Page 6

She’s not gay, then. I smirk.

“After you.” I hold my hand out for her to lead the way. Letting her walk ahead gives me the space and time to admire her fantastic ass. Her long, thick ponytail keeps time like a metronome to the gentle sway of her hips. She really is the whole package: sweet, polite, and beautiful, with all the physical attributes I value in a submissive. But the million-dollar question is, could she be a submissive? She probably knows nothing of the lifestyle—my lifestyle—but I very much want to introduce her to it. You are getting way ahead of yourself on this deal, Grey.

“Are you in Portland on business?” she asks, interrupting my thoughts. Her voice is high; she’s feigning disinterest. It makes me want to laugh. Women rarely make me laugh.

“I was visiting the WSU farming division. It’s based in Vancouver,” I lie. Actually, I’m here to see you, Miss Steele.

Her face falls, and I feel like a shit.

“I’m currently funding some research there in crop rotation and soil science.” That, at least, is true.

“All part of your feed-the-world plan?” She arches a brow, amused.

“Something like that,” I mutter. Is she laughing at me? Oh, I’d love to put a stop to that if she is. But how to start? Maybe with dinner, rather than the usual interview…now, that would be novel: taking a prospect out to dinner.

We arrive at the cable ties, which are arranged in an assortment of lengths and colors. Absentmindedly, my fingers trace over the packets. I could just ask her out for dinner. Like on a date? Would she accept? When I glance at her she’s examining her knotted fingers. She can’t look at me…this is promising. I select the longer ties. They are more flexible, after all, as they can accommodate two ankles and two wrists at once.

“These will do.”

“Is there anything else?” she says quickly—either she’s being super-attentive or she wants to get me out of the store, I don’t know which.

“I’d like some masking tape.”

“Are you redecorating?”

“No, not redecorating.” Oh, if you only knew…

“This way,” she says. “Masking tape is in the decorating aisle.”

Come on, Grey. You don’t have much time. Engage her in some conversation. “Have you worked here long?” Of course, I already know the answer. Unlike some people, I do my research. For some reason she’s embarrassed. Christ, this girl is shy. I don’t have a hope in hell. She turns quickly and walks down the aisle toward the section labeled Decorating. I follow her eagerly, like a puppy.

“Four years,” she mumbles as we reach the masking tape. She bends down and grasps two rolls, each a different width.

“I’ll take that one.” The wider tape is much more effective as a gag. As she passes it to me, the tips of our fingers touch, briefly. It resonates in my groin. Damn!

She pales. “Anything else?” Her voice is soft and husky.

Christ, I’m having the same effect on her that she has on me. Maybe…

“Some rope, I think.”

“This way.” She scoots up the aisle, giving me another chance to appreciate her fine ass.

“What sort were you after? We have synthetic and natural filament rope…twine…cable cord…”

Shit—stop. I groan inwardly, trying to chase away the image of her suspended from the ceiling in my playroom.

“I’ll take five yards of the natural filament rope, please.” It’s coarser and chafes more if you struggle against it…my rope of choice.

A tremor runs through her fingers, but she measures out five yards like a pro. Pulling a utility knife from her right pocket, she cuts the rope in one swift gesture, coils it neatly, and ties it off with a slipknot. Impressive.

“Were you a Girl Scout?”

“Organized group activities aren’t really my thing, Mr. Grey.”

“What is your thing, Anastasia?” Her pupils dilate as I stare.

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