“So it’s the impact? Maybe the sound?”

She met his gaze. He understood her. “And the intimacy. There’s nothing between me and my Dom.”

“It’s your lucky night, Willow. I have a few paddles in my bag. And I’ve been told I have rather strong hands. And there’s nothing I’d like more than having you turned over my lap with your bottom bared.”

Jax plucked the straw from her nerveless fingers. The melty coconut liquid dribbled over the glossy bar surface as he returned it to the glass. “Now it’s my turn to tell you what I look for when I top a woman.”

He had demands of his own? The realization shouldn’t surprise her. Of course there had to be a catch. “Such as?”

“I want her naked. No clothes between us.”

“Which means a private room.” On the first floor, certain protocols had to be followed. Patrons had to wear panties, no matter how skimpy. And women’s nipples had to be covered in some way. Many people chose electrical tape or a sheer bra, even pasties. But upstairs, a place she’d never visited, the only rule was the enforcement of a safe word. She’d heard stories of things that happened in those rooms, and she assumed most were tall tales.

Willow had never been naked with a man. That she hadn’t already stopped Jax stunned her. What kind of spell did he have over her?

Unaware of what he was doing to her insides, he continued. “My rules…I agree to give my sub what she wants and honor her limits and safe word. But within her parameters, I set the pace.” His tone, which had been even, roughened. He captured her chin. “The bottom is not in charge.”

Lust rocketed through her. She cleared her throat, trying to convince herself this was an ordinary negotiation with an ordinary man.

He released his hold on her. Until then, she hadn’t realized she’d stopped breathing.

Seizing any opportunity to dance away from the trouble—the inevitability—that she was steaming toward, she tried for a diversion. “I got distracted earlier. I asked why you visit clubs. I mean besides the obvious of telling people what to do.”

He gave a quick smile. Part of her enjoyed their verbal sparring.

“Like you, I find impact play rewarding. As you said, connection with others is important. Quality over quantity.” He kept her gaze ensnared. “Despite what you think you know, I believe focus is more important than actual hours worked. I can accomplish more in five hours than other people can in ten.”

He wasn’t bragging, and she knew it.