agreement with the VP’s choice for the new fall/winter shows at the casino; he was especially pleased with the new burlesque show.
    “Sir, I’m leaving now.”
    He looked up from his computer. The term usually meant something far different. His secretary stood in the doorway, dressed in a horribly ugly, brown pencil skirt, way too proper top, and glasses over her brown eyes. Part of the reason he’d hired her. He didn’t need the distraction of a beautiful woman while he worked. He had enough of that at the dungeon. The other reason was that she was a seriously smart kid right out of college and a damn hard worker.
    “You were supposed to leave an hour ago,” he told her. “It’s Saturday, Suzanne. Go home. You shouldn’t even be here.”
    She pushed her glasses up on her nose. “I had paperwork to finish.”
    The woman had no personal life at all, and for that, he felt for her. Before he’d entered the lifestyle, that would have gotten right under his skin, since he’d shift the obvious truth into a desire to make things better for her. “I do believe I told you that could have waited until Monday.”
    “Well, it’s all finished.” She heaved a shoulder. “So, there’s no point talking about it.”
    He chuckled, shaking his head. At one time in his life, such a refusal to listen to his orders would have ruined his day. He would’ve lashed out at her with his horrible mood and frustration that she hadn’t listened to him, considering it was in her best interests. He also would’ve spent the rest of the day pissed off because he saw the exhaustion—and loneliness—in her eyes.
    The dungeon had settled that desire for him. He didn’t have to take care of Suzanne, nor did she have to listen to him, because he was not her Dom. Such a simple thought process, even if it took Dmitri a long time to realize why he needed the lifestyle, but that structure and sense of order gave stability to his life. Rules, he needed them, liked them, and strictly lived by them.
    “Now, you will go home?” he asked.
    “You as well, Mr. Pratt.” She dropped her arms, grinned with sass at him, and left his office.
    He smiled after her, respecting Suzanne’s work ethic and amused by her sassy attitude. If Suzanne were to live the lifestyle, she’d without a doubt be a Dominatrix, since she’d verbally put him in his place often, which was the other reason he’d hired her. A submissive at his work spelled trouble. His sexual preferences and his public life were kept separate for one very good reason: to keep his lifestyle secret. The last thing he needed was a scandal exposing the dungeon and interfering with his job at the casino.
    His cell phone ringing dragged him from his thoughts, and he reached for it on his desk. He looked at the screen and smiled, instant pleasure washing through him. He clicked the answer button and raised the phone to his ear. “Hello, Mary. How are you?”
    “I see what all the fuss is about,” Mary said, sounding amused. “She’s lovely.”
    Mary’s kind voice made him reminiscent about old times—she was the first submissive he’d ever met, and it always warmed him when she called. Now realizing her intent, he chuckled and leaned back in his chair. “What can I do for you, Mary?”
    “I would’ve called sooner, but I was at a conference and only returned home yesterday.” The sound of a boat horn indicated that she was out on the water at Lake Las Vegas. “I wanted you to know she’s very sweet.”
    “I’m training Presley and nothing more.” Memories of his visits to the artificial lake twenty-five minutes from Vegas filled his mind. He’d spent many hours with Mary and her family on the boat. “Why are you suddenly taking an interest in my love life?”
    “I take an interest when you send me a little sweetheart during my lunch hour, on short notice, and ask for a rush on the results.”
    He chuckled again. Clearly, Mary hadn’t changed in her pushy matchmaking ways.

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