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K.C. Wells discovered erotic fiction in 2009, where the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was WTF hot. Since then, she’s written a lot of BDSM best sellers, including An Unlocked Heart, which she graciously agreed to share with us. Visit her at www.kcwellsworld.com.
Story line: Collars and Cuffs co-owner Thomas Williams receives an unexpected gift that chills him to the bone. A Dom from another Manchester club asks Thomas for his help rescuing an abused submissive, Peter Nicholson. Thomas takes in the young man as a favor to a friend, offering space and time to heal, but he makes it clear he’s never had a sub, and doesn’t want one.
Peter finds Thomas’s home calm and peaceful, but his past has left him unwilling to trust another Dom. When Thomas doesn’t behave as Peter expects, Peter’s nightmares begin to fade, and he decides he’d like to learn more about D/s life. A well known trainer of submissives, Thomas begins to teach Peter, but as the new submissive opens up to him, Thomas finds he cares more for Peter than he should. Just as he decides it’s time to find a permanent Dom for Peter, they discover Peter’s tormentor is still very much a threat. With their lives in danger, Thomas can’t deny his feelings for Peter any longer. The question now becomes, can Peter make it out of the lions’ den alive, so that Thomas can tell his boy that he loves him?
Peter put down his pen with a sigh and stretched his back, reaching high above him with his fingers laced together, palms up. Thank God that was over. He regarded the fruits of his morning’s labor with relief.
Thomas had given him a dark blue ring-bound notebook for the purpose of writing his weekly essays. But his first task had been to write down what led to him to his present situation. Peter could see why Thomas might find such a thing useful; he knew next to nothing about Peter. So he’d sat down this morning to put together a description of how he met Curtis, and his life after that point. And it had taken him hours. Not that Peter’s life had been so eventful. No, what had taken time were the frequent pauses where he had to stop and breathe or else be undone by the painful memories that threatened to overwhelm him. Things he’d long forgotten came back to poke and prod him with thin, spiteful fingers. Pain he’d pushed aside was suddenly there once more, raking sharp talons down his spine. But Peter persevered. And now that it was finished, he had no intention of ever reading it again. The mere act of writing it had somehow been a cathartic exercise. Writing down each remembered horror had taken some of the sting out of it, made it just that little bit less painful. No, it was enough that he’d completed the task. If Thomas wanted to read it, that was fine.
He glanced at his watch and let out a hiss of breath. It was nearly time to make his eleven o’clock call. Thomas left the house early that Monday morning, and Peter had started work on his task straightaway. It was a good thing he noticed the time. There was no way he wanted to miss his first call. He scrambled down the stairs, trying not to fall in his haste, and hurried into the lounge. The phone stood on a little cabinet with a padded seat built into it, and Peter sat down and grabbed the slip of paper that bore the number of Thomas’s club.
Anxiously, he dialed the number and waited for it to connect. After only two rings, someone picked up the phone.
“Well done, boy. You remembered.” Thomas’s voice was deep and firm, and somehow Peter knew he was smiling. Warmth flooded through him.
“Thank you, Sir.” Peter couldn’t hold back his smile. Thomas was pleased with him.
“By the way, the clothes I ordered online on Saturday were delivered here this morning. So when I get home, you’ll have new clothes to try on.”
Much to his chagrin, this news left Peter excited, like a little boy anticipating Christmas morning. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, does it? Thomas had shown him what he was ordering and asked for his opinion. To be honest, Peter would have said yes to whatever Thomas wanted him to wear. Since their conversation in the kitchen, he’d been filled with a sense of hope that his life really had turned itself around. He knew he was deliberately pushing his fears to one side, but the sense of euphoria that flowed through him temporarily submerged all the worries about Curtis. Peter couldn’t get over the difference a mere few days had made to his life.
With a start, Peter realized his mind had wandered. “Sorry, Sir. I zoned out for a second there.”
“Then you probably missed what I said. I didn’t want you to feel uncomfortable in the house on your own for the first time, so you’ll be having a visitor.”
Peter’s heart beat faster. He knew it was irrational, but he couldn’t help his body’s reaction. “A v-visitor, Sir?”
Thomas’s voice was soothing, calming. “It’s okay, boy. Breathe.” How had he known? “That’s it, listen to my voice and breathe deeply. You’re safe, Peter.” Peter hung onto his words and inhaled, keeping his breathing even. After a few seconds he felt calmer. “Good boy.” Thomas’s praise settled on him, surrounding him like a warm blanket.
“I’m all right now, Sir.” Peter straightened. He knew Thomas couldn’t see him, but it felt good to get his posture right.
“You remember Alex, from a few days ago?”
Had it really only been a few days? “Yes, Sir.”
“Alex will be calling round to see you. In fact, he should be there any minute.” There was a moment’s pause. “I’m looking forward to tasting your first meal, Peter. Do you have everything you need?”
“Yes, Sir.” Peter had sat down with the cookbook on Sunday afternoon and worked out his menu for the week. Once Thomas showed him where everything was kept and what supplies were already available, it hadn’t taken him long to put together a shopping list.
“Good.” Peter could hear Thomas’s approval. “In that case, I’ll let you go. Don’t forget your call at three.”
“I won’t forget, Sir.” Peter spoke fervently. He wouldn’t let Thomas down.
“I look forward to hearing from you then. Have a good time with Alex.” Thomas hung up, and Peter replaced the handset. If Alex was going to appear, the least Peter could do was make sure the kettle was on. He went into the kitchen. His feet made virtually no sound on the wooden floor in his thick socks. He’d no sooner clicked on the kettle than he heard the doorbell. Silently, he made his way to the lounge window and peered through the blinds as surreptitiously as he could. Yes, it was Alex standing outside, shivering slightly. Peter hurried to the front door and unbolted it.
“Good morning. I take it Master Thomas told you I was coming?” Alex stepped into the warm hallway, held his hands out over the radiator, and then sighed with pleasure. “It’s freezing out there!”
All of a sudden Peter was tongue-tied. He watched as Alex removed his thick jacket and hung it on a hook near the door. What should he say to him?
Alex regarded him for a second or two. “Peter, it’s okay to be nervous, all right? But think about it. Thomas wouldn’t let me anywhere near you if he didn’t trust me, would he?”
Peter gave himself a mental kick up the backside. He knew Alex was right. It was just a matter of convincing his stupid brain of that fact.
“I’m sorry,” he said quietly. “Would you like some tea or coffee?”
Alex’s eyes lit up hopefully. “I don’t suppose Thomas has any green tea in the house?”
Peter smiled. “I’m not sure. Let’s go see.”
The two young men went into the kitchen, and Peter headed for the cabinet above the kettle. There were various boxes of different teas in there, and Peter hunted through them. A triumphant sound escaped him as he pounced on a box near the back of the cupboard. “Green tea with vanilla—will that do?” Alex’s wide grin said plenty.
Peter had never tried green tea. He sniffed cautiously at the tea bags and then dropped two into waiting mugs. Alex glanced around the kitchen.
“This is a really nice kitchen.”
Peter had to agree. It wasn’t as sterile-looking as Curtis’s kitchen. The wooden cabinets gave the room a lovely warm feeling. He poured boiling water over the teabags and let them infuse for several seconds. While he waited, he looked around. There were plenty of work surfaces in a deep cream marble, all uncluttered. Peter liked that. He found he couldn’t think straight with too much clutter. Someone had really given this kitchen a lot of thought.
“Should be ready now.” Alex’s words brought Peter back into the moment. He gave Alex a sheepish look, embarrassed to be caught with his mind wandering. He seemed to be doing that a lot today. He squeezed out the tea bags and handed a mug to Alex before pushing the sugar bowl toward him. Alex waved his hand. “Nah, I’m sweet enough.” He winked. Peter reddened.
They sat down at the wide table, and Peter hurriedly reached for coasters.
“So, have you settled in yet?” Alex sipped carefully at his tea.
Peter nodded. “Though it will be better when I have some clothes.” He glanced down at his T-shirt and sweatpants. “Sir ordered me some. I’ll get them tonight.” He thought back on Thomas’s shopping list. The man had been very thorough: jeans, T-shirts, shirts, sweaters, underwear, and even sneakers. At first, Peter’s mind reverted back to his earlier suspicion. Why would Thomas do all this for him and not want something in return? Then he recalled Thomas’s reaction, the horror in his eyes he’d tried to hide when Peter had voiced that very thought. Ashamed, Peter pushed the memory from his head.
Alex glanced at the notepad on the worktop, next to the cookbook. “You’re going to be doing the cooking, is that right?” Peter nodded. “Have you done much cooking before?”
“I lived with my grandmother for a while before I—” Peter didn’t want to think about moving in with Curtis. He shuddered and then composed himself. “She taught me to do some basic stuff. But over the past few years, cooking has simply been a matter of heating up ready meals. Curtis—” He shivered. “Curtis lived on processed food.”
Alex pulled a face. “Tell me about it. It was one of the reasons I had to get out of my parents’ house. The junk they used to eat….” He opened the notepad and glanced at Peter’s scrawl. “So what’s on the menu tonight?”
Peter found himself relaxing in Alex’s presence. The younger man seemed quite laid-back and self-assured, and Peter was relieved when Alex didn’t press him for details of his life with Curtis. There was no way he would share what he’d been through. Everything was still far too raw.
“I’m going to make spiced parsnip soup.” The recipe looked simple enough. “I thought about making some fresh bread to go with it.”
Alex’s eyes lit up. “Ooh, fresh homemade bread. Can I help?”
Peter wavered for a second, about to say yes. But then he reconsidered. It was his responsibility. Thomas was trusting him to carry it out.
“Thanks for the offer, but I’d like to do it myself, if you don’t mind.”
Alex’s slow smile of approval warmed him. “I think Thomas would like that. Can I at least stay and keep you company while you do stuff?”
Peter had no problem with that. He opened the cookbook to the page he’d marked with a slip of paper and began assembling his ingredients so that he had everything to hand. He’d found a plastic container labeled “bread flour—six seeds” in the tall cabinet that contained foodstuffs, and thought it might make some really tasty bread. Dried yeast sachets were tucked in next to the container.
“Have you made bread before?” Alex inquired.
Peter shook his head. “I’ll be honest. I’m a bit nervous. What if the bread doesn’t rise?” He chewed at his lower lip.
Alex glanced around the kitchen and found an AGA cooker, a heavy, cast-iron heat-storage stove. He grinned. “Not going to be a problem. As long as you have somewhere warm for the bread to rise, it’ll be fine. You could sit the loaf tin on top of the AGA. Just make sure it’s not too warm.”
Peter’s brows lifted. “You sound like you’ve done this before.”
Alex chuckled. “I work in an Italian restaurant. Luca always makes his own bread.” He moaned softly. “His ciabatta is to die for.”
Peter laughed, feeling much more at ease. He reached into a lower cupboard, pulled out kitchen scales, and proceeded to weigh out the ingredients. His large glass mixing bowl was soon full of flour, butter, and yeast. Once the warm water had been added, Peter began using his hands to combine the contents of the bowl into dough. Alex’s gaze followed his every movement, and as the dough began to cling to Peter’s fingers, Alex giggled.
“You need to sprinkle a little flour over the dough so it doesn’t get too sticky.”
Peter let out a low growl. “I think we passed sticky a while back—this stuff has the consistency of glue.” He’d somehow managed to get dough onto everything. He wiped at his brow in exasperation. Damn—now there was dough in his hair, on his nose, in his eyebrows….
Alex’s giggle morphed into a full-blown guffaw. “Oh man—just look at you! It’s the Pillsbury Doughboy!” Peter couldn’t hold back his glare, and Alex quickly covered his mouth with his hand. All this served to do, however, was to muffle his laughter. “Do you want a hand?” Peter could just about make out the words.
“Yes!” The word came out with more desperation than he intended. Alex dipped a spoon into the flour container and sprinkled it lightly over the dough. Peter did his best to fold the flour into the now extremely sticky glop in the bowl, but the flour went everywhere. Peter glanced in quiet desperation at the recipe. He grasped the bowl firmly and upended it, intending for the dough to end up on the table, ready for kneading.
The dough had other ideas. It hung there upside down, refusing to leave the bowl. What the hell? He shook the bowl. No reaction. Reaching into the bowl, he clawed at the mixture, trying to pry it from the sides and grimacing when it got under his fingernails. Eventually an amorphous blob slumped onto the table.
Peter and Alex stared at the gooey mass for a second or two.
Alex said, “So, now you knead it, right? So it might have been a good idea to flour the table before you emptied the dough onto it?” Alex’s eyes danced with amusement.
Peter groaned. “You might have said something!” Frowning, he stuck his hand into the flour container, grabbed a handful of flour, and dumped it over the sticky mass. He then proceeded to pummel the dough, gingerly at first, but with more vigor as it became pliant.
“Hey, take it easy—what has that poor bread ever done to you?” Alex was laughing. Peter glanced up at him. Alex mimed how to knead the dough correctly, and Peter followed his hand movements. He sighed with relief as the dough began to resemble the picture in the cookbook.
“Okay, now stick it back in the bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and leave it to prove on the AGA.” Peter patted and pulled the dough into a rounded ball and helped it back into the bowl. He held a clean tea towel under the tap, wrung it out, and then laid it over the receptacle. He placed his precious dough safely to one side on the AGA and eyed the kitchen table in horror. Large bits of dough clung to its surface. This was going to take some clearing up.
“I do believe there’s more on the table than there is in the bowl.”
Alex’s comment, accompanied by a wicked chuckle, was a declaration of war.
Peter slowly hooked his finger into a particularly large clump of dough and pulled it free from the table. He regarded it solemnly for a moment, then raised his head—and flicked it at Alex. It landed with startling accuracy on Alex’s chin. Alex’s eyes widened.
“Oh, so it’s like that, is it?” Grinning, he scraped some dough from the table and flung it at Peter. Peter sidestepped neatly and it hit the kitchen door and stuck. “Hah! Lucky move. Next time I won’t miss.”
The two men raced to the table and began picking up every bit of dough they could find. And then the battle commenced. Peter conserved his ammunition and flicked tiny pellets at Alex, laughing as it landed with astonishing accuracy. Alex’s aim wasn’t as good, so his dough bullets ended up on the floor, worktops, Thomas’s shoe….
The battle came to an abrupt halt as both men suddenly noticed Thomas standing in the doorway, staring at the scene. Peter’s heart jolted in his chest. He froze, not daring to look Thomas in the eye. Beside him, he was aware of Alex doing exactly the same thing.
“I thought I’d bring the clothes home so you could put on something warmer.” Something in Thomas’s tone made Peter look up, and when he did, he could have wept with relief. Thomas was trying not to laugh. Peter could see him straining with the effort.
“I’m going to go back to the club now,” Thomas said slowly, “and when I get home this evening, you two will have cleared up this mess until the kitchen sparkles. Is that clear?” His gaze passed over both men.
Peter nodded, gulping. Alex hadn’t even raised his head, but Peter detected his brisk nod. Thomas surveyed the kitchen one more time before retreating. Peter listened as the front door opened and closed. At last he took a breath. He looked at Alex. Alex looked at him. And all of a sudden both men were laughing, with tears running down their faces. Peter’s sides ached from it.
“I… can’t remember… the last time I laughed like this,” he managed to stammer out.
Alex wiped his eyes. “Me neither.” He glanced around at the detritus of their battle and sighed. “Oh well, cleanup time.”
Twenty minutes later the kitchen was once more looking clean, with not a scrap of dough to be seen. Both Peter and Alex had gone over the room carefully, anxiously searching for any elusive bits, but they appeared to have found it all. Peter made some more green tea, and they sat at the table, sipping slowly, listening to birdsong from the garden.
“I could get to like this,” Peter admitted, indicating his tea with a brief nod.
Alex beamed. “It’s good, isn’t it? I like it with jasmine too.” He sipped the fragrant tea. “So, apart from cooking, what else will you be doing with your days?”
“Reading through Thomas’s rules for Doms.” Seeing Alex’s confusion at this, Peter explained what Thomas wanted him to do. Alex’s mouth dropped open.
“I’d love to see those. I think that would be fascinating. Can I?”
Peter hesitated. Then he figured there was nothing wrong in it. Doubtless, Leo had a copy of his own. He nodded. “They’re in my room.” He stood, pushing back his chair, and Alex followed suit. As they went into the hallway, Peter glanced down at some boxes that were stacked at the foot of the stairs. “These must be my clothes.”
“I’ll give you a hand to take them up to your room.” Alex picked up two of them and Peter the third. Alex grunted. “How much stuff did Thomas buy for you?”
Peter grimaced. “He bought everything. I mean, you’re looking at all the clothes I possess right now.” Alex nodded somberly. They entered Peter’s room, and both men dropped the boxes onto the bed. Alex winked.
“So do I get a fashion show when you try this lot on?” Peter flushed and Alex chortled. “I take it that’s a no. Well, at least I can help you unpack it all. The bread needs time to prove, so we might as well use the time wisely.” He waited for Peter’s reaction.
Peter acknowledged his suggestion with a dip of his head, and Alex immediately attacked the box with a gleeful sound, ripping the brown postage tape from its seams. Peter couldn’t help but warm to him. Between them, they removed all the clothing from its various packaging and discarded the box, placing it at the foot of the bed. This was repeated with the next two boxes, until clothing was piled high on the bed.
Alex glanced around the room. “Do you have hangers?” Without waiting for Peter’s reply, he opened the doors of the oak wardrobe, letting out a triumphant cry as he saw inside. “Bingo! Plenty of coat hangers. Let’s get hanging, then.” Peter sorted the clothes into two piles, items for the wardrobe and the rest for the chest of drawers. Alex brought a handful of hangers and placed them on the bed, and they spent the next ten minutes or so hanging up Peter’s new shirts, jeans, and trousers. Underwear and socks were safely stowed in the top drawer, and T-shirts and sweaters were folded neatly and placed in the second.
At last the bed was clear of clothing, and Alex grinned. “Peter, you have clothes.”
Peter smiled. It gave him a comforting feeling to know he was being taken care of like this. Then he realized that drinking two cups of green tea in quick succession had its consequences.
“You’ll have to excuse me for a minute,” he said, blushing. Alex nodded, and he quickly exited the room.
Alex started to dismantle the cardboard boxes, flattening them, getting them ready for the recycling collection. His gaze landed on the opened writing desk and the blue notebook sitting there. Curiosity finally got the better of him. He quietly crossed the room and flipped open the notebook, then skimmed down the handwritten paragraphs. His eyes widened.
I begged Curtis not to do it, but he simply pushed the broom handle into my arse. No lube. I couldn’t help it. I screamed. He withdrew it, and it felt as though my insides came away with it. And then he roughly shoved it into me again. And again. I remember pulling at the straps that held me down. I can still hear the laughter of the three men who stood around the table, watching him do it, egging him on. That hateful voice cackling before he said, “Oh fuck, now he’s bleeding.” And when I screamed out in pain, one of the men hit me on the jaw before thrusting his thick cock into my mouth with such speed and force that I was choking from it. “That’s the way to shut him up.” I couldn’t shut it all out—their shouts of derision, the splashes of hot come on my back as they jerked off…. Mercifully, I passed out soon after that.
What the…? With a shock Alex heard Peter flush the toilet, and he hurriedly shut the notebook. He moved swiftly to the other side of the room and continued dismantling the boxes. Peter came back into the room and smiled when he saw what Alex was doing.
“Thanks for that. Sir is apparently really keen on recycling.”
Alex struggled to retain his composure. Right now he felt thoroughly ashamed of himself for peeking into what was clearly a very private document, but more than that, he was filled with horror at what he’d read. He couldn’t look Peter in the eye. Come on, Alex, get it together. Because otherwise, he’s going to notice…. With a supreme effort he smiled at Peter.
“So what’s next on your to-do list for today?” He kept the words light and cheerful, but the effort it took to accomplish this was enormous.
Peter glanced at the clock beside his bed. “It’s too early to start preparing the soup, but it is lunchtime.” He gave Alex a shy look. “Would you like to have lunch with me?” There was a hopeful light in his eyes that Alex couldn’t ignore.
“Sure,” he said with a half-smile. “What’s for lunch?