have you worked for Volatus Air?” he asked, not giving me any clue as to whether he’d noticed my momentary weakness.
“Since leaving the Royal Air Force five years ago. I’ve been told that I’m the youngest female senior first officer at the airline,” I replied proudly.
“I’ve heard people say that you’re one of the best first officers they’ve worked with. I agree, but this is the third time we’ve flown together and I still don’t know much about you.”
I shrugged. “There isn’t really much to tell. I love flying. That’s all.”
“What do you do to have fun?”
I grinned when I saw he’d already guessed my answer. “Fly.”
Laughing, Matt rolled his eyes. “Stefan tells me a lot of the crew are frightened of you. Are you really that scary?”
“I’m not known as the Ice Queen for nothing,” I joked. In reality, I couldn’t think why people would think I was scary, but Stefan had reminded me enough times. “I take my job seriously and don’t take any shit from anyone, but apart from that I’m fair, honest, and like to be in control at all times.”
“Do you, now?” he said in a low voice. “So do I.”
We flew on in silence for a few minutes, both of us busy with midflight checks. After a member of the cabin crew had brought us some coffee, I thought back to Matt’s comment about Stefan.
“I wonder where Stefan is going to end up tonight,” I said, before taking a sip of the steaming coffee.
Matt threw me a sideways glance. “You are coming, right?”
“Oh, yes, at least for dinner, but I’m not so sure about going out afterwards. How about you?”
“Maybe. It depends where he’s got in mind,” he replied with a shrug. “At least we’re not flying back until tomorrow night so I might go along for a little while. As long as everybody gets their regulation rest hours and nobody consumes any alcohol, I’m happy.”
I nodded in agreement. I was a stickler for the rules and took my responsibilities very seriously. I expected everyone else to do the same. Still, a little harmless fun wasn’t going to hurt anyone, so perhaps I would tag along after dinner. If nothing else, it could be an opportunity to get to know Matt a little better. “You’re right,” I said, making sure I kept my voice neutral. “Okay, I’ll go.”
I frowned as a waitress brought over a tray filled with fancy glasses of what looked like margaritas. “Stefan…” I began.
Stefan held up a hand. “Stop right there, Alex. These little beauties are nonalcoholic. Here, try one.”
He handed me a glass and I sniffed its contents. The citrus aromas of lemon, lime, and orange confirmed what he’d said.
We’d just finished dinner and were now taking up a corner in the hotel’s bar. The whole crew was there, including Matt.
“Cheers,” cried Stefan and raised his glass.
We all did the same and took a sip of our ‘mocktails.’ Even though I knew it was nonalcoholic, my drink looked so authentic in its sugar-rimmed glass that it was a shock that there was no kick to it. Stefan might be a drama queen, but he didn’t mess about when he was working the following day. That’s one of the things I liked about him. He was fun, even a little outrageous, but he never crossed the line.
Matt, who was sitting next to me, leaned toward me and said, “Wait until you try the mock Cosmopolitan.”
“Oh, I’ve had that,” interrupted Jenny, the youngest of the cabin crew. “It’s amazing.” She took a slurp of her drink then pouted her lips at Matt. “So, Captain, Stefan tells me you’re single.”
Everyone stopped talking and turned to Matt to see how he would react to Jenny’s brazen words.
Matt tensed and fiddled with his glass. “I’m divorced, Jenny.”
“Right, so you’re single,” she persisted.
“It’s none of our business,” I said, coming to Matt’s rescue. I knew how hurt he’d been when his wife had left him two years ago because of his demanding job. That’s why I was still single, too. My career came first.
“Anyway, Jenny, the captain is far too old for you,” giggled Seema, another young flight attendant.
Matt nearly choked on his drink. “Old? I’ll have you know I’m still in my thirties,” he laughed. “Just.”
“Guys, leave the poor man alone,” said Gina, a senior attendant who was probably the only member of the crew, male or female, who didn’t flirt with Matt.
“So, Stefan, have you got any plans for tonight, then?” asked Matt, looking like he might want to change the subject.
Stefan grinned and took a sip of his mocktail. “Mmm, I might,” he said, looking coy. “Are you coming, Captain?”
“That depends on where you’re taking us.”
“Oh, I think you’ll like this place,” drawled Stefan. “It’s right up your street.”
“What do you mean by that?” asked Matt, a puzzled frown furrowing his brow.
“You’ll see,” said Stefan with a smirk. “So, are you all up for a night out?”
“Well, I don’t know…” I looked at my watch. It was already half past ten so maybe I should give it a miss.
“Oh, come on, Alex. Let your hair down. You never know, you might enjoy it,” said Jenny.
“I’ll think about it. So, what’s this place called, then?” I took another sip of my drink and looked at Stefan for a response. I really didn’t care what it was called; I just wanted to direct the focus away from me.
“Hell’s Dungeon,” replied Stefan, unable to hide the excited grin that stretched across his face.
I gaped at him in surprise. “Dungeon? What exactly is this place?”
“It’s just a fetish club, nothing special,” he said, giving Matt a strange look.
“Stefan…” The warning in Matt’s voice made me look up at him. He was frowning. What was that about?
“Oh, come on, guys, it’ll be fun.”
“I’m in,” chipped Jenny, tipping the rest of her drink into her mouth.
“Me, too.” Seema winked at Stefan as he blew her a kiss.
“I think I’ll sit this one out,’ said Gina, which was no surprise. Dinner at the hotel was as far as she was prepared to go when it came to socializing with the crew.
Stefan stared at Matt and me with raised eyebrows. “Well? Are you two coming, then?”
Matt shrugged and turned to me. “I’ll go if you do.”
I think I blushed then. I never blushed. Going to a fetish club wasn’t exactly what I’d had in mind but, if Matt was going, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to tag along. I tried to look cool as I replied, “Sure. Why not.”
Half an hour later, we were waiting in a queue outside the club.
“Don’t we have to wear rubber or something to get in?” Jenny, having been so full of bravado at the hotel, now looked apprehensive.
“No, don’t worry, they don’t have a strict dress code. Lucky for us, eh?” said Stefan, and laughed when Jenny’s face grew paler.
Jenny wasn’t the only one having second thoughts. “Why the hell did I agree to come?” I grumbled as we made our way through the main entrance.
“Don’t worry, I’ll look after you,” said Matt, holding the door open for the rest of us.
“He might even spank you, if you’re good,” said Stefan, turning around to face me.
“Stefan!” snapped Matt.
Stefan rolled his eyes and play-punched my arm. “Oh, I’m only joking.”
I hadn’t given any outward reaction when Stefan had mentioned spanking, but my insides had started churning in the most peculiar way. I’d had secret fantasies about being spanked for years, but had always pushed them out of my mind. And anyway, if anyone was going to get spanked, it should be me doing it, and I certainly shouldn’t be on the receiving end. People like me didn’t do that sort of thing. But the fact that Stefan had intimated that it was Matt who should spank me had sent my stomach into an uncontrolled spin.
Matt took hold of my arm and led me away from our group. “Come on, let’s get a drink.”
I allowed him to lead me through an archway into a very large room, booming with house music. We pushed our way through the crowd until we reached the bar. As Matt ordered two Cokes for us, I turned around to take a look at our surroundings and stopped, mid-turn, as the most shocking sight I’d seen in a long time assaulted my eyes. A woman was tied to a cross, her skirt hitched up, baring her bottom to the onlookers. Worse, a tall man wearing leather trousers and nothing else was whipping her with some sort of flogger. I stood, rooted to the spot, unable to drag my eyes off the spectacle.
“Here you are,” said Matt, handing me a glass. Then his gaze followed mine until he saw what I was staring at. “Ah, do you want to watch?”
“Watch?” I was too stunned to think clearly. My heart hammered in my chest and a fine film of sweat had beaded on my forehead. Yes, I did want to watch because, for some reason, I was transfixed by what was happening.
Matt studied me and nodded. He must have taken my lack of movement as confirmation that I did want to stay. Taking hold of my arm, he moved us away from the bar and closer to the cross. The woman was groaning with each impact, her head hanging back and eyes closed. Oh, my God, she’s enjoying it. My stomach thudded to the floor, bounced back up and stuck in my throat. I’d never seen anything like that before. What stunned me the most, though, was the fact that I was aroused by it.
Not long after, the man stopped, and released the woman from the cross before carrying her off somewhere.
“Let’s find a seat.” Matt’s voice brought me back with a start.
I nodded, remaining silent, and followed him across the room to a suite of couches.
“The others will be wondering where we are,” he said, sitting down. “But they’ll find us soon enough.”
I sank onto the soft seat next to him and took a large gulp of my Coke.
“Are you okay?”
I nodded. “Yes. I was just a bit surprised, that’s all.”
Matt grinned. “It can be a bit of a shock the first time you witness a real-life BDSM scene. I think Stefan might have gone a bit too far this time by bringing us here.”
Something Stefan had hinted at earlier rang in my ears. “Matt, are you into this stuff?”
The momentary hesitation before he replied confirmed the answer before he spoke. “Look, this is strictly between you and me but, yes, I’m a dominant.”
“I like to take control in the bedroom. There’s more to it, but now’s not the time to go into that.”
“But Stefan knows?”
“Yes. We’ve bumped into each other at a couple of fetish clubs a few times.”
“So, he’s into it, as well?”
“Yes, but he submits to men. I dominate women.”
I dominate women. The words tingled through my blood, making me dizzy.
“Ah, here you are.” Stefan and the rest of the crew appeared before I could ask Matt any more questions.
As they all found seats around our table, I glanced at Matt again. He didn’t look any different, hadn’t grown two heads or anything, yet something had changed. He seemed bigger somehow, taller and more authoritative. His eyes were still the same deep blue as a moment ago, but now they held a darker shadow I hadn’t noticed before. And his dark hair, normally so neat, suddenly seemed ruffled.
“I’ve just been propositioned by that hunk in the leather gear over there,” said Stefan, leaning across the table so everyone could hear him over the music. “I think I might get lucky tonight.”
“Are you going to let him hit you?” squeaked Jenny, her eyes wide.
Stefan winked. “Oh, yeah, baby. And the rest.”
“Well, this place isn’t really what we were expecting, so me and the girls are going to find somewhere else in a bit. Do you want to come?” asked Jenny, looking at Matt and me.
“Actually, I’m going to head back to the hotel, soon,” I said, feigning a yawn.
“Same here,” said Matt. “We’ve got to get our eight hours of uninterrupted sleep before tomorrow’s flight.”
“It is a bit weird here, isn’t it?” said Seema, staring at a man kissing the shiny boots of his mistress.
Stefan shrugged. “Not to me, it isn’t. I thought you’d find it fun.”
Seema and two of the other crew members exchanged mutual looks of discomfort while Jenny said, “Fun for you maybe, but this isn’t my idea of a good night out. Shall we go?” she asked the others and stood up.
After they’d all said their goodbyes and left, Stefan rose and picked up his drink. “Right, I’m going to find Mr. Hunk. I guess you two will have left by the time I’m done, so I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Yes, okay. Have fun,” said Matt.
“Oh, I will. Be good,” said Stefan and winked at Matt, before turning and disappearing into the crowd.
Matt turned to me and smiled. “Do you fancy one more drink before we leave?”
“Okay, thanks.” I was tempted to ask him to stick a shot of rum into my Coke but, of course, I didn’t.
While he was at the bar I took the opportunity to have another look around. I stopped when I spotted a couple not far from where we were sitting. The woman had been kneeling by the man’s feet until a moment ago, but was now standing. Then she bent over his lap. My heartbeat quickened as the man lifted her skirt and rubbed the woman’s bare buttocks. Then he smacked her and a soft groan escaped from my lips. Oh, my God, he’s spanking her. I could almost feel the sting of his hand as it slapped the woman’s reddening skin. In fact, it was very easy to imagine that it was me being spanked, just like in my fantasies.
I was so engrossed in the scene that I didn’t notice Matt’s return until he sat down next to me.
“Do you find that exciting?” he asked as he followed my line of sight.
“I… er… No, I was just curious.”
Matt leaned closer to me and ran his finger down my cheek. “I think you’re lying. Your pupils are huge and your nipples are hard beneath your top. I think you’re aroused. Am I right?”
As I stared helplessly into his eyes, my belly flipped at the raw power in them.
“Alex, answer me,” he growled and took hold of my chin, stopping me from averting my gaze.
“Well… maybe. Just a little,” I admitted. Bloody hell, what was wrong with me? This wasn’t normal. “So… er… do you do that? I mean, spank women?” I asked, nodding at the couple nearby.
“Yes, amongst other things. It’s about control, or rather, letting go of it if you’re the sub. For me, I want a submissive’s surrender at our agreed times. I expect her to address me as Sir during a scene, and to kneel by my feet when I tell her to.”
“Bloody hell. I’d kick your bollocks to kingdom come if you told me to do that,” I retorted, outraged.
“Would you?” he teased. “Or would you revel in the fact that you had the freedom to just enjoy what you’re doing without worrying about having to make decisions?”
I didn’t get it. Why would I enjoy not having to make decisions? “What I don’t understand is why a woman would willingly give up control like that?”
“It’s not just women who submit, you know. Just look at Stefan. And that man, over there.” He pointed to the man worshipping his mistress’s boots.
“So, what if I wanted to dominate you?” I challenged.
Matt laughed. “That’s not going to happen.”
No, I couldn’t imagine Matt ever being submissive. I shrugged and finished my drink. “So, what does the submissive get out of it?” I asked with genuine interest.
“Pleasure. It’s a win-win situation.”
“So, you’re saying that—”
Matt pressed his finger against my lips, silencing me. “You know, for someone who just threatened to trash my balls if I asked you to submit to me, you sure ask a lot of questions.”
Heat flared up from my neck into my cheeks. “Like I said before, I’m just curious.”
“Right.” Matt grinned. “Are you ready to leave?”
Leave? Hell, no. I wanted to stay and find out more about this forbidden world I’d only ever fantasized about. And I was enjoying my chat with Matt far too much to go back to the hotel now. Then, for some bizarre reason, I leaned toward him and kissed him on the lips. I just couldn’t resist it. Before I knew what was happening, he grabbed a handful of my hair and forced my mouth open with his tongue. He held my head in place as he commandeered the kiss and I melted like crushed ice thrust into a pot of boiling water.
When he pulled away I was too stunned to say anything. Nobody had ever affected me like that and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I was lightheaded now, hungry for more of his forceful kiss and eager to feel the sting of his hand on my ass.
Never having been one to hold back, I leaned forward and whispered in his ear. “Would you spank me, Matt?”
“No, Alex. I’m not going to spank you tonight.”
“Why?” I challenged, trying to hide my disappointment.
“Because we’re working together tomorrow.” His voice was firm, but I wasn’t about to give up.
“So? We’re both professional enough not to let that get in the way.”
Matt narrowed his eyes at me. “I said no.”
I shrugged and pretended that I wasn’t bothered. “Oh, well, if you’re not man enough to put me over your knee then maybe I should find someone who is.”
A low growl rumbled in Matt’s throat as he glared at me. “Alex, you’re pushing your luck. If you carry on like this I will spank you, but it will be as a punishment for your cheek.”
“You’re all talk,” I goaded, knowing I was close to getting my way. “Scaredy cat.”
“That’s it.” Matt grabbed my hand and pulled me toward him. “Get over my lap now.”
I giggled in nervous anticipation as I contemplated such an unfamiliar move. One glance at his stern face, though, told me that he expected me to obey him at once. So I swallowed my pride and bent awkwardly over his lap. With my feet still on the floor I tilted my upper body until it rested lightly on his thighs. But that wasn’t good enough for Matt because he then pulled me forward with a firm tug until my feet hung in the air and my head hovered just above the floor. He held me down, trapping me between the strong hand on my back and his hard thighs. He was clearly a man who worked out in the gym judging by the solid muscles flexing beneath me. My face burned with a mixture of humiliation and arousal as I acknowledged my position. I shouldn’t like this so why did the dull ache between my thighs make my pulse race so fast?
“I had wanted your first spanking to be a sensual one, but you’ve left me with no other option than to punish you.” He lifted the hem of my skirt, letting a cool breeze from the air conditioning tickle my bare thighs.
The first niggles of worry stirred as the grim tone of his voice told me that he meant it. Why hadn’t I kept my big mouth shut? He was my colleague, for God’s sake. My bloody captain. What had I been thinking? I stiffened as I prepared to climb off his lap and tell him I’d changed my mind, but Matt pressed his hand firmly onto my back and held me in place.
My face flamed as it finally dawned on me that Matt was serious. “Look, I’m sorry I was rude to you. Can we just forget this?”
“Yes, but if we do, you’ll never find out how it feels to be spanked. At least by me.”
“What are you saying?” I frowned down at the floor, suddenly worried that he’d changed his mind. It was just beginning to occur to me that I really did want this spanking, whether it was a punishment or not.
“I’m saying that you can get back up and we’ll forget all about it, but, if you do want me to spank you another time, you have to accept your punishment now. Is that clear?” There was no hint of compromise in his voice. Just the stern authority of a powerful man stating his terms.
“Yeah,” I mumbled, too shocked at myself to say anything else. What the hell was I agreeing to? “I understand. Go ahead.”
“Good, now stop wriggling.”
My breath stuck in my throat when he tucked the thin material of my panties into my ass crack, leaving my buttocks bare and exposed. Humiliation mixed with outrage yet, deep down, I knew I deserved to be punished. I had been disrespectful about something that was important to him.
The smack that landed on the back of my thighs took my breath away. Fuck! It really did hurt. He rained about five or six really hard slaps onto my virgin skin until I writhed to escape the fiery blows. “Ow!”
“You need to learn that deliberately provoking a dom has serious consequences,” he growled, giving me an extra hard smack for emphasis.
“Okay, I’ve got the message,” I cried, as he rubbed my burning skin. “I’m sorry.”
But instead of stopping my punishment, he continued to spank me until my ass blazed.
“It hurts,” I cried, as I tried to twist my body to dodge his blows.
Matt slowed the pace and lightened the force of the smacks until all I could feel was his fingertips fluttering over my burning flesh.
“Mmm, your ass is nice and hot. If you were my sub, this would just be the beginning, but I think you’ve had enough considering it’s your first time. Have you learnt your lesson, Alex?”
“Yeah,” I groaned as I climbed off his lap.
“The words I want to hear are yes, Sir.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not your submissive,” I retorted like a petulant schoolgirl. I lingered in the spot in front of Matt, feeling exposed and a little emotional. I needed to leave. I wasn’t used to feeling so vulnerable and just wanted to go back to the privacy of my hotel room. I was about to step away and pick up my purse when Matt took hold of my hand and stopped me.
“Oh, no, you don’t.” He pulled me so I toppled onto his lap then curled his arms around me and held me. “No sub of mine gets to be on her own after a spanking, whether it was a punishment or not.”
“I’m fine,” I protested and tried to pull away.
But Matt held on to me so I couldn’t move. “You’re not going anywhere. I’ll take you back to the hotel once I know you’ve recovered.” He reached for my Coke and handed it to me. “Here, have a drink.”
When I’d emptied the glass he took it from me again and put it back on the table. He brushed a lock of hair away from my eyes then wrapped his hand around the back of my neck and held my head in place. “You’re beautiful,” he murmured then kissed me on my lips. When he finally pulled away he smiled as I ran my tongue over my tingling lips.
“So, what did you think of your first spanking?”
“It hurt.” I pulled a face to emphasize my words.
Matt chuckled. “Yeah, that was the general idea. When I’d said I wouldn’t spank you, you seemed to forget that I’d said I wouldn’t spank you tonight. I was going to suggest having dinner when we get back home and then take it from there.”
“Oh.” Shit, no wonder he’d punished me. I’d totally jumped the gun. “I guess there’s no way you’re going to ask me to dinner now.”
“Of course I am. And hopefully, the next time I spank you, it’ll be more enjoyable for both of us.”
“So, there’s going to be a next time, is there?” I grinned as I realized that I would love to be spanked again, despite the fact that it had hurt so much. And dinner with Matt beforehand sounded pretty much like a perfect night.
“If you’re good. So, will you have dinner with me?”
“Yes, I’d like that.” For some reason I was ridiculously happy at the prospect of having dinner with Matt.
“Good. Then afterwards, to protect my balls, I’m going to make sure your hands and feet are safely bound before I order you to your knees.”
My head jerked up at his words but, thankfully, he was smiling.
“Only joking,” he said with a chuckle. “Although, I do warn you now that, if we do get together, there can only be one dominant and it won’t be you.”