Grif propped an elbow on the bar as he studied the piece of paper. Nothing had changed since the last
time he’d read the cryptic note. He passed the card to his partner perched on the bar stool beside him.
She frowned at it, idly toying with her signature braid as she read the note for what had to be the tenth
Grif tipped his glass of scotch so the liquid within caught the light, and shoved his other hand into the
pocket of the jeans that were his only attire.
Davina made a frustrated sound and dropped the paper. “I think it means exactly what it says.”
“We’d make terrible detectives.” Grif motioned for the bartender—a rope-dress wearing submissive—to
bring him some water. If they were going to play, he’d limit himself to one drink.
“I don’t know. We have that whole frustrated drinking, leaning on a bar thing going.” Davina smiled and
gestured at their position at the bar. “Now you say something like ‘The brass is going to have our
badges but we’ll get ’em.’”
“I know something I’d like to have.” Grif wiggled his brows comically.
Davina snickered and then leaned back. She was confident and gorgeous—dark hair she always pulled
back in a French braid, a classic California golden tan. She wore dark eye makeup, but her lips were
bare, almost pale in contrast to her skin. He knew how to make them pink.
She held the edge of the bar so she wouldn’t tumble backwards off the stool as she tipped back. The
position showed off her magnificent rack. Grif examined those sweet breasts, which were visible
through the black mesh tank top she wore along with a short, tight skirt that only barely covered her
The steel bars through her nipples drew attention to her tits. He knew what her breasts tasted like,
knew the piercings would be warm from her body heat when he took her nipples into his mouth.
He also knew what her pussy tasted like. Knew how her ass felt in his hands, how she tensed before
an orgasm, or relaxed into a good flogging.
Davina wiggled her shoulders a little, which made her breasts jiggle side to side. Given the slight hitch
in her breathing, it undoubtedly stimulated her nipples when they rubbed against her mesh shirt.
Grif grabbed her braid and tugged her towards him. She leaned in greedily, and they kissed with a
deep, easy passion. She tasted familiar, and yet a little mysterious.
She was his lover. His partner. And also, in many ways, a stranger.
That’s how they liked it. That’s how they’d arranged their BDSM partnership.
He broke the kiss, nipping her bottom lip before he leaned back. She stayed where she was—tilted
forward, mouth slightly open, lower lip glossy and now pink from the kiss. It was unbelievably tempting.
There wasn’t a man alive who wouldn’t look at her and want to taste that sweet mouth, or even better,
see it wrapped around his cock.
“Minx,” he murmured.
Her lips curled into a smile and she sat back, taking a small sip of the bourbon and soda she’d ordered.
They’d been at the bar for several hours at this point, puzzling over their “challenge” in this strange new
game the club overseers had invented. It was only now, nearly three hours after the announcement had
been made, that the bar was filling up.
“I think it’s time for me to go to the Den and check to see if they have anything in stock that would work
for this.” He tapped their note.
“I’ll come with you.”
Grif shook his head. “No, I think while we do this checklist game you should sub.”
Davina’s eyebrows climbed her forehead. “Exclusively?”
She looked at him, her pale gray eyes piercing. “Okay…I guess that makes sense.”
“I mean it,” he warned.
“You think I can’t sub?”
“I know you can sub. I’m just not sure you can manage it for a whole weekend.”
She pursed her lips and then shrugged. “I can.”
“I know that’s not normally how we play, but—”
“Grif, I’m fine. It makes sense, and I can do it, as long as you can top for a whole weekend.”
“You think I can’t?” He didn’t take offense—theirs was a partnership based more on kink and physicality
than on a power exchange. Officially they were both switches, though most of their play leaned towards
him being the one holding the flogger.
“I think it’s been a long time since you had to plan scenes by yourself.” Davina took a sip, then slurped
noisily on the large ice cube she’d taken from the glass. That slurping noise was familiar too.
Grif ignored the way his cock twitched. “Minx.”
She grinned, showing off the ice cube she was holding between her teeth.
He leaned in, sealed his mouth over hers, and took the ice cube from her. The kiss was cold, the ice
almost burning when it pressed against the inside of his cheek.
He leaned back, then crunched the ice cube between his teeth.
Davina propped her elbow on the bar. “This might be fun.”
“It’s always fun,” he countered.
“All right, time to play the game and push ourselves.” He picked up the folder they’d been given when
the Las Palmas Oscuras club overseers announced the checklist game earlier.
The club was the Los Angeles area’s most exclusive BDSM club. Memberships were hard to come by,
ridiculously expensive, and included strict secrecy agreements. Getting in meant you were wealthy,
probably connected, and an experienced enough BDSM player to make it worth the price tag.
According to the overseers—three Doms who owned and ran the club—lately, members had been
treating it more as a weekend getaway than as a venue for exploring their own sexuality. In order to
address the issue, the overseers invented this checklist game everyone was now playing.
Everyone who wasn’t bonded—the club’s term for a recognized, permanent pairing—was assigned
both a partner or partners and a letter. With that partner, they had to complete every item on the club’s
BDSM checklist that began with their letter.
Grif and Davina had been bonded for nearly two years, and partners for nearly three. They’d met and
become friends when Davina had been going through a more dominant phase. When she’d decided to
change it up and try submitting more, she’d asked him to top her as a way to help her transition, and for
her to redefine herself as a submissive for other club members.
Davina and Grif had been friends who’d had some good sexy banter, and that had morphed easily and
naturally into being play partners. Despite her plan to make herself available as a sub, they’d ended up
working together nearly every time they were both at the club.
Two years ago they’d decided to become formally bonded as a way to officially recognize how
important the relationship was to each of them.
Though they’d started their kink relationship as an outlet for her submissive side, it was more of a
collaborative partnership. They planned out scenes together, taking on whatever roles worked best for
that particular scene. He’d subbed for her more than once, and enjoyed it, though he was always
happy to take back the lead.
Their relationship was both very narrow in scope, but also very comfortable thanks to familiarity.
“Do you think we need it?”
Davina’s quiet question made him pause in the act of pushing back from the bar.
“What do you mean?”
“Do we need the game? Have we gotten lazy?” There was a line between her eyebrows.
Grif grabbed her braid and tugged it gently. “You’re joking right? Us, lazy?”
Davina half-smiled. “Okay, fair point. Last weekend you had me hanging upside down from a
particularly lovely rope harness.”
“Which you managed to flip around in enough to bite me.” Grif pointed at his bare shoulder, where
there was a nice oval bruise.
“I do like biting you,” she mused.
Grif grinned. “So no, I don’t think we need the game. That’s probably why we have this letter.” He
tapped the folder with the large letter “J” on it.
Inside the folder were copies of each of their checklists. He’d eagerly flipped through the pages until he
got to “J” only to find…
There wasn’t a single item on the checklist that started with the letter J.
He’d thought there would at least be “Japanese Rope Bondage”—which he enjoyed and was good at—
but that was listed under “S” as shibari.
However, the folder had contained something else. A note from the overseers. The note they’d been
studying for the past few hours.
* * *
There’s nothing on the checklist for you, but we do have a challenge.
~Master Leo, Master Mikel, and Mistress Faith
* * *
There were plenty of tools that could be considered jewelry, and which were associated with kink, from
a collar to nipple piercings. He’d checked, and most of those items were listed individually on the
What wasn’t clear was how “jewelry” was supposed to be a challenge.
The best guess they’d come up with was that maybe they were supposed to involve some more
traditional, delicate jewelry—actual necklaces and bracelets—and therefore more delicate play.
They were a very physical couple. They leaned more towards the “B” of BDSM—bondage. Their
scenes usually involved rope bondage, or bondage furniture like the stocks or a spanking bench.
Davina would struggle against her bonds, and he would overpower her and “force” her into bondage.
And even after she was bound or restrained, she’d test the bondage. She’d fight him enough to make it
clear that she could be the top if she wanted—as evidenced by the bite. That’s how they liked it. If a
scene didn’t end with both of them sweaty and panting, what was the point?
They’d done demonstrations for other club members on how to safely manhandle someone onto a St.
Andrew’s cross, and how to know when in the process of tying a rope harness it was safe for the sub to
start wiggling and “fighting.”
And now the overseers had challenged them to wear jewelry.
Instead of the steel o-ring collar she wore occasionally, Davina would wear something that looked more
like a necklace.
Pointless, in Grif’s opinion, but that was the evil genius of the overseers. For Grif, jewelry was a
challenge—to try it and see if he could come to understand and appreciate something less obviously
kinky than ropes and literal power struggles.
“Well, aren’t you going to go find me some jewelry?” Davina asked. “I like diamonds.” She did a breathy
Marilyn voice for that last part.
Grif snorted. He doubted Davina had ever worn diamonds in her life.
Or maybe she wore nothing but diamonds outside of Las Palmas.
Grif tucked the note back into the envelope and tapped the whole thing to his forehead in salute. She
raised her glass and smiled at him before he turned away from the bar.
He exited the library—which was a library in name only with its large bar, small stage, and various
seating areas—and headed for the Doms’ Lounge.
He tried to picture Davina in diamonds, but that thought came a little too close to thinking about who
she was outside of here.
That kind of thing broke their number one rule. They didn’t discuss who they were when they weren’t at
Las Palmas. He didn’t know her last name, and she didn’t know his. As far as he knew, she might be
married with ten kids.
Don’t think about it.
He pushed open the door to the Doms’ Lounge harder than necessary and it banged against the brass
doorstop bolted into the floor.
Like all the rooms in the sprawling Spanish estate that housed Las Palmas, the Doms’ Lounge, which
most people called the Den, was elegant, with all the finest furnishings. Here there were more
bookshelves, mirroring those in the library, but like in that room, the shelves weren’t home to books, but
to a diverse and wonderful stock of implements, toys, and tools. This room was for Dominants,
Masters, and Owners only. There was an equivalent space for submissives called the Subs’ Garden.
Grif slid the envelope into his large locker. The one beside his was Davina’s. Because she’d been a
Dom, and sometimes still topped, they hadn’t reassigned her Dom locker, but instead given her a
second locker in the Subs’ Garden. Since he subbed only on the rare occasions, and only since they’d
been bound, he just had the one.
Though he understood the reasoning behind separate, private locker rooms, he was glad that he and
Davina could get ready together. They usually met in the Den at the start of a weekend together,
making small talk as they changed. They also finished their weekends together, a chance to spend a bit
more time together before going their separate ways.
The Den also housed a collection of toys that Doms, Owners, and Masters could take for their scenes.
Normally, once they planned a scene, she would come with him to help gather what they’d need.
But this time she wasn’t with him. Jewelry. A challenge, and one he felt sure would require her to be
more traditionally submissive than normal. As the top, it was his job to help her get into the right frame
of mind, hence not letting her come with him into the Doms’ Lounge, though it would have been nice to
have her here with him to help sort through their jewelry options.
However, if she wasn’t coming into the Den, she’d need her stuff.
He opened her locker and spotted her overnight bag. He reached for it then paused. That bag was
something she brought into the club, something that came with her from the world beyond Las Palmas.
If he took that bag and opened it, he might learn something about her he shouldn’t.
He closed the door and made a mental note to ask someone to transfer it to her locker in the Subs’
Turning back to the toy options, he started hunting for jewelry.