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To Command and Collar [Masters of the Shadowlands 6]
by Cherise Sinclair

Category: Erotica/BDSM Erotica/Suspense/Thriller
Description: Genre: BDSM Contemporary Suspense

Series: Masters of the Shadowlands; Previous Book: Make Me, Sir

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?

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: anal play, BDSM theme and elements (including/not limited to: bondage, fire play, flogging), violence.

eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: February 2012


56 Reader Ratings:
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Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [528 KB]
Words: 117516
Reading time: 335-470 min.

Standing in the doorway, Raoul Sandoval breathed in the humid Florida air coming from an open window. The dark Victorian parlor with regal blue floral wallpaper and Oriental carpets seemed an appropriate setting for masters and slaves. The other unnamed buyers occupied tapestry-covered chairs. He gave each an indifferent nod, catching sight of himself in the ornate mirror over the fireplace--tailored slacks and silk shirt, his black hair shortened to collar-length and styled. He looked more like his sleek friend Z than himself, but that was the point. He needed to appear rich enough to buy a slave girl. And not a third-world female with broken English, but a well-educated, well-brought-up woman from the US. Only the finest slaves for the richest men.

Across the room, a dark wood buffet held an array of liquor bottles where three slave girls made drinks, supervised by the tall, pale man labeled the Overseer. "Call me Dahmer," he'd said, and Raoul had to wonder what kind of psychopath named himself after a serial killer. He appeared average enough. In fair shape, straight brown hair starting to thin, narrow-set eyes the color of mud. A long upper lip with a dent, mouth with a cynical twist. Not the appearance of a person who kidnapped and sold people like cattle.

Taking his time, Raoul checked out the women. A terrified young blonde; a tall, lush redhead; and a pretty, black-haired female who quickly dropped her gaze. All were dressed in matching silk skirts and nothing else.

"Any preferences, gentlemen?" Dahmer asked. He handed the blonde a drink and nodded toward Raoul.

The short, overweight buyer pointed. "That one's on the old side, but I like redheads. For some reason, they're more fun to fuck."

When the redhead paled, Raoul had to tighten his control over his emotions.

The balding older man barked a laugh and leered at the youngest woman. "I prefer blondes."

The little blonde startled, her arm jerking.

Raoul caught the glass of wine before it spilled on him. "Easy, chica," he said.

She cringed, obviously expecting a blow. Anger spiked inside him. Keeping his expression calm, he took a sip of the drink.

His nod of approval cleared the worry from her face...until the Overseer directed her toward the old man. Her expression of dismay showed clearly.

The remaining slave had more control. She stood beside Dahmer, eyes down, hands clasped in front. He wouldn't call her beautiful, but she was pretty enough to please any man. Her skin held a bronze-red tone a few shades lighter than Raoul's, perhaps from some Native American in her ancestry. Her high breasts sagged slightly, her cheeks were hollowed, and she was slim to the point of being gaunt. She'd obviously lost weight in captivity.

The Overseer nodded at Raoul. "Will this one be adequate for now, Master R? Of course, switching around is easy enough, or if none pleases you, then simply enjoy the evening, and we'll arrange another selection at a later date."

That was the plan. Refuse them all and score an invitation to the big auction. Where there would be more kidnapped women. Where the FBI could net the entire bunch of bastards. Don't think about the future. Buyer. You're a buyer, Sandoval. He strolled across the room to stand in front of the unchosen woman. She kept her gaze on the floor. "Turn," he ordered, keeping his voice clipped and rough to hide his pity.

She rotated in place. Long hair so dark as to be almost black hung in waves to the hollow of her back. Under the blue-tinted skirt, her hips curved outward in a pleasing manner.

"Skinny." He glanced at Dahmer.

"Ah." Dahmer said in his slimy voice, "The slave got herself hurt. She's fine now but hasn't regained the pounds she lost. She hasn't had much training, and she bears some scars, which is why we're offering her at a bargain price."

The tiny muscles around the woman's mouth barely tightened, but no other reaction showed. Very good control.

"She'll do. For now," Raoul said. The two FBI agents running the show had recommended he present an aloof personality.

Raoul threaded his hand in the girl's black hair, the weight like heavy silk, and used it to pull her closer.

She didn't fight him, silently compliant.

"Look at me." When she didn't obey, he tightened his grip and pulled her head back...gently, although it hopefully appeared cruel.

Her gaze lifted to his, and he froze for a long breath. Startling clear blue eyes, the color of antique glass. He'd seen those eyes before...when Marcus's submissive had shown him a picture and begged for him to watch for her friend. This had to be Kimberly.

Madre de Dios, what a fucking mess. "The coloring is an asset," he said to the Overseer, then opened his hand and released the...slave. Not Kimberly. For tonight, she was nothing more than a slave, there to serve him. He had no other choice. "Bring me something to eat," he snapped and walked over to sit with the others by the fire.

Stretching his legs out, he sipped his wine and idly watched the old fart fondle the young girl's breasts. Rage simmered in an ugly stew in his guts. No, Sandoval. Control. Perhaps someday he could feed the lecher a knuckle sandwich, but not today. Raoul forced his fist to open.

Thankfully, the black-haired slave appeared and knelt at Raoul's side, holding up a plate of tidbits. Her submissive silence reminded him of his first slave, but Antonia had served him in love and joy. There was no comparison to this abused woman. "Very nice," he murmured to her, startling an upward glance from those beautiful eyes. And a hint--only a hint--of pleasure before it was drowned in fear and control.

He selected a cheese-stuffed mushroom, appreciating the effort someone had put into making the food, although it tasted like straw right now. He ate another, then held a piece of melon in front of the slave's mouth. "Eat, chica."

Her eyes lowered, but not before he spotted the icy flash. She took the morsel, her soft lips grazing his fingers. He fed her several more, alternating with his own meal, then held his fingers for her to lick clean. He noted the pause before she obeyed. Although she subdued her body language skillfully, the tiny muscles around the eyes and mouth were difficult to control, and her eyes were an open window to her emotions. He could see she'd hated taking food from his hand. Hated him.

He needed to get with the program. "Behave as if you're interviewing her for a job," Special Agent Kouros had coached, obviously doubtful Raoul could manage.

"What talents do you possess?" Raoul asked, taking the plate and setting it on the end table.

She shifted her weight on her knees. "I don't have any skills, Master," she murmured, almost inaudibly, as if she didn't want the Overseer to hear.

No talents? Doubtful. Perhaps she hoped he wouldn't buy her? Was it him she disliked or all the buyers? Did she hope to remain here? "What happens if you're not bought tonight?"

She couldn't control her flinch. So her aim wasn't to remain with the Overseer. She preferred one of the other two buyers? Raoul glanced over. Perhaps she hoped she might escape more easily from a fat or an old master? Clever girl.

But both buyers were sadists. Not good. And he could tell from her flinch, something bad happened to girls who didn't get sold.

How could he leave this young woman here to suffer? Gabi's friend. He couldn't.

Some of the foul taste left his mouth. At least he could save one girl. The agents would go ballistic, but they'd find an alternative plan.

And if they couldn't?

He rubbed his hand over his mouth. In buying Kimberly, he might doom the others. His gut tightened. There were no easy solutions to this nightmare.

"Can you cook?" he asked.

"Yes, Master R."

Not going to expand on the answer, was she? He chuckled. "Must I drag the information from you?"

She went white with fear. "No, Master. I'm sorry, Master."

His anger at the slavers rose so hard and hot that his hands clamped on the chair arms. He forced himself to lean back. "Bring me a fresh drink." And let me get past wanting to strangle every bastard in this place. He damn well wanted this evening over with, but no chance of that. No buyer would spend this much money without a test-drive first, and if he offered for the girl too soon, Dahmer would make him for a fraud. Play the part, Sandoval. Even if you terrify her.

She returned, knelt silently, and held the glass up.

As he sipped his drink, he studied her, learning how she breathed, how she shifted her weight as her anxiety grew. In her late twenties or early thirties. Average height, skin slack rather than taut, so she was normally rounder. Softer. Her nipples a pinkish brown and large. A long, almost-healed red scar wound along her left rib cage, reminding him of his gang-member days. Knife scar.

Tracing a finger over her scarred remnant of violence, he saw the momentary vulnerable quiver of her lips before her mouth flattened. Gabi had described her friend as exuberant, and he could see lines of past laughter bracketing her mouth and veeing out from the corners of her eyes.

She was joyful no longer. Grief at the loss was a smudge on his soul.

"She dances, you know," the Overseer said, stopping at Raoul's chair. "Intelligent. An excellent cook. Not a particularly good singing voice, but you forget that when she dances."

Raoul glanced down at her. "Dance for me then, slave. Something seductive."

She rose gracefully. As she hurried away, he noticed whip scars on her back. "Tell me more."

"A marine biologist from Georgia, middle-class background. Healthy, single, no children. A lightweight in the lifestyle before."

"Whip marks. A recent knife cut. Was she sold before?" Raoul asked.

"Well." Dahmer cleared his throat, smoothed his black suit. "She was picked up for the 'rebellious slave' auction."

Raoul raised his eyebrows as if confused, although he knew exactly what Dahmer was talking about. His best friend's submissive, Gabi, had been one of those kidnapped to be sold.

"Ah, each sale event has a theme. The last one featured feisty slaves with prior BDSM experience. Sassy. Bratty. Designed to give a master a challenge. I'm afraid she didn't live up to her promise. The owner was displeased and requested a refund."

The buyer had obviously taken his displeasure out on Kimberly. "So she's used merchandise. What's wrong with the other two?"

"The blonde is...awkward. She would do well in a comfortable environment, but she exhibits poorly." The Overseer turned, and the young woman cringed at his frown. "The redhead is older. She wasn't on our list, but since she witnessed a pickup being made, the deliveryman Tasered her and brought her along as well. She has a few sellable talents, but her age puts her in a lower price range."

The bargain basement for slaves. Exactly as advertised. Since he hadn't known if the slavers investigated a buyer's financial status, Raoul hadn't tried to fake extreme wealth. Instead during the interview, he'd asked about lower-priced slaves, figuring it would consolidate his story.

"Well, Blackie has possibilities," Raoul said.

"Excellent." Satisfaction oozed from Dahmer's voice. "But test her out thoroughly this evening. We've found that buyers make better choices and are more satisfied if they take their time and put the merchandise through their paces."

"Makes sense." He thought about playing with a nonwilling participant, and his gut tightened.

Raoul looked up as Kimberly reentered the room, now covered in veils. "Well..." he let himself say with an appreciative murmur.

Dahmer laughed. "She belonged to a modern dance group that put on shows for charity. I had an experienced slave give her lessons in erotic dancing and... You'll see."

The music started.

Concentrating only on the Middle Eastern music, Kim walked in a slow circle as the chiffon material trailed behind her. The other veils covering her body fluttered delicately against her skin. Barefoot, she turned slowly, presented a hip, rotated, letting her hair swing. Slow turns. Arms moving to emphasize her body's curves. She let the scarf in her hand float away and replaced it with the one covering her face.

Knowing her stamina was poor, she'd chosen a short tune. To heck with Hollywood's Dance of the Seven Veils--she was doing four, and that was that.

As the beat picked up, she began the undulating movements, ignoring the painful pulling of the barely healed muscles over her ribs. She concentrated on the dance, trying to ignore the men watching. All of them. The Overseer's face had flushed with lust, and she concealed a shudder. Music. Think of the music.

One more veil and her breasts were bare. She shimmied as her teacher had taught. The middle-aged buyer swallowed and leaned forward. She turned her gaze away. Her body wanted to dance; her soul needed to flee. Her brain knew better and took control, forcing her feet closer to the darkly tanned buyer. Eyes down, she managed to smile appealingly and not grimace. Another spin. Move closer.

She lifted her head finally. Her eyes met his, and he trapped her gaze as tightly as he'd gripped her hair earlier. Yet his look was warm, so warm, and when he released her, he seemed to have taken off all the chains binding her muscles.

The music poured around her, rocking her in its embrace. She floated through the dance, the beat of the dumbek ruling her hips, the song of the mizmar moving her arms and shoulders. Each foot came down exactly right, the feeling indescribable.

Removing the last veil bared her completely, but the sound increased, pulling her after until it slowed and stopped.

She realized she'd knelt in front of Master R instead of in the center of the room. As if he'd keep her safe from the others. The murmur of conversation came from the other two buyers and the Overseer.

Her chest heaved as she tried to catch her breath. Out of shape. She hadn't danced since before Lord Greville had... Since before. A film of moisture dampened her body, and the breeze was cool against her skin. Naked. She hated the feeling of being unclothed in front of men. Why hadn't it seemed a problem in the clubs she'd visited in the past?

Because it had been her choice then. And she'd stripped to please and arouse whoever she was playing with. Right now, the thought of arousing anyone wasn't at all appealing. Yet if she didn't, the consequences...

She'd still been recovering during the last private sale--thank you, God--but after the buyers had left, one slave had remained, unwanted and unsold. The Overseer had given her to the staff. The woman's shrill screams had eventually died, sometime late in the night, and the next day, she'd returned to the locked room. Not a person anymore; nothing lived behind her blank eyes. The Overseer had fined his staff a week's wages for ruining the merchandise. And the slave had...disappeared.

Kim swallowed hard.

Sure fingers cupped her chin, lifting her face. The brown eyes that had been so cold at first now held the desire she wasn't sure she wanted...and something else. Concern? "What is wrong, chiquita?" he asked softly.

The question, the gentleness brought tears to her eyes. She tried to pull back, but his fingers tightened, keeping her face exposed to his scrutiny. To her horror, she realized she was close to crying. No. "Please. Don't."

His frown grew. Then he released her and looked away. When he turned back, his eyes were remote, his face like stone, chilling her inside as well as outside. For a moment, he'd almost seemed human.

Haven't you learned anything, Kim? You really are a dumb slut like Lord Greville said.

"Gentlemen, if you are ready, the dungeon is waiting," the Overseer announced.

The fat one made a pleased sound, face filling with lust.

The older one snapped, "About time." He rose and grabbed Holly by her hair, dragging her behind him. She was half-bent over. Crying.

Kim's wish to kill the cruel man almost...almost outweighed her common sense. But she'd learned. Painfully. Interfering meant the slavers would beat her--and the woman she tried to help as well. The short whip slicing across her back, then the shocking explosion of pain. The screaming of the other slave. Her hands flattened on her thighs. Don't speak; don't look.

Master R rose. "Come."

She started to gather her discarded garments, and he shook his head. "You are dressed appropriately for the dungeon."

When she was on her feet, he grasped her by the back of her neck, his grip firm but not painful, his fingers calloused. Pushing her in front of him, he followed the others to the dungeon, a converted living area with hardwood floors, chains dangling from the rafters, a couple of St. Andrew's crosses, sawhorse benches, a bondage table. Implements hung on the dark paneled walls between the bloodred drapes covering the windows. Even in silence, the dimly lit room seemed to echo with the sounds of pain.

"Go ahead and put your prospective slaves through their paces," the Overseer announced. "Since you have provided medical papers, no condoms are necessary. All three women have birth control implants and are certified disease-free. I remind you not to inflict permanent damage, but anything that'll heal in a few days is fine: welts, stripes, bruises."

The pudgy one headed for the St. Andrew's cross on the right wall, picking up a single-tail on the way. The older man shoved Holly to her knees beside him as he examined the rack of canes.

Kim's stomach tightened as she remembered her words earlier. "Maybe there's a nice one out there." There were no nice ones in this world. Oh Holly, I'm sorry, honey.

"And you, sir?" The Overseer turned to Master R. "I heard you enjoy dispensing a good beating."

The hand gripping her neck flexed slightly. "I'll use a flogger."

Staring at the floor, Kim breathed out, trying to tell herself a flogger wasn't as bad as other stuff. Like a whip. Or a cane. Unless he picked one of the nastier kinds. Her nerves were jumping with her need to yank away and run, but she wouldn't even get out of the room. And then she'd pay and pay and pay. I can endure this. It's only pain.

Somehow she could feel the buyer's attention on her like a warm breeze. His thumb stroked the side of her neck. "Dahmer, you've got a pretty setup here."

"Thank you," the Overseer said, his voice with that slick, sharp edge to it. "Although pulling everything down and setting up in a new house becomes tedious."

"I can imagine. How long have you been in this...line of work?"

"The Harvest Association hired me about seven years ago." The Overseer's laugh made Kim's skin crawl. "The side benefits are great--like training the merchandise."

"I daresay. Do you choose the women?"

"Our watchers select potential slaves according to what we're looking for at the time." The Overseer nodded to Holly. "That one was picked up for our annual 'Blondes are more fun' auction. In the Southeast quadrant, I select from the list and contract the appropriate people to make the pickups."

"Quite a few layers in your group. That's reassuring."

Layers upon layers. Drown the bastards and let crabs eat their bodies. Kim bit her tongue until she tasted blood. Early on, the Overseer had explained how long the Association had been in business, and the impossibility of their families ever finding them. One despairing slave had tried to commit suicide that night, but the torn plastic cup couldn't cut her skin deep enough.

"The safety and anonymity of the association and our buyers is our primary concern." The Overseer stopped. Kim glanced up to see him gesture toward the floggers on the back wall. "I think you'll find something there that fits your needs."

"How much time do we have?"

"Long as you want." The Overseer's eyes met Kim's. "According to her last owner, this piece of goods doesn't break down quickly."

Her skin went cold; her hands started to tremble. Lord Greville had never stopped until she'd broken, and then he'd...

Master R snorted and pulled her back against his body, his arm around her waist, one wide palm covering her breast. "Any ham-handed idiot can make a woman scream. I prefer to assess...responsiveness." His powerful hand caressed her, his touch light. Not somehow repugnant, but still...touching her, as a reminder that her body was no longer her own. She tried to move, but the iron band of his arm held her easily in place.

The Overseer tipped his head. "It's a pleasure to have an experienced dominant."

As if he'd recognize experience if it bit him on the butt, Kim thought, but Master R was a dom. She could tell. As the Overseer left at a hail from the fat buyer, Master R turned her around. His face held no expression she could read, and a tremor ran through her. What was he planning to do?

Did she want to try to get him to buy her or not? He hadn't been cruel--not in the way the other two buyers displayed. Her stomach sank when she saw Holly restrained on a bench, enduring the slash of the cane, whimpering with each blow.

On the St. Andrew's cross, Linda was silent, but tears streamed down her face as the whip left red stripes on her breasts and stomach. The older woman had admitted she was a masochist--actually liked pain--but not like this. Never like this.

Kim didn't want either of those sadists, yet this man was...observant. Too smart to get away from. She flinched as Holly's buyer changed to a leather strap, the sound loud in the room. Should she chance the cruelty in hopes of escape? How badly would she be damaged before she could get free?

"You're thinking too much, little slave. Keep your eyes only on me."

Her attention jerked back to him at the soft command. His veil of remoteness had dropped away again. Folding his arms over his chest, he studied her, his dark gaze skimming over her face, her shoulders, her hands, her legs. Under the discomfort of the heavy silence, she shifted her weight as the flutters in her stomach increased. An experienced dominant. She saw the signs in his posture and in the way that sometimes she reacted to him as a dom--not a monster.

He's a monster. Never forget that.

"What is your real name?" he asked softly.

My name. Part of me. Not answering this. His chin lifted and under his gaze, her defiance that had infuriated Lord Greville bent as inevitably as a palm tree in a tropical storm. "Kimberly. Sir."

"Thank you." When his face softened in approval, her muscles relaxed even though she knew--she knew--he was a slaver. And he--he wanted to use a flogger on her.

He grasped her shoulders and turned her so her back was to him. Why wasn't he being rough with her? As he traced lines down her back, his fingers were warm, the calluses scraping lightly. "You've been whipped. Was it before or after your slavery?"

Her throat went tight. Slavery. Why did hearing the word send disbelief through her every time? This can't be me. Can't be happening. "After." Lord Greville's eyes, crazy mad, the pain, falling to her knees, blood everywhere.

He grunted. "Assholes."

What? She forced herself to stillness.

"You are not going to escape this evening without some pain, chiquita." Even as she stiffened, he pulled her back against him again, his body like a brick wall, his arm circling her waist. He fondled her breasts, his gentleness disconcerting. His breath teased the curls at her temple. "Did you enjoy being flogged before all this happened?"

That was a different life, no relation to the one now.


She should never have told him her name--hearing it now, used in a master's authoritative voice, shook something inside her. My name. I'm real. I'm still me, Kimberly Elizabeth Moore. She swallowed, remembered the question about BDSM clubs and play parties. Before. "I--yes."

"Good girl." His resonant voice relaxed her, even as she tried to keep herself defended. "And restraints? Do they bother you?"

This seemed like before somehow, the dance of negotiations, while finding a partner who liked what she did. But it isn't, Kim. You're a slave. A fuckhole. A slut. She stiffened.

He nipped her earlobe, making her jump and raising the oddest tingle inside her. "Stay in the present with me, Kimberly," he said, his voice so very different than earlier. Low and rich and smooth with a hint of a Spanish accent. As unexpectedly warm as a sunny day in the spring. "Answer me now. Do restraints bother you?"

"No. Not really." Not like enclosed spaces, hoods, cages. Her stomach turned over, and her chest constricted.

"Something bothers you. What?"

As if she'd give him a weapon to use against her. To punish her with like the Overseer had. Her mouth compressed into a thin line.

"No?" He sighed and turned her to face him. As he regarded her, he massaged her upper arms, his grip powerful, controlled...warm. "I am going to restrain you and flog you. I will use my hands on you, perhaps my mouth. I know you don't have a choice in this"--his eyes chilled for a moment--"but you might find it easier, knowing I won't exceed those boundaries."

He--he was right. He planned nothing she hadn't enjoyed at one time--nothing she hadn't survived since. No cages. The relief blanked her mind, and a thank-you escaped before she could pull it back.

One corner of his mouth tipped up. "I like hearing gratitude." He ran his knuckles over her left breast. As always, since soon after her capture, she felt nothing. No pain, no revulsion, just...nothing.

His eyes narrowed. He stroked over her breast again slowly, this time studying her face as he did. Without lifting his hand, he stroked upward and over her shoulder. Her neck.

The skin on his fingertips was a little rough. His palm melted the ice under her skin the way the heat from the sun would dissipate morning fog on the water.

"You will need much work, chiquita," he murmured, "but this is not the night."

"What?" Shocked that the word had escaped her, she took a hasty step away, tensing in preparation for his blow.

Ignoring her mistake, he jerked his chin at the rack of restraints. "Pick out comfortable wrist and ankle cuffs, then return to me."

She hurried, relief making her knees wobbly. He hadn't hit her for speaking without permission. Either time. But what had he meant by work to do? She shook her head and concentrated on doing as he ordered.

Once the cuffs were on, she returned.

He nodded. "Hands laced behind your neck. Open your legs farther. Eyes on me."

She followed his orders, spreading her feet apart slightly wider than her shoulder. Other slaves had been taught this position, she knew. Her experience had been...other. The restricted sensation from the cuffs started her stomach roiling.

"Very nice." He checked the fit of her cuffs. To her surprise, he loosened one overly snug ankle cuff.

He eyed her for a moment. "You're a lovely woman, Kimberly." He strolled around her, inspecting her, and somehow, perhaps because of his light touch, she didn't feel the usual nausea and fury. He explored the marks on her back where Lord Greville and his staff had whipped her bloody, then the bruising on her hips from when the Overseer... Her mind winced away.

Again his finger ran over the knife scar, giving her the odd sensation of tingling and numbness from damaged nerves. He frowned at the purple bruising on her foot left by the Overseer's boot from when she'd spilled a drop of his coffee.

After running his hands over her hips, he touched her pussy. Bare. Smooth. She'd become adept at shaving in the past weeks. She felt the stroke of his hand, but it brought nothing but memories of other hands and cocks.

"Pobrecita," he said under his breath and looked her straight in the eyes. "I am going to check you more closely, Kimberly. I need to know if there are any problems."

More closely? Understanding hit in a dizzying wave when he moved to the table and squirted lubricant over his fingers. Oh God. She closed her eyes and simply waited. Don't tense. I'm not here. It's a good day to visit the beach. Grains of sand under my feet, the ocean breeze...

To her surprise, she felt only the heat of his body, the brush of his silky shirt against her breasts, his breath on her cheek. "Look at me," he said, ever so softly.

I don't want to. She raised her gaze. His face was close to hers, his dark brown eyes filled with such understanding she almost whimpered.

His hand cupped her mound.

No. She turned her head, only to have him give a warning sound from low in his throat. He'd given her an order. Expected her to obey.

She raised her eyes to his.

His lubricated fingers slid over her in a way she hadn't felt in a long time. He watched her silently as his fingers touched her clit, then separated her labia. He pressed one finger inside her, and she couldn't help the instinctive cringing away.

"Shhh, chiquita." His other hand cupped her bottom, holding her in place. He kissed her lightly as if to reassure her, then slid a second finger into her, pressing upward. She tried to close her thighs and realized his feet were inside hers, keeping her legs open. After a moment, he slid his fingers out.

Not done, though. He stepped back and took a latex glove from the box.

I hate this. Hate you. Hate you all.

"Bend over and spread your cheeks, girl." His voice was cold. Cruel.

She blinked at the change, then noticed the Overseer approaching. Did the dom's manner change to chilly because of the Overseer? The thought was...

"Now, girl."

Her mind blanked as her body tensed. He'd touch her...there. Gritting her teeth, she bent, arching her bottom up and opening herself for his inspection.

A lubricated finger circled her rim. "She has been taken anally?"

"Oh yes. Unless a buyer requests an anal virgin, we feel it best to have each slave prepared."

The dom's thick finger pressed against her anus. She wanted to escape, and as if he could tell, he gripped her hip in warning. Then his finger breached the ring of muscle, sliding inside her. In and out before the shudder had even left her body.

"Mmm. Not bad." He moved away to toss the glove into the waste. "I'd probably have to train with a wider plug to keep from tearing her up, though."

The thought made her cringe, and anger rose to replace the fear. As if he was that big. But a quick glance at his slacks indicated he told the truth. He could hurt her. Badly.

Grasping her nape again, he guided to where chains hung from the ceiling, between the ones attached to bolts in the floor. He put her into an upright, spread-eagle position, legs restrained widely apart, then tightened the chains on her arms, ensuring she couldn't move.

She closed her eyes, trying to get to the place where it wouldn't hurt as much. Not subspace...hardly that. This pain she'd simply endure, going as far away as she could. The boat pushed off from shore, waves splashing on the sides, wind whipping her hair...

After a brief survey of the wall, he chose a flogger and a cat-o'-nine-tails and returned. To her dismay, he ran his hands over her shoulders, her arms, her torso, her legs. Bringing her back to the now, damn him. His palms were rough, his fingernails cut short.

Her body warmed under his touch. Her skin did; her core stayed icy. He repeated the process, rubbing the strands of the flogger over her. He'd chosen medium weight, deerskin leather, not one with knotted strands, thank God.

He flicked the ends, and they pattered against her back like fat raindrops. She jumped, then relaxed as the rain of the flogger continued, even and smooth. Almost comforting.

He moved to her front, hitting her lightly. "Where are you from, Kimberly?"

Doesn't matter. I'm in hell now. She stared over his shoulder at the wall of whips and floggers.

"Kimberly?" he repeated in a deeper voice.

Her words stuttered out as if dredged from the ocean depths. "I...from Atlanta." No, that was wrong. Mom's in Atlanta. Why do I feel so lost? "I work in--"Savannah. The strands hit her breasts, and she jumped, feeling something unwelcome bloom inside her, something more than pain.

"You do have a little bit of a Southern accent." He stopped and studied her for a minute. His eyes... How did he make them change from gut-chillingly mean to snuggly kind? He stepped forward, again close enough for her to feel the heat he radiated, and then stroked a hand down her hair. "Little slave, I'm going to ask you a question. Whatever you answer, there will be no judgment or anger on my part. I simply need to know how you want this to go."

She frowned. Why did he keep wanting to talk? But she could answer a question--as if she had a choice. She nodded.

"Bueno." He hesitated a moment, as if searching for words. "I think I can make you respond." He curved his hand over her cheek and brushed her lower lip with his thumb. "Make you enjoy the flogging. Make you come. Or I can simply flog you until you scream in pain. I... That is not my way." His eyes darkened, his jaw tight with anger--but not at her, somehow she knew. "You have had much taken away. To be forced to respond might be more damaging than enduring the pain. So I will let the choice be yours. Which would you prefer?"

She hadn't had an orgasm since her capture, but his touch and the authority he wore so comfortably yet used in an almost...caring...way were drawing her. A prisoner effect, undoubtedly, to cling to the one man who treats you like a person. As he waited, so horribly confident in his skills, she had the gut-twisting suspicion he could make her come. Here. Make her reveal her inmost self in front of the slavers. The Overseer. She shook her head and whispered, "No."

"No to what?"

"Don't make me... Just hurt me, okay?"

"You don't want an orgasm. You'd rather have the pain." He waited for her nod of confirmation, and his mouth twisted as if he tasted something foul. "Then I will ask this of you. When it truly hurts, please scream. It'll get us both out of here sooner."

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