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The Master by Ashe Barker and Katy Swann – Sample

Chapter One

“See you all next week,” called Master Dylan after he had dismissed the class.

Jodie Price bowed to her instructor before turning to leave the training hall. She was exhausted, dripping in sweat, sore and battered yet high with the endorphin rush she always got after a taekwondo class.

“Jodie?” called Master Dylan. “Can you stay behind for a minute? I’d like a word.”

“Sure.” Jodie shrugged casually, although her heart suddenly hammered so hard it almost hurt.

“Go and get dressed then we can talk when everyone has left.”

Jodie nodded and headed for the changing room, making sure her strides were strong and confident. She could feel his eyes on her as she left the room and she’d be damned if she would let him see the effect he had on her. But, as soon as she was out of his sight, her legs trembled as her imagination ran riot. What does he want? Have I done something wrong in class? Or maybe he’s going to tell me how much he fancies me? She shook her head to rid herself of the ridiculous thought. Dylan Atkins was her trainer and nothing more. Just because he made her blood tingle every time he looked at her didn’t mean he felt the same way as she did. He was probably going to tell her off for her uniform not being perfect or something equally boring.

Untying her black belt, she caught sight of herself in one of the mirrors in the changing room and scowled at the reflection. She was a mess. Her face was flushed with the exertion of the class, the hair that had come loose from her ponytail clung to her damp cheeks, and she had no makeup on. Why couldn’t she have chosen a more glamorous sport like ice skating? She pulled her hair out of the hairband and shook it free. As her naturally blonde bob landed on her shoulders, her favourite vision appeared in the mirror. It was always the same. She would be standing on a podium and proudly bowing her head as a gold medal was placed around her neck. She would then straighten up and wave to the adoring crowd cheering her name.

“See you next week, Jodie.”

The bubble burst and she found herself back in the changing room. “Yeah, see you,” she mumbled to her friend as she left. Her shoulders sagged as reality caught up with her again. It was beginning to look like she would never get to the Olympics now that the chain of sportswear shops that had promised to sponsor her had gone bust. She sighed and stuck her tongue out at herself. “Keep dreaming, girl,” she said aloud as she slipped her jacket off.

A few minutes later she had changed back into her tracksuit. With her dobok folded and packed down in her holdall, she headed back to the hall to find out what Dylan wanted. As she approached the open door, though, she stopped and caught her breath. Dylan had taken his t-shirt off and had his bare back to her as he rummaged in his bag for something. Corded muscles rippled across his broad shoulders as he moved and little beads of sweat trickled down his strong biceps. Her eyes widened when he pulled out a towel and rubbed his chest before pulling a clean top over his head. It was like watching an erotic film featuring a male model and Jodie could only stare in mesmerised silence.

As if sensing her presence, Dylan looked up and grinned. “Are you ready?”

“Er, yes.”

“Are you in a hurry? I thought we could talk over coffee at Bruno’s if you fancy it? I could murder a double espresso.”

“Sounds good to me.”

As they approached the coffee shop, though, Jodie had to swallow her disappointment when she spotted the closed sign on the door. A cup of coffee might not have been much, but it would have given her a chance to get to know Dylan a bit better without it looking obvious that she fancied him.

“Damn. It’s shut.” Dylan frowned as he looked at his watch. “Look, I really need to talk to you and I don’t want to do it out in the street so why don’t we nip into the pub down the road for a quick drink? I promise I won’t keep you long.”

Jodie glanced at her phone and pretended to consider it for all of two seconds. A drink with Dylan? Hell, yes. And he can keep me for as long as he wants. “Okay, that’s fine,” she replied, keeping her voice even.

The pub was no more than a couple of minutes’ walk away, but in that time she had managed to convince herself that she must look like the most ungraceful and frumpy woman on the planet in her grey tracksuit and trainers. She thought of the new dress she was planning on wearing later that night and grinned. If Dylan were to see her in that…

“Here we are. I’ll get the drinks while you grab a table. What would you like?”

“A glass of red wine, please.”

She found a table in a quiet corner, far enough away from the small crowd at the bar where they could talk without shouting, and when Dylan returned with their drinks, he nodded his approval.

“Good choice,” he said, sitting down next to her. Then he raised his pint of beer and grinned. “I have to say that I wouldn’t normally encourage my best student to drink alcohol after class. I need you in tip-top condition.”

“Do you?” Jodie couldn’t resist a flirtatious flutter of her lashes as she raised her glass to her lips and took a sip.

“Yes, I do. That’s why I wanted to talk to you. Are you happy with the way your training is going?”

“Yes, of course. We all appreciate you stepping in at such short notice.”

He shrugged. “I’m glad to help. Do you miss your old coach?”

A lump lodged itself in Jodie’s throat as she thought of the man who had been her teacher for nearly fourteen years. “Yeah,” she replied, her voice faltering. “Master Jim was my trainer since I started taekwondo when I was five. He was tough as hell and ruthless with his training schedules, but I’d come to look up to him as a bit of a father figure. His heart attack came out of the blue.” She gazed at Dylan, her vision blurred. She took a deep breath to compose herself. “He was only forty-two and was the fittest man I’d ever known.”

“I’m so sorry. It must have been a real shock.”

Jodie nodded. “Yeah. We thought that that would be the end of the club until you stepped in.”

“I know I’ve only been training you for a couple of months, but I see huge potential in you, Jodie. You are one of the most promising students I’ve ever had. Your technique is flawless and your sparring is downright scary.”

Jodie laughed to cover her embarrassment. She wasn’t used to compliments. She knew that Master Jim had thought she was good—after all, it had been him who had suggested she complete the forms to be considered for the Olympic team—but he had never praised her openly. “Thanks. That’s down to Master Jim’s persistence. I went through a phase a couple of years ago of drinking and partying every weekend. It’s thanks to him and his rigid discipline that I got back on track and got my third dan.” She took a sip of her wine then grinned at him over the rim of her glass. “Mind you, you’re as tough as he was, if not more so.”

Dylan returned her smile, causing something to stir deep in her belly. He had the sexiest mouth she had ever seen on a man, full lips that stretched into a generous smile, and had the power to weaken her knees when he aimed it at her. Not ideal when they were sparring and she needed to be on her guard.

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“You should.”

Dylan sat back and seemed to study her for a few seconds. “You remind me of myself ten years ago. Completely dedicated to taekwondo and determined to go to the Olympics.”

“What happened?” Something must have gone horribly wrong because this man was so good there was no doubt he would have walked away with a gold medal if he had competed.

He sighed. The pain in his eyes was clear and Jodie only just managed to resist the temptation to take his hand and give it a squeeze.

“I dislocated my shoulder, which caused a tear in my shoulder joint. Although I had physiotherapy, it never fully healed. I was on the Olympic squad and was only one month away from competing. That was the end of my Olympic dreams.”

“I’m sorry,” said Jodie quietly. She couldn’t begin to imagine the devastation of being so close to her dream and then having it snatched away because of an injury.

Dylan took a gulp of his beer, then flashed her a forced smile. “It’s all in the past now, but that’s partly what I wanted to talk to you about.”


“I heard from one of the other club owners that Jim had plans to get you to Tokyo, but a possible sponsorship deal fell through at the last minute. Is that right?”

Jodie straightened her shoulders and kept her gaze even, determined not to show any emotional weakness. “Yes. The company went bust.”

“Do you still want to try for the Olympic squad?”

Jodie’s lungs emptied as the gold medal flashed before her eyes. “Yes,” she replied as coolly as she could even though she wanted to scream yes! at the top of her voice. But that wasn’t in keeping with the control required for a taekwondo champion so she kept her face neutral and managed to remain outwardly calm.

“Okay. I’ve done some digging and have looked into all the organisations that have sponsored Olympic sport in the past and one of them is Bishop HLS Bank. They apparently don’t have any active sponsorships right now, so I called them. I explained what we were looking for. The person I spoke to wasn’t very encouraging, although he did say he would pass my query on to the relevant person. I didn’t think I’d hear back, but, would you believe it, I got a call back a few hours later from the CEO himself, George Hartwell.”

Jodie raised her eyebrows in surprise. That was quite unusual in her limited experience. “Really?”

“Yes. He said he has a strong interest in taekwondo and has already considered ways he can support the team. He thinks it would be great PR for the bank to sponsor a local competitor and would be happy to discuss it with us.”

“You’re kidding! Oh, my God,” cried Jodie, a rush of excitement fizzing through her veins. Maybe her dream could come true after all.

“We’d have to move fast as the regional championships are just around the corner and we would ideally want the sponsorship in place by then. You would need to be available to train full time.”

“That’s not a problem.” Jodie had deliberately taken a job in a call centre that only required a week’s notice for this very eventuality.

“Good. Mr. Hartwell has asked us to attend a meeting at the bank on Monday morning.”

This time, Jodie was unable to contain the emotion simmering inside her and a tear rolled down her cheek as she took in everything Dylan had just said. “This is everything I’ve ever dreamed about,” she whispered. “Thank you so much.”

Dylan smiled and Jodie’s pulse quickened as his eyes creased at the corners. She stared at him, unable to look away as an invisible current seemed to crackle between them. It only lasted a split second before his face became stern again, but the warmth remained.

“If we go ahead with this, I will need your complete dedication. You will have to work harder than you ever have before and train every day. I’ll expect you to go to the gym daily and live like an Olympic athlete. That means no late nights out, no sugar or junk food, and absolutely no alcohol. Is that clear?” he demanded, his voice holding no hint of compromise.

“Crystal clear. You have my word.”

“Good. Then have a nice weekend and I’ll meet you at the bank at eleven o’clock on Monday morning. And remember, no more alcohol,” he said, nodding to her empty wineglass.

When they had said their goodbyes, Jodie dug her phone out and called her best friend. “Sally,” she cried the second they were connected, “you’ll never guess what!”

“Hello to you, too,” replied Sally, chuckling on the other end of the line.

“I might go to the Olympics after all. Isn’t that amazing?”

“Wow, how come?”

“Dylan thinks he might have arranged a sponsorship. I’ll tell you all about it tonight. Oh, my God, I can’t tell you how excited I am.”

“I can imagine. But should you be going out if you’re going to start training for the Olympics?” cautioned Sally, ever the sensible one.

Jodie hesitated. Actually, she had just given her word to Dylan that she wouldn’t have any more late nights out, but…

She had been looking forward to this play party for so long. It was being held at Club Sin, her favourite BDSM venue and she had spent a fortune on a new red latex dress. Moreover, she was hoping to find a dom who might scene with her. It was ages since she’d last had a good spanking. Making her mind up, she replied, “Oh, it’ll be fine. One last blowout won’t hurt. I’ll pick you up in the cab just after ten o’clock.”

“Okay, babe. See you later.”

The party was already in full swing when Jodie and Sally arrived later that evening. Hot, glistening bodies moved sensually to the thumping electro music on the dance floor while groups of friends caught up at the bar. The delicious echo of slaps coming from the play area at the other end was a welcome reminder that this was no ordinary party. The club hosted these events every month. They were exclusive to the members, which meant the atmosphere was friendlier than it was on a regular club night.

“I love your dress,” shouted Sally. “It fits like a glove.”

“It should do. It took bloody ages to get into.” Jodie laughed as she thought back to the unglamorous tracksuit she had been wearing earlier. If only Dylan could see her now. She nodded toward the bar. “Fancy a drink?”

“I’ll have a bottle of beer, please. Are you drinking?”

“Yeah, but I’ll only have the one. I’m a would-be Olympic athlete now, you know,” Jodie said with a wink.

With their bottles of beer in hand, they headed toward the play area to check if there were any interesting scenes worth watching. They stopped near a spanking bench where a woman was being flogged by her dom. They were near enough to hear the woman’s gasps, but not so close they couldn’t talk quietly.

“Cheers,” said Sally, holding up her beer bottle. “Good luck with the meeting on Monday.”

“Thanks.” Jodie clinked her bottle against Sally’s and took a long drink of the deliciously cold beer. She would damn well savour this as it would be her last drop of alcohol until the Olympics were over. But, as she raised the bottle to her lips again, someone bumped into her from behind, knocking the bottle from her mouth and spilling half the contents over her chest and dress.

“I’m so sorry,” said a male voice. “Are you okay?”

Not wanting to make a fuss, Jodie turned around to reassure the guy that she was absolutely fine and there was no harm done, but froze as she came face to face with Dylan. Stunned, she stared at him as she tried to work out what the hell he was doing there. Was he a dom? He certainly looked like it with his leather trousers, black t-shirt, and Doc Marten boots.

“Hello,” she said, when she was eventually able to speak again. “I never expected to see you here.”

“Clearly not.”

Jodie grinned up at Dylan expecting him to smile back, but instead he was frowning. In fact, he looked seriously pissed off. And then the penny dropped. In her excitement at seeing her sexy taekwondo coach, she had completely forgotten that only a few hours earlier she had promised him there would be no nights out and no alcohol. She glanced down at the half-empty bottle of beer in her hand then back up at Dylan’s furious glare. Oh, shit!

Holy fuck!

Dylan took in the sight before him, barely able to believe the evidence of his own eyes. He would be hard pressed to say what amazed him most—Jodie’s outright disregard for her promise of just a few hours earlier, or that minuscule concoction of crimson latex masquerading as a dress.

The dress won—by a whisker.

“What part of ‘absolutely no alcohol’ was not perfectly clear to you, Jodie?”

He deliberately kept his voice soft but still she had the grace to cringe. Jodie studied the half-empty bottle in her hand as though not entirely certain quite how it came to be there.

“I just… I mean, I thought—”

“And did we not also discuss late nights? Partying?”

“Yes, we did, but…”

Her voice trailed off. She dropped her gaze and shifted from one foot to the other. At least she didn’t seem inclined to defend her crap choices, but even so…

They had a problem.

“We need to talk, Jodie. Monday morning, at the gym.” He was done. Disappointment and anger warred within him as he stepped past her.

She grabbed his elbow, and Dylan paused. He regarded her slender fingers on his sleeve, noted irrelevantly that she had painted her nails to match the dress. That entire outfit could have been painted on, come to think of it. He lifted his gaze to hers. Her pretty blue eyes glittered, but he firmed his jaw in response.

“Was there something else?”

“Yes. What about the meeting, at the bank? I thought…”

“Is there really any point, Jodie? I explained what would be required to make an Olympic champion of you, and it’s more than just a decent sponsorship deal. It’s a lifestyle, and clearly not one you’re ready to take on board.”

“But I am. I want it, all of it.” She spun around and handed the dregs of her beer to another girl standing open-mouthed behind her, then turned to face him again. “One lapse, that was all. I know what’s required and I do take my sport seriously. I’ll be absolutely dedicated. You’ll never have any reason to complain. I’ll work hard, and… and…”

“Then why are you here, Jodie?”

Was that a flicker of annoyance flitting across her expressive features? She flattened her lips, drawing his attention to the deep scarlet lipstick she had applied.

Christ, this girl’s hot.

It hadn’t escaped Dylan’s notice that his star pupil was fucking gorgeous. He was male, after all, and he had a pulse. How could he fail to appreciate that curvy, sexy little body, so supple, exquisitely toned, and supremely fit? As far as Dylan was concerned, strong was sexy, and Jodie had it all going on. But all of that was beside the point. She was his pupil, so off limits. Even here, within the not-so-hallowed walls of Club Sin, that remained the case. All he needed to do now was convince his rampant cock of that inconvenient little fact, and right at this moment he wouldn’t give much for his chances.

“I just fancied some fun.” Her tone held a dwindling note of defiance. “It’s been a while and I thought it would be okay, a last fling before…” She paused, drew in a long sigh, then capitulated. “You’re right. I shouldn’t be here. I’ll go.” She lifted her gaze to meet his. “Please, Master Dylan, don’t cancel the meeting on Monday.”

She offered him a polite bow, backed off a couple of paces, and turned to leave.

“Wait.” He wasn’t entirely certain what impulse drove him to call her back, but it was done now. She paused, apprehensive. Despite her obvious nerves—or maybe because of that—her nipples speared the tight bodice of her dress, begging to be squeezed. Dylan quashed the impulse to oblige them.

“All right, the meeting’s still on. But you need to learn that I mean what I say.”

“I will, I promise. I know that. Thank you.” Again, she bowed and turned to leave.

Shit! Oh, what the fuck…


She halted, turned again. Dylan beckoned her back with one upraised finger.

“I didn’t say you could go. I haven’t finished with you yet.”

“Master Dylan? I’m not sure I—”

“Like I said, you need to learn.”


Jesus, did she really say that? His cock swelled in his leather pants.

“What sort of fun did you fancy, Jodie? What’s your kink? I assume that is what brings you here.”

She nodded, flushing slightly. “Yes, Sir. And it’s spanking. Oh, and I like to be tied up…” Her blush deepened.

“Is that it?”

Another nod, and she started to worry her lower lip with her teeth. “So far. I haven’t tried anything else, but perhaps…” She swallowed hard and squared her shoulders in a gesture that turned him on more than he cared to admit. “I’m a submissive, Master Dylan. I’ve always known it, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. I don’t have time for a boyfriend, not with my training schedule, and having to work for a living. Even if I did…” She shrugged. “Then I discovered this place. I come here occasionally. It’s a good club and just lately I’ve enjoyed… exploring. There’s no harm in it. And it’s my business. Private, nothing to do with… It won’t affect my training, and—”

“Okay, okay.” Dylan managed to conceal his grin. “I get it.”

“I suppose you do. You’re a dom, right?”


“I won’t tell anyone.”

He lifted one eyebrow. “Will you not? Well, that’s up to you, obviously. I value my privacy as much as anyone, but I’m not that bothered either way. My professional and personal lives are quite separate.”

“Mine too. I… I’d prefer if you didn’t mention that I was here. People might get the wrong idea. Some of the male team members, especially…”

“Have you had problems?” Surely he’d have noticed if any of the men’s team were hassling the female players. It was his job to spot things like that.

“Oh, no, not at all. I just… well, I need to be careful.”

“I won’t out you, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“Thank you, Sir. I… shall I go now?”

“Go? But you haven’t had what you came for yet.”

“What do you mean?”

“You came here hoping to be tied up and spanked, did you not? Did I get that bit right?”

“Well, yes. But I thought—”

“Maybe we can salvage something from this. You want a spanking, I want to teach you the consequences of disregarding my rules. Ergo…”

“You want to spank me?” She couldn’t have looked more astonished if he’d reached behind her ear and produced a flock of white doves.

“I’m offering, if you want—”

“Yes! Yes, please, Master Dylan.”

Her enthusiasm seemed a tad misplaced, given the circumstances. Dylan felt obliged to clarify. “Not just for fun. This is about teaching you a lesson, too. This spanking will hurt.”

She nodded. “I know, but… I still want to do it. I just need to tell my friend…” She glanced over her shoulder.

Now Dylan did allow himself a wry grin. “I think your companion got bored of waiting and has wandered off to find alternative amusement.” The other girl had retreated to the far side of the dungeon and was engrossed in watching an ageplay scene. “It’s just you and me. And the business end of a paddle, obviously.”

She blanched slightly but offered no argument. The deal settled, Dylan glanced about and spotted a vacant spanking bench a few yards away. He offered her his hand, and she took it.

“House safewords, okay?” He gestured to Jodie to assume the position on the bench.

“Red, yellow, green. Yes, that’s fine, Master Dylan. Do… do you want me to undress?”

Dylan seriously doubted that, once out of that dress, she’d be going back into it any time soon. “What do you have on under it?”

“Just a thong, Sir.”

“That’ll be fine.” He was already pushing the boundaries. He had no intention of touching her. A thong would preserve some sliver of modesty whilst offering no protection from his paddle.

He waited until she was draped across the top of the bench, then crouched to secure the cuffs around her wrists and ankles. Given that she wanted this spanking, the restraints weren’t needed for practical purposes, but she’d mentioned she enjoyed being tied up, so why not?


“Yes, Master Dylan. Thank you.”

He peeled back the scrap of red latex that purported to make up the skirt of her dress and rolled it up to her waist. The thong beneath was made of bright red satin and disappeared between the rounded cheeks of her delectable ass. He could just make out the darker patch between her thighs that betrayed her arousal.

Good. That makes two of us.

A selection of spanking implements was displayed on the wall behind the bench. Dylan already had a good idea what he intended to use but took his time over making his choice. His little newbie sub would benefit from the wait. Eventually, he lifted down a paddle made of polished wood. It was of medium weight and would deliver a resounding, heavy stroke, more of a thud than a slap really. It would make plenty of noise, and he knew that would add considerably to the experience for Jodie.

“This is going to smart, but you’ll be fine for practice on Monday. That’s almost three days away.”

“Th-thank you.” She clenched her buttocks in anticipation as he took up position behind her.

“Ten strokes. You can count them if you like.”

“Only ten?” She shifted on the bench. “I usually manage more than that.”

Was that a note of disappointment in her voice? Dylan grinned. She’ll learn.

“We’re dealing in quality here, not quantity. Ten will be ample, I assure you.”

“Oh, but—”

“Are you ready, Jodie?” He tapped her upturned buttock with the flat of the paddle.

“Yes, Sir. I’m ready. I… Oh!”

She let out a satisfying squeal when he dropped the first stroke across her right cheek. The outline of the paddle bloomed in bright red across her creamy skin.

Pretty as a picture, he thought.

“Are you counting, Jodie?”

“What? Oh, yes. One, Sir.” Her voice was considerably less even now, her breath coming in short, quick pants. Oh, yes, she would most certainly learn.

He shifted slightly and raised the paddle again.

Jodie yelped, shrieked, writhed in the restraints. This will be a memorable lesson, he reflected as she counted out the next three strokes, whimpering between each one.

He spread the spanks evenly across her buttocks. Each cheek now bloomed beautifully, her gorgeous globes clenching and quivering as he selected his spot for the next slap.

The sound made by the paddle was sublime. A swift whistle as it whooshed through the air, then a deep, resonating thud when it connected with her flesh. From her squeals and grunts it was obvious Jodie appreciated the finer qualities of the implement; in particular, its ability to deliver a serious and memorable lesson with little in the way of aftereffects.

She wouldn’t sit tomorrow if she could help it, and she’d still be tender on Sunday too. But by Monday the lingering effects would have subsided enough not to interfere with their practice session.

He could apply much more weight to the strokes if he chose, but of course he wouldn’t. She was relatively new to all of this, and he didn’t know her well enough to push too hard. He’d yet to learn her responses, her tolerance…

Whoa! “Eight,” yelped Jodie as he gathered his errant thoughts. He was already planning a next time.

Her bottom was a bright shade of puce, not a spot remained unspanked. He laid his palm on her left buttock, pressed lightly and smiled to himself at her wince. Oh, yes, ten would definitely be ample.

The heat from her punished flesh radiated through his hand. He lifted it and watched with casual interest as the paler imprint he had left swiftly reddened again.

Right, now for her sit spots. In Dylan’s view, no spanking, especially a punishment one, was complete unless the sub’s sit spots were smarting.

“Two more, and this time we’re not playing.”

Jodie had the good sense to groan. Dylan waited a moment or two, just in case she was contemplating her safewords. She remained silent though and clenched both her fists and her buttocks.

Whoosh! The flat of the paddle landed across the backs of both her thighs.

“Aaaagh!” She let out a keening scream and rose up onto her toes. She was sobbing now, gulping in air.

Dylan bent to finger-comb her hair back from her face. She opened her eyes and peered at him through her tears.

“I’m sorry, Master Dylan. I won’t… I won’t…”

He waited, allowed her the few seconds she needed to collect herself.

“I won’t disobey again. I want to please you, to do my best.”

“I know that.”

“I won’t disappoint you, Sir.”

Dylan frowned. He knew that, too. Had always known it, even before he strapped her to this bench. “No, you won’t. And you won’t disappoint yourself either, will you?”

She shook her head. “I swear it.”

“One last stroke. Okay?”

If she said ‘red’ now he’d be pissed off, but with himself, not her. It was a dom’s responsibility to gauge his sub’s response, to know how she was coping and adjust accordingly. It had been years since a sub last safe-worded on him and he didn’t want to break his winning streak with Jodie.

She mattered too much.

“Y-yes, Master Dylan. The last one…”

He straightened, took up his stance again, and swung the paddle one final time.

Jodie screeched, her body shaking as she fought to process the pain. The crisis soon passed. She lay still, hugging the bench, panting.

Dylan set the paddle aside and dropped to his haunches to unfasten the cuffs, ankles first, then wrists.

“Good girl,” he murmured, then on impulse he kissed her naked shoulder.

Jodie turned her tear-streaked face toward him, and she smiled.

“That hurt like fuck, Master Dylan. Thank you.”

“Happy to oblige.” He offered her his hand and she rose from the bench, unsteady, her exposed buttocks glowing a vibrant crimson. He noted she made no attempt to roll her skirt back down.

“Come with me.” Still holding her hand, he led her to the closest break-out station, a long, low sofa set back in an alcove. A small stack of blankets was helpfully provided at one end. Dylan grabbed one, shook it out, and draped it across her shoulders.

“I’m fine, really…” she began.

“Yeah. Even so…” He’d deliberately dialled back the intensity—she was in training again in three days, after all and he meant to work her hard—but a spanking was more than just physical. The emotional impact was at least as potent and for some subs it could be overwhelming. And sub-drop could come out of nowhere. Until he knew Jodie better he’d be playing it safe.

There he went again, imagining future encounters. He couldn’t help it. It was madness, he knew, but fuck, he didn’t want this to be their one and only scene together.

Dylan settled on the sofa and pulled Jodie into his arms. She came willingly, snuggled under the blanket and leaned against his chest. Her eyes were closed now, her features calm, contented. He swept a few stray strands of blonde hair back from her forehead. She had beautiful hair, he’d always thought so. It was one of the first things he’d noticed about her. That and her gorgeous, curvy, and utterly off-limits bottom, of course.

What have I done?

Perhaps twenty minutes passed in silence before she raised her face to look up at him. “What time is it?”

Dylan glanced at his watch. “Just going up to midnight.”

“I should be going. No late nights.” Her grin was mischievous now. “I promised my trainer.”

He quirked his lip. Dylan always appreciated a healthy dose of sass from a submissive. “Fair enough. How are you getting home?”

“I came with my friend. Sally should be around somewhere. We’ll get a taxi…”

“I doubt she’ll be ready to leave for a while yet.” He tilted his chin in the direction of the St. Andrew’s cross where Jodie’s companion was writhing under the attentions of one of the house doms. Jake was a maestro with the flogger and from the looks of it he was nowhere near done yet.

“Oh.” Jodie sat upright, winced, then yawned.

“I’ll have a word with her dom. Jake’ll see she gets home all right. Then I’ll drive you.”

“You don’t need to do that. I can phone a cab. The club doesn’t close for hours yet. You could—”

“I’m done for the night, and you’re not making your own way home.” He eased her from his lap and deposited her on the cushions where she shifted gingerly onto her right hip. He smirked at her. “Wait there. I’ll have a quick word with Jake, then we can be off.”

Jodie was quiet on the drive home. Dylan wasn’t surprised; it had been quite a night for her. He didn’t need to ask directions, he made it his business to know where all his students lived. Outside the low-rise block where she had a flat on the third floor, he pulled up and killed the engine.

“Do you need me to see you inside?”

“No, thank you. I’ll be fine.”

“Which is your window?”

She pointed upward. “That one, the corner flat.”

“I’ll wait here until that light goes on. Okay?”

“Yes, Master Dylan. And… thank you. For tonight, and for… everything.”

His grin was wry. “My pleasure. See you Monday.”

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