Penelope’s Gift ~ The Black Dahlia Hotel Series

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 On Route 30 heading back to Dallas, Texas from the Fairlamb cabin on Lake Ray Hubbard near Rowlett, Texas, Friday morning, September 3, 2010, Labor Day Weekend (Five years ago)


Penelope Wilson was driving back toward Dallas on Highway 30 from the Fairlamb brothers’ fishing cabin on Lake Ray Hubbard. She didn’t know if she was more mad or more hurt at the moment. She did know she was madder than a wet hen. That bastard, Jay Fairlamb. Asshole. She was done with him. Finished, finito, done, done, done.

She picked up her cell phone and dialed one of her best friends, Kathi Easton. When the call was answered, she said, “I’m on my way back to Dallas. You are not going to believe what just happened. Can you meet me for lunch? I’ll be back in town in about an hour.”

“Sure. How about that Tex-Mex place near your apartment? I could do some nachos and Dos Equis. I thought you were spending the weekend at the lake with Jay. What happened?”

“I need tequila. Lots of tequila. The bastard had some other woman there when I arrived. He decided he wanted to try a ménage.”

“You mean she was just there? He didn’t talk to you about it first or anything?”

“Nope. He said it had been on his mind for a while, although he never discussed the possibility with me. He said, ‘Masters make these decisions, and slaves obey.’ I think he was surprised when I said ‘No way. No fucking way.’”

“Oh, Pen. Honey, I’m sorry. I know how you feel about him. That was a totally shit thing to do, not to mention totally inconsiderate—D/s or M/s or what the hell notwithstanding.”

“Have I been such a doormat that he thought I would be okay with this shit?” Tears still streamed from her eyes and down her face, making it hard to see the road. “I’ll see you at Azteca at noon. I’m going to drop Bojangles off at my apartment first.” She disconnected the call and turned the car radio up loud. Bojangles, her happy-go-lucky, four-year-old Goldendoodle, was sprawled in the back of the SUV, totally oblivious to his mistress’s distress.

Penelope and Bojangles had arrived at the big, rustic log cabin on the lake, surrounded by several acres of pine forest, mid-morning after an easy drive out from Dallas. She had been shocked and dismayed to find that Jay had invited a tall, dark-haired woman she did not know for the weekend. He had actually said he wanted to try out a ménage. He was bringing another woman into their relationship without discussing it with her first or anything. That shit was not going to fly with her.

Thank goodness they hadn’t carried her bags into the cabin yet. She had grabbed up her dog, handbag and keys and run back out to her car that was still parked under the portico at the front of the cabin. She had torn out of the driveway, spewing gravel in her wake while Jay stood in the doorway with the other woman standing behind him and watched her go. She hadn’t been able to make out his expression through the tears streaming from her eyes.

Penelope and Jay had met while she was still at the University of Texas-Dallas. She was almost finished with her Bachelor of Arts in Finance. She had always been interested in how money worked, and she found the financial markets endlessly fascinating and exciting. Jay had already graduated and gone back to the family ranch outside Mesquite to help his brother. He had decided to pursue a Master’s in Science Degree in Ranch Management at Texas A&M-Kingsville. His brother, Jordan, ran the practical side of the ranch, and Jay wanted to be the money man and run the business side. Penelope and Jay hadn’t clicked at the time. They’d had a lot of interests in common, but nothing had developed between them. Years later, when Penelope encountered Jay at a business breakfast in Dallas, the attraction had been immediate.

Aside from their mutual interest in finance, Jay was big, though still a bit gangly, with long, wavy dark hair that he tied back with a leather thong.  He was extremely masculine and very handsome. Generations of Texas cowboy blood ran in his veins. What was not to like? Things had progressed in a normal fashion—if not somewhat quickly—into bed. Jay was a considerate and exciting lover, but Penelope sensed there was something more under the surface. It had taken him about six months to get around to introducing her to what was apparently his real interest—BDSM.

He had explained that the acronym BDSM stood for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission and Sadomasochism, although some people called it “the lifestyle.” Truthfully, she hadn’t known such a thing existed. He’d been careful to go slow and not scare her. She had found the initial bondage and light spanking sexy and exciting. He slowly increased the level of intensity until they were in a Dominant/submissive relationship, and she had given him the gift of her submission. It hadn’t been a twenty-four-seven situation and had developed gradually into more. She had her job as a trainee at a national stockbrokerage firm in Dallas, and her own apartment. At the beginning of their relationship, Jay was fairly new to BDSM himself, having recently been introduced to the practice by a friend from Texas A&M. He had joined the Le Club Longhorn–Dallas, a private BDSM club in downtown Dallas, and was still exploring the possibilities himself.

Jay had always been the dominant partner in their interactions anyway. His upping the ante a bit had not been very surprising, and she had always thought he had a slightly dark edge. Jay had been a bit domineering and bossy, in a very sexy way. They had just never given that dynamic a name. He had carefully explained safe words and hard limits, and she had trusted him enough to give it a try. She found she liked it, even as they got more deeply into the practice. The sex was off the charts, and it had always been very good between them. Jay was the driving force in their relationship, and she had mostly gone along for the ride. She didn’t really view herself as a submissive woman. She found that Jay loved it when she tried to participate, and she very much wanted to make Jay happy.

Eventually, he had suggested they escalate to a Master/slave relationship. It had not been a twenty-four- seven situation, as she still maintained her own apartment, job and friends. That dynamic had made her a bit nervous. By that time, she knew she was in love with Jay Fairlamb, and she would have tried anything to please him. If she were honest with herself, she would have to admit that she had never really embraced the Master/slave thing. It had been like a game to her, until this weekend.





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