Secrets in the Dark Chapter 1

“You can’t say no. You don’t have a choice; I need you to do this.”

“Huh?” Shooting up in bed, Mason didn’t even realize he had his phone in his hand until Maddy screeched again.



“Are you listening to me?” The volume of her screech told Mason she’d been trying to get his attention for a while. When had he answered the phone? Mason had been up all night finishing a coding project that had a tight deadline. Looking over at the clock on his nightstand, he stretched and noticed that it was almost five o’clock in the evening.

“No, sorry. I was asleep. What’s up?”

“I need you to come down to Midnight. We had a cancellation at the last minute and I need someone else so we have an even number.”

Midnight? He knew that should ring a bell but his brain was too fuzzy. “Midnight?”

“Lord, Mason. Are you paying attention?”

If he said no, she was going to totally lose her shit. It would almost be worth it, because when Maddy was losing her marbles it was fabulous to watch. Unfortunately, he wasn’t up for one of her DEFCON 5 explosions right now. “I was up all night working. Remind me.”

Maddy had been his best friend since college when they’d been in the same dorm. While they didn’t have much in common on the surface, they complimented each other really well. He didn’t mind that she was crazy and she didn’t mind that he was…well, unique.

“Midnight. The restaurant where we’re having the Dating in the Dark event. Ringing any bells?”

“Oh, yeah the mixer thing with the dark restaurant. What did you need me for again?”

Maddy worked for a dating service that connected people by arranging group dates and mixers in unconventional locations. This time, they were having a dinner at a new restaurant downtown where you had to eat in complete darkness. It was supposed to be intimate and completely different from anything else out there, at least, according to the morning talk shows and Maddy’s endless rants.

“I had a last minute drop out. The guy evidently eloped to Vegas last night.”

“Still not seeing why you need me.” The pounding in his head felt like he’d partied all night long. No more all-nighters, he was getting too old for it. It sucked that at twenty-four he was feeling so ancient.

“I need an even number for the party. This is our first gay event and I have thirty-nine bachelors where I should have forty. Are you catching on now?”

“Hell, no, Maddy. You’re not making me hang out for hours with stuffy upper-crust business types.” Mason worked hard and was successful but he would never be the perfect guy for someone like that. Mason was a freelance computer programmer and he did really well for himself but those types of guys wanted preppy and perfect. Not unique and slightly nerdy.

“Oh, yes, I am. I need a live body and you happen to be gay, single, successful, and handy. You’re it; now get your ass out of bed and down here.”

Stumbling out of bed, he looked down at his clothes: boxer briefs, and a T-shirt. “Damn it, Maddy. What do I have to wear? How fancy is this? Hell, where is this restaurant again?”

“Nice, but not crazy extravagant. It’s going to be in the dark unless you stick around for the cocktails after. And it’s downtown in one hour.”

“Maddy, it would take me almost an hour to get there on a good day.” He was well outside the city and normally that wouldn’t be a problem. He wasn’t a big partier anyway. Even if it were only Wednesday, the traffic would be crazy.

“I can stall if you’re a couple of minutes late but I need you to hurry. I can’t have someone eating by himself and there is no way to cancel on any of these men.”

“Prissy types who’ll pitch a fit, huh?”

“No, try top businessmen who don’t want to be told no.”

“Even worse.”


“Okay, text me the address. You’re going to owe me.”

“Not a chance. Hurry up. I can’t have you crazy late.” With that, she disconnected the call.

Walking into the bathroom, Mason turned on the shower and jumped in. The blast of cold water woke him up better than anything else would have. He hated being roped into stupid.

Hopefully, whoever he got stuck with wouldn’t be too obnoxious. It was only for an hour or so; he could deal with it even if the guy was boring, or worse—crazy judgmental and a loudmouth. He grinned; he’d do it just so Maddy would owe him. Because no matter what she said, she was going to owe him big time.

Most gay guys he knew would have jumped at this kind of chance. A room full of eligible, successful bachelors who were looking for serious relationships. Heaven to most guys. Mason wasn’t under any illusions that he would find Mr. Right there tonight. No, the chances of his perfect guy at an event like that were astronomical.

Mr. Sexy-for-a-quickie maybe, but that wasn’t what Mason wanted and Maddy would kill him if he made one of her clients angry. Mason liked to get laid as much as the next guy but the kind of man he really needed wasn’t going to be at a vanilla singles mixer. Mason was looking for someone a little more unique.

Mason’s fantasy guy was take charge in and out of the bedroom. Strong, sexy, and dominant…that’s what Mason desired in a man. If that were it, though, it wouldn’t be too hard to find.

When you added in everything else Mason craved, that’s when the eligible bachelor list shrunk considerably. Mason’s sexy, perfect man wouldn’t just take charge. No, he would be kinky too. Because Mason wanted a daddy, not just a boyfriend.

The fantasy started in his early teens. God bless the internet and parents who didn’t understand child-protection software. Realizing he was gay was easy, but figuring out why most guys didn’t appeal to him had been more difficult.

It had been terribly confusing to know that while girls didn’t turn him on at all, most men didn’t really turn him on either. In fact, guys his own age just hadn’t done it for him. They were attractive, yes, but he hadn’t had any desire to date them or do anything past a little bit of flirting.

One day, however, he’d been looking through porn sites and browsing through free online dirty books when he’d stumbled across a blog written by a gay couple detailing their adventures in the age-play lifestyle. Mason had been hooked.

Reading the stories about what they’d done and seeing the pictures where the daddy was holding his boy had been eye-opening, to say the least. Discovering how they lived and what they found erotic had been incredible.

It was something Mason would never have thought of on his own, but he quickly realized it was what he craved. To be someone’s little boy and have a daddy of his own.

It wasn’t conventional. But, when Mason saw the closeness the lifestyle brought and the tenderness that caring for someone inspired, it was what he wanted. To be that loved and cared for.

Maybe it was something left over from childhood. The “if you love me you’ll do everything for me” mentality—the fantasy of someone taking care of him like that was incredibly erotic.

Mason had tried traditional dating over the years, even dated a man who was into BDSM a couple of times but it had never worked. With vanilla guys, he kept wishing they would take charge. And that would have made most of them really uncomfortable.

The guy in college who had been into BDSM wanted completely different things than Mason. Mason didn’t want to kneel at someone’s feet and call him Master. He wanted someone who would take care of him.

Over the years, Mason had refined the fantasy and experimented with different things. Always alone, though. Maddy might have accepted his fantasy as a perfectly reasonable kink, but Mason was realistic enough to know that most people wouldn’t be that open-minded.

Tell a guy you wanted to be spanked and he was all gung ho to try it. But tell a guy you wanted to wear a diaper occasionally and that you had a bottle in the cabinet for when you needed to unwind and they went all wiggy on you. He’d tried mentioning the idea in teasing ways over the years to different boyfriends but the reaction had always been the same. Horrified.

Taking the quickest shower in history, Mason dried off in record time. Looking in the mirror, he shrugged and decided not to bother with shaving. He had a baby face and even after more than twenty-four hours without shaving still didn’t have much of a five o’clock shadow.

He knew he’d appreciate his baby face as he got older but now it was just inconvenient. Most men assumed he was younger than he really was and older guys were generally hesitant to approach him. With short, dark hair and even features, he knew he was attractive, but he would have loved to look a little bit older.

If he could walk around without his shirt more often, maybe people would think he was older. Mason knew he had a great body; even if he was a bit slender and on the shorter side, he still had a great six-pack and well-defined muscles.

Within minutes, Mason was running out the door, praying that the traffic wasn’t terrible. He was barely going to make it as it was. It really was too bad Maddy wasn’t doing a kink mixer instead. That would have been so much more fun.

* * * * *

He pulled up to the restaurant, only about five minutes late. Maddy had texted him for the last 15 minutes wondering where he was, but he’d done the best he could to get there on time. As he ran toward the restaurant, he threw his keys to the valet and called out an apology.

At the door, he took a deep breath and tried to calm his racing heart. He hated being late. He also hated blind dates and that’s exactly what this was. One big awkward blind date. In the dark. Maddie was so going to owe him.

Once he’d calmed down enough to be presentable, Mason walked into the restaurant. The doors opened up into a room that looked a little bit like the lobby of a small hotel. Shiny, impersonal, and with seating scattered around the room that tried to mimic a living room. It was the oddest restaurant he’d ever seen.

He watched as Maddie came out of a long hallway in the back right corner of the room.

“You’re late!”

“I’m as early as I could get here and you know it.”


“You so owe me.” He wasn’t going to let her forget it.

“You’re getting a free dinner and potential date out of this, so in your dreams.” She tried to make it seem as if she was doing him the favor but they both knew that wasn’t going to work. He wasn’t sure what she was going to owe him, but it would be big.

“Bitch,” he replied, smiling at her.

“And don’t you forget it.”

“You know there’s no way the man of my dreams is in that room and the food is probably overpriced and inedible by real people. So you will owe me big time.”

Maddie didn’t even bother to respond to his teasing. The striking brunette completely ignored it and proceeded to tell him exactly what to do. Basically, what she’d been doing since college.

In college, Maddie had been the one to make him see that what he wanted wasn’t crazy and weird. Telling someone about his fantasies had been the last thing on his mind, but Maddie was curious and nosy by nature.

One afternoon, they had been watching movies online and he’d paused it to run to the restroom. She’d poked through his computer while he was gone because up until that point he had been religious about passwords. Finding the videos and stories that he’d bookmarked, she’d been happily going through his porn when he’d walked back in.

Horrified didn’t begin to describe Mason’s reaction when he found her reading a book about a naughty “boy” in diapers who was getting a spanking. She’d just looked up at him and told him that she was glad he wasn’t as vanilla as he claimed to be.

He’d learned to open up a bit and see that what he wanted wasn’t completely crazy. And their friendship had grown from there. Sometimes he thought she only kept him around to make her own insanity seem more normal.

The full rundown of the evening’s plans wasn’t possible in the short time they had. However, as she led him toward a hallway that seemed to run to the back of the building, she told him briefly what to expect. It was actually a lot simpler than he’d anticipated.

The hallway gradually got darker as they approached the doors at the other end. By the time they reached the doors, he could hardly see his own hand in front of his face.

“In just a minute a waiter is going to come and lead you to your table. One more time, once you get into the dining room, it’s going to be pitch black. Your waiter is Robert and he’s blind so if you need anything you just call out for him. You do not get up from the table by yourself for any reason. Be nice to my clients and pretend that you’re interested in dating. I’m not going to owe you anything if you screw this up.”

Maddie reached up, pushed a button on the wall that looked like a doorbell, and within seconds, a waiter opened the door.

“This is our last client for the evening. Thank you for your patience.” When Maddie turned on the charm, she seemed so sweet. Looks were definitely deceiving.

“It’s not a problem at all Ms. Thompson. Sir?” The waiter tilted his head, clearly listening for Mason’s response.


“If you would just put your right hand on my right shoulder, I’ll lead the way to your table. A few reminders, sir. No cell phones or any sources of light are allowed inside the dining room. We ask that you not leave your table without an escort for any reason. And if you need anything, all you have to do is speak out my name and I’ll be with you shortly.”

“Thank you, Robert.” Handing Maddie his phone, he turned and stepped closer to the waiter. Putting his hand on the waiter’s shoulder, Mason followed the man through the doors and into the darkness.

It was weirder than Mason thought it would be. Most of the time when rooms were dark there was still light coming from somewhere, even if it was just from smoke detectors and emergency lights. The dining room was completely dark. If it weren’t for the low hum of the voices around him, it would have been creepy.

They didn’t walk far before Robert stopped and assisted him in finding his chair. From what Mason could tell, he was at a small table for two sitting on a bench seat against the wall. He could hear other conversations going on around him as Robert was describing the table and how the silverware and glasses were positioned. The date was going to suck if he tipped the glass over. Who thought of this as a fun first date?

Evidently, he hadn’t kept that to himself because a voice across from him seemed to swallow a gasp and laughter bounced around him from the darkness. Definitely creepy not being able to see what was going on.

As soon as the waiter left the table, a voice spoke from across the table. “Hi, I’m Richard. Nice to meet you.”

Friendly, but Mason could hear the censure in his voice. Someone didn’t seem to have a sense of humor.

“Hi. I’m Mason.” It felt weird not offering to shake Richard’s hand. It was almost as if he wasn’t really there or something. “This is weirder than I expected.”

Way to make a great first impression was all he could think, but Richard and several voices around him just chuckled. Voices from all around him agreed, making him feel a little less ridiculous. The general consensus seemed to be that it was indeed weirder than everyone thought it would be.

Mason’s date seemed to be a very well-mannered, successful accountant. He was talkative while he introduced himself but after that, things slowed down. Once the first course arrived, their conversations mostly revolved around the restaurant and the food. Mason tried to be polite but it wasn’t easy.

Nothing about Richard encouraged Mason to behave. If anything, the courteous, meaningless conversation made Mason want to say something outrageous just to get a reaction. Picturing how Maddie would kill him was the only thing holding him back. It was a close call.

Richard was probably a nice man but everything about him screamed vanilla. The picture in Mason’s head was an attractive guy who would probably blend into the background. Not a dominant bone in his body, much less a kinky one. He pictured Richard running screaming from the fantasies in his mind.

Neither of them were that into sports and they didn’t seem to have that much in common. The voice in his head, which sounded a lot like Maddie, bitched at him for not trying hard enough.

There just wasn’t any chemistry. Richard’s metered tone and bland replies didn’t do anything for him. Maddie was probably going to kill him. But, what did she expect when she sat him across from an accountant?

On the other hand, the voice coming from his right kept pulling at his attention. Something about its deep rumble drew Mason in. With Mason’s luck, the guy was probably five feet tall and looked like a troll, but his voice was sexy and the deliberate, thoughtful way he spoke to his date made Mason hard. By the end of the first course, Mason didn’t care what he looked like.
Mason wanted him.

It was stupid, but the man sounded like every fantasy Mason ever had about a daddy. The fantasies in his head bounced from sweet and tender, to hot and dominant. Mason could easily picture being bent over his fantasy daddy’s lap and spanked, or held and taken care of. Between the hard-on in his pants and his insane imagination, it was incredibly difficult to pay attention to his own date.

“I missed your question. Sorry.”

The sigh coming from the darkness told Mason that he’d probably missed more than one question. Hell, there probably hadn’t been a question at all. Oh, well. It’s not as if Mason was going to see him again anyway. And even if he did, the guy wasn’t going to recognize him. Maybe there was something to this dating-in-the-dark thing after all.

Mason held back a sigh of relief when Richard called the waiter over to ask about the restroom just as dessert was about to be served. From his sexy neighbor’s laugh, he might not have been as discreet as he’d hoped. The lack of light seemed to magnify the sounds, but that was probably just his imagination. If the darkness magnified anything, it was his imagination.

“He’s not that bad,” the sexy voice said from his right.

“I didn’t say he was. I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Maddie was going to kill him. Not only was the date boring, his neighbor knew how frustrated he was. Fingers crossed, his neighbor didn’t know how sexy Mason found him. No matter what Mason’s fantasies were, there was no way Sexy-Voice-Man could live up to his imagination. He’d been down that road before.

“Oh, don’t lie and compound your sins.” The sexy voice laughed in a husky tone. God, that sound would melt butter.

“Sins?” Mason couldn’t help but ask. If just to have the voice keep talking as he fiddled with his silverware waiting for Richard to get back so he could eat his dessert. Dinner had not been enough to fill him up and the dessert in front of him was supposed to be some kind of chocolate torte thing.

“He spent the last ten minutes talking about his work and family. Then you pipe up, completely distracted, and apologize for missing his question.” The low laugh in Sexy-Voice-Man’s words had Mason blushing.

He couldn’t have missed that much of the conversation. Could he have? “Shit.”

“Language. You don’t sound old enough to curse anyway.”

Mouth hanging open, Mason was glad the darkness hid his blush and his surprise. “I’m old enough, thank you very much. We don’t have to be old fogies to date.”

“Old, huh?”

Then, to play into Mason’s every naughty fantasy, he thought he could just make out a comment Sexy-Voice-Man made under his breath about naughty boys needing to be put in their place.

Fuck, he was going to jerk off to that for days. Just the thought of his fantasy daddy bending him over and putting him in his place made his hard-on go from painful to excruciating.

“Language, Boy.”

Shit, Mason had to stop talking. He’d never had a problem controlling his mouth in business settings, so why did his filter have to fail now? Yes, he had a hard time keeping his mouth shut sometimes, but Mason was obsessive about keeping his desires private. Deep breath, and stop acting like a moron.

The nickname was a joke, Mason knew that, but just hearing his living breathing fantasy man say it sent shivers through his body. Thank god for the darkness or he’d never live this down.

“Yes, sir.” The words were meant to be sarcastic, teasing like Sexy-Voice-Man’s, but something in Mason just couldn’t do it. The words escaped a little breathy and entirely too serious.

Damn fantasies. Maddie was going to KILL him. Who knew what kind of phone calls she was going to get tomorrow? His list of sins was starting to add up.

There was a moment of silence before Sexy-Voice-Man laughed and said, “Respect. I like that.”

In Mason’s mind, he tacked on that “Boy” again. Damn, he wasn’t even going to make it home before he jerked off.

“Why couldn’t you show that respect to your date for the evening?” The voice was curious, but Mason thought he heard something else as well.

“You don’t seem to be showing your date any respect, so you shouldn’t comment on me.” Pot meet kettle. The guy hadn’t talked to his date for several minutes. Not that Mason was complaining. He’d listen to him all night long if he could.

“If you had been paying attention, you would have noticed that my date was called away on a family emergency. The waiter came over several minutes ago and he had to leave.” Disapproval dripped from Sexy-Voice-Man’s words.

Part of Mason hated the disappointment in his voice, but another bigger, naughtier part pictured getting spanked for disappointing his daddy. But the point was made about paying attention. “Ah…I have a lot on my mind. Sorry.”

Sexy-Voice-Man laughed again. “Of course.”

Moron. He looked like a moron. Maddie was going to kill him.

“I asked a question, or have you forgotten already?”

Damn that voice. “We don’t have much in common if you must know.” Mason tried to listen and hear if his date was coming back. Deciding to try to behave, he dropped his voice down to a whisper. “Besides, he’s boring and I’m not sure why we were put together to begin with.”

“I’m sure there must have been some items on your applications in common or you would have been matched with someone else,” Sexy-Voice-Man spoke as if that were obvious.

Yeah, his non-existent application. “I have no idea what that could have been.”

Sexy-Voice-Man must have heard something in his voice because when he spoke again, Mason could hear the curiosity. “Why wouldn’t you have something in common with him?”

Mason was saved from answering when the waiter came up to his table.

“I’m sorry, sir, but I have been asked to pass along a message that your date was unexpectedly called away.” Robert’s voice was carefully neutral as he relayed the information.

Mason barked out a laugh before he could contain himself. “Thank you for passing along the message.”

“You’re welcome, sir.”

The laughter coming from Sexy-Voice-Man made a shiver race down Mason’s back. “Hey, it’s not that funny. It’s not surprising either, unfortunately.”

“Oh, it is that humorous and you’re right, this was not the right match for you.”

“You’re not kidding. At least I don’t have to wait to eat my dessert anymore.”

“I’m not sure you needed to wait. He wouldn’t know if you’d waited for him or not.”

“So now I have permission to have bad manners, huh?”

“Just for tonight.”

Mason could hear that imaginary “Boy” again. Some perverse part of Mason wanted to ask Sexy-Voice-Man to say it one more time. He managed to stop himself, however. No point in making the guy think he was rude and crazy.

The torte seemed to be two or three bites of some kind of gooey chocolate. He was going to have to find a drive-thru on the way home. It was good, but definitely not enough food.

Listening in the dark room, Mason heard other waiters talking and it sounded like people were being led out of the room. On one hand, he was glad that the awkward date was over. But on the other, he was frustrated that Sexy-Voice-Man was going to leave.

Mason was going to enjoy the fantasy for as long as he could. Sexy-Voice-Man was going to star in his dreams for months, if not more.

From the darkness, he heard Robert approach the table. Something about the way the guy walked was distinctive now.

“Sir? If you are ready to leave, I can escort you to the door.”

“Thank you, Robert.”

Rising from the table, Mason was startled when he heard Sexy-Voice-Man speak from the darkness, “You never did say how you knew you and your date would not work out.”

Freezing, Mason couldn’t decide what to do. Lie or tell the truth? Deciding that discretion would be the better idea, Mason opened his mouth to make a glib comment when Sexy-Voice-Man spoke again. His deep voice sending shivers through Mason.

“The truth.”

It was that unsaid “Boy” that pushed Mason to do it. Maddy was going to kill him. Oh well, twenty-four was old enough anyway. He leaned down, close to where he imagined Sexy-Voice-Man sitting although he wasn’t sure exactly where he was.

Smelling the sexy man’s aftershave, Mason must have been within inches of him as he whispered, “Because what I need is a daddy. A sexy man who can take control and really knows how to treat his boy.”

Mason heard Sexy-Voice-Man’s sharp exhale and for a minute, almost thought he felt his breath on his cheek.

“How much control?” was the breathless question.

Unable to resist, Mason answered honestly. “Complete. My daddy would take care of everything.”


In Mason’s mind, that word was heavy with meaning, but it was just his imagination. Sexy-Voice-Man was probably shocked in a staring-at-a-car-wreck kind of way.

“Everything. I want to belong to my daddy completely.” He’d never said that to a man before. He’d barely even been able to explain it to Maddy when she’d gotten him completely wasted one night, hell bent on finding out more about Mason’s naughty fantasies.

Something about that voice in the darkness just made him want to open up. To confess. To share his every naughty fantasy. No more dating in the dark for him. He was too much of an idiot for this. Straightening up, he turned toward where he thought Robert should be and said, “I’m ready, Robert.”

He felt a hand come out of the dark and guide his arm to Robert’s shoulder. “It will be just the same as when we walked in, sir.”

“Thank you, Robert.”

What he wanted to do was beg Robert to take him last. So he could have just one more minute, but that was a joke. He would blow his fantasy right out of the water if he stayed any longer. As soon as Sexy-Voice-Man got over his shock, he was going to be horrified and Mason didn’t want to have that in his head to ruin the fantasy.

Want to read the rest?

Mason isn’t looking for Mr. Right…he isn’t even looking for Mr. Right-Now. What he wants in a man isn’t going to be found on a blind date or at a singles mixer. Mason’s looking for someone a little more unique…a little more take-charge…a little more loving.

Edward is straightforward, logical, and thinks of himself as traditional…not vanilla, just traditional, and when he meets Mason on a interesting blind date, sparks fly. But when the intriguing man with the sexy voice makes it clear he wants something unexpected, Edward has to decide how far out of his comfort zone he’s willing to go to find love.

When whispered confessions reveal secret desires, love can’t be far behind.