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Hiding on the side of the three-story stone mansion, Francesca peered into the dark night. No cars were coming up the drive to the isolated BDSM club. Biting her lip, she waited.
Finally, fireworks exploded in the parking lot. Way to go, Annie, Angela, and Suzanne! The door of the Shadowlands opened and an intimidating security guard ran toward the parking lot. Francesca grinned as the red taillights of her friends’ getaway car sped down the drive to safety. Score! One fantastic article was in the bag.
As the guard tried to put out the fireworks, Francesca slipped through the front door, hurried through the empty reception area, and into the club. Oh. Wow. As her eyes adjusted to ominously low lighting, she turned in a circle.
The place was huge, taking up the entire ground floor of the mansion. Expensive, leather padded BDSM equipment lined the walls…and every piece was in use. At the first one, a terrifyingly scarred-up Dom was fastening a slender redhead to a sawhorse. Farther down, someone was using a whip, making even red lines down a pale back. The cracking sound made Francesca take a step back. Over the music of Nine Inch Nails, she could hear someone crying. Low groans. A woman begging to come. A man swearing in a ragged voice.
Francesca swallowed hard. No member of the club—the few she could find—would tell her about the place. This was…more…than she’d expected.
Tables and chairs were scattered around the massive wood bar that dominated the center of the room…and boy, could she use a drink right now. She assessed the equally massive bartender who chatted with each person as he set up the drinks. He looked as if he knew everyone in the place. She sighed. No drink for me.
She studied the room again. Outside of each scene area, black leather couches and comfortable chairs were arranged for people who wanted to watch. Perfect. She could curl up in a chair and watch everything to her heart’s content. She started toward the closest, then glanced at the door behind her. Perhaps taking a chair on the other side of the room would be wise, just in case the guard looked inside and noticed her.
She wiggled a little to adjust her skin-tight vinyl cat suit that accented—and pinched—every lush curve. A short whip hung from the belt. Suzanne had found it for her…somehow. And I really don’t want to know how. Her boots made her a couple inches taller, and damn, she looked really tough. Me, Domme. Don’t mess with me, boys.
As she walked toward the back, she put on a bored expression, as if she routinely saw buff guys with their packages on display. One had leather cords wrapped around a really impressive erection. Don’t stare. A naked woman wore only a chain running between her nipples attached—oh God—to a clamp on her clit. Francesca’s clit gave a sympathetic throb.
She had to stop at the sight of a curvy redhead bending over, palms flat on the floor. Her Dom wore a suit. His deep voice had a soft Southern accent as he told her not to move. After lubing a butt plug, he started to insert it. The sub squeaked, tried to stand, and was firmly pushed back down. The plug went in with an almost audible plop. “All done, sugar,”
“Ow ow ow!” The submissive glared over her shoulder at her Dom as her bottom wiggled uncontrollably. “You putz. You know, when you were born, God finally admitted He could make a mistake.”
The Dom’s lips twitched, but he picked the woman’s thong from off his toy bag and stuffed the fabric in her mouth. Francesca scowled at the nasty Dom, until she noticed the woman was so aroused that even her inner thighs were wet.
So was Francesca. What would something like that feel like? She shook her head. Stay on task, dummy. Just because the very air in the place smelled like sex didn’t mean she could screw around. She had an article to write for the Under The Covers blog. But, oh yeah, it was going to be a hell of a story. An in-depth look at the notorious Shadowlands.
She moved past a woman restrained on a vertical spiderweb of ropes.
The next roped-off area had a throne-like chair that was missing the center of the seat, so the poor guy’s dangling parts hung down. The tall brunette dressed up like a school-teacher was taking advantage of it with a nasty little ruler.
Francesca hurried past that one. Thwack. The sub’s yelp made her turn to look—and she ran right into a brick wall. No—a man. A Dom. Oh shit.
His tanned face looked as hard as his hands felt. Mr. tall, dark, and mean-looking gripped her arms, steadying her.
She attempted an embarrassed grin. “Sorry. I wasn’t watching where I was going.”
“I saw that.” His smile lightened the harshness of his face for only a second before he frowned. “Are you new?”
Oh hell. Would flirting work? “That’s right.” She pushed her shoulder-length hair back over her shoulder, using her big brown eyes in a look that had never failed her.
Fail. His eyes were brown too, totally unimpressed. And growing colder and more intimidating by the second.
She instinctively dropped her gaze, then rubbed her sweaty hands on her too-slick cat suit.
“You’re no Domme.”
Oh, no. Even as she looked up, he scowled at her boots and said, “Submissives go barefoot. How the hell did you get past Ben?” His hand closed around her upper arm in a way that said she was going nowhere.
Busted. Already? “Look, I can —“
“Z, do you know this person?” He raised his voice enough to attract the attention of another Dom watching a scene.
The dark-haired man dressed in all black had the lean, sleek appearance of a big cat.
When his gaze met hers, her breath stopped at the punch of power. She tried to back away—futilely.
“No, Daniel,” Z said, his voice deep and rich. “She’s not a member.” His perusal was leisurely and made her bones feel as if they were turning to gummy worms. “And she’s certainly not a domme.”
“Nope.” Daniel rumbled a laugh, his grip not loosening.
The man stepped closer, and his steel-gray eyes trapped hers. “I’m Master Z, and I own the Shadowlands.”
Oh bad; this is very bad.
As if to confirm her thoughts, Daniel whispered in her ear, “You are in so much trouble now.” When he let her go, the only thing that kept her from running was knowing she’d break an ankle in the stupid high-heeled boots. “I’ve got to get back to Kari. Let me know if you want me to haul your trespasser down to the station. I’m pulling a night shift, so I can book her before I go on.”
What? She’d run herself into a cop? This was so not fair.
“Thank you, Daniel.” As the cop walked away, Master Z’s attention returned to her, and the feeling was far too much like being pressed up against a wall by a gale force wind. “Why are you here?”
“Oh, I was just passing by and I wondered—“
His hand cupped her chin, the fingers tightening on her jaw in warning. “Don’t lie to me, little one.” The softness of his voice didn’t disguise the threat. “Give me your name.”
“Good. Now why are you here?”
The words simply spilled out as if he’d disengaged her brain. “I wanted to write about the Shadowlands for my blog.” And you don’t let anyone in here except members. She hauled in a shaky breath, feeling the heat of his body. “I wouldn’t say anything bad. I just wanted to see what it looked like in here.” And what everyone did and wore and…
“You probably do want to write a story.” He tilted his head, studying her, then the corners of his eyes crinkled. “And apparently you need to know what submission feels like as well.”
What kind of a comment was that? And why did the temperature in the room keep getting warmer. A trickle of sweat ran down the hollow of her back. “No. No, I didn’t.”
“The first thing you will learn is this: a submissive gets what she needs, not necessarily what she thinks she wants.”
His eyes held a dark promise that sent her heart into overdrive and made her nipples tighten. She struggled to inhale. To speak. “I want to leave now.”
“I’m afraid not, Francesca. I can’t have people think they can sneak into my club. The members are entitled to their privacy.” He spoke slowly, as if she might not understand. “Either Master Dan arrests you…or you can be punished here, in front of the members, and join them in their need for privacy.”
Arrest? Me? Her mother would have a cow. Her father would yell at her in Italian and English and then wouldn’t ever speak to her again. And her regular job? “Don’t arrest me.”
“Then punishment it is.” He took a step back and looked around, then smiled at a couple of Doms walking past—one wearing a biker jacket, the other with silvery-gray hair wearing worn leathers.
Z spoke to the older one. “Master Sam, Francesca has requested to be punished for sneaking into the club.”
Master Sam’s icy blue eyes sent a chill through her. “You ever been whipped, girl?”
Whipped? She felt the blood drain from her face, leaving dizziness behind. “No!” Terror sent her back a step.
Master Z’s arm wrapped around her like a steel band, imprisoning her without any effort. Yet the feeling of being held was oddly comforting.
“This one’s not for me, Z.” The older man snorted. “She’d pass out with the first stripe.”
“Indeed.” The arm around her waist tightened, holding her against the rock-hard body. “Holt, are you interested in punishing this little subbie? I believe this is all new to her.”
The blond dom might almost have been Brad Pitt—if the actor had spent half his life at war. His muscular arms crossed over his chest as he studied her with ruthless blue-gray eyes. “You agree to this, Francesca?”
Jail or being punished. No choice. “Yes.” Before he could correct her, she hastily added, “Sir. Yes, Sir.”
“Oh, that’s very nice.” His smile held approval. “The safeword in the club is ‘red’, Francesca. You yell that out if you get overwhelmed, physically or mentally. Is that clear?” He had a lazy voice, not southern, but as if he took his time when talking.
What else does he take his time with? She swallowed hard.
Master Z stepped away, leaving her side cold. “Please make sure the punishment is public, Holt.”
The Dom’s lips quirked. “Not a problem. In fact, I think I’ll play with her on top of the bar.” His hand tangled in her hair, and his firm pull tilted her head back, exposing her to a slow, careful study.
“That way she won’t worry about being alone with a stranger.”
The bar? As she stiffened, Z gave a low chuckle.
Holt ran his finger over her lower lip, slowly, his eyes intent on her face. Her insides started to melt, but when she tried to move, his grip tightened in her hair. A disconcerting arousal flickered to life deep inside her.
He smiled slowly. “There’s a good girl.” Then he glanced at Z. “You wanted us to test those vibrator samples the sales rep left. Might as well be tonight.”
Vibrators? On the bar? She stared up at him helplessly, heat and anxiety sending shivers through her whole body. “Please. I don’t…”
He pulled her into his arms, settling her head into the hollow of his shoulder. As his masculine scent wrapped around her, she pressed closer. “Sweetheart,” he murmured, his breath warm on her ear. “There will be no pain…unless you are disrespectful. For your punishment, I’m simply going to make you come in front of everyone at the bar.”
How…embarrassing. But okay, she could do that. Sit on the bar and let him press a vibrator against the vinyl at her crotch. She’d get off and leave. Even as relief filled her, a vague disappointment tugged at her chest.
He tipped her chin up and smiled into her eyes, his gaze intent. Watchful. “Z has around eight different samples. I’m going to restrain you on the bar, and we’ll test them all.”
What? “No!” As her knees wobbled, he held her up easily.
“Oh yes. And Francesca, I don’t like seeing a submissive dressed up like a Domme.” He released her and gestured with one finger at her clothing. “Take it off. Everything.”
No way. She shook her head.
When his jaw turned stern and his eyes darkened, the pit of her stomach dropped right onto the floor. As she stared at him, seeing he wouldn’t be denied, heat rose, bubbling through her veins to boil every trace of resistance away. Biting her lip, she bent to unzip her boots. She could feel him watching and shivered.
This is sooo not the blog article I had in mind.
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Author of the Masters of the Shadowlands series
Dominant males, Sizzling tales
Determined to find the human traffickers preying on Shadowlands’ submissives, Master Raoul gets himself invited to a small slave auction. Once informed, the FBI orders him to reject the limited choices so the slavers will invite him to the big auction. To Raoul’s shock, one of the slaves is the kidnapped friend of a Shadowlands sub. She has a scarred body…and an unbroken spirit. He can’t leave her behind. Ruining the FBI’s carefully laid plans, he buys her.
Kimberly’s freedom has come at a devastating price: the other women are still slaves. An FBI raid is their only hope for rescue. Desperate to help the Feds locate the big auction, she agrees to pose as Master Raoul’s slave. Wearing a collar again is terrifying, but under the powerful dominant’s care, Kim starts to heal and then to blossom. This is what she’s been drawn to—and fled from—her entire life.
She escaped the slavers who captured her body—can she escape the master who’s captured her heart?
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