Hello there, WIPsters. Long time no see. I hope you have been doing well. Technically, what I’m about to share with you is not a work in progress. However, I’ve been sharing snippets of my novel, Unorthodox Chemistry ever since November 2016. I thought I should let you know the book is fully edited and had its official launch this Sunday. It’s been a long, hard journey so I decided to share the full Chapter 1 of the book. I’ll start writing its sequel and Book 3 of the Unorthodox Trilogy in March so I should be back by then. 🙂 Thank you and see you soon.
He was her Master, lover and the only man who truly knew her. She was his pet, best friend and the love of his life. Sometimes that’s not enough.
His absence hurts more than any whip.
Thomas saw me for who I was.
Strong on the outside, fractured and vulnerable on the inside.
Every day I struggle to rebuild my life.
I miss him. His rough passion and his affection.
I know we’ll never be together again, I even tried to move on…
… and then one invitation changed everything.
Do I dare to say no to the greatest temptation?
I had to walk away.
Lina paid dearly for my mistakes.
She needs to heal and all that’s left for me is to wait.
In the dark, with nothing but my demons and sins to keep me company.
The memory of her is a bittersweet torture, one I didn’t think I could ever escape…
A year later, at the kinkiest club in town, I saw her. On the arm of another man.
May the seduction begin.
The waiter pushing the room service cart didn’t raise his eyes to look at me. There was nothing suspicious about him—perfectly pressed shirt under his vest, stylized haircut, quiet footsteps, and professional indifference—an anonymous hotel employee minding his own business.
So why was it that as soon as I ran into him my pulse sped up like crazy? The heavy hammer of anxiety was slamming against my chest as I stood in the middle of the hallway and clutched my purse so hard I scratched the glossy black leather. An invisible hand of horror was choking me and sinister scenarios rolled before my eyes.
I didn’t freak out and stop in place because of the man. It was the silver, bell-shaped cloche on his room service cart that threw me off balance. Any minute, that well-trained waiter would lift the shining lid and raise a gun straight at my face. The unreadable expression on his features would quickly shift to a look of cruel mockery with a touch of madness as he aimed the cold barrel at my chest.
Fancy meeting you here, doll. Seth’s got a message.
In reality, the man simply cleared his throat and asked with top-notch fake concern, “Ma’am, are you okay? Do you need help?”
That sentence broke the spell. I mumbled some excuse and hurried down the hallway to my suite. I must have looked like a maniac on drugs. The waiter had probably seen worse than some strange woman staring at the covered food on his cart with wide eyes. He’d have forgotten about our awkward encounter by the end of his shift.
Sometimes, I had no idea what made the anxiety attacks worse. Was it the fear itself or the post factum embarrassment when I realized I’d been triggered over nothing? Freaking out because of some damned dish plate? Could it get any more pathetic?
My therapist kept telling me I should stop feeling ashamed. Anyone in my place would have a hard time not feeling threatened. I should have forgiven myself and accepted I was a human being. It was natural to feel vulnerable. Only when I was free of any shame could I concentrate on moving on.
A piece of cake, right?
At least I was at a stage where I could act like a normal human being who could control herself in public. The conference after party at the hotel cocktail lounge had been bustling with activity. Luckily, I didn’t have an attack there. At one point, I was just overwhelmed with too much social interaction. I needed my quiet time away from the crowds.
I stood in front of the suite door, took a deep breath and looked in both directions. When the creaking wheels of the waiter’s cart faded into the distance, I exhaled very slowly and ran fingers across my burning forehead. It was more likely an autosuggestion, but each time I had a scare episode I was left trembling. My body temperature was rising to boiling hot, as if I had a bad case of flu. A drink and some time in the bathtub would help.
My instincts were urging me to hide as soon as possible.
Not yet. The Procedure had to be followed.
Another survival technique was to keep everything in place. Organized. Compartmentalized. A person with my issues didn’t need additional attacks while searching for their keys in a messy purse. Not when all they wanted was to get inside, away from the outside world.
I opened my purse and picked up the key card from my wallet. Right next to it was an innocent, even cute looking pepper spray bottle. It was pink, with a black heart drawn across it, and could easily be taken for a lipstick or a small perfume. When I bought it months ago, I was strongly tempted to keep it in the pocket of my suit jacket at all times so I could use it at the first sign of danger.
It would’ve been awkward to explain to the hotel security why I sprayed the room service waiter because the cloche on his cart looked suspicious, though.
The slick, plastic keycard felt reassuring against my clammy fingers. I put it in the slit of the lock before I started thinking of ways to use it as a weapon against a potential attacker. The door creaked open when I pushed it. One step back so I could turn on the flashlight on my smartphone. There was no way in hell I’d enter the suite knowing someone could be lurking in the dark corners.
Once I was sure the perimeter was clear and there were no death traps, I turned the flashlight off, put my phone back in my purse, picked up the pepper spray and closed my hand around it. After a minute of breathing exercises, I took the keycard out of the door and stepped inside.
I had rehearsed entering a dark room so many times I could repeat it in my sleep. My stomach was always in a knot, my throat dry. It would take me mere seconds to turn the lights on. In my mind, it lasted ages, just enough time for someone to leap and tackle me to the ground. I had to bite my tongue so I wouldn’t scream.
You’re bat shit fucking crazy. They should lock you in a padded room and throw away the key.
As soon as the lights were on, I slammed the door behind me and rested against it. I wished I could crumble to the ground and cry, rip my hair out, claw at my skin. Nobody would care and nobody would witness me completely falling apart.
Not yet. My job was far from finished. Entrance was just the first stage of the Procedure.
I was still clutching the pepper spray. The entryway was safe but He could be hiding anywhere. If only I’d taken a smaller room I wouldn’t have to inspect it so thoroughly.
Small, careful steps. Don’t drop your guard. Look in both directions, just like when you cross a busy street. Listen carefully.
There was no chance of missing any kind of noise. Soundproof walls were always one of my top requirements when booking a hotel room, even before the accident. The place was so quiet I could hear my own hitched breathing. The plush carpet made even my careful steps deafening. If someone was waiting for me to relax and walk into the bathroom without checking it, they were unnaturally still.
I sighed with temporary relief and got down to business. The first places to check were under the queen-sized bed and inside the closet. Everything on top of the workstation was exactly as I’d left it. The bottle of Scotch at the mini bar was in the same spot as last night. There were no signs of human presence on the terrace either.
The bathroom was also clear of any danger, but it didn’t stop me from squatting and scrutinizing the floor for any footprints.
To an outsider it was ridiculous. I always complied with the Procedure or I wouldn’t fall asleep at all. I’d toss and turn, plagued by the thought that someone had been inside, going through my things, touching my clothes, and stealing my underwear.
The bottles of cosmetics by the bathtub were all aligned with two and a half inches between each one. The towels on the bathroom counter were folded and stacked on top of each other. My clothes were hanging in the closet, arranged by size and color. No discarded shoes. No missing panties.
Why did I think someone might be stealing my undies, of all things? Seth Anderson would never be interested in lingerie or anything so intimate. A man like him would leave threatening notes or vandalize the room.
Seth’s not in here, you crazy bitch. He’s in prison. That doesn’t make you feel better, does it? You’re fucking crazy. You’re damaged goods and you always will be. That’s why Thomas doesn’t want you.
I had to stop talking to myself. If my therapist knew, she’d likely decide I had schizophrenia on top of PTSD.
Wouldn’t she be correct?
Okay, it was time to put the ball gag on the voice in my head. Some alcohol would help put it to sleep.
I walked out of the bathroom and kicked my high heels off. It was tempting to leave them scattered on the ground, but that was against the Procedure. After I put the shoes away, I went to the mini bar to pour myself a drink.
It’d been a rough day. I’d had to put all my efforts into performing the act of Lina Riley, entrepreneur, CEO, and badass tech queen. Finally, I was free to relax.
I laughed bitterly while I watched the brilliant, amber liquid filling the tumbler.
Free? Had I ever been free or capable of getting by without some kind of crutch?
The warm, dry wind blew through my hair when I walked out onto the panoramic terrace. I rested on one of the deck chairs with the Scotch in hand, closed my eyes and took a sip of the strong drink. The warmth spreading through my body would be enough to help me fall asleep later. The fatigue was killing me but I rarely slept more than two or three hours per night.
Freedom, I thought bitterly and had one more healthy gulp that nearly made me choke.
I had been a slave to my parents’ expectations. Then there were the cigarettes. They lured me into the illusion I was a rebel. When I was Thomas’ obedient, masochistic pet, I thought I was free. In reality, I had only swapped one addiction for another. The moment he left, I nearly died on the inside. If it weren’t for the Procedure, my endless lists of tasks, order, and rules, I would have fallen prey to another vice. I could be addicted to so much worse.
Alcohol. Cocaine. Total sexual addiction bordering on nymphomania. Cutting.
Keeping things perfectly aligned was relatively harmless next to all that. Still, it was another crutch.
I pressed the glass to my forehead and stretched my legs. The pale moon above me cast its beams down the sheer black fabric of my stockings. The city lights were glimmering in the distance and added to the sensation of utter loneliness—a perfect detachment from the world.
So why didn’t I revel in being left alone?
The conference today went well, much better than I had expected when I booked my flight to Vegas a month ago. Just a year earlier I was one of the speakers, making bold predictions and analysis of the future of the IT world, with my head in the clouds. No pun intended. Back then, I was just hoping to catch up and remind the world I wasn’t dead. To my great relief, none of the professionals I talked to during the coffee breaks and the after party mentioned my absence or the shameful porn images my ex-lover had taken.
Chaos Tech Solutions, my pride, and joy, had taken quite a harsh blow after the scandal. Some of our loyal clients and partners terminated their contracts with us. Their representatives and CEO’s expressed deep regret over the way we were parting but they couldn’t afford bad publicity. The competition was cutthroat and it made sense they’d want to move on to greener pastures. I was sure that I’d win them back eventually. Soon, I’d turn the tide and the company would get back on its feet.
Meanwhile, all I could do was survive and hope for the best.
The Scotch slowly began to relax my nerves. Its warmth was making me feel fuzzy on the inside. I didn’t need another addiction so I rarely allowed myself more than a finger and a half.
I sighed, got up and leaned against the rails, staring at the dim lights. If only I could share this moment with someone—one specific person who was out of reach.
A distant memory made its way through the fog of the past. I attended a similar conference in Vegas many years ago. How did I ever forget about it?
Back then, I was making a name for myself and my company. Events like this were perfect for networking and building the right connections in the industry. That was also the first time my PA came with me.
I looked better with a PA at my beck and call, but there was another reason I brought him with me back then. It was a valuable experience for someone with his interests to attend that conference. Shortly after it, I decided to invest in his education and help him become a software developer. That was our first and last trip together.
He was a shadow of the man he’d become, but he was far from the shy, stuttering young boy from his job interview. Thomas was still a little intimidated by me but he had grown much more assertive and his speech was smoother.
We spent almost the entire trip from California talking. It wasn’t a heart to heart conversation. Neither of us mentioned anything about our personal lives. We were two people in the same industry, albeit on different levels. He engaged me in discussion and showed me his passion for technology and its trends. It was good to know he was keeping up with our dynamic environment.
Thomas even changed his appearance and behavior. He talked in a much deeper voice, probably in an attempt to look masculine. His glasses were different and he had a new hairstyle.
I’d never guessed Thomas had been doing that for me. Perhaps I’d just been in denial. My mind was busy with more important tasks so his obvious attraction wasn’t a top priority. All those details came crashing down on me years later when they no longer mattered.
Was I just making them up or had it really happened just as I remembered it? Would my life have been different if I had noticed his desire?
When we arrived at the hotel, Thomas had insisted on carrying my suitcase all the way to my room. I protested but he wasn’t taking no for an answer. I gave in, as usual, and allowed him to take care of the heavy lifting. He said he’d been working out a lot and claimed it could be good exercise He gave me an awkward smile. I rolled my eyes.
While I was opening the door, Thomas said he’d be just in the room next to mine. So if at any point I needed him, no matter how early or late, I could call him. His eyes had grown darker and more intense as he spoke those words… or had they?
I just gave him a warm smile and told him he was free to go out and have some fun if he wanted to. Still, I’d expect him to be ready at eight am the following morning.
What would have happened if I had invited him to join me for a drink? How would he have behaved? Bold and dominant? Just happy his boss let him closer to her?
Maybe he would have grown braver because of the alcohol. He’d have kissed me roughly, tied me to the bed and teased me until I begged him to fuck me. Would he have admitted his attraction and begged me for just one night with him? It was more likely he’d never have dared to say or do anything and simply went back to his room.
Did it really matter? All those memories would fade away from my mind as soon as I left the following day. It could have been a great experience or the worst night of our lives.
Today, all I had were yesterday’s memories and ghosts of possibilities I had passed by.
It had been six months, ten days, five hours and thirty minutes since the last time I’d seen Thomas.
Where was he now? Was he thinking of me? Had he completely forgotten our unfortunate ‘therapy’?
Perhaps, right at that minute, Thomas was showing the dungeon to his next ‘patient’.
The thought of the woman who would replace me burned my sore wounds like a hot fire. I finished the Scotch in one gulp and walked inside to pour myself another one. My hands were shaking, and cold chills went through my body in spite of the warm air. I was shaking so badly I was about to spill the entire bottle on the floor so I gave up on getting a refill.
I wanted him to be happy. If that meant I’d never be part of his life then so be it. Still, the thought of witnessing his happiness made my stomach churn.
In the end, I wasn’t as selfless as I wanted to be.
Nausea overwhelmed me and I lay down on the bed, my arms folded against my stomach. It wasn’t just jealousy that made me sick. I was exhausted and, sometimes, I was on the verge of fainting due to lack of sleep and proper food.
Work was my salvation and a way to avoid going crazy. I’d spent the six months since our break up practically living in the office, even on the weekends. If I wasn’t working, I passed the time writing long lists, planning my schedule for weeks ahead or brainstorming. I arranged, re-arranged and categorized everything in my loft. The thought of taking some time off to truly rest and relax was out of the question.
I rolled over to one side, curled in an embryonic position with a cheek pressed to the pillow, and closed my eyes. This business trip was meant to take me away from the usual troubles, to revive my once entrepreneurial spirit. The change of scenery and the inspiring discussions hadn’t made me feel any better, though.
Katie, my personal assistant, was meant to accompany me to the conference. Being around a fun, easygoing person like her would have balanced me. It would have been good to have someone take care of all the details as well so I could focus on the conference.
However, she got married about a week earlier and I didn’t want to interrupt her honeymoon.
Katie was one of those people who had stayed loyal to me after the big scandal. I wanted her to enjoy that sweet time and I knew how important it was to her. If only I didn’t have to attend the big, white wedding. Such social events were a nightmare for me so I’d thought of making some excuse and just sending a gift, but Katie would have none of it. She was as stubborn as Thomas, and I had no choice but to go and see her walk down the aisle. The ceremony and party were a huge test for my nerves. I expected him to show up any minute. Katie reassured me she hadn’t invited Thomas. They weren’t close friends so there was no reason to worry I’d run into my ex.
So why did I put so much effort into my outfit and makeup? Why did I keep looking around at the restaurant, waiting for Thomas to walk through the door? By the end of the night, I went home with a sinking feeling in my stomach and spent two hours crying in the bathtub.
Grief was uncharted territory for me. When would I stop being in such a pain and just move on? It’d been six months. The saddest, most difficult six months of my life. I only found out how heartbreak truly felt at the age of thirty-seven. Maybe that was why it was even more difficult to get over it.
I sighed, closed my eyes and rested my cheek on the soft pillow. I hoped sleep would take me away to a better, happier place. Was it too much to ask for just one night of happy dreams?
While I was lying with my face down, I imagined his fingers around my neck and his breath against my ear. He’d whisper he had missed me so much and pull my skirt up. His hand would pin me against the pillow, tender, comforting and cruel at the same time. In my fantasy, Thomas would not let me shift from that position or look at him. I’d obey the quiet, authoritative voice that beckoned me to stay still. The silk of my panties would slide down my skin and leave me unprotected. I loved feeling so vulnerable, just like each time I stripped naked while he was fully clothed. He’d warn me not to move a single muscle, not to anticipate. His palm would stroke my willing flesh, give my ass a tender touch. When he had me fully blinded, soothed and kept in place, Thomas would raise his hand for the first smack and leave a hot, burning sensation…
I gasped, got up and pushed the hair out of my face. That short yet intense mental image had left me with wetness between my thighs, rock hard nipples and salty, desperate tears running down my cheeks. Why? Why was I doing this to myself? What was the point of those fantasies and moments that would never be repeated? It only made the knife in my heart sink deeper.
Lately, I’d been daydreaming of Thomas way too often, and that kept my wounds from fully healing. Even the Procedure couldn’t help me. Yesterday, after I had boarded the plane to Vegas, I’d spent a good half an hour picturing how the trip would have gone if Thomas had come with me. We’d go over my notes—the list of participants, the conference—perhaps we’d argue a bit. Then he’d lean over to kiss my neck, bite my earlobe and whisper in my ear, “It’s time we joined the mile-high club, pet. Go to the bathroom, take your panties off, bend over and place your hands on the sink. Spread your legs nice and wide. Make sure you’re sopping wet for your Sir.”
I sighed, rested on my back and reached out for the red leather collar that I always kept under my pillow, no matter where I was. Was it a hidden treasure or a snake that bit me with nostalgic poison?
My fingers slid down the silver plate that read My Tigress. I caressed the metal, the soft leather, and the buckle that would lock the collar from behind. It was beautiful and it would fit me so well. I’ve never worn it but I was sure about that. Putting it on by myself would be too painful, just like putting on a wedding gown for a groom who would never appear. I’d be a kinky version of Miss Havisham in a pair of tall red boots and a red collar, drunk and desperate. When the pain of my broken heart got to be too much, I’d also be full of sedatives.
If someone ever put this collar on me, it would be Thomas and no one else. That was so unlikely that the smart choice would be to throw it away or keep it in a vault that would stay locked until my death.
There was just one problem. The red collar was an essential part of the Procedure. I couldn’t fall asleep if I didn’t feel it against my chest. It was the last reminder of my addiction to Thomas. I was conditioned to relate his presence to safety and peace. That collar was the last thing he left for me before he walked away.
I stretched my arm to the purse on the bedside table and fished the phone out—another habit that eased my distress and loneliness. I bit the inside of my cheek and lay comfortably on the soft bedding. My clothes would be wrinkled and messy the following morning. At that moment, though, I was already too exhausted to get up and undress.
The red collar was lying over my breasts with the steel buckle brushing the bare skin. I ran my thumb down the contact list until I got to Thomas’ name. Then I slid my finger to the back of the smart phone so I wouldn’t dial his number by accident.
Thomas told me I could call him whenever I was feeling lonely or needed to talk to someone. I never did it. How embarrassing and painful would it be if his new girlfriend picked up or if he sounded bored and annoyed with my call?
I’d been lying down for what felt like hours, phone in hand, staring at his name until the string of letters grew indistinct. My free hand was pressing the collar so hard against me that I ended up bruising myself. I didn’t mind the pain. Staring at that shining screen was way worse punishment than a thousand lashes of the whip on my back and chest. It was killing me that I couldn’t call him and tell him how I really felt.
Tears blurred my vision and made all the signs on the screen fade into a messy dot of shimmering water. The screen faded to black and I let the phone drop onto the bed next to me. I curled up with the collar still tightly clutched to my chest and stayed like that until I fell asleep.
If you are interested in more you can find the book on Amazon. Just have in mind it is Book 2 of a trilogy and can’t be read as a standalone. Both Unorthodox Therapy and Unorthodox Chemistry are available on Kindle Unlimited.
Enough about me. Go to WIPITUP Wednesday and check out some other WIP snippets that are waiting to capture your attention.
One thought on “#WIPITUP Wednesday – Chapter 1 of Unorthodox Chemistry”
This was such a great story! Thank you for sharing the first chapter with us, Lilah!