Tate curled his hand around the leash and rested his hand underneath her hair that hung to the middle of her back, not making it obvious she was leashed as he led her into the downstairs social room where people met and mingled and drank expensive wine and snacked on delicious hors d’oeuvres. It was also a place for hookups. Singles looking for a night of adventure or simply people wanting to visit with other like-minded individuals who shared the same kinks and sexual preferences.

“Would you like some wine?” Tate asked as they entered the room.

Chessy shook her head in response and drank in the occupants, studying the people in attendance with her usual fascination. One of her favorite activities when they’d previously visited The House was to play the guessing game and match proclivity to person even though she had no way of confirming her guesses. But it was fun.

In a way she was relieved that she didn’t recognize anyone in the room because then the inevitable question would arise as to why she and Tate hadn’t been in for so long. After several minutes of circling the spacious luxurious room, Tate guided her out the door. She knew that he’d made the rounds in the social room to, in his words, show her off. It had always been a point of pride with her that he found her beautiful, that he was proud to arrive with her on his arm and that he made his claim so publicly.

“Be careful on the stairs, baby,” he said when they mounted the first step. “I bought those shoes because I wanted to f**k you in them, but I damn sure don’t want you falling and breaking your neck.”

She laughed softly. “You’ll catch me, Tate. I never doubt that.”

He gathered her more closely into his side as they climbed the stairs together. But once they reached the top, he gently disentangled his hand from her hair and pulled the leash out so that it called attention to her collar. And his claim on her as her Dominant and she his submissive.

As soon as they walked through the entryway to the common room, the sights and sounds overwhelmed her. Even the scent of sex was heavy in the air. She did a quick scan of the room, looking for anyone she recognized, but all she saw were unfamiliar faces. Except for Damon Roche, who stood in the far corner, a glass of what was likely very expensive liquor in hand, conversing with another man.

It was unusual for him to be at The House these days and especially without his wife. Though he still oversaw the running and operation of The House, since his marriage he’d devoted most of his free time to his wife, Serena, and Dash had mentioned that Damon and Serena now had a daughter.

Damon glanced up as if sensing her scrutiny and nodded his head in acknowledgment of both her and Tate. Then he said something to the man beside him before excusing himself to cross the room to where Chessy and Tate stood.

“It’s good to see you both,” Damon said warmly. He leaned in and kissed Chessy on the cheek and then shook Tate’s hand. “James is waiting by the bench. Everything you requested is available. I hope you both enjoy yourselves tonight.”

Ever the consummate host, Damon escorted them to the far corner of the room, where a tall, attractive dark-haired man stood in casual jeans and polo shirt. Butterflies danced through Chessy’s stomach when the man lifted a chin in greeting as the group approached.

So this was James. The man Tate had chosen for her tonight. She was careful not to offer Tate disrespect by being too open with her admiration, but her husband had indeed chosen well. James was broad-shouldered and muscled, his arms bulging at the short sleeves of the shirt he wore and his expression was one of complete dominance. And yet he was ceding control to Tate, acting as an extension of him for tonight.

They’d certainly done this before, but none of the other men Tate had ever chosen seemed this … Dominant. James didn’t appear to her to be a man who so easily gave up power to another man. A shiver worked its way up her spine as she studied him further. Trepidation squeezed her chest before she admonished herself for entertaining such apprehension. Tate would never put her in a position where she would be overwhelmed or hurt.

“James, good to see you again.” Tate ceremoniously handed over the leash to the other man. “This is my beautiful submissive, Chessy. She is yours for the evening to do with as I dictate,” he said formally. “Her safe word is ‘rain.’ You are to take absolute care in your handling of her. Her mouth is mine and mine alone. I expect you to treat her with utmost respect.”

James looked impatient with Tate’s instructions, his eyes glittering as his gaze swept hungrily over Chessy. It was as though he wanted to dispense with the niceties and get straight to the action.

James lifted one of Chessy’s hands and whispered a kiss over the top of her knuckles. “It will be my honor to bring you pleasure while your husband watches.”

She shivered again, the quivering sensation in her belly increasing. Why was she so nervous? This was not new to her even if it had been a while since they’d last indulged. Perhaps it was because she wanted so much for the evening to be perfect and for her and Tate to further solidify their recommitment to one another.

Tate took the hand not held by James, and for a moment she was suspended between the two men, one her husband, the other her Dominant for the evening. Tate gave her hand an encouraging squeeze but didn’t put to voice any of the things she saw in his eyes.

“The others will remain on the periphery,” Tate said in a low voice. “When and only when it is time for them to participate will you see them. Enjoy my gift to you, my girl. I know I certainly will enjoy every moment.”