“I need to talk with Nathaniel, and you said you wanted to support Julie.”

“The demo’s over, but I know where Nathaniel and Abby are.” She held out her hand. “Come with me?”

Like she had to ask. He wasn’t about to leave her side. As she reached for the door handle, he remembered his conversation with Evan.

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“Master Martin wanted me to tell you he’d find someone else to watch the door if you were interested in doing a scene with him.”

“I’ll pass.” She looked over her shoulder. “Did he still have his teeth when you left him?”

“I’m not that much of a Neanderthal, am I?”

She didn’t answer but opened the door instead. “Let’s go find Nathaniel.”

“Am I?” he asked again.

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“I’m trying really, really hard to be good,” she whispered. “Don’t make me lie. Oh, look. There he is.”

He followed behind her, assuming she was taking him toward Nathaniel but not really paying much attention. He was too focused on her ass and the sexy-as-fuck lingerie she wore. Images and ideas of what he’d do when he finally got her alone filled his mind. He tried not to think about the fact that he’d probably have a raging erection for the duration of the party.

She came to a stop in the living room, and Jeff looked up to find Nathaniel and Abby sitting with Julie and Daniel on the couch. Julie was dressed in a fluffy robe and sat curled up in Daniel’s lap, her head tucked under his chin as she spoke with Abby.

“There he is,” Daniel said, seeing Jeff approach. “Glad you’re back, but I’m sorry to hear about your dad.”

Jeff nodded. “Thanks. It’s good to be back home. How’d the demo go? No stomach issues this time?” he asked Julie.

Something danced in her eyes, but she replied with a simple, “No, Sir. Everything’s good.”

“Glad to hear it.”

“She’s being modest,” Daniel said. “The demo went great; she was wonderful.”

Julie lifted her head for a soft kiss.

Nathaniel looked around the room and put his arm around Abby. “Now that you’re here, we can tell our news.”

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Jeff held his breath. They are pregnant. He told himself if that was their news, it was okay. That all he had to do was smile. Beside him, Dena stiffened. Damn, he wished they hadn’t picked tonight to share their news.

“We made an offer on a house here in Delaware and found out this afternoon it was accepted,” Nathaniel said.

The air left Jeff’s body in one big whoosh.

“That is the best news,” Dena said, clearly relieved she wouldn’t have to offer pregnancy congratulations. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me. What about your New York places?”

“I didn’t want to jinx it,” Abby said.

“We’ll be living here part-time. We’re not selling anything,” Nathaniel explained.

Everyone started talking at once. Dena let go of his hand and sat down beside Julie and Abby. Soon the women were talking with their heads together. Daniel shifted Julie so she could better talk with them while still keeping his arms around her.

Nathaniel was discussing the new house with Daniel, but Jeff couldn’t pay attention to the conversation. His focus kept slipping to Dena.

It was several minutes before he realized the two men weren’t talking anymore.

“Why do I have the feeling I’m going to have to find a new submissive for my mentees to work with?” Daniel asked.

A streak of possessiveness like nothing he’d experienced shot through Jeff’s body. It shocked him; he’d never had a problem with Dena helping with the mentor program before. And yet he heard himself answer, “Because you probably will.”

Daniel gave a resolved sigh. “Guess I better start looking through files.”

“Last I heard you were switching it up.” Jeff chuckled, thinking about Ron and Mistress K. “Literally.”

“Yeah, but that was just a onetime thing. Now there’s the potential I’ll have to look into replacing her permanently.”

Jeff crossed his arms and cocked his head. “If you’re waiting for me to say I’m sorry, you’ll be waiting a long damn time.”

“No way in hell am I wanting you to apologize. If that’s the way it turns out, it’ll just create a slight headache for me.”

A movement in the corner of his eye caught Jeff’s attention. “Speaking of mentees.”

Ron, Daniel’s mentee, approached the group and nodded at the men. “Excuse me, Master Covington, Master Parks, Master West. I wanted to speak to Dena.”

Something in the way he looked at Dena made Jeff want to pick him up by the nape of his neck and kick him out the door. It wasn’t necessarily a leer, but it wasn’t a look of honor and respect either. Not that Jeff could fault the young man. Dena looked fucking hot in the cream-colored outfit. Besides, he didn’t want to prove Dena’s Neanderthal comment right.

The two other men looked to Jeff, and Jeff nodded, appreciating the subtle request for his permission.

But apparently the request was too subtle for Ron to pick up on. “Ladies,” he said, interrupting whatever the women were talking about, and Jeff growled deep in his throat.

“Ron, hey,” Dena said, a slight look of irritation in her expression.

Ron didn’t seem to pick up on that either, though he did grimace a bit at the use of his first name. Too damn bad, Jeff thought. The term “Master” would never be bestowed upon someone still in the mentor program.

“I was wondering if you’d like to join me in the upper bedroom, Dena?” Ron asked.

Doesn’t he see she’s with someone? Jeff took a step forward, but Daniel held out a hand. Let her handle it, he seemed to say.

“Sorry, but I’m not playing tonight,” Dena said with a fake smile.

“Your outfit suggests otherwise.”

I’ll rip his—

Daniel’s fingers dug into Jeff’s upper thigh as if he knew what Jeff was about to do. It gave him momentary pause. “Control your mentee, Master Covington, before someone else does it for you,” Jeff ground out.

Daniel’s grip didn’t loosen. “Ron, you extended an invitation and you were refused. It may be cliché, but in this group no means no.”

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