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Bound (Mastered #1)(4)

By:Lorelei James

Maybe it bothered her that he hadn't turned around even once to see if she'd obeyed-he just assumed she had.

Because you aren't exactly a rule breaker, Amery.

But "you can call me sir, Sensei, or Master Black" didn't know that. Maybe since she'd mouthed off, he thought she was some kind of troublemaker. She swore she'd be as meek as a kitten from here on out-if only for Molly's sake.

They cut down a short hallway.

He opened a door and Amery followed him into a storage area. On the far back wall were stacks of uniforms she'd seen everyone wearing. Some white, some black.

Sensei eyed her from the waist down, turned, and shoved his hand into a stack. Then he held out a pair of black pants.

"What are those? They look like pajama bottoms."

"It's called a gi and beggars cannot be choosers, can they, Mrs. . . . ?"

"Ms. Hardwick," she retorted.

"Feel free to change in the bathroom across the hall as long as it doesn't take you all night."

Amery's rarely seen rebellious side appeared again. Although she could count on one hand the number of men who'd seen her half-naked, something about this man pushed her buttons and she wanted to push back. "Not necessary. I'll just change here." She unbuttoned and unzipped her jeans before pushing the denim off. Kicking them aside, she snatched the pants from his fingertips.

And Master Black didn't pretend he wasn't looking at her bare legs as she fumbled with the drawstrings. When his perusal of her lower half ended at her lavender bikini panties, he glanced up at her.

The blast of heat from those liquid gold eyes reminded her that her boldness was only an act.

His was not.

So not.

Was it possible to be burned by a look and frozen in place by it? At the same time?

Yep, if it was coming from Sensei's laser eyes.

Why are you stalling? Get dressed and go.

Amery dragged the cotton pants up her legs and fled.

Or she tried to flee. But that sinfully compelling voice stopped her before she made it halfway down the hall. "Forgetting something, Ms. Hardwick?"

She faced him, feeling the rush of emotions that ran the gamut from annoyance to awe to alarm . . . and annoyance won out. "What?"

He held up her discarded jeans. "Don't you want these?"

"Keep them as collateral," she tossed over her shoulder, and hustled away.

And surprise, surprise, the man didn't follow her.

In class, Sandan Zach didn't pause in his lecture as she slid into her spot in the back row. "For most women, it goes against your natural response to fight back. So our aim isn't to teach you how to start a fight, but how to defend yourself, which is a far cry from being the aggressor. Any questions?"

Amery had a ton of them, but she kept her mouth shut. Wouldn't want to be known as the problem pupil any more than she already was.


"I'm sure questions will arise over the next few weeks. But right now we'll do the most basic self-defense technique for an attack without a weapon. This is Shihan Knox. He'll be assisting me in class."

Shihan Knox came up behind Zach and snaked an arm around his neck.

"Three things to be aware of in this situation. How much head movement you have, where the person is behind you, and where your arms are. It'd be difficult in this position to try a reverse head butt to connect with the attacker's nose. You might first try turning your head and biting the attacker's arm. We're not talking a little love bite, ladies. I'm talking about opening your mouth wide like you're gnawing on a turkey leg and biting down like you're trying to reach the bone."

Other class members giggled.

Which didn't amuse Sandan Zach at all.

"If your head is too immobilized for that, remember where your hands are. Usually right up here." He wrapped his hands around Knox's arm, trying to pull it away. "That is a wasted motion. Use your hands elsewhere. If your attacker is a man, ladies, you've got one shot to grab on to his junk and try to twist it off. That said, that's a pretty risky move because a guy's automatic response is to protect the family jewels. So you've got to assume he'll anticipate where you plan to attack. Your best option is stomp on his foot."

"But what if she's wearing flip-flops and I'm wearing combat boots?" Shihan Knox asked.

"Good point. That won't work. In that case, kick out and aim for the knee. Even connecting with the shin with just the back of the heel is painful and a hard-placed kick will often loosen up the attacker's hold enough that you can escape." Zach kicked out at Knox and he released him from the choke hold. "Let's call this a victory for now. The goal has been achieved-to break the attacker's hold."