Pretty Boy, Book 1
by Ana Raine
[ BDSM Romance, MM ]
Kai will do whatever it takes to forget about Liam — even joining a BDSM site, where he meets a man who wears an artistic fox mask and calls himself only “Master.” Who is Master and will he be dominant enough to make Kai scream into submission?
Kai Masami’s fist burned, ached with the pounding he had delivered moments earlier. The culprit: an unsuspecting wall beside a hanging mirror in his rented dressing room. He liked the pain he felt in his fist — it reminded him that he was alive. He could hear the screaming roars of fans awaiting the hopefully gory fight between two men competing for a championship title.
Not that tonight’s fight in particular would be enough to gain him a title shot. But it was one fight that would up his chances and move him forward. Being a fighter for the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization created that feeling of always wanting to be better. There were plenty of other fighters in the UFC circuit, in all different weight classes. If he was to stand out enough for a certain man to notice him, then he could never be satisfied with what he had.
Truth be told, Kai had once wanted this dream with a passion that made him itch with anticipation. He had wished, almost prayed for, the chance to be where he was now, in one of the lightest weight class, bantamweight, with only a few fights left before he could go to Japan and fight for the UFC’s division in Japan: Pride. Years had gone by quickly, and standing in front of the mirror now, Kai realized it wasn’t his twenty-three year old body that discouraged him, so much as the fact that the image looking back at him was male.
Dark hair fitting of his Japanese heritage, kept only long enough so he could tuck the longest strands behind his ear. Freckles under dark eyes, highlighting his golden skin, and muscles that were carved, although not bulky. Standing only five feet six, he didn’t think he was half bad. For a guy…
His collarbone was high and protruded from his skin, his nipples sticking out only slightly from well-defined pecs overlooking a toned stomach. If only his nipples were part of breasts and his abs sat above something other than a hard member, then maybe the reason he continued to fight would notice him.
A door shutting behind him forced him away from thoughts he probably shouldn’t reflect on.
“Ready yet?” Jaden, a small man with dark hair and dark eyes, panted. “Jesus, you aren’t, are you?”
Kai shrugged. “Almost. Just thinking.”
“I’ve known you for five years,” Jaden said, thumbing through his iPhone. It had been a present from Kai last Christmas, a thank you for being his manager for so long. “You can beat the shit out of this guy.”
“What’s his name again?”
“Kyle something or another. Does it matter?”
“Kind of.” How could he fight someone without respecting him, and how could that happen if he didn’t even know his name?
“Oh yeah, you like to be all noble and stuff.” Jaden sighed. “I think his last name is Kitjer.”
“Kyle Kitjer. That’s a strange combination.”
“Yeah, so…” Jaden pocketed his phone and moved toward Kai. Touching him was normal, so was the warm massage gel he put over Kai’s shoulders to keep him from tensing. Kai found his thoughts drifting. “Hey, did Liam come to watch?”
Jaden came to stand in front of Kai, eyeing him suspiciously. “He always comes with his dad.”
Liam Evans was a rich young man, the son of Kai’s main sponsor. Hitting on him had been an accident at a gathering party a few years ago, a mistake he wouldn’t be making again. If Kai wanted to keep his future title spot secure, offending Evans Enterprise by seducing the only son of Bradley Evans was probably a bad idea.
“Here.” Kai fished through his pocket until he found his omamori, a soft pouch with the Japanese kanji for strength and protection painted over it. “Keep it safe.”
“I always do.” Jaden sighed in exasperation. “Although I don’t know why you bother carrying this good luck charm around. You haven’t lived in Japan since you were what, sixteen?”
“You’re supposed to return it after a year, but I haven’t gone back yet.” Kai’s goal was to get to Pride, just to show off what his family had disowned.
“Fight hard and you’ll get there,” Jaden clapped Kai on the back. A couple of taller men Kai knew from around the training center came to be his escorts for the night.
A scantily clad, dyed-blonde flirted with him on his walk through his fans, which might or might not have been part of her job. Kai smiled and pretended to look at her ass when really he was just wondering if Liam was looking at her too.
Liam would be wearing a dark suit, probably blue or purple, similar to the one he’d worn just before Kai’s twenty-first birthday.
”Why don’t you just wear black?” Kai asked, sipping his virgin drink.
“Black is boring,” Liam said softly, adding a tone that made Kai feel like he should’ve understood.
Liam had stared at Kai for a moment before gulping his vodka. “I heard the Japanese like blondes.”
In truth, they really did. When Kai was growing up, before he’d told his friends he was gay, they would pass around American magazines with girls who were wearing next to nothing. The favorites were always the blondes. “It’s just because almost everyone has dark hair.”
“Except for bishounen boys. A lot of them dye it.”
Kai was surprised Liam knew about that aspect of his culture. “Well, some boys are really beautiful I guess.”
Liam licked his lips. “Maybe that’s why your fighter name is Pretty Boy, huh?”
Kai wasn’t sure if he should allow himself to feel the intense pleasure he wanted to feel. Liam could’ve just been making conversation, even though Kai had hoped desperately that Liam was calling him beautiful.
Entering the cage, Kai quickly gathered his thoughts and managed to steal a glance at the audience. A large group of people sat in a separate area for family and sponsors. Through the hazy light, Kai could see he was right. Liam was seated beside his father, Bradley, wearing a dark red suit tailored perfectly to his body. He wore something shiny and probably expensive on his wrist.
The look suited Liam, blond hair and bright blue eyes worked harmoniously with a set jaw and a long neck that deserved all the color the world could bring.
Kai’s dick twitched painfully. Thankful for the sweats he was still wearing, he was able to conceal his reaction from the obtrusive camera and the cheering crowd. Kai would have to be patient if he actually wanted to feel a worthwhile release.
His arousal quickly turned to sad recognition. There was a young woman seated beside Liam, a fake blonde wearing a low cut black dress that exposed the top of her breasts. Kai was too far away to see her face, but knew all the same that she must be beautiful. Kai wished desperately he could fit that image.
“Okay, kid, focus,” Jaden said, taking Kai’s shoes and sweat pants as he slipped out of them. “Go for a submission. Get him on the ground and force him to tap out. Nice and easy. A knockout is even better if you can get it. You might be awarded Knock Out of the Night again if you do it in the first round. Do that and you’ll get enough money to not have to fight for a couple of months. It would be great, huh?”
Kai wasn’t listening. His opponent didn’t look like he belonged in Bantamweight at all. Now that he was down to tight boxers, the rippling muscles were unmistakable. He probably only stood five-four, because he had to fit into the hundred-and-thirty pound weight class to qualify for Bantamweight, but the man was a rock.
Kai had the disadvantage there, despite Jaden’s faith in him. He was taller than Kyle so his muscle was spread over more body length. His punches, however well aimed, wouldn’t deliver the knockout Jaden wanted. But that was where Kai had the advantage… his legs.
Kai assessed Kyle’s jaw and mouth, looking for weakness in the groove of his neck and maybe even his opponent’s defense arm.
“Okay Kai,” Jaden said as the referee stepped into the pit and he backed off the fighting area. “Ganbatte?”
“Arigatou,” Kai thanked him, smiling. He remembered when he first tried to teach Jaden how to say “Do your best” in Japanese. Kai thought Jaden would never get it, but now he said it so naturally.
The referee announced the rules of the fight and called out Kyle’s nickname. “In the left corner, we have the Beast.” A roar went through the audience, and Kai took the time to glance over at Liam. Liam was clapping but there was too much time in between to be making much sound. Was Liam not pleased? Was that why he was clapping so slowly?
“In the right corner we have Pretty Boy.”
Kai heard the deafening difference in the crowd’s reaction, but it only mattered that Liam was responding with much more enthusiasm.
Kai took two hits to the face, and then an uppercut pushed him back against the cage. The Beast had sheer animal strength, but he’d made a mistake. Panting, dripping with sweat, Kyle hunched forward, his arms level with his shoulders and chest, rather than protecting his face. Heaving his muscular leg up, Kai brought a roundabout karate kick to the side of Kyle’s face.
The man’s baby blue eyes began to water and he looked like he would’ve backed up, but the men in his corner were screaming for him to continue. “Hit him again. Hit him again!”
“Do what you gotta do,” Jaden screamed.
Kai delivered another one of his signature kicks. Kai wasn’t one for submissions; it didn’t suit him. He waited until Kyle was back on his feet, surprise obvious in his eyes.
Striding forward, the Beast let loose a punch that collided only with the loose strands of Kai’s long hair. Spinning around, Kai delivered a high power kick. Before his opponent could stop wheezing, Kai punched the man in the chest, hard. While Kyle was trying to maintain his footing, Kai delivered two more kicks.
Kyle’s ear was bleeding. Kai looked to see if the referee had judged this a forced submission, but the man said nothing, so Kai delivered another high-powered kick, striking Kyle clearly in the face.
Stumbling backward, Kyle hit the ground hard, his body motionless, apart from the rise and fall of his chest. Kai moved forward to strike again if the man got up, but the referee stopped him. “It’s over,” he called out, eyeing Kai suspiciously. “Pretty Boy wins by knockout!”
It was the same response he always got. For being a small, thin guy, he could hold his own.
The cheering fans made Kai lower his head humbly in a slight bow. He knew almost every other fighter pumped their fists into the air and tried to get more attention, but Kai found it embarrassing. He loved the fight, he liked to win, but really… how could he win alone? There was always another guy who lost so he could be victorious.
Back in the dressing room, it was just Jaden and Kai. “Dude, what do you mean you’re going home? You knocked the shit outta the guy,” Jaden complained from a plush chair while Kai gathered his stuff together in a small duffel.
“I have things to do,” Kai said softly, zipping up the bag. Really, he had someone he had to speak to. Someone he hoped he would be able to meet. At the same time, Kai would never ask to meet him. He had to be asked first. “I don’t want to go to the party tonight.”
“Come on, Kai. All fighters go to a party after a fight, especially after a win.”
Kai gave Jaden a pained look that must’ve worked because Jaden stood up and yawned. “Whatever, man. I’ll tell Bradley you’re sick or something.”
Kai’s heart hurt at not being able to see Liam, but he had to go home to his small apartment. If he drove quickly, he’d be there in less than twenty minutes. “Can I have my omamori?”
“Sure, here you go.”
Kai took the pouch from his friend and slid it into his coat pocket. “I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
“What’s tomorrow?” Jaden’s eyes got big with laughter at Kai’s confused expression. “Just kidding. I know, I know. It’s the big sponsor gathering we seem to do every month. Take it easy.”
Kai realized no one knew, no one suspected. Not even Jaden. As Kai put his coat on, he wondered why no one had ever asked about the dark purple ribbon on his collar. Once, Liam had stared at the ribbon, but he hadn’t said anything. The ribbon was Kai’s way of saying he was in a relationship with someone he hoped would become his Master.
He’d gotten the ribbon a few months ago in a small package left inside of his dressing room. Kai had wondered how someone could get into the dressing room, but he realized it would’ve been easy enough for the giver to drop it off with one of the members of his team who would bring it to his room. That’s why his room was always flooded with cards, flowers and food.
The only reason he’d recognized it so instantly was because covering the small bow was a beautiful drawing of a fox with artistic swirls representing its fur. It was the same as the mask Master wore over his face.
The dark purple bow with a safety pin on the back had become a permanent item on his coat. Laughing to himself, Kai slid into the driver’s seat of his small Malibu and began the drive home. His palms were itching with anticipation, the desire to shower and rid himself of Kyle’s scent strong. He wondered if Master would already be online. He hoped so.
Hurriedly, Kai showered, being careful to clean his wounds but not letting the water rain down too hard on his bruises. He grabbed an ice pack and iced his shoulder. There was pain, but excitement outweighed any distress Kai was feeling at his tired body.
Dressed, Kai sat down at his desk to open his laptop. He’d saved the BDSM forum site on his bookmarks. He’d named the bookmark Mask.
The bookmark was appropriate, especially when he found that the man he only knew as Master was online.
Kai waited for Master to send him a message before the screen was flooded by a live image. Master would continue to type, but the words spoken weren’t that of a human’s voice. Kai didn’t mind; it wasn’t his place to. He ached to hear Master’s real voice, but just hearing words that were mechanical, but on the most human setting, was soothing.
When they’d first met six months ago, after Kai found a card for the website in his jacket after a sponsor party, Master had refused to tell him his name. “It’s not for you to ask me that,” Master said through the fake voice.
Kai had been grateful the table where his laptop resided was high enough so Master couldn’t see his growing bulge. It wasn’t his voice that turned him on, so much as the direct authority and the mannerism that made it possible for Kai to imagine that Master was similar to Kai. Master was someone Kai might have.
Somehow, the man not having a name and always concealing his face with a mask made their meetings all the more exciting. It was true that online relationships could be dangerous, but if Master was able to give Kai what he needed, able to make him more appealing as a submissive and as a man, while fulfilling his desire to belong, then he was willing to risk it.
“I better get going,” Liam had said a couple days before Kai had first met Master.
“Why?” Kai had desperately wanted to ask if he was boring. But they were in a crowded bar in the hotel lobby where a sponsor party was being held. The noise had been too much and Kai had slipped away to get a drink with a disapproving look from Jaden. A little while later, Liam had joined him. It seemed like it had only been minutes before Liam announced his departure.
Liam had laughed, raising his arms to stretch. “Oh, you know. I have a lot to do for my dad. He always wants me to do the accounting stuff. Hey, did I tell you?”
“Tell me what?”
“My dad’s thinking of branching out and forming another company.”
“That would be cool.”
“I’d probably be the president.”
To someone else, Kai was sure that Liam might have sounded boastful. But it was only confidence. Confidence that Kai admired and wanted.
“What are you going to do tonight?”
“You aren’t going to hang out with your friends upstairs?”
Kai hadn’t wanted to seem lame by admitting Liam was his only friend, so quickly he thought of an excuse. “Jaden likes me to train hard. I hang out with the other fighters a lot though. I’ll see them tomorrow.”
It was a lie. For a moment, Kai thought Liam would call him out on it, but instead he stood up and slapped a couple of bills on the bar. “See you later.”
After Kai had finished his drink, he’d gone back upstairs to say good-bye to Jaden and a few other important people before retrieving his coat. Slipped inside of the coat pocket was a card advertising a site for D/s relationships. At first Kai hadn’t known what to do with it. But intrigued enough to look through it, he found the section where he typed what he was looking for — male, blond hair, likes colorful clothes.