Servicing the Target by Cherise Sinclair




  Servicing the Target

  A Masters of the Shadowlands Novel

  By Cherise Sinclair

  Servicing the Target

  A Masters of the Shadowlands Novel

  By Cherise Sinclair

  Copyright 2015 Cherise Sinclair

  ISBN: 978-1-940887-91-3

  Published by Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or establishments is solely coincidental.

  Book Description

  Servicing the Target

  A discharged Army Ranger, Ben considers his job as a BDSM club security guard to be an excellent hobby. He’s never been tempted to join in. But everything changes when the notorious Mistress Anne inadvertently reveals the caring heart concealed beneath her Domme armor.

  Now, he’s set his sights on the beautiful Shadowlands Mistress. Maybe he’d considered himself vanilla, but she can put her stiletto on his chest any day, any time. He’ll trust her delicate hands to hold his heart. And if she wants to whip his ass on the way to an outstanding climax, he’s just fine with that too.

  Sure, he knows she likes “pretty boy” slaves. And he’s older. Craggy and rough. And six-five. Minor hindrances. The mission is a go.

  Also from Cherise Sinclair

  Click to purchase

  Masters of the Shadowlands (contemporary)

  Club Shadowlands

  Dark Citadel

  Breaking Free

  Lean on Me

  Make Me, Sir

  To Command and Collar

  This Is Who I Am

  If Only

  Show Me, Baby

  Servicing the Target

  Mountain Masters and Dark Haven (contemporary)

  Master of the Mountain

  Simon Says: Mine (novella)

  Master of the Abyss

  Master of the Dark Side (novella)

  My Liege of Dark Haven

  Edge of the Enforcer

  Master of Freedom

  The Wild Hunt Legacy (paranormal)

  Hour of the Lion

  Winter of the Wolf

  Standalone books

  The Starlight Rite (Sci-Fi Romance)

  The Dom’s Dungeon (contemporary)

  Acknowledgments

  As always, my gratitude to Fiona Archer, Monette Michaels, and Bianca Sommerland, my crit partners. *mwah!*

  A big shout-out this time goes to my News & Discussion peeps (AKA the Shadowkittens) who’ve had their little paws in quite a bit of this book, from finding Anne’s pictures to baby name suggestions. And the fun with Master Z and Jessica’s scenes? Oh, yes, my kittens, you were definitely of use.

  My readers on Facebook helped out with suggestions for sensuous music while I write—so if you find the sex scenes even hotter this time, pat yourselves on the back.

  A huge thank you to Liz Berry and M.J. Rose from Evil Eye Concepts for taking charge of the publishing details and, even more, for getting the word out about this book. Y’all are awesome.

  Finally, when I got stuck on some of the military details, Kennedy Layne, author of the wonderfully action-packed CSA Case Files and Red Star series, lent me her Marine. Top Griz, thank you so, so much for helping out with this book.

  This book’s title, Servicing the Target, is a military term, used in the past to denote bombing the enemy, but is now occasionally used by snipers. To our people serving in the military, past and present, I am humbled by your courage. May the burden of your memories lie lightly on your shoulders, and may happiness and peace walk with you on your journey.

  Author’s Note

  To my readers,

  The books I write are fiction, not reality, and as in most romantic fiction, the romance is compressed into a very, very short time period.

  You, my darlings, live in the real world, and I want you to take a little more time in your relationships. Good Doms don’t grow on trees, and there are some strange people out there. So while you’re looking for that special Dom, please, be careful.

  When you find him, realize he can’t read your mind. Yes, frightening as it might be, you’re going to have to open up and talk to him. And you listen to him, in return. Share your hopes and fears, what you want from him, what scares you spitless. Okay, he may try to push your boundaries a little—he’s a Dom, after all—but you will have your safe word. You will have a safe word, am I clear? Use protection. Have a backup person. Communicate.

  Remember: safe, sane, and consensual.

  Know that I’m hoping you find that special, loving person who will understand your needs and hold you close.

  And while you’re looking or even if you have already found your dearheart, come and hang out with the Masters of the Shadowlands.

  Love,

  Cherise

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  1001 Dark Nights story

  The First Night

  by Lexi Blake & M.J. Rose

  Table of Contents

  Book Description

  Also from Cherise Sinclair

  Acknowledgments

  Author’s Note

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Also From 1001 Dark Nights

  About Cherise Sinclair

  An excerpt from Master of the Mountain by Cherise Sinclair

  Special Thanks

  Chapter One

  Bloody hell, she hurt.

  Anne patted the wrought iron doorknocker on its snarling lion nose and pushed the door open. Damn thing seemed a lot heavier tonight.

  She stalked into the foyer of the Shadowlands BDSM club—well, she tried to stalk—a Mistress had her pride, after all, but the limp must have destroyed the effect.

  Damn her cousin anyway. Grandstanding plays belonged on the baseball diamond, not during an operation with armed felons.

  As the door closed behind her, the Shadowlands security guard looked up. Scowled. He rounded the desk. A good six feet five, shoulders as wide as a football field, the goliath could have taken Schwarzenegger’s role in the Terminator. “What the hell happened to you?” he barked.

  Huh? She hadn’t known he could raise his voice. He seemed such a sweetheart that, until recently, she’d wondered why Z had hired him for security. Then again, he looked rather
like a Rottweiler—big-boned, oversized, and battered—and maybe he’d never needed to put his skills to the test.

  He loomed over her, brows pulling together. “Are you all right?” His faded New York accent thickened, turning the all right to ahrite.

  “Hello, Ben.”

  “Mistress Anne...” His voice came out a low rumble, and she lifted an eyebrow. The guard dog had a growl after all.

  “I’m fine.” She patted his arm and found rock-hard muscles beneath his loose, button-up shirt. She had to—quite inappropriately—wonder at what else lay under all that fabric.

  “Were you in an accident? Should I call someone?”

  She laughed—and halted quickly as her right side blazed with pain. It felt as if someone had jammed a fiery spear between her ribs. Don’t laugh, stupid. She put her hand over the ache, pleased that her over-the-dress bustier served as adequate support for a bruised ribcage. “The only accident was the need to rescue an inadequate member of my team.” Because her cousin had located the fugitive and tried to apprehend the man himself without waiting for backup. Because the idiot had gotten the pistol kicked out of his hand. Because she’d had to jump in before the felon smashed Robert’s head in with his baseball bat. “He got in a couple of good blows”—and a kick to her thigh—“before I took him down.”

  The narrowing of Ben’s eyes made him look impressively menacing.

  But after a second, he shook his head and returned to his position, leaving the air in his wake unsettled, as if a thunderstorm had moved through. He braced a hand on his desk and frowned at her. “Picking up fugitives is dangerous. Maybe you should…” He trailed off, frozen to silence by her icy stare.

  Her father and uncles possessed an identical belief, and she gave his comment the same careful consideration she accorded theirs. None.

  “Benjamin,” she said softly. She met his gaze. Held his gaze. “When I want your opinion about my occupation, I’ll beat it out of you.”

  He sat down slowly—and she gave him props for that, since a lot of boys went weak-kneed. But this was a man. She’d have said a very vanilla man, but heat flushed his cheeks and lips. And the concern in his eyes had changed to an edgy arousal.

  Interesting.

  But she shook her head. She didn’t do vanilla.

  And she certainly wouldn’t mess with an employee of Z’s.

  Lifting a hand, she sauntered—with a damn limp—into the main clubroom. Into gut-wrenching screams, flickering sconces, and the scents of sex and sweat and pain.

  Home sweet home.

  * * * *

  Three hours later, she’d assessed the various scenes being conducted, chosen a nice quiet caning, and eased down into a leather armchair outside the roped-off area. Done, done, done. Her stint as dungeon monitor was complete, and her leg throbbed as if a dwarf logger was using an ax on it. Galen and Vance were out of town, leaving the Masters short-handed, or else she’d have called to tell Z she couldn’t make it tonight.

  But she’d performed her duty.

  “Mistress Anne, may I fetch you something to drink?”

  She eyed the young man. Dressed in running shorts and nothing else, the blond actually vibrated with his need to please. He must be one of the new ones.

  After eliminating the trainee positions, the club owner, Z, had tried professional waitstaff, been displeased with the results, and now offered his submissive members discounted dues if they served drinks a certain number of hours a month.

  “What’s your name?” Anne asked.

  “Apple, Mistress Anne.”

  “Apple, as in take a bite out of you?” She watched him quiver.

  “Yes, Mistress Anne. Any time the Mistress wishes.”

  “That’s good to know, Apple.” He was a very pretty lad—and she couldn’t summon up an ounce of interest. She put a boot up on the long, dark wood table. “Right now, all I want is my second drink. Tell Master Cullen it’s for Mistress Anne, please.”

  “Yes, Ma’am.” His look of disappointment was so intense, she felt like patting him on the cheek and saying, “There, there.”

  But that would require moving.

  Instead, she leaned her head back, closed her eyes, and listened to Seraphim Shock’s “After Dark,” the sinister music punctuated by the staccato sounds of the nearby caning. When she heard the thump of a glass on the end table, she held her hand out, palm up, and waggled her fingers. “In my hand, boy.”

  He set the drink in her hand.

  “Thank you.” One sip told her that Cullen had worked his usual magic. The silky smoothness of a perfectly chilled Manhattan eased her dry throat.

  The chair beside her squeaked.

  Excuse me? A slave dared sit in her presence? “Listen, boy…” She opened her eyes and met those of the owner of the Shadowlands.

  “Good evening, Anne.” Gray eyes alight with amusement, he leaned back and set a foot next to hers on the coffee table.

  Since he’d been nice enough to bring her a drink, she drank more of it. Lovely. “Sorry, Z. I thought you were someone named Apple.”

  His lips twitched at the emphasis she gave to the name. “Did you have a craving to peel and core him?”

  “Not even close. Today you could parade a few dozen eager submissives in front of me, and I still wouldn’t be motivated to move.” In fact, her limbs felt as if they were sinking into the furniture. “Actually, I’m not particularly interested in anyone these days.”

  “Are you missing Joey?”

  Joey had been her latest slave; the one she’d kept for the longest period. They’d had so much fun together…and then not so much fun. “Not really. Not anymore.”

  “You never did tell me what happened.” Damn psychologist waited silently.

  His tricks didn’t work on her. “No, I didn’t, did I?”

  He huffed an easy laugh. “All right, Anne.” In the dim light of the wall sconces, his lean face showed only mild concern. “If your lack of interest in the available submissives isn’t due to your breakup, then have your interests changed?”

  Changed. She rather despised that word. “Of course not.” Her eyes closed again. “The puppies just don’t seem particularly satisfying.” And some of them wanted more than she wanted to give.

  “I see. Perhaps a different type of submissive might suit you better.”

  Doubtful. She glanced at her watch. “I didn’t see you earlier. Did you just get here?”

  “I’m running late, yes. Jessica worked overtime and was overtired when she arrived home.”

  Oh, not good. Z’s wife was very, very pregnant. “Is she having problems?”

  “She’s fine. I gave her a backrub and tucked her in.” He shook his head. “She’s the only person I know who finds enjoyment in IRS forms.”

  Relieved, Anne relaxed. “Well, she is an accountant.” And due to deliver sometime in the next couple of weeks. Sooner would be good since Anne had picked a March date and “girl” in the Shadowlands’ betting pool.

  “Indeed. A less dangerous job than some…like picking up bail fugitives.” He regarded her. “Ben said you were hurting.”

  “Not so much at the moment.” Probably because she’d downed two pain pills an hour earlier. She lifted her glass and drained it. “Does your guard dog report everything?”

  He tilted his head. “Actually, he acted more like your guard dog. He was worried about you, Anne.”

  “Oh.” Why that should stop her brain for a second, she didn’t know. Then again, her brain wasn’t processing well. And the glass she held seemed exceedingly heavy.

  Z rose and plucked it from her fingers.

  “Hey.”

  To her surprise, he sat down beside her on the couch and tilted her head. “Look at me, please.”

  The command—that of a Dom—held a punch she could resist fairly easily. But his politeness? She couldn’t ever be rude to him. She met his gaze.

  He studied her for a minute. “What did you take?”

  “You’
re such a psychologist. I took a couple of pain pills. After I finished monitoring.”

  “Anne, I never doubted otherwise.” His easy agreement let her relax. “However, you’re in no shape to drive home.”

  “Not your decision.” Planning to push his hand away, she lifted her arm…and felt as if she was moving through Jell-O. “Oh hell. I hate when you’re right.”

  “It does get annoying, doesn’t it?”

  “Would you have someone call a taxi, please?”

  “No. But I will have someone drive you home…and escort you safely into your house.”

  She eyed him. “Jessica has to put up with your overprotectiveness. I don’t.”

  “Actually”—he turned her head to one side and examined the graze on her cheekbone— “this time you do.”

  * * * *

  Ben Haugen had been to Anne’s house before when he chauffeured her and her friends to a bachelorette party last winter. It was on the barrier island of Clearwater Beach and down a quiet cul-de-sac.

  As Ben walked around his car, he could see past Anne’s cottage-style house to the ocean beyond. How could she afford a beach house on a bounty hunter’s salary?

  When he opened the passenger door, the interior light showed she was still asleep in the tipped-back seat. She’d miscalculated the effect of alcohol on pain pills, Z had said. Ben had made that mistake a time or two.

  Her dark brown hair, which she’d worn braided back in a severe style, had come undone. The loose tendrils softened her aristocratic face. She wasn’t a small woman—maybe five-eight—but beautifully formed, with small breasts and a tight, rounded ass. A darkening bruise marred the sculpted beauty of her right cheekbone.

  God fucking dammit, he’d never seen anyone so beautiful.

  “Mistress Anne.” He unfastened her seatbelt. Hell, she wasn’t budging. With a grunt of exasperation, he checked the purse that Z had retrieved from her locker. Her house keys were clipped to the strap. “I hope you don’t have a dog, woman, or you’ll have a real bouncy ride.” He set the purse in her lap and plucked her off the seat.

 
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