Madison's Choice, page 1
Le Club 5
Madison Snow returns to Ocala with her young son to take a job as assistant to the manager of the very private, luxurious BDSM club known as Le Club Laurel Oak–Ocala. Ross Hamilton, successful horse trainer, is in for a big surprise.
Ross and Madison had broken up almost nine years ago when Ross was still in college and Madison was an exercise rider at Eden Creek Farm, the Hamilton Thoroughbred breeding farm. The whole family gets involved when Robbie Hamilton discovers that Madison’s son, Nickie, looks exactly like a Hamilton.
Sparks fly when Ross finds out he has an eight-year-old son he knew nothing about! Can they work through the feelings of betrayal they both felt and forge a strong family?
Length: 47,991 words
Le Club 5
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Erotic Romance
Copyright © 2012 by Skye Michaels
E-book ISBN: 978-1-61926-814-2
First E-book Publication: June 2012
Cover design by Jinger Heaston
All cover art and logo copyright © 2012 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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This book is copyrighted intellectual property. No other individual or group has resale rights, auction rights, membership rights, sharing rights, or any kind of rights to sell or to give away a copy of this book.
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This is Skye Michaels’s livelihood. It’s fair and simple. Please respect Ms. Michaels’s right to earn a living from her work.
Amanda Hilton, Publisher
For my grandsons, Enzo and Dino—the beating heart in my chest.
Life happens. Enjoy the journey.
In memory of my parents, Mike and Hedy. They were always there for me. I miss you every day.
With special thanks to Patricia Walker for her help in editing this book.
For my daughter, Jenni, who is now also a “show mom.”
Le Club 5
Copyright © 2012
Eighteen-year-old Madison Snow trembled as she knelt beside the thrashing horse on the side of the road.
Flashfire had pushed past her out of his stall. She hadn’t meant to let him out. It had been an accident. He had slammed her up against the stall door as he bulled past her when she was trying to jockey a wheelbarrow full of pine shavings into his stall. She had thought he was busy eating a pad of hay in his paddock, but he had been more interested in making a daring escape. Once on the loose, he had thundered up the long, winding Eden Creek Farm driveway toward the road at a dead gallop. She had grabbed a lead rope and a container of sweet feed and run after him, but she was no match for his lightning speed. He thundered toward disaster and the dually pickup passing the farm gate that had been left open by a feed delivery truck.
The pickup driver, who stood shaking next to her on the road, had tried to avoid the horse that had come galloping out of the hidden driveway and crashed into the side of the truck. Madison and the driver could see that the horse was badly injured. The driver used his cell phone to call the police, the nearby equine animal hospital, and the office of Eden Creek Farm as Madison tried to quiet the terrified horse. Help arrived from the farm first. Michael Hamilton and his younger brother, Ross, careened to a stop at the top of the driveway and slammed the doors as they got out of the truck. Mike quickly assessed the situation. Flashfire had two badly broken legs and other assorted injuries. Mike looked at Flashfire, and by the stricken look on his face, Maddie knew that it was hopeless. The horse would have to be put out of his misery.
“I’m sorry, Ross, but there is nothing that can be done for him. I need to put him down.”
“Please, Mike. Can’t we wait for the vet? Maybe he can do something,” Ross said with a look of agony on his young, handsome face. Ross was twenty years old and a junior at Florida State University in Tallahassee, majoring in business administration. He was home for the summer and working with his brother on the farm. The tall, lanky young man had a dark summer tan that complemented his wavy black hair and startling electric-blue eyes. The Hamilton brothers had a very strong family resemblance.
Mike put his arm around Ross’s shoulder and squeezed. “We can wait, Ross, but that means Flashfire will suffer unnecessarily. Look at his legs. There is nothing that can be done. Why don’t you go back to the house and let me take care of this.” Michael Hamilton was the elder brother by eighteen years. Ross had been a surprise, late-life baby for Mike’s parents, and Mike had helped raise him.
Ross knelt beside the thrashing Thoroughbred whose eyes rolled in pain and fear. He spoke softly, and Flashfire quieted somewhat. “No, I’ll hold him while you do it. I’m not going to leave him alone now. You don’t walk away and leave your best friend alone at a time like this.”
Maddie knew that Flashfire, a magnificent seventeen-hand dark bay Thoroughbred, was Ross’s baby. He’d been in the foaling stall when he was born and had trained the horse himself. Although Flashfire was a stallion and difficult to handle, he and Ross had a special relationship. They just seemed to be two halves of a whole. One seemed to know what the other was thinking, and when Ross rode him, they were an awe-inspiring sight—totally graceful and in sync. Ross had the long-legged, easy seat of a natural horseman.
Michael reached into the truck and took out the .45 pistol from the glove compartment, and moving quickly to minimize
The gun made a resounding crack, and Maddie shuddered as the horse stopped struggling. She watched as Ross, heartbroken and sobbing, held Flashfire as the light faded from his eyes.
* * * *
Ross settled on the ground, collapsing on Flashfire’s neck as all life faded from the magnificent broken body. Mike put a tarp over Flashfire and then roughly hugged his brother.
Mike helped a sobbing Madison to her feet and put his arm around her shoulders. “What happened, Maddie?”
“I was helping Jorge clean stalls, and Flashfire just pushed past me and took off. I couldn’t catch him. The front gate was open, and he ran out into the side of this pickup.” Madison was in the summer between high school and college. She was planning to start college at the University of Florida in Gainesville in a few weeks. She had been working at Eden Creek Farm as an exercise rider breezing the young Thoroughbreds in training on the farm’s training racetrack and occasionally helping to feed or clean stalls. She had started dating Ross Hamilton at the beginning of the summer, and although Madison had been a virgin, their relationship had quickly turned passionate. Madison’s warm, chocolate-brown eyes were awash in tears.
The driver said, “I’m so sorry, man. I tried to stop, but he came out of nowhere.”
Mike took out his wallet and handed the driver a card. “Have your insurance company contact me. I’m sorry. Someone apparently left the gate open. It wasn’t your fault.”
Madison reached for Ross to comfort him, but he brushed her hand aside. “What were you doing in his stall?” he asked angrily. “You know you weren’t supposed to handle a stallion. The only one allowed in Flashfire’s stall besides me or Mike is Jorge.”
Hurt blossomed in Madison’s eyes as tears continued to streak down her face. “Ross, I’m sorry! I was just trying to help Jorge out today. He hurt his back yesterday. I was done breezing the babies on the track, and I was looking for something to do. I didn’t mean to let him get out.”
“You had no business being in his stall. This is your fault,” he thundered as he turned his back to her.
* * * *
Maddie was crushed. She knew she shouldn’t have gone into Flashfire’s stall, and she also knew that Ross was never going to forgive her. Madison was crazy about him. Well, who wouldn’t be? He was gorgeous, smart, and a fabulous rider. But at eighteen to his twenty, she sometimes felt he might be a little too mature for her.
“I’m so sorry.” Maddie bent quickly and clipped a long lock of Flashfire’s black tail hair with the scissors she used to cut hay strings and put it in her pocket. Then she turned away and started walking dejectedly back down the drive to the barn. Her heart was breaking. She knew she couldn’t stand to be there when the man with the big truck and crane came to move the horse from the road. He would be buried in the horse cemetery on the farm. She couldn’t stand to watch that either.
Maddie didn’t go back to the farm again before school started. She was miserable as she packed up her clothes and household goods for her dorm room. Ross didn’t call her, but she hadn’t expected him to. She knew he was too upset to be reasonable right now, and he needed time to cool off. Maybe at Christmas break…
Maddie and Ross did not see each other again before the end of summer, and each went off to college. She knew Ross was grieving and would have a hard time forgiving her for her part in the accident. Even though she felt he had been a little unfair, she was having a hard time forgiving herself. The closeness that had existed between Ross and Flashfire was extraordinary, the kind of human-equine relationship that comes along once in a lifetime, if one was lucky—sort of like a one true love.
Maddie was surprised a month later when she did not get her period. She was usually as regular as a clock. She nervously waited a few more weeks before she purchased a pregnancy test, hoping against hope that she was only late because of the stress of the accident and breaking up with Ross. The test proved to be positive. She was pregnant.
Madison, after much soul searching, decided to quit college and move to New Jersey to stay with her grandmother and have the baby there. An abortion was out of the question. It was her baby, and she wanted to raise it. Maybe she should have been more careful, but she believed that things happened for a reason. She would embrace the child, Ross’s child, even if she could no longer embrace Ross.
Her grandmother, Agatha, told her she was welcome to live with her on the condition that she continued her education. Madison had enrolled in Seton Hall University in South Orange, which was a comfortable commute from Agatha’s huge, old, brick Tudor home in Montclair, New Jersey. Agatha was determined that Maddie be well able to earn her own living, be capable of raising her child, and never be in a dependent, helpless position. Madison wore a plain gold wedding band and told her classmates and teachers at the school that her husband was in the army and deployed in Iraq. She was embarrassed to be an unwed mother. That was not the way she had been raised. She had wanted to spare herself the pitying looks. She certainly hadn’t wanted to be in that position in her hometown of Ocala in central Florida.
Nine years later
On a beautiful Thursday morning in June, Madison Snow arranged some mementos and pictures of her son on the credenza behind her desk in her new office at Le Club Laurel Oak–Ocala. She was pleased with the office. It was elegant and comfortable without being ostentatious. She was also pleased to have finally started her new job as assistant to Anne Sutton, the manager of Le Club. The salary was extremely good, and the hours were flexible and could be adjusted to accommodate any meetings at school or other activities for her eight-year-old son, Nicholas. It was important to Madison that she have the time to devote to Nickie’s needs as well as the financial means to raise him. She had remained a single mother. Nickie was the light of her life and the most important person in her world. She didn’t want him to have to do without anything, either material or emotional, since he was already having to do without a daddy.
It had been a long haul. It had taken nearly a year to sell Grammathas’s house in New Jersey, pack up, and make the move back to Florida. She had also had to contend with Nickie finishing his school year. Thankfully, Anne Sutton had been willing to hold the job at the club for her since finding the right person for this job was not easy. The fact that the job involved helping to manage a BDSM sex club on the down-low in her hometown of Ocala, Florida, did not bother her in the least. She also had not minded signing the confidentiality agreement that was part and parcel of the job. She certainly had no intention of telling anyone what her job actually entailed! She also did not have any intention of participating in the sexual activities at the club. She had been thrilled when her old friend from high school, Kelly Anderson, now Kelly Devereau, had contacted her about the job opening at the club. She was extremely well qualified, but she had been having a hard time finding a good position with the flexibility she needed. When her grandmother, Madison’s only family still living in New Jersey, had died, Madison had missed her family in Florida even more, so she had decided to sell Agatha’s house and move back home.
Le Club Laurel Oak–Ocala, a private BDSM club located at the edge of the historic Ocala residential and business district, catered to an exclusive membership of only ten members. The abandoned and rundown Laurel Oak Estate had been ideal for a club patterned after Le Club Beaudelaire–New Orleans, which had been started by Justin Devereau’s father many years ago in the French Quarter.
The members had each contributed an initial investment for renovations and startup expenses and paid hefty annual membership fees to cover the substantial operating costs. While some of the club’s employees participated in the BDSM activities, some did not. Nonetheless, all of the employees were extremely loyal and discreet due in part to the confidentiality agreements signed by one and all.
The acronym “BDSM” stood for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance &
The door to Madison’s office opened, and the wife of one of the members entered with a smile. “Hi! I’m Robbie Hamilton. Welcome to Le Club, Madison! Kelly has been telling us about you for some time, and Anne has been really anxious for you to start.”
“Thanks. Everyone has been so nice and welcoming. What can I do for you?”
“I just wanted to drop off a check and get a copy of our bill. I seem to have misplaced it,” Robbie said with a smile. The tall, gorgeous redhead appeared to be in her mid-forties and had green eyes and a warm sprinkling of freckles.
“Let me get your file, and I’ll make a copy for you. Did you need anything else?” Madison asked as she walked to the bank of file cabinets, pulled the file, and walked to the copy machine.
Robbie looked around the office. “No, that’s it. It looks like you are settling in.”
“I’m just putting out a few personal things and pictures of my son,” Madison responded with a smile.
Robbie looked at the picture frames behind Madison’s desk, and the color drained from her face. Out of the corner of her eye, Maddie saw Robbie walk closer to the credenza and pick up first one picture of the black-haired infant, and then another of the chubby toddler. Finally she picked up a school picture of the eight-year-old Nickie with his wavy, black hair rumpled and electric-blue eyes sparkling. Robbie sat down in the chair next to Madison’s desk, and Maddie could see that she appeared agitated.
SKYE MICHAELS SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Pansy's Passion [The Black Dahlia Hotel 5] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic)Michaels, Skye - Calleigh's Collar [Le Club 1] (Siren Publishing Classic)Kaylin's Pursuit [The Black Iris Club 1] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic)Violette's Vibrato [Golden Dolphin 3] (Siren Publishing Classic)Gabriella's Prosecution [The Black Iris Club 3] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic)Nicollette's DefenseHarper's Submission [Golden Dolphin 2] (Siren Publishing Classic)Anne's Courage [Le Club 3] (Siren Publishing Classic)The Appearance of Impropriety [The Horsemen] (Siren Publishing Classic)
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