Club Shadowlands [Masters of the Shadowlands Book 1]
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by Cherise Sinclair
Category: Erotica/BDSM Erotica EPIC eBook Award Finalist
Description: Her car disabled during a tropical storm, Jessica Randall discovers the isolated house where she's sheltering is a private bondage club. At first shocked, she soon becomes aroused watching the interactions between the Doms and their subs. But she's a professional woman--an accountant--and surely isn't a submissive...is she? Master Z hasn't been so attracted to a woman in years. But the little sub who has wandered into his club intrigues him. She's intelligent. Reserved. Conservative. After he discovers her interest in BDSM, he can't resist tying her up and unleashing the passion she hides within. Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, strong BDSM theme and content (including/not limited to bondage, caning, restraints, spanking, etc), exhibitionism, voyeurism.
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: March 2009
657 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [205 KB]
Reading time: 127-178 min.
Jessica Randall scrambled out of the water-filled ditch, her heart hammering. Frigid rain slashed through the dark night, drenching her face and clothing. Gasping for breath, she knelt in the mud, surprised to have made it to the bank in one piece. She glanced over her shoulder and shuddered. Alligators loved to hang out in Florida ditches. A few moments more and she could have been ... She stifled the thought with a shudder.
Hands shaking, she scrubbed the water off her face and pushed to her feet.
As her fear diminished, she peered through the darkness and could barely see her car. Poor little Taurus, nose down with water roiling around the hood.
"I'll be back for you. Don't worry," she promised, feeling like she was abandoning her baby.
Once on the narrow country road, she pushed her tangled hair out of her face and looked each way. Darkness and darkness. Dammit, why couldn't she have an accident right in someone's front yard? But no, the nearest house was probably the one she'd passed about a mile back. She headed that way, stopping to glare at the pool of water where her car had aquaplaned right off the road. The armadillo, of course, was long gone. At least she hadn't hit it.
Head lowered, she trudged down the blacktop toward the house, getting wetter and wetter. Hopefully she wouldn't trip on something in the darkness. Breaking her leg would be the final straw in a day that had been a disaster from start to finish.
Number one mistake: meeting at a halfway point for their first date when the man lived miles and miles outside of Tampa.
He sure hadn't been worth the trip. She'd have found more excitement auditing business accounts. Then again, he hadn't appeared all that impressed with her either. She grimaced. She'd recognized the look in his eyes, the one that said he really wanted tall and slim, an Angelina Jolie type woman, no matter that her posted picture portrayed her quite accurately: a pint-size Marilyn Monroe.
So far, she'd have to say finding a guy through the Internet rated right up there with back-country shortcuts, her second mistake of the day.
Aunt Eunice always swore things happened in threes. So would braking for an armadillo be considered her third mistake, or was there another disaster lurking in her near future?
She shivered as the wind howled through the palmettos and plastered her drenched clothing against her chilled body. Couldn't stop now. Doggedly, she set one foot in front of the other, her waterlogged shoes squishing with every step.
An eternity later, she spotted a glimmer of light. Relief rushed through her when she reached a driveway studded with hanging lights. Surely whoever lived here would let her wait out the storm. She walked through the ornate iron gates, up the palm-lined drive past landscaped lawns, until finally she reached a three-story stone mansion. Black wrought iron lanterns illumined the entry.
"Nice place," she muttered. And a little intimidating. She glanced down at herself to check the damage. Mud and rain streaked her tailored slacks and white button-down shirt, hardly a suitable image for a conservative accountant. She looked more like something even a cat would refuse to drag in.
Shivering hard, she brushed at the dirt and grimaced as it only streaked worse. She stared up at the huge oak doors guarding the entrance. A small doorbell in the shape of a dragon glowed on the side panel, and she pushed it.
Seconds later, the doors opened. A man, oversized and ugly as a battle-scarred Rottweiler, looked down at her. "I'm sorry, miss, you're too late. The doors are locked."
What the heck did that mean?
"P-please," she said, stuttering with the cold. "My car's in a ditch, and I'm soaked, and I need a place to dry out and call for help." But did she really want to go inside with this scary-looking guy? Then she shivered so hard her teeth clattered together, and her mind was made up. "Can I come in? Please?"
He scowled at her, his big-boned face brutish in the yellow entry light. "I'll have to ask Master Z. Wait here." And the bastard shut the door, leaving her in the cold and dark.
Jessica wrapped her arms around herself, standing miserably, and finally the door opened again. Again the brute. "Okay, come on in."
Relief brought tears to her eyes. "Thank you, oh, thank you." Stepping around him before he could change his mind, she barreled into a small entry room and slammed into a solid body. "Oomph," she huffed.
Firm hands gripped her shoulders. She shook her wet hair out of her eyes and looked up. And up. The guy was big, a good six feet, his shoulders wide enough to block the room beyond.
He chuckled, his hands gentling their grasp on her arms. "She's freezing, Ben. Molly left some clothing in the blue room; send one of the subs."
"Okay, boss." The brute--Ben--disappeared.
"What is your name?" Her new host's voice was deep, dark as the night outside.
"Jessica." She stepped back from his grip to get a better look at her savior. Smooth black hair, silvering at the temples, just touching his collar. Dark gray eyes with laugh lines at the corners. A lean, hard face with the shadow of a beard adding a hint of roughness. He wore tailored black slacks and a black silk shirt that outlined hard muscles underneath. If Ben was a Rottweiler, this guy was a jaguar, sleek and deadly.
"I'm sorry to have bothered--" she started.
Ben reappeared with a handful of golden clothing that he thrust at her. "Here you go."
She took the garments, holding them out to keep from getting the fabric wet. "Thank you."
A faint smile creased the manager's cheek. "Your gratitude is premature, I fear. This is a private club."
"Oh. I'm sorry." Now what was she going to do?
"You have two choices. You may sit out here in the entryway with Ben until the storm passes. The forecast stated the winds and rain would die down around six or so in the morning, and you won't get a tow truck out on these country roads until then. Or you may sign papers and join the party for the night."
She looked around. The entry was a tiny room with a desk and one chair. Not heated. Ben gave her a dour look.
Sign something? She frowned. Then again, in this lawsuit-happy world, every place made a person sign releases, even to visit a fitness center. So she could sit here all night. Or ... be with happy people and be warm. No-brainer. "I'd love to join the party."
"So impetuous," the manager murmured. "Ben, give her the paperwork. Once she signs--or not--she may use the dressing room to dry off and change."
"Yes, sir." Ben rummaged in a file box on the desk, pulled out some papers.
The manager tilted his head at Jessica. "I will see you later then."
Ben shoved three pages of papers at her and a pen. "Read the rules. Sign at the bottom." He scowled at her. "I'll get you a towel."
She started reading. Rules of the Shadowlands.
"Shadowlands. That's an unusual na--" she said, looking up. Both men had disappeared. Huh. She returned to reading, trying to focus her eyes. Such tiny print. Still, she never signed anything without reading it.
Doors will open at...
Water pooled around her feet. Her teeth chattered so hard she had to clench her jaw. There was a dress code. Something about cleaning the equipment after use. Halfway down the second page, her eyes started blurring. Damn it all. This was just a club, after all; it wasn't like she was signing mortgage papers.
Turning to the last page, she scrawled her name.
When Ben returned, he checked the papers for her signature, handed her a towel, and showed her into an opulent restroom off the entry. Glass-doored stalls along one side faced a mirrored wall with sinks and counters.
She glanced in the mirror and winced: short, pudgy woman, straggly blonde hair, pale complexion now blue with cold. Surprising that they'd even let her in the door. Dropping the borrowed clothing on the marble counter, she kicked her shoes off and tried to unbutton her shirt. Her hands were numb, shaking uncontrollably, and time after time, the buttons slipped from her stiff fingers. She couldn't even get her slacks off, and she was shuddering so hard her bones hurt.
"Dammit," she muttered and tried again.
The door opened. "Jessica, are you--" The manager. "No, you are obviously not all right." He stepped inside, a dark figure wavering in her blurry vision.
"Permit me." Without waiting for her answer, he stripped her out of her clothes as one would a two-year-old, even peeling off her sodden bra and panties. His hands were hot, almost burning, against her chilled skin.
She was naked. As the thought percolated through her numb brain, she jerked away and grabbed at the dry clothing. His hand intercepted hers.
"No, pet." He plucked something from her hair, opening his hand to show muddy leaves. "First a shower."
He wrapped a hard arm around her waist and moved her into one of the glass-fronted stalls behind where she'd been standing. With his free hand, he turned on the water, and heavenly warm steam billowed up. He adjusted the temperature.
"In you go," he ordered. A hand on her bottom, he nudged her into the shower.
The water felt scalding hot against her frigid skin, and she gasped, then sighed as the heat began to penetrate. After a minute, she realized the door of the stall was open. Arms crossed, the man leaned against the door frame, watching her with a slight smile on his lean face.
"I'm fine," she muttered, turning so her back was to him. "I can manage by myself."
"No, you obviously cannot," he said evenly. "Wash the mud out of your hair. The left dispenser has shampoo."
Mud in her hair. She'd totally forgotten; maybe she did need a keeper. After using the vanilla-scented shampoo, she let the water sluice through her hair. Brown water and twigs swirled down the drain. The water finally ran clear.
"Very good." The water shut off. Blocking the door, he rolled up his sleeves, displaying corded, muscular arms. She had the unhappy feeling he was going to keep helping her, and any protest would be ignored. He'd taken charge as easily as if she'd been one of the puppies at the shelter where she volunteered.
"Out with you now." When her legs wobbled, he tucked a hand around her upper arm, holding her up with disconcerting ease. The cooler air hit her body, and her shivering started again.
After blotting her hair, he grasped her chin and tipped her face up to the light. She gazed up at his darkly tanned face, trying to summon up enough energy to pull her face away.
"No bruises. I think you were lucky." Taking the towel, he dried off her arms and hands, rubbing briskly until he appeared satisfied with the pink color. Then he did her back and shoulders. When he reached her breasts, she pushed at his hand. "I can do that."
He ignored her like she would a buzzing fly, his attentions gentle but thorough, even to lifting each breast and drying underneath.
When he toweled off her butt, she wanted to hide. If there was any part of her that should be covered, it was her hips. Overweight. Jiggly. He didn't seem to notice.
Then he knelt and ordered, "Spread your legs."
No way. She flushed, didn't move.
He looked up, lifted an eyebrow. And waited. Her resolve faltered beneath the steady, authoritative regard.
She slid one leg over. His towel-covered hand stroked between her legs, sending a flush of embarrassment through her. The full enormity of her position swept through her: she was naked in front of a complete stranger, letting him touch her ... there. Her breath stopped even as disconcerting pleasure moved through her.
He glanced up, his eyes crinkling, before moving his attention to her legs. He chafed the skin until she could feel the glow. "There, that should do it."
Ignoring her attempt to take the clothing, he helped her step into a long, slinky skirt that reached midcalf--at least it covered her hips--then pulled a gold-colored, stretchy tank top over her head. His muscular fingers brushed her breasts as he adjusted the fit. He studied her for a moment before smiling slowly. "The clothes suit you, Jessica, far more than your own. A shame to hide such a lovely figure."
Lovely? She knew better, but the words still gave her a glowy feeling inside. She glanced down to check for herself and frowned at the way the low-cut elastic top outlined her full breasts. She could see every little bump in her nipples. Good grief. She crossed her arms over her chest.
His chuckle was deep and rich. "Come, the main room is much warmer."
Wrapping an arm around her, he led her out of the bathroom, through the entry, and into a huge room crowded with people. Her eyes widened as she looked around. The club must take up the entire first floor of the house. A circular bar of darkly polished wood ruled the center of the room. Wrought iron sconces cast flickering light over tables and chairs, couches and coffee tables. Plants created small secluded areas. The right corner of the room had a dance floor where music pulsed with a throbbing beat. Farther down, parts of the wall were more brightly lit, but she couldn't see past the crowd to make out why.
Her steps slowed as she realized the club members were attired in extremely provocative clothing, from skintight leathers and latex to corsets to--oh my--one woman was bare from the waist up. A long chain dangled from ... clamps on her nipples.
What in the world? Wincing, Jessica glanced up at her host. "Um, excuse me?" What was his name, anyway?
He stopped. "You may call me Sir."
Like the Marines or something? "Uh, right. Exactly what kind of club is this?" Over the music and murmur of voices, a woman's voice suddenly wailed in unmistakable orgasm. Heat flared in Jessica's face.
Amusement glinted in the man's dark eyes. "It's a private club, and tonight is bondage night, pet; I thought you'd have realized that from reading the rules."
Just then, a man in black leathers walked by, followed by a barefoot woman with her head down and wrists cuffed. Jessica's mouth opened, only no words emerged.
One eyebrow raised, the manager waited patiently. She could feel his hand pressed low against her back, like a brand.
What had she gotten into? "Bondage?" she managed to say. "Like men making slaves of women?"
"Not always. Sometimes a woman dominates the man." He nodded to the left where a man dressed in only a loincloth knelt beside a woman. The woman wore a skintight latex vest and leggings with a coiled whip attached to her belt.
"And domination can range all the way from an entire lifestyle, twenty-four/seven, to just a fun bout of sex. Many women fantasize about having a man take charge in the bedroom." He stroked a finger down her flushed cheek. "Here the fantasy is real."
Something inside her tightened at his words, a fascination mixed with shock. Take charge--what exactly did that mean? Then the memory swept through her of how he'd touched her naked body, how he'd simply ... taken charge, and she couldn't keep from looking at him.
His dark eyes were intent on her face, as if he could read her reactions as easily as she would read a client's books. She felt telltale redness rise in her cheeks.
"Come," he said, smiling, his hand moving her forward. "Let's get something warm inside you--"
Inside her? Like the thrust of a man's--She jerked her mind away. Good grief, she'd been here five minutes, and her thoughts were in the gutter. A smart person--and she was that if nothing else--would make a polite retreat right about now.
"And then you can decide if you want to hide in the entryway or stay here with the grown-ups."
Even as her spine stiffened, she realized how easily he'd played her, and she glared at him.
His lips quirked.
As they approached the circular bar, the bartender abandoned making a drink to come over. He looked like a Great Dane with shaggy hair, all bone and muscle, even taller than ... Sir. She frowned over her shoulder at the manager. What the heck kind of name was Sir?