Club Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair

  “I didn’t, pet.” He brushed her hair back from her face. “Both Daniel‘s and Melissa’s subs are new to public scening.”


  Lowering her head, she whispered into his shoulder, “I was so embarrassed.”

  “I know.” His hand cradled the back of her head; his steady heartbeat under her ear was comforting. “I could tell. You were also excited by it.”

  She stiffened. Surely not. All those eyes, staring at her, at her naked breasts, her… A shiver ran through her. Damn him for knowing. “A little, maybe.”


  “You let…let someone else touch me.” The shock of that still reverberated through her.

  “I did. Why do you suppose I would allow that?”

  What was this, a test? But she was too comfortable, too exhausted for outrage. Why did he? “To give me more…stimulation?”

  “Good.” He kissed the top of her head. “That was one reason. But I might not have taken that method with a different sub. Why you?”

  He had done that just for her? But… She froze as the answer came to her. “Because of the way I reacted at the playroom. The two men.”

  “You were aroused at the idea then. And once you moved past being horrified, you were aroused by Cullen’s hands on you.”

  Oh, God, she had been. “Doesn’t that bother you? To share?”

  He huffed a laugh. “I find I am more possessive with you than normal. But what kind of a master would I be if I know you want to experience something, and I don’t make it happen?”

  He’d done that for her? She felt his arms around her as she thought about it. How it had felt when Sir’s hands had been on her and another man’s mouth on her breasts. A disconcerting hint of arousal unfurled inside her. She’d liked having two men. Oh, she had. How many bewildering revelations about her was Sir going to uncover?

  “Am I supposed to say thank you?” she grumbled.

  “Eventually, I think you will,” he said, a hint of laughter in his voice.

  “Why Cullen?”

  “You like him, pet. Having a true stranger touch you might have been too much to deal with afterward. At this point in time.”

  And the unstated promise of more curled her toes and wiped out any words she could think to say.

  “I was pleased you felt brave enough to volunteer, kitten. And I’m very pleased with you. You trusted me enough to let go, to take care of you; that is the building block for everything.” He kissed her so gently; she felt tears in her eyes. “It’s unusual for circumstances to toss a person into this so quickly. You’re a strong woman.”

  She huffed out a breath. “I don’t feel very strong right now.”

  “No. And that’s why we will simply sit here and watch the world go by for a time.”

  “We’ve already been here quite a while,” she guessed, watching his eyes for confirmation. “Shouldn’t you be out and checking on things?”

  He bundled her back against his chest, his voice a rumble in her ear. “You, pet, are more important than things.”

  And he held her.

  * * * * *

  Eventually she sat up again. “I’m ready to move.”

  “And so you shall.” He folded the blanket back from her shoulders.

  Cool air brushed over her naked breasts, and she squeaked, covering herself. With a low laugh, he picked up her nightie and slid it over her head. After fastening her halter top behind her neck, he adjusted her breasts with sure hands, as if he had the right to touch her so easily.

  “You’re blushing again.” He held a finger to her cheek, eyes narrowing. “After everything I did in the—”

  She put her hand over his mouth, trying to silence him.

  “My fingers were in more intimate places than your breasts,” he whispered, ignoring her hand. The jerk. “As was my mouth, my lips, and my tongue.”

  The memory of the way she’d shattered the last time, under just his hands and mouth, sent warmth pooling back into her groin. “You are impossible.”

  His lips curved under her fingers. “And you were very loud.”

  Oh, God, she had been. She pressed her forehead into his shoulder, hiding her face. “How can I ever face anyone here again?” she moaned. “They saw—”

  He took her shoulders, pressed a kiss to her cheek. “Kitten, many of the subs here have done a public scene.”

  “That doesn’t help.” Every private place on her body had been on display.

  “Up we go,” he said briskly, setting her on her feet. He tossed the blanket over the back of the couch. When she smoothed her too-short skirt down, she realized she wasn’t wearing anything at all underneath it.

  “I think you deserve a drink, don’t you?” He tucked an arm around her as he strolled her to the bar. She really did love how he kept her so close to him, as if he was proud of her.

  Cullen was there, and she froze, still a few feet from the bar. He’d touched her, sucked on her breasts. Sir’s arm urged her forward, but her feet wouldn’t move. She looked up at Sir, shook her head.

  He sighed; his gaze met Cullen’s. Cullen had been watching them. Oh, God.

  Sir tilted his head toward her, and she tried to back away, but the grip that had been so gentle was now a steel band around her waist.

  Cullen came around the bar. She stared at the floor, blinked when his big boots appeared in her field of vision. “Jessica.”

  She couldn’t move. His laugh boomed out. A callused hand caught her chin, forced her gaze up. “Don’t panic, love. Since you are Master Z’s sub, I can only touch you with his permission, and I can see that won’t be happening often at all. He only let me play because you needed the extra sensations to take you over the top.”

  And because Sir knew that she was turned on by the thought of two men. Surely Cullen wouldn’t know that.

  He grinned at her, a slash of white in a brawler’s face. “I thoroughly enjoyed touching you, pet, but you don’t need to run from me. Are we clear on that?”

  She nodded, unsure why she’d been so frightened.

  “If you’d permit, Z, I’d like a hug from your sub to know I’m forgiven and we’re all right again.” He stepped back.

  Sir murmured, “Permitted,” and his restraining arm dropped away.

  Cullen held his arms out. Waited. His eyes had that look that Sir’s got, the unspoken command.

  Okay. She liked Cullen; he’d only been nice to her. And…okay. With a breath, she took the one step to him, felt his arms come around her, very different than Sir’s, but comforting just the same. He was so tall; her head only came to the center of his chest. He squeezed her once, let her go.

  “There.” He stroked her cheek with a finger. “All better. Now, what can I get you to drink?”

  Chapter Twelve

  For the next few hours, Sir didn’t try to take her into any of the scene rooms or do more than fondle her and take a kiss, as if he knew she wasn’t ready for anything more intimate. Not at this time. They wandered through the crowd, joined people here and there to chat, and avoided the more intimately engaged couples.

  They were just like a normal couple on a date, she thought, trying to ignore the way her body felt when close to his and the way his voice could heat the air around her.

  “Got a nasty problem in the dungeon, Z.” One of the monitors trotted up, his face flushed.

  Master Z took two steps in that direction, then stopped and frowned at Jessica.

  “Mmmh, not a good place for you.” He led her to a nearby sitting area occupied by a trim woman of around forty and a plump blonde about Jessica’s age. “Ladies, may I leave Jessica with you?” Sir asked.

  “Of course, Master Z,” the older woman answered. “We’d be happy to stay with her.”

  “I can go with you,” Jessica whispered to him.

  “Not the dungeon, not if there’s trouble,” he said, pushing her into a chair. To her surprise, he hooked her hands together, then to a long chain on the floor, before
giving her a hard kiss on the mouth. He glanced at the women. “Thank you, ladies.”

  They barely had a chance to smile back at him before he strode away, moving deceptively fast.

  Well. Jessica yanked at the chain that was long enough for her to stand and maybe take one step. “Dammit, what did I do wrong this time?”

  “You’re new, aren’t you?” the brunette said.

  Jessica nodded.

  “My name’s Lenora. You didn’t do anything. The chain says you’ve got a Dom already, that you’re not available.”

  “Oh.” As relief washed through her, Jessica leaned back in the chair, curling her feet under her. “Thank you.”

  The blonde leaned forward, her nightgown longer than Jessica’s, but the top much tighter and lower. “I’ve never seen Master Z chain anyone outside of a scene before. He must really like you.”

  Jessica laughed. “I should be complimented by being chained? I don’t think I’ll ever understand this place.”

  “It’s pretty strange at first,” Lenora said. “But this is the best place in the area to learn. Master Z keeps his eye on stuff.”

  It was one of the things she found so admirable about him. “So, maybe you can tell me—” She glanced up as a man in fancy red leathers walked up, smiling at her.

  “Hello. I haven’t seen you before.”

  His bearing proclaimed him a Dom, but he lacked that special something that Master Z and Cullen and Daniel had. He saw the chain attached to her wrist cuffs and scowled. “Already taken, huh?”

  He turned toward the little blonde. “Maxie, come with me.”

  Maxie shook her head. “I don’t want to be with you, Nathan, and I can’t leave here, anyway.”

  His face darkened. “I don’t take back talk from subs, especially not cunts like you.” He reached down and grabbed her wrist.

  Jessica jumped to her feet and realized with her arms chained, a punch wouldn’t go very far. She kicked the guy instead, right in the butt.

  He dropped Maxie’s hand and whipped around. Majorly pissed.

  As he advanced, Jessica backed up until the damned chain went taut. Balancing most of her weight on one leg, she got ready to kick with the other foot.

  “Stop now.” Daniel strode up and yanked Nathan’s arm behind him, pushing until the guy went on tiptoe to keep his shoulder from being dislocated.

  Nice job, Jessica thought; he made it look so easy.

  “Time to call it a night, buddy,” Daniel said, his voice easy, his face angry. “Someone will be in touch about your membership.” He hauled the man away.

  Heart thudding painfully, Jessica sank back into the chair.

  Cullen appeared and knelt beside her chair. “You’ve got to stop beating up on the members, sweetie. For a sub, you’ve got a real aggression problem.” His smile disappeared, leaving his face hard as he scrutinized her. “Are you hurt at all?”

  “No. I’m fine.” Jessica ran her hands up and down her arms, feeling chilled. She saw the blonde doing the same thing. “Are you all right?”

  Maxie nodded. “I can’t believe you did that.” Her eyes puddled up, and she sniffled. “You could have been hurt. Nathan can be really mean.”

  Jessica smiled. “Bruises heal. Watching someone get hurt when I could do something to stop it… That doesn’t heal so fast.” Like the guilt left from her sister. Her mouth tightened.

  Cullen rose to his feet. “Maxie, why don’t you come and sit at the bar for a while; let me keep an eye on you.”

  Maxie’s mouth formed an O as her eyes went wide. Then she shook her head. “I can’t, Master C. We’re keeping Jessica company for Master Z.”

  Cullen’s smile was back. “Dedication to duty is a good thing. Come on over when you’re free.” His eyes glinted with humor. “If you want.”

  Considering Maxie was almost drooling, Jessica figured the bartender knew quite well how much the blonde wanted. He strode back to his bar, his long legs a fine sight in tight brown leathers.

  Maxie sighed.

  Giving a cautious look around for any more overaggressive men, Jessica leaned back in her chair. Here was her chance at getting some information from the women’s side of the fence. “I don’t think Master Z would have been upset if you’d gone to sit with Cullen.”

  Maxie’s eyes widened. “Defy Master Z? Are you insane? You don’t talk back to him, do you?” She added hastily, “Don’t ever talk back to him.” The blonde seemed more scared than when Nathan grabbed her.

  What made Maxie look like that? “But, Sir told me he never… He only s-spanked—” The word was difficult to even say. “He doesn’t whip or anything.”

  “Oh, I’d almost rather be whipped than—” Maxie’s eyes turned to Lenora. “You tell her.”

  Lenora sipped her drink then pointed with her chin to a tall, muscular redhead in a two-piece negligee who was sitting next to a thin male Dom. “Adrienne there was giving her Dom a bad time. She was basically topping from the bottom, not doing what he said, and creating a ruckus during their scene. Master Z went over. I don’t know what was said, but I’ve heard she smarted off to him.”

  Lenora exchanged glances with Maxie, then continued. “His face… You know how he can look so deadly? Well, the Dom was pissed enough to tell Master Z to do whatever he wanted with her. Master Z picked Adrienne up like she was a doll, dumped her on her back on the end of the bar, and strapped her down with her legs V’ed up in the air. And he gagged her too, a good thing since she was swearing a blue streak.”

  Jessica tried to imagine being treated like that. On the bar? “How humiliating. I bet she never smarted off again.”

  Lenora shook her head. “Oh, it gets worse. He grabbed some vibrators and dildos, set them on the bar, and announced she was available to anyone wanting to practice getting a sub off. Anyone.”

  Jessica felt her own eyes going wide. “You mean…?”

  Maxie nodded and almost whispered, “I think every Dom in the place took a turn. Adrienne came so many times that she could only moan for the last few.”

  Oh, God. Jessica wrapped her arms around herself. “He just left her there?” What kind of a monster was he?

  “No, he wouldn’t do that. Master Z’s death on leaving a bound sub unattended.” Lenora glanced at the bar. “He sat right there at the bar, sipping a drink and watching. He stopped a couple of the Doms when they got too rough. When he let her free, she couldn’t even stand. But she sure apologized.”

  Maxie snorted. “She’s been real polite ever since, you know?” Her grin faded. “But see, I don’t want Master Z mad at me for anything. Uh-uh. I’m staying here like he asked.”

  Jessica couldn’t keep her gaze from the bar. She noticed that the heavy wood ceiling rafters had chains dangling from them. God, she’d thought the medical room was bad.

  “I think I’d die,” she whispered with a shudder.

  Lenora’s gaze was on a group of three Doms sitting at a table, and it took a second before she responded. “Well, Adrienne likes the whip and cane. She was acting out partly to get herself whipped, and that was the problem. But Master Z found a punishment she’d do anything to avoid again. He’s really scary that way.”

  “But he’s sure something in bed.” Maxie sighed, her eyes half-closing.

  Jessica’s head whipped around. He’d had sex with Maxie? A hard lump formed in her throat. “He’s…uh, enjoyed a lot of the women here?” Her face heated when Lenora gave her a knowing look. She nodded.

  “Oh, he’s had a lot of us,” Maxie said, then pouted. “But he never takes anyone for more than a night. Neither does Master D.”

  “And Master C doesn’t go more than two nights, so don’t get your heart set on him, dummy,” Lenora said to Maxie in a dry voice.

  “Oh, I won’t,” Maxie said and wiggled. “He’s too intense for me long-term, but I’m wanting a little intensity tonight.”

  Trying to get the image of Sir and Maxie together out of her mind, Jessica looked toward the back of t
he room where someone was shouting. Two of the dungeon monitors were dragging a man toward the front. Face cold, Sir walked behind them.

  Screaming curses, the guy kicked and struggled and suddenly broke free of the monitors. He charged at Sir.

  Jessica gasped and jumped to her feet.

  Sir knocked a punch to one side, and buried his fist in the guy’s gut. The man folded like a jackknife, face purpling as he tried to get his breath. Shaking his head, Sir handed him back to the monitors, waved them off, and headed toward Jessica.

  Considering the lethal expression on his face, she wasn’t sure whether to run and hide or just whimper. She glanced at her cuffs. Running wasn’t going to work. She tucked herself back into the big chair.

  But as he approached, the deadly stillness disappeared. His eyes warmed when she tried smiling at him. He set a hip on the arm of her chair and pulled her close. And, oh God, that was just where she wanted to be.

  “Lenora, Maxie, thank you for watching out for Jessica,” he said, his voice calm as if hadn’t just punched a man. “I see you did a good job.”

  “Well, there was one little thing that happened,” Maxie said, a quaver in her voice as she visibly steeled herself to tell Sir everything. Oh, hell. What if he decided Jessica had been out of line? Or decided to go after Nathan and beat the hell out of him?

  Jessica shook her head frantically at Maxie then realized Sir’s gaze was on her, and his gray eyes had chilled to silver. She froze.

  His hand curled around her nape, holding her firmly in place. And damned if the feel of his hand on her, even the look in his eye, sent such potent need through her that she shivered.

  “Continue, please, Maxie.” Sir’s voice was softer and much scarier.

  “It’s just… Well, Nathan came over, and he didn’t bother Jessica, Sir; he saw she was chained, but he wanted me to go with him.” She gazed at Sir with trepidation and whispered, “I said no.”

  “You have the right to say no to anyone here, pet. You know that.”

  Maxie’s sigh of relief was audible and Sir’s lips quirked. “He grabbed me anyway and called me a name, but Jessica kicked him.”

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