“Melissa! What the hell did you put in that Facebook ad? I’m getting all kinds of crazy-ass responses!” Storming into the house, I slammed the door behind me. She was dead meat. She had to have pulled that shit on purpose.
What the hell had I done to her?
I headed for her bedroom, stomping up the stairs. Knowing my sister, she was probably buried up to her neck in books and papers. Normally, I wouldn’t let myself into her house—I actually had manners unlike some people I could name—but this time, she’d gone too far. She wasn’t going to be able to hide from me.
“What?” She was sitting on the bed surrounded by papers and notebooks, a half-eaten sandwich hanging off a plate. “What crawled up your ass and died?”
“What—” She wasn’t serious? “I’ll tell you what ‘crawled up my ass’—because it’s your fault. I want to know what you did to my business. That ad you set up? The one you said was a simple Facebook ad that would help my business? What did you put in it?”
I tried to take a deep breath and slow down, but I was too angry and too confused. “I’m getting all kinds of crazy people calling me, and the emails are even worse. I had one from a guy in some weird European country I’ve never heard of, who wanted to know if I did training packages and not just individual sessions. He said he couldn’t figure out from the site what kind of training I did with my pups. He wasn’t talking about dogs!”
“Huh?” She seemed lost. “What do you mean he wasn’t…”
Her voice trailed off, and she got a faraway look in her eyes before they widened, and her mouth opened. “Ohhh…”
“Do you know how long it took me to figure out he wasn’t referring to beagles or boxers? Entirely too fuckin’ long!” Just the fact that it’d taken almost five minutes before I finally understood what he was talking about had been the most embarrassing thing. I was a to-each-his-own kind of guy, but it was getting ridiculous.
“Oh, Jackie, I’m—”
I broke in. “Don’t you ‘Oh, Jackie’ me. I’m not six years old following you around like a lost puppy—ha! Puppy! What did you do?”
“Jackson, I’m so sorry. It was an accident—” If I hadn’t known her so well, the innocent, crushed look would have worked.
“Like the accident where you dumped water on my pants at dinner? Or the accident where you put salt in my tea?”
“No, this was a real accident, and come on, I wouldn’t do something like that to you. You know me.”
Bullshit. “The salt incident was last month, and you dumped the water on me last week when you thought I was rude to the waiter.”
“You were rude.” She looked like she was still ready to take up the fight for the lazy waiter.
“That’s not the point. What did you do to my business?” My voice was getting louder, but I couldn’t control it. She’d talked me into trying some new marketing ideas, and now it looked like my business was falling down around me.
She slumped down onto the bed and gave me her best innocent look. If she’d pulled it on anyone else, they might have believed her. “I haven’t fallen for that in years, so cut the crap.”
Sighing, she slouched back against the pillows. “It was an accident. I promise. I was putting it together late the other night, and I must have mixed some things up. I’ll go in and cancel the ad and get it corrected.”
“Bullshit. You accidentally changed my dog training business to some kind of kink training center?” We might have tortured each other a bit over the years; it was what siblings did after all, but this crossed the line.
Dragging a pillow over her head, she moaned. This time her frustration sounded real. “I can’t believe this.”
“You can’t believe it? What about me? I’m the one having to answer emails with naked pictures in them. Well, mostly naked. Several had tails!” They were insane and weird and a little too…no, I wasn’t going down that rabbit hole right now.
I’d worry about my sanity and my new porn preferences another time. “Just tails, Melissa!”
And teasing, happy smiles…
And I had to get back on track.
“I’m sorry! I’ll fix it.” She was still buried under the pillow, trying to pretend to be the injured party.
“How about I go into your work and say crazy shit about you? Let’s see how you like that. You went too far with the crazy this time!”
“It wasn’t on purpose!”
Yeah, she accidentally turned my dog training center into a BDSM business. At least, I thought it fell under BDSM. Maybe not? “Bullshit! How can you even think I’d believe that line of crap?”
“Because it’s true. I got the copy mixed up. I was putting up another ad at the same time!”
I was finally starting to connect the dots. Maybe. “What? What kind of ad were you posting?”
Had I stepped in something personal? Melissa had always been more private than I was about who she dated, but I didn’t think she’d leave out something—who was I kidding? She would never have said anything. “Mellie, I won’t tell Mom if that’s what you’re—”
“No, it’s not for me. I’m not that interesting.” She sighed again and looked up at the ceiling like she was praying for patience or for God to strike her dead. “I’m a writer. My newest book just came out, and I was putting together a Facebook ad that was designed to target specific people. I mixed them up. It was late, and I must have attached the wrong pictures.”
She did what?
“You’re a writer?” By the look on her face and the people who’d been emailing me, she didn’t write historical romance. “You write dirty books? Does Mom know?”
“Of course she doesn’t. No one in the family does. I really didn’t mean to mess this up for you. I’ll fix it right now. It’s not hard to cancel the ad, and I’ll do my best to help clean things up online. I’m sorry, Jackie.”
“Stop it with the nicknames. You’re just trying to manipulate me.”
“No. You’re not going to distract me.”
“I’m sorry, Jackson. Just don’t say anything about the books. Please? I’m not ready to answer the questions.” She finally looked like she wasn’t trying to give me a line of shit.
“Yeah, there’d be questions, all right. Puppies? What do you write? Do I even want to know?” Probably not.
She huffed and gave me a stern look. “I write love stories that are a little unique.”
“That’s an understatement.” At least, judging by the emails I was getting.
“Not helping, Jackson.” She was starting to get her back up, and I could see that in her mind, she was building it up so that she was the injured party.
I shrugged. I wasn’t trying to help; I was well past that. “I just want to know that you can fix this without damaging my business. And don’t give me that look. I’m the one whose company is going to explode. Do you know what will happen if this gets out?”
Half of my clients were little old ladies and their uncontrollable yappy dogs. They wouldn’t find it funny. Hell, I wasn’t finding it funny. I’d been shocked when I first figured out what was going on, but after that, I’d been…confused. So confused, I’d spent several hours looking things up online before I’d come over to scream at her.
“I know.” She sounded like a put-out teenager again.
“Just fix it. And no more advertising online.” Everything was fine. I shouldn’t have let her talk me into it to begin with. Training classes were always full, and I’d always found word-of-mouth referrals to be the best way to build up my business.
“But it’s a great way—”
“Fine. But you’re not going to tell Mom, right?”
“My telling Mom is the least of your worries. You should be thinking about how I’m going to get even with you!” My revenge was going to be good. It was just going to take some time to pick out exactly how to get her back.
“That’s not fair! It was an accident.”
“That’s what you said about the salt and the water. I’m not falling for that bullshit again.” I really should learn to watch my back around her better.
She got that innocent, sweet look again. “I’m your sister. That means you should trust me.”
“Hell, no. I may love you, but most of the time, I don’t believe a single word out of your mouth.” The writing thing was starting to make sense.
I got a grin from her. “Aww, you say the sweetest things, Jackie. I love you too.”
Deciding to ignore the nickname, I shook my head. “That’s all you got out of that sentence?”
She gave me a smile that looked half-psychotic and half-sweet. My family was nuts. “I focused on the important part. Now, go away. I have work to do and an ad to take down.”
“You really write dirty books? Like for a living?” I was still having a hard time wrapping my mind around it.
“Yup, and I’m doing pretty well.” She smirked like she was very proud of herself. And probably glad she had someone to brag to now.
“Like quit your day job kind of good?” How much could you really make writing dirty books?
“None of your business.” Then she gave me a teasing grin. “But possibly.”
I shook my head and started for the door. I didn’t want to know any more. If I wasn’t careful, she would tell me exactly what she wrote just to make me crazy. “You’re going to fix it right now? Like take the ads down and no more weird people emailing me?”
“I’ll fix it.”
“You’d better.” I wasn’t sure what I would do if it kept up. It was getting to be too much.
Pulling into my driveway, I threw the car into park and slouched back in the seat. God, what a long day. Maybe I could have found more humor in the situation if it wasn’t so confusing. I’d come out young, and while I wasn’t a man-whore, I dated a lot and assumed I knew myself.
I was starting to suspect that I didn’t understand myself as well as I’d thought.
Once I’d figured out what was going on, I’d checked my email and had seen about a dozen, all with the same theme. They might have said they were looking for training, but they’d just been guys in desperate need of attention and someone who understood. The emails had been from a variety of places. There had even been one older guy who, as he put it, “was finally ready to figure out who he was.”
I’d replied as politely as I could. Partly because I was raised with manners and was representing my business—but a bigger part was because I felt bad. It was crazy, but I felt terrible that I couldn’t help them. Completely nuts, but I hated telling them it was a mix-up.
The notification sound on my phone made me sit up and function. Swiping my finger across the screen, Melissa’s text came up.
Sorry…ad taken down…shouldn’t have any more calls.
Texting back a quick acknowledgment, I forced myself to get out of the car. Heading inside through the kitchen, I grabbed a beer out of the fridge and went to the living room. I had tons of budgeting and paperwork I should have been doing, but my brain wasn’t going to cooperate so I walked back to my bedroom.
I could still see the pictures in my head every time I closed my eyes. And not just the ones that had been emailed to me. The videos and photos I’d seen online had been mind-blowing. I’d seen my fair share of porn, but I’d always gone more mainstream when I looked for something to watch.
I’d never even been curious enough to explore any of the fetish sites that were out there. Maybe I was boring, but I was pretty content with watching a blowjob scene or two guys going at it. The most adventurous thing I could remember looking at was a threesome video that had been pretty hot. But nothing like what I’d seen earlier.
It was so much more erotic than I’d expected.
There’d mostly been amateur stuff, but that made it even better. They were real people who found it arousing, not just actors getting paid. To say I was conflicted would’ve been an understatement.
Setting my beer down on the nightstand, I grabbed my laptop and took a deep breath. There couldn’t be that many more emails, because the last of the phone calls had been before I’d gone over to Melissa’s. Pulling up my account, I lay down on the bed and logged in.
There were only a few, and most of them were actual clients. In fact, there was only one that I didn’t recognize, and the email address gave it away immediately: twofunnypups. Hating that I was going to have to burst someone else’s fantasy, I clicked on it.
To Whom It May Concern:
We just wanted to thank you for training pups. So much of the BDSM community is focused on other things, and it’s hard to find opportunities like this. My friend Cooper and I are pups. We’ve been friends for a long time and we have fun together, but we’ve always talked about taking things further. Training sounds interesting, but we have some questions.
First was if you would take pups to train together. We don’t do playtime apart. We’re not exactly a traditional couple, but we’ve always been in this together, and I don’t think I could do it without him. The second was if you helped single pups find an owner or master? Cooper and I have looked online, but it’s hard because most masters want just one pup. Two seems kind of a handful. And I won’t lie. We are. We try to be good, but things get out of hand. Cooper’s easily excited and playful, and I don’t know how I would describe me.
The ad didn’t say how much training costs, and it was kind of vague about if we would have to live there. I think we’re close to you, so that might not be a problem, but we both have jobs that we can’t afford to lose. We’re not sure how it would work. So I guess we have lots of questions, not just a couple. But even if you can’t train two pups like us, we wanted to say thanks. Seeing the ad made us feel good—like there were other people out there like us.
My heart sank.
It was sweet, and the picture they’d attached was just as cute. And thankfully, a lot more clothed than some of the other ones had been. They were sitting on a bench, arms slung around each other, grinning for the camera. They looked young but luckily not like jailbait.
I hit the reply button and looked at the email for a long time. It shouldn’t have been hard. I’d written the reply so many times already; it felt like I could’ve done it in my sleep. Looking at the picture, though, I tried to guess who was Cooper and who was Sawyer.
They wanted to belong to the same master.
What did Sawyer mean when he said they weren’t exactly a couple?
Telling myself it didn’t matter and it wasn’t my business, I took a drink of my beer before I set it down and started to type. It was going to be a long night. Knowing I needed to respond, no matter how hard it was going to be, I began.
Dear Sawyer and Cooper,