By: Sherri Hayes

Sherri Hayes is a country girl at heart. She lives outside a small town in Ohio with her husband and three cats. Her mother encouraged her love of books and fondly remembers childhood story times. Sherri satisfied her need to be creative through singing and performance throughout her high school years. About three years ago, the urge to write started, and she has not stopped since. It has become an outlet for her, and she is excited to be able to share the characters and stories that constantly float in her head.


Geno’s was a small Italian restaurant about a mile from my office. They had good food and a cozy atmosphere, which made it a great place to have an informal meeting with an old friend.

The hostess greeted me at the door and let me know that my party had already been seated. She escorted me through a maze of tables to a corner booth in the back.

The restaurant was busy, but not packed. Still, getting the back corner booth with no one sitting at any of the immediate tables surrounding it told me either luck was with Daren today or he’d pulled some strings. My bet was on the strings.

Daren, my college roommate for two years, had called out of the blue this morning, asking if we could have lunch. He introduced me to the lifestyle I’ve lived for the last five years. Although he’d graduated a year ahead of me, we’d kept in touch through e-mails and the occasional phone call. Until I ran into him last month at a BDSM party, I hadn’t seen him since his graduation day.

My Mentor was always more social than me, so seeing him at a party wasn’t exactly a shock. I just wasn’t aware that he had moved back to Minneapolis. It had been a pleasant surprise.

Sitting down across from my friend, I took the menu from the hostess.

“Kelly will be around to get your drink orders in a minute.”

Thanking her, I set the menu down without looking at it and faced Daren. He was nearly my exact opposite. Where I had brown hair, he had blond. His eyes were a baby blue, whereas mine were a vivid hazel. I was tall and lanky, even though I’d buffed up some since college. Daren, on the other hand, was four inches shorter and could have easily passed as a body builder.

Today he looked nervous, which was rather unusual for him. Not unheard of, but definitely not common either. Needless to say, it piqued my curiosity.

“So do you want to tell me what’s up?”

“I will in a minute,” he said, looking over my shoulder. His behavior gave me a negative feeling. “Do you know what you want, Stephan?”

“Yes. I come here all the time.”

“Good.” He sounded relieved.

And then Kelly was there asking for our orders.

As soon as she left, I raised my eyebrow in question, but he ignored me. “You’re still running the family business, I see.”

“Yes,” I said, not sure what he was getting at. I doubted it had anything to do with why he’d called me. “I’m still head of The Coleman Foundation, but since it’s a not-for-profit, I’m not sure you could say it’s the family business.”

He waved it away. “Same thing.”

I waited, but he didn’t continue so I decided to play along. “You’re still consulting?”

Daren released a sharp breath. “Yeah.” He leaned toward me. “Are you still looking to collar a sub?”

So that’s what this was about? “If I find the right one, yes.” I noticed his shoulders relax, and he sat back a little. “What does that have to do with anything?” I asked, truly confused.

The subject that I did not currently have a submissive came up during our conversation last month at the party. I hadn’t played with anyone in the last six months. No one had struck my fancy, and most of them reminded me too much of Tami.

Daren had been with his submissive, Gina, since college. They were well matched in likes and dislikes and were much more open in their relationship than I personally preferred. I did not share my submissives, nor did I play with others when in a relationship. Many did, like Daren and Gina, but I’d never found it to be appealing. What was mine was mine.

Kelly came back with our drinks, so Daren waited for her to leave again before answering. “Because I found a girl for you.”

“Daren,” I warned, shaking my head. This was another no on my list. I didn’t enjoy being set up. Logan, my best friend, and his girl, Lily, had tried to set me up more times than I could count. I wasn’t interested.

“Hear me out. She needs your help.”

This aroused my curiosity. “What do you mean she needs my help?”

“I know how much you like to help people, Stephan. I mean, look at what you do.”

I was in complete disbelief. “Helping fund medical care for those who can’t afford it is a little different than taking on a submissive. Is she already a trained sub? Is she looking for a Dom?”