“Limits and Stakes” Excerpt

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It was spring break, and Professor Danny Stone was in the midst of enjoying a full week of student-free days. Dressed head-to-toe in tight black leather and itching to play, Danny smiled as he entered the Lock & Key. The club wasn’t as big as the one he’d been a member of before moving to Georgia, and membership wasn’t as exclusive, but it was well recommended and the staff kept an eye out for the patrons. Most of the members seemed to be well-versed in the lifestyle as well, enough to give him the confidence that, if he were to play with someone, they would at least know what they were doing or say something if they didn’t.document.getElementById("content").innerHTMLdocument.getElementById("content").innerHTML

The club was a sufficient distance from where he worked, so he didn’t have to worry about being spotted as a familiar face outside of the
scene. A BDSM club in a college town was not where a professor wanted to be found, no matter how liberal the residents claimed to be. A five-hour drive and the expense of a hotel room for the week was a worthy price for freedom.

He ordered a bottle of water and scanned the crowd for potential company. A small group of men caught his eye. Two of the three he disregarded immediately, but it was the third, a lean blond in the skimpiest pair of leather shorts he’d ever seen, who caught his attention. He was unable to tear his gaze from all that pale skin. Or maybe, it was the way the leather hugged his perfectly round bottom.

It was obvious the boy was new to the scene. There was uncertainty in his movements, but he was doing his best to keep up the conversation. Danny had full confidence the young man would succeed. Anyone brave enough to go out in public in shorts like those could hold a simple
conversation.

It wasn’t until the group moved toward the bar that Danny finally saw the young man’s face. He froze in surprise. Of the students crowding the Georgia State University campus, he now faced the one he’d wanted to avoid the most, the one he wanted to forget. Before he thought about moving, he’d intercepted the group.

“Christopher,” he said.

Christopher Owen looked up at him, startled. His eyes widened in recognition, and his mouth fell open.

“Pr—” He blinked. “Mr. Stone.”

Relief flooded through Danny. He preferred to keep his daily life separate from the club and was glad Chris had corrected himself.

“You know this kid?” asked one of the men. He stood too close to Chris for Danny’s liking.

“Yes,” Danny said. He bit back the impulse to claim anything more. He had no rights over the young man, but his instincts wouldn’t let him
back down completely. “My apologies for the interruption,” he said. “I wasn’t aware Chris planned to be here today.”

The stranger looked Christopher over, paying particular attention to his neck. “He’s not marked,” he said.

“I’m instructing him,” Danny said. Well, he had been. For half a semester, he’d tutored Chris in advanced calc, but that had changed after
winter break. Either way, the details didn’t apply here. He clutched at straws with half-truths, but he couldn’t help himself. He wanted to know why Christopher was there and what he had in mind. He wanted to keep the boy safe.

He wanted to keep him.

No. He’s a student. You just promised him two months ago that nothing would happen between the two of you, and now you’re trying to put a collar on him? Get a grip, Stone!

“Of course, he’s free to choose who he goes with,” Danny added in an attempt to pull himself out of the hole he’d been digging.

The other man looked at Christopher expectantly. Chris’ eyes flickered back and forth between them, seemingly lost on how to answer. Danny put a hand on his shoulder.

“You can continue to the bar as you were, or you can take a tour of the club with me. Which do you want to do? There is no wrong choice.”

“I…” Chris’ gaze locked on Danny’s. “I…” He swallowed. “I want to go with you.”

There was a tsk from behind Christopher, but Danny ignored it. He also did his best to ignore the sense of triumph running through him as he smiled.

“Follow me,” he said and headed back to the bar.

“I thought…”

“One step at a time, boy.” Danny ordered another water for Chris then scanned the room for an empty table. When the bartender put the drinks on the counter, Danny left them for Chris to pick up then led the way toward the table. He was glad to hear the crinkle of plastic as Christopher followed.

The table he’d chosen had a semblance of privacy. Danny took the chair against the wall and gestured for Chris to take the other.

“Now, I take it this is what you meant about trying new things over spring break?” he asked.

The boy flushed red. “I… Yes. I’ve always wanted to come here and finally worked up the courage to do it.”

“You did more than that.” Danny dropped a pointed look in the direction of Chris’ shorts.

Chris’ cheeks flushed a light pink. “You’re not gonna tell anyone, are you?” he asked.

“I believe a person’s private life is their own business.”

“I… Thanks.”

Danny nodded and took a sip of his water. After a moment, Christopher did the same. He licked his lips, and Danny caught himself staring at them. He remembered kissing that mouth.

One evening, during winter break, while huddled in coats against the winter chill, they’d come across one another. The small details of that moment were forever embedded in Danny’s mind. He had been entranced by the puffs of breath dancing between them as they spoke, the rosy color on Chris’ cheeks and the sparkle in the younger man’s clear blue eyes. He remembered the silence all around them when the conversation had hit a lull, and the pull at that moment, the irresistible urge that had driven him to kiss a student. Granted, Christopher was a grad student and not in any of Danny’s classes, but Danny had been his tutor at the time. Even if he hadn’t, Chris was still a student at the
college where Daniel worked, and that wasn’t something the professor was comfortable with. Recklessness and temptation led to trouble, and so, he’d pulled away. Yet here was that face again, looking at him so openly, as if the kiss had never happened and Danny hadn’t ruined an innocent student-teacher relationship.

He swallowed and mentally shook himself from his reverie. “Did you have anything in mind when you came here tonight or was getting through the door the main goal?” he asked.

Christopher’s blush deepened. “That seemed to be a big enough goal to start with,” he said.

“Now that you’ve accomplished it, what do you plan to do next?”

Was Professor Stone offering to do a scene with him? Chris couldn’t imagine the option was on the table, especially after the way the instructor had reacted to their kiss during winter break.

It had been sweet, the kiss. A chaste press of the professor’s lips against his as the snow had fallen around them. There had been a brief moment of perfection when the kiss had broken and they had looked into each other’s eyes, but then the mistake had registered, and Professor Stone had left him standing alone on the sidewalk. The rejection had hurt, but it hadn’t been a surprise and the memory of the kiss had warmed him for the rest of the vacation.

After winter break, Professor Stone had taken the time to apologize and reassure him that nothing inappropriate would ever happen between
them again. His earnestness had driven the point home deeper than the initial rejection, and Chris had left the professor’s office with a heavy heart.

He’d liked the kiss, loved it in fact. It had been the focus of many a late-night fantasy, except his dreams never ended with just one kiss. It was one of the reasons Chris had plucked up enough courage to come to the club for spring break. He wanted to find someone who would make his fantasies come true and take his mind off of the professor. So far, it hadn’t worked.

“I’ve only made it to the bar,” Chris said. “Maybe, I should look around first before deciding?”

“I did say I’d lead you on a tour. Drink some more of your water then we’ll start walking.”

Walking would be tough. Chris had known the tight shorts would do little to hide any sign of arousal, but he’d figured he’d be around strangers and it wouldn’t matter. Now, he was not only in front of someone he knew, but the man across from him was the very source of his nighttime fantasies. Keeping a calm exterior was already proving impossible, and Professor Stone was bound to notice.

Chris drank slowly, trying to relax, but the view across the table had the opposite effect. He’d seen Professor Stone every day while on campus. The man knew how to wear a suit, but tonight, he was encased in skintight leather pants with heavy black boots and a black T-shirt that looked painted on. The attention of the professor’s intense brown eyes didn’t help either. Giving up, Chris put down the glass.

“Ready?”

Chris nodded. There was nothing to be done so he might as well get it over with.

Professor Stone rose from the table and turned from him. Chris got up, thankful he could hide his embarrassment a little longer, and followed.

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