Author: Sean Michael
Word Count: 123350
Page Count (pdf): 227
Series: The Hammer Club
Number in Series: Book 1
Date Published: February 2016
Publisher: Sean Michael
File Types available: pdf, epub, mobi in a zip file
Bent has been moved to Kindle Unlimited and may be bought there.
Marcus knows Jim is his minutes after meeting the snarly, jumpy ex-professor at the local bookstore. He thinks Jim is a natural submissive, someone who needs order and discipline in his life to help with Jim’s anxiety and bad health habits. So Marcus decides to pursue Jim relentlessly, because even if Jim’s mouth is saying no, his body is saying yes.
There’s a lot more to Jim than meets the eye, and Marcus will have to be careful. Jim knows what it means to lose everything, knows what it’s like to be without friends or family. Jim feels broken, and knowing that he likes the kinds of weird things Marcus wants to do to him only makes him scared that he’s losing his mind.
Their chemistry is so real, so genuine, that Jim lets Marcus wear him down, lets Marcus take control. Eventually, his trust grows, allowing them to enter into the BDSM lifestyle together, learning about each other every day, with every scene. Jim is still uncertain sometimes, though, and he thinks Marcus might just want him because he’s cracked. Can this top and bottom pair find a way to understand their wants and needs, and make a life that works for them alone?
Previously published by Torquere Press.
Jim went through his mail — hate letter, hate letter, bank statement, check, bill, bill, hate letter. He dumped the hate mail in the trash. He didn’t need to read them. That bitch and her sorority friends were repetitive and boring, at best. He finished his espresso and grabbed the other half of his muffin, wrapping it carefully for his breakfast tomorrow.
Horror novels today, he thought. He could use fodder for the article he was doing on the changing face of fear. Besides, he liked scaring himself. Jim headed next door, whistling under his breath. Someone else went into the bookstore ahead of him and the door was held open.
“Thanks.” He nodded without looking up, heading for the fiction section. They used to shelve horror on its own, but not anymore. Goddamn it. Still, it was easy enough to find, especially as he was only looking for certain names.
He didn’t even realize he was being followed until a voice right next to him said, “you’re welcome.”
Jim jumped, almost losing his briefcase. Oh, fuck. The big, growly guy. Just what he needed today. He nodded, doing his best to ignore the man.
“You appear to be in a better mood today.”
“Do I know you? I mean, from beyond last week?” He really wasn’t interested in chit-chat.
“Not yet, no. And last week you weren’t at your best. Perhaps we should share a meal and rectify that.”
“Do you always invite men that you threatened to beat out for lunch?”
“Actually, I usually invite them to lunch and then offer to beat them.” He was given a grin and the big, bald guy held out his hand. “I’m Marcus Goodfellow.”
“Jim Upton.” He shook the man’s hand, the skin warm, solid, the handshake firm. Jesus.
“What kind of food do you like?” Marcus kept a hold of his hand.
The question surprised him enough that he answered it. “Oriental. Spicy.”
“There’s a new Thai place over on Fountain Street. I’ve been looking for an excuse to try it out. Come with me.” The words sounded suspiciously like an order.
“I can’t. I have work to do. Books to read. I just ate. You threatened to hit me. It’s not a promising start to an acquaintanceship.” He thought, maybe, he’d had too much caffeine.
“On the contrary, threatening to hit you is a wonderful start of an acquaintanceship where I come from.” Marcus gave him a wink and he wasn’t sure if the man was serious or not. “Lunch will be my treat.”
“I. Excuse me?”
“I said lunch will be my treat. Choose your books and we can walk right over.”
“I. No. No, of course not. I.” He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “If you’ll excuse me.” He obviously was ill and needed a moment. Jim stepped away, heading for the restroom so that he could wash his face.
“Do you always run away from offers of free lunch?” Damn, the man had long legs — he’d caught up quickly.
“I don’t. I don’t feel well. Excuse me.”
Marcus stopped him, putting a hand on his forehead. “You don’t feel hot. Perhaps you’re hungry. Lunch is a good idea, Jim. Come with me.”
“But…” His hand was grabbed and he was led out the door, like he was some fool.
When they got out, Marcus put his hand in the crook of the man’s arm and headed up the street. “So what do you do, Jim?”
“I’m an editor.” Sort of. Sometimes. Like it mattered. “What about you?”
“I have my own business. I make leather goods.”
“Saddles? Clothes?” No one would need saddles here.
“Whips, floggers, cock rings. Marcus Goodfellow is a well-known name in the BDSM community.”
“Oh.” Goodness. He. Indeed.
“Have you heard of it?” He wasn’t sure if Marcus meant his name or the BDSM community thing.
“No. No, that is rather outside my circles, I think.” Hell, his entire world was destroyed by one little slut who didn’t pass World Lit. He wasn’t looking for more trouble.
“It doesn’t have to be outside your circle. There are people from all walks of life who are a part of it.” Marcus stopped and opened the door to the restaurant for him.
“I’m sure.” Of course. Him. In leather. Nonsense. Well… perhaps if the leather came in patches on a tweed jacket. Jim almost chuckled.
“As am I. You would look magnificent with a few piercings, some ink.” Marcus looked at him over top the menu. “I am, of course, presuming you don’t have any already. Do you?”
“Of course not. I intend to return to academia some day and they don’t accept such nonsense.” With his record, he’d be lucky to teach community college.
“That’s bullshit. I know plenty of teachers in the lifestyle and most of them have some ink or piercings.”
He rolled his eyes. “Then they must either be incredibly discreet or incredibly lucky.”
“Baby, if your cock is pierced there’s no way anyone’s going to know unless you tell them.”
“Well, then one would assume that counts as discreet.” His hand dropped to his cock instinctively, just protecting it.
Marcus chuckled, the sound rich and full. “Can you imagine how that would feel? The metal in your cock. You’d always feel it, know it was there, no matter where you were or who you’re talking to.”
“No. No, I don’t think so.” He shook his head. “It’s simply not my sort of thing. I’m a reader, a bit of a writer.” Look at him — he was the epitome of conservative, quiet, middle-class.
“The two things are not mutually exclusive, you know.”
A waiter came and interrupted their conversation and before he could do or say anything, Marcus had ordered for both of them.
Jim blinked, confused. “Excuse me, do you often do that?”
“Hmm?” Marcus took his napkin and spread it on his lap. “Do what?”
“Order for people.” He was getting rather unnerved, honestly.
Marcus pondered it for a moment, dark grey eyes thoughtful. “Yes, I do.”
“Why? I’m perfectly capable.” Incredibly capable. Vastly even. Goodness, he really needed to get on with his day. He had two articles to write, a book to review and a text on Yeats to work on…
Marcus shrugged. “It’s just something I do. I take care of people. It doesn’t mean they’re not capable.”
The waiter brought them their water and beer. “Your food’ll be along in a couple minutes.”
“Thank you.” He nodded to the waiter, dug in his bag for a Xanax as his anxiety ratcheted up. He was almost out of his prescription and he was rationing them out.
He was getting his shit together. He had an apartment. He had work. A schedule. A rhythm. He realized suddenly that Marcus was talking to him. “Pardon me?”
“I was asking if you’ve been suffering from anxiety for long?” Marcus nodded at his packet of pills.
“It’s nothing.” He took one and then pocketed the rest. “Life’s stressful, hmm?”
“Is it? I subscribe more to the life is beautiful camp. It’s all in how you look at it.”