In Life Under New Management, my contemporary m/m romance set in a luxury Vancouver hotel, directionless, out of work actor Andy falls for his stern, perfectionist boss Ethan. The book’s all from Andy’s point of view, so for the promotion tour I thought it’d be fun to write a short scene featuring Ethan.
There’s a throwaway line in the book that made a good jump-off point:
He heard Ethan talking on the phone and without exactly eavesdropping, Andy caught a few sentences here and there. Boyfriend? Parent? No, Ethan was telling someone called Cathy what the book club was reading that month. Ethan in a book club kinda fit the picture he had of the man, but it was disappointingly mundane. Of course, it could be an erotic book club. That idea held promise.
Ethan settled into his chair, book in hand. The book club met tomorrow in the local library and for the first time since he’d joined, three years before, he hadn’t done his homework.
He always had an opinion of the book as a whole, a clear understanding of themes and plot, a few fair but stringent criticisms, all backed up with quotations…he was prepared.
This book was three hundred and twenty pages long and beyond the title and the blurb, he knew nothing about it. Ethan read fast, but even he’d need to skim pages to stand any chance of finishing it in time.
What would Andy do? He ran his finger along the spine, wondering why that particular thought had popped into his head. It wasn’t a difficult question. Andy would read a few reviews online, borrow an opinion from an unsuspecting stranger, and charm his way through the discussion until people left thinking he knew the book well.
Andy would cheat. Ethan drew in a sharp breath as if Andy’s transgression was actual, not imagined, then rolled his eyes at himself. This was wasting time. He needed to begin reading. He flipped the book open, resting it on his knees as he reached for his drink.
On his knees. The phrase conjured an image of Andy, kneeling naked as a penitent should, murmuring sincere apologies for his failure to prepare for the meeting. His cock would be hard already, anticipating Ethan’s version of penance. So difficult to make a consequence a true punishment when Andy loved every deliciously perverse penalty Ethan dreamed up.
But somehow, Ethan managed. Andy’s tear-streaked face and choked-out whimpers proved that. He could draw Andy across his lap and spank some sense of responsibility into him, reminding him with every slap that a club only functioned if its members fulfilled their obligations. That it was disrespectful to them to skimp, cheat, and steal.
He set his glass down and closed his hand, palm tingling as if he’d already delivered a dozen slaps to Andy’s upturned ass.
God, he wished Andy was with him, but then he’d never get this book read. Andy was a distraction. Even kneeling, perfectly still at Ethan’s feet. No. Especially when he was kneeling.
Did Andy know how many times Ethan glanced down at him, taking in the clean lines of his body, the hair he’d brushed smooth before using the brush on another part of Andy’s anatomy?
Probably. Andy noticed more than Ethan gave him credit for.
With a sigh, Ethan dropped the book beside his drink, then took out his phone.
“Cathy? It’s Ethan. I won’t be able to make it tomorrow. Yes, it is a shame. No, I’m fine. I didn’t read the book, so I wouldn’t have much to say. No, no reason. Just busy. It won’t happen again.”
His next call was to Andy. “I’m free tonight, after all. No, I don’t want you to come over. You’ve got an early shift.”
‘”So why call me?” Andy’s pout wasn’t visible, but Ethan heard it in his words. “Ooh, is it for phone sex? I’m up for it. Or we can go on Skype and I can show you the bruises on my ass. Can’t imagine how they got there.”
Poor choices had consequences, even for him. Ethan kept his voice casual, though he yearned to tell Andy to do just that. “Certainly not. I called to make sure you’d followed your instructions.”
“Healthy meal, no alcohol, did the dishes, exercised, showered, didn’t jerk off, all ready for bed,” Andy recited in a rush. “See? Good boy, Andy. Bark, bark. Now where’s my treat? I’ve sure as hell earned it.”
“Being demanding earns you the opposite of a reward. And for future reference, puppy play isn’t a kink of mine.”
“Hey.” The hurt came over as clearly as the pout.
Ethan relented. “Sorry. I’m annoyed with myself and taking it out on you. No reward for doing as you’re told, but for putting up with me, I’ll give you a choice. Two minutes jerking off with clamps or five without. And those times aren’t guidelines.”
”I get longer if I don’t wear the clamps? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
“No. You love them. Think about it.”
“True.” Andy cleared his throat. “Going to listen to me do it? Make sure I don’t go over my time limit?”
Tempting. So fucking tempting. Hearing Andy’s soft sounds of pleasure and stifled grunt when the clamps came off would make up for spending the night apart.
But the book, unread, neglected, caught his eye.
“No. I trust you. Good night.”
He hung up before Andy replied, his cock as rigid as the rules he lived by.
Blurb for Life Under New Management:
This is the third book in Totally Bound’s Totally Five Star imprint, set in glamorous hotels around the world.
Working for a perfectionist like strict, sexy-as-hell Ethan isn’t easy. Falling in love with him? No problem at all.
Taking a bar job in an exclusive hotel is a stopgap for Andy. He’s an actor and his big break is coming soon—he knows it. His hot, new boss, Ethan, is strict, demanding and totally off-limits, but Andy can’t stop thinking about him.
When Andy learns of Ethan’s need to be in control of his partner—in bed and out of it—he’s stunned by the intensity of his reaction. He wants Ethan guiding him, bringing order to his chaotic life. And he sees that Ethan needs him too, though they can’t be open about their feelings.
Ethan deals out deliciously perverse consequences for misbehaving, but when it comes to incentives, he knows just what to offer to have Andy on his knees begging for more.
But some secrets can’t stay that way for long. And when difficult choices arise, for once Andy can’t turn to Ethan for guidance. This time, he’s on his own.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of intense pain play, including the use of a Wartenberg wheel and figging.
Like the sound of Life Under New Management? Buy it here.
About Jane Davitt:
Jane Davitt is English, and has been living in Canada with her husband, two children, and two cats, since 1997. Writing and reading are her main occupations but if she ever had any spare time she might spend it gardening, walking, or doing cross stitch.
Jane has been writing since 2005 and wishes she’d started earlier. She is a huge fan of SF, fantasy, erotica, and mystery novels and has a tendency to get addicted to TV shows that get cancelled all too soon.
She owns over 4,000 books, rarely gives any away, but is happy to loan them, and is of the firm opinion that there is no such thing as ‘too many books’.
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