BONDS Two: Claim

Kennedy nodded his thanks and headed down.
The music vibrated through him. This time, it was something from Nine Inch Nails. Alma always mixed up the playlist. It was eclectic, but it worked.
He said hello to a couple of people before pushing through the swinging doors leading into the kitchen. Trays of food were set up buffet style, and a separate table was filled with soft drinks and bottles of water.
He caught sight of Alma with her guest, the woman he’d noticed when she’d first come in with a group of friends.
Alma crooked a finger to invite him over.
The other woman turned, and he caught sight of her.
“Master Aldrich,” Alma said, raising her voice to be heard over the din of other people. “May I introduce Dar?”
A scene name, he knew, to protect her identity. But it didn’t matter. He knew her regardless. Mackenzie Farrell.
From the way her blue eyes opened wide and her mouth parted, she recognized him as well.
“Dar,” he said.
“It’s been a long time,” she replied.
“Too long.”
“You two know each other?” Alma demanded, her sculpted eyebrows drawing together.
They’d met a couple of years ago at a fundraiser. A mutual friend had introduced them, and he’d noticed the color drain from her face when one of his business rivals had walked through the door, a woman all but hanging from his arm.
“My husband, Brian,” Mackenzie had explained. Then she’d smiled bravely. “At least until the divorce is final. Twenty-seven more days. Not that I’m counting.”
Making sure her soon-to-be-ex was watching, he’d lifted her hand to his lips then invited her to dance. He’d enjoyed having her in his arms, and she’d settled her head on his shoulder when he’d told her that Brian was staring.
At the end of the song, she’d smiled her gratitude before disappearing.
“Come on,” Alma insisted. “Tell me how you know each other.”
“We don’t, really,” Mackenzie replied.
“I think it’s time we change that,” Kennedy offered.
Mackenzie met his gaze.
“I—”
“I’ll leave you to it,” Alma said as someone from across the room shouted her name with an exuberant squeal. “Try not to behave.” Alma gave Mackenzie’s wrist a quick squeeze.
After that, she was gone.
And he was alone, inches apart from the alluring Mackenzie. He hadn’t remembered the color of her eyes being quite so startling, so riveting. He didn’t want her to look away. Her hips and chest were wrapped in supple black leather, and he knew her bare midriff would haunt—and warm—his nights. The new revelation, that she was also a submissive, walloped him, the emotion raw, insistent. And fuck if he could let her walk away.