Ours to Love

Chapter One

Club Dominion—Dallas, Texas, late June

AFTER warming up the submissive’s curvy, feminine ass with his hand, Xander Santiago cast her a discerning eye. Nice rosy shade. Graceful, compliant, docile, the woman remained bent and restrained over the spanking bench, her swollen, exposed pussy juicy as a ripe peach.

As the heavy beats of Nine Inch Nails throbbed through the dungeon, he walked a circle around her, smiling faintly at her flushed cheeks and eyes fluttering closed in ecstasy. Whitney had been the right choice for this evening’s session, experienced but so sweet. She trembled with the desire to please. And to fuck.

She was exactly what his brother, Javier, needed.

“See the way she’s trying to lift her ass to you? The way her pussy weeps? It’s slick and swollen, but she wants more. A session with the flogger will send her to subspace,” Xander coached, handing him the implement by the thick handle, the long, braided tails gleaming under the stark lights. “Your turn. Deep breath. You know what to do.”

Javier nodded, but his brows drew together. Sweat trickled from his temple. He didn’t grab the flogger, but plowed a jerky, bronzed hand through the waves of his dark hair, which looked as if he hadn’t bothered to trim it in months. That fit, since his brother seemingly hadn’t given a shit about anything except anger and vodka in far too long.

Damn it, Javier needed to look deep and find some self-control. Xander hoped that teaching him to embrace the inner Dominant so clearly buried under layers of stress, pain, and guilt would stop his full-blown slide into self-destruction. Since neither grief counseling nor time had done a damn bit of good, it was the only way Xander knew to keep his brother together.

If it didn’t work, he’d almost certainly be putting Javier in an early grave.

Xander grabbed his brother’s wrist and shoved the flogger in his hand. Javier gripped it in a white-knuckled fist, his gaze bouncing around the room.

“Breathe.” Xander snapped his fingers. “Focus, man. She’s right there, waiting for you. Get a grip and take control.”

Javier gave a rough nod, then drew in a jagged breath. He swung his arm back in a jerky arc, but his position looked sloppy. He would likely hit the back of Whitney’s thighs, not her luscious ass, and cause her the wrong sort of pain.

“Goddamn it,” Javier cursed softly, shaking his head and blinking rapidly.

Xander clapped his brother on the shoulder. “Focus on Whitney.” He leaned into his brother’s face, forcing Javier’s gaze to his. “Your thoughts should only be on her now. Take in her demeanor, posture, and other nonverbal cues, then decide what’s most likely to give her the sensations she needs.”

Javier lifted his head, staring blankly, his breathing alarmingly rapid.

“Are you seeing her? Are you listening for her safe word?” Xander demanded.

Squeezing his eyes shut, Javier gripped the flogger tighter, the veins of his wrist standing out. His arm shook as he dragged in an uneven breath, nervous energy pinging off his body.

Alarm bells went off in Xander’s head. “Javier?”

“What?” he barked.

Xander got in his face, whispering tersely. “Snap out of it! Tell me her safe word.”

Javier’s nostrils flared. He pinched his eyes shut again, then flashed them wide open with a shake of his head. Fuck, his brother was trying to force himself back to the here and now—and it wasn’t working. Xander scrubbed a hand over his face, frustration eating at him.

“You can do this,” he cajoled. “I’ve given you the knowledge. You have the instinct. You’re totally in control when you’re on your game. Find that now. Use