Away from Me
[Siren Classic: Erotic BDSM Romance]
Shattered by the loss of his wife, Callum Reed is a man surrounded by rules designed to protect him. He has found the perfect submissive in Gaby Sullivan, until she breaks his cardinal rule.
After three years of perfect obedience, Gaby declares she wants love. Love isn’t in their contract, so Cal lets her go. But Gaby has a secret reason for leaving. When Cal discovers the truth, nothing will stop him from following her. On a secluded island paradise, Callum will do anything to prove he’s the perfect Master for his defiant, loving sub.
A Siren Erotic Romance
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Regarding the availability of this book, as is common with books published through small publishers, these contracts have expired. We are working within these constraints to have this book available as soon as legally possible.
(The following excerpt is for adults only!)
“Do you love me?”
Callum Reed stared down at the woman who’d just screamed her climax in his arms, and everything inside him tensed. She was bringing this up now?
“Go to sleep, Gabrielle,” he ordered in his deepest voice. He pulled her into his arms.
In the morning, things would be back to normal. He’d go to work, and Gaby would do…whatever it was she did all day.
She was an obedient girl. It was the reason he’d chosen her as his submissive. She nestled down in his arms, but her breathing didn’t calm. Cal tried soothing her. He smoothed her hair down and kissed her ear. He loved how soft she felt against him.
She sat up suddenly. Her gray-green eyes were so serious, he wished he’d turned the light off. “Do you love me, Cal?”
He threw an arm over his eyes and sighed. “What do you want, Gaby?”
“I want the truth. I’ve lived with you for three years now.” Gaby’s voice was unsteady, lilting up and down, an unmistakable clue to her emotional state.
Cal hoped she didn’t cry. She’d been crying a lot lately. He didn’t like it.
“Are you ever going to ask me to marry you?”
He sat up and started to look for his pants. Of all the things she could say, this was the one most likely to get him moving. “No, Gaby. I was very clear about that. I have no intentions of ever marrying again.”
“Because you loved your wife and you won’t ever love another woman?”
There was a hard knot in his chest. He wasn’t sure if that knot was about his wife, Cassie, or the fact that he was about to have a prolonged fight with Gaby. Gaby was a sweet girl, and he enjoyed her, but he would never allow himself to love anyone again. He’d had his chance with a woman, and she died. The thought of marrying Gabrielle, of being that close…he just couldn’t go through that again. Still, he wanted to keep Gaby, but only at a distance. “I was up front and honest with you, Gabrielle. I never told you this was going past where it is now. You have a collar. It’s the only piece of jewelry I ever intend to buy you.”
“Do you ever want to have children with me?”
He slapped at the nightstand, unable to stem the tide of emotion the question brought out in him. “I don’t want children, Gabrielle. I made that plain. We signed a contract. All of this was laid out. I provide everything for you. I provide you with a home, a car, your clothes…”
“And I act as your wife,” she returned with a little fire of her own. She sat up in bed. The comforter they shared was discarded. Her gorgeous breasts were on full display. “I keep the house and host your parties. I keep your books.”
“So now you want a ring.” He got out of bed and started to pace. He should have seen this coming. He should have known she wouldn’t be happy forever. “Well, sweetheart, next time, don’t sell yourself so cheaply. There’s an old saying here in Texas, pet…”
“Don’t,” she said quietly. “Don’t compare me to a cow. I just wanted to know, okay?”
There was a dullness to her eyes that pulled at him. He relented a bit, dropping to one knee. He let his hands drift to her legs. The contact comforted him. She was still here. He could keep her. “Gaby, baby, just because I don’t want to get married again doesn’t mean I don’t care about you.”
A little spark animated her face. “You do?”
“Of course.” He had to deal with her gently. He was surprised at how anxious this conversation made him.
He would have told anyone who asked that if his sub gave him trouble, he would simply dismiss her. Gaby had been with him for a long time.
He hated the thought of training someone else. Suddenly, he realized that he couldn’t imagine his life without her. He sat back on his heels, stunned and a little frightened at the thought. Gaby was in every part of his life. It would be brutal to pull her out of it. He shook his head.
“I haven’t spent three years with you on a lark. We work well together. The sex is good. I don’t see why we can’t continue for the foreseeable future.”
“But you don’t love me,” she said quietly. This time, Cal could tell it wasn’t a question. “You’re not ever going to fall in love with me. If three years hasn’t done it, it’s not going to happen.”
Cal put his hands on her shoulders. He forced her to look into his eyes. A savage little knot formed in his stomach. “I never promised to be anything more than your Master.”
The tears in her eyes almost did him in, but he forced himself to hold her apart. He didn’t like this weakness where she was concerned.
She nodded. “You were honest, Callum. I was just fooling myself. Could you leave me alone for a moment? I’d like to get dressed.”
“Gaby, it’s one in the morning.” He stared at the gold choker around her throat that marked her as his submissive. He didn’t use the word slave, though it practically described Gaby. She never argued with him, never fought. She did exactly what he told her to do. “You’re going to bed. In the morning, we’ll get back to normal.”
For the first time in their three years together, Gabrielle shook her head, indicating her negative response. It threw Cal for a loop. He watched with shock as her hands went behind her neck. She unclasped the necklace she’d worn without fail for years. Eyes downcast, she handed it back to him.
“I’m sure you’ll need it for the next one.” She forced the necklace into his hand, her eyes lingering on it briefly before she looked up at him. Her politeness held a brittle edge. “My suitcase is already packed. If you’ll give me a moment to get dressed, I’ll leave.”
He felt his face harden, jaw tightening as he realized what was really happening. She thought she could pull a little power play on him? He wouldn’t be manipulated. “Just how do you intend to leave, Gaby? My name is on that car of yours. All of your credit cards are in my name as well. And your bank account.”
She flushed, a sure sign that he’d hurt her. Well, she’d hurt him. Her eyes came up. She was so gorgeous when she was angry. Her green eyes were darker, and her sable hair flowed across her shoulders. Everything about Gabrielle was soft and feminine. Even in her rage, she brought out his protective instincts. He fought to ignore them.
“I believe it was in our contract, Callum. If I stayed for at least two years, I’d get to keep the car, and you owe me fifty thousand dollars. Maybe I earned it on my back, but I earned it.”
“Oh, but you weren’t just on your back, were you, sweetheart?” Cal could hear the ugly edge to his voice. “You were on your front, your knees, tied up, tied down, however I liked it.”
“Yes, it was however you liked it, Cal. I did everything you asked me to do.”
He hated the fact that she wouldn’t fight with him. It made him crazy. It made him a little bit cruel. “I remember that you told me you didn’t need the money in the contract.”
“I was wrong.”
He shook his head. “You can try to enforce that contract, darlin’. I can keep you tied up in court for a really long time. You’ll be an old woman before you see a dime of that money.”
Her beautiful face lost every bit of its color. The blood drained from her complexion so quickly Cal worried she might pass out.
“You won’t give me the money? I thought you would honor the contract. I didn’t think you would turn me out with nothing.”
“I’m not turning you out, Gaby,” he pointed out. “You’re leaving because your plans to manipulate me didn’t work. I’m not giving you a dime, Gaby. So you can forget that plan, get back into bed, and in the morning, we’ll pretend this never happened. I’m willing to be magnanimous.”
He watched as her brain seemed to be seeking a way out. There wasn’t one. He was right. She wouldn’t try to enforce the little contract they had signed at the beginning of the relationship. It was a BDSM contract with all sorts of boundaries. She would never take it to another lawyer. He was the best lawyer in Fort Worth. He knew exactly how to get out of his contract with Gabrielle.
“I’ll find a way. I can get a job or something.”
Cal thought she said it more to herself than to him.
“I need to get dressed, Cal. I’ll call Heather. She can come and get me. Feel free to look through the suitcase. I’m just taking the things I came here with. You can donate the clothes and stuff to charity or find another plump girl to take my place.”
“Gabrielle!” He used his Dom voice on her, the one that told her she had some punishment coming.
She rolled her eyes. “You can’t spank me anymore, Cal. I took off my collar.” She sighed and got up, pulling the sheet with her. She walked to the bathroom, obviously tired of waiting for him to give her the privacy she requested. “I can think whatever I want, do whatever I like. I’m not your responsibility anymore.”
That statement hit him squarely in the gut. She’d been his responsibility for years. How could she just take off the collar he’d placed on her? He remembered that night like it was yesterday.
They’d been private about it. Some of their friends had ceremonies, but it seemed too close to marriage for Cal to feel comfortable. So he’d taken her to Austin, wined and dined her, and gently put the collar on when they got back to their suite. He’d made love to her for hours that night.
She was walking out on him. How could this be happening?
He grabbed her arm and hauled her around to face him. “Why the hell did you stay with me for three years, Gabrielle? Because you thought I would marry you?”
She touched his face with her free hand, her fingers slipping slowly over his cheeks and down his jaw. It was a gentle caress, long and steady, as though she were trying to memorize the feeling. “I stayed with you because I love you, Cal.”
“But you don’t love me anymore?”
She shook her head. “I love you. I’ll always love you. It just isn’t enough. I want to be loved, too. I want someone to love me the way you loved Cassie. Don’t I deserve that?”
He dropped her arm, unable to look at her a moment longer. The door behind him closed, and he sank to the bed, head in his hands. He couldn’t, wouldn’t love Gaby. He would never allow another woman inside his heart like that. It hurt too much. He could still see Cassie’s body lying on a cold slab in the morgue. She’d been thirty-two years old. He couldn’t love another woman. His heart hurt, but suddenly, he realized Gaby was right. She did deserve better.
Like a robot, he got up and found his checkbook. He wrote out the check, adding another ten grand to the total. He found the title to the little BMW and signed it over to her. He would call Heather and have everything he’d bought Gabrielle shipped to her new address. He wouldn’t take another sub. He couldn’t imagine wanting anyone else.
Gabrielle looked older when she emerged from the bathroom. She wore faded jeans and a black shirt. He hated when she wore black. She thought it was slimming, but she didn’t need to be slimmed. She had an hourglass figure. He loved her curves. Her breasts were large and real. They matched her luscious hips and that ass he couldn’t get enough of. She was perfect. Her head was high as she reached for the bag she’d hidden away in the closet.
“Goodbye, Callum,” she said quietly. “I hope you find someone you can love someday.”
He pressed the paperwork in her hand. Her eyes flared briefly, but she thanked him, as though she were accepting a small courtesy, not taking the outcome of years of their relationship. He forced himself to be as cold as ice. If he didn’t, he’d be on his knees begging her not to leave.
She walked into the night.
He was alone again.