“Let’s check it out,” said Cameron.
“I’m not allowed.” I raised my hand to let him know I had no intention of going anywhere near there.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he said, calling the lift. “You’re with me.”
The doors parted and we stared into an open elevator.
Cameron strolled on in and gestured for me to join him. “It’s safer. I don’t want to leave you up here alone.”
“What do you mean?”
“If someone did break in they may be up here now.”
I leaped in and with a push of a button we descended.
“Shouldn’t we call the police?” I said.
“They have a knack for spoiling all the fun.”
“Do you really think someone has broken in?”
“Will you explain this to Richard for me,” I said.
“I’m actually kind of intrigued.” I felt a jolt of excitement.
Tara had been right about the deep red walls. Soft lighting fell upon the five pieces of furniture, if you could call them that. More appropriately they were beautifully carved, dark stained contraptions. A table positioned in the middle had reams of fine silver chains hanging over it, reaching all the way to the floor. To its right stood a crisscrossed wooden panel with leather handcuffs on either side to stretch out the victim’s arms. Upon the wall hung an assortment of equipment, including paddles, whips, and blindfolds. A chest pushed up against the far wall hid what was probably more torturous accruements. I resisted the urge to take a peek.
What looked like a stock out of the Middle Ages was easily countered by the elegant throne, a velvet cushion before it. To its right hung an enormous steel cage, and farther along more contraptions rested on shelves: silver-link chains, ropes, blindfolds, gags, and what looked like a black pair of gloves with spiked fingertips.
This place set medieval devices against modern in the most startling way. No wonder Richard didn’t want me down here. He probably assumed I’d have bolted on my first day. Yet the soft scent of sandalwood and the womblike aura felt surprisingly calming. My lightheadedness muddled my brain. This risqué decor stirred feelings that had lain dormant, the thrill of delicious intrigue, a throb low in my belly that had no right to make me believe any of this was okay.
A door at the end of the room promised to lead off to more rooms of pain. There was no getting over this was a dangerous place to be in, and how anyone would voluntarily want to be strapped into any of these baffled me.
I turned to see Mistress Scarlet step out of the shadows. Her dominatrix outfit was a mixture of leather and latex. Her gothic-styled eyeliner and mascara highlighting her eyes, and her rouged lips, sharp cheekbones and hair worn back accentuated her commanding presence.
“Hi Scarlet,” I said, hoping that glare of hers wasn’t anger at me for being down here.
“Mia,” she said, tapping the whip in her other hand. “Cameron.”
There came an unsettling feeling she’d been waiting for us. I glanced back at the elevator, wishing I’d brought my cell. Richard might have texted back by now. Though the reception down here might be sketchy. We were way underground.
“We were concerned someone came down here.” Cameron arched an eyebrow.
Scarlet’s gaze slid over to me. “It’s just us.”
Cameron gestured. “Come here, Mia.”
I took the few, short steps toward him, though my gaze stayed on Scarlet, wondering about that whip.
“Come look at this,” he said. “Have you ever seen one of these?”
“What’s it for?” The ornately carved crisscrossed post felt smooth beneath my touch.
He placed his hand over mine. “Want to see?”
Cameron looked fierce. The change in him so surprised me I didn’t struggle when he took hold of my shoulders and eased me back against the bar.
“You stand here.” He titled his head. “Well, the client does.”
I almost lost my balance as he stretched out my left arm to the side. He used his weight to keep me there, his body pressed against mine as he secured my wrist inside a leather strap; tight. A thrill shot from my chest to my groin and I caught my breath. There came a waft of Cameron’s light cologne; a balmy scent stirring my senses.
“I don’t like it,” I lied, unsure of these sensations awakening in my chest and shooting downwards, reaching that place where he’d touched me not so long ago. My lips trembled as my gaze fell upon his mouth.
“You’re quite safe.” Cameron tugged the straps. “It’s good to have a feel for what our clients go through, right?” He secured my right wrist.
I resisted, though his strength overwhelmed mine. He tugged my wrist tight in its buckle.
A throb in my chest lulled me. Scared me. “Scarlet?” I looked to her.
She gave a nod of encouragement.
The elevator shuddered and the lift began its ascent.
“Let’s pretend she’s not here.” Cameron pulled a thicker strap across my waist, buckled and yanked it. “In most sessions it would only be us two.” He held his hand against my chest. “You’re breathing way too fast. I don’t want you to faint.”
Mouth dry and thirsting, I tried to slow it down. “I have to get back to work.”
“Thought you were finished for the day.” He reached for my shirt button and undid it. His fingers moving fast on the others.
I screamed and he stepped back and laughed. “Not the shirt then.”
“Not the shirt.”
“Screams echo down here,” he said. “We get that a lot.”
His hand returned to my chest, pressing against it, his body close, his gaze boring into my mine with a fierce intensity. “What are you feeling?”
My eyelids fluttered shut, my heart beat way too fast. This desire intensified an ache sending spasms low and deep inside; a building pleasure. My nipples pushed against my bra, the hardened buds betraying me through my blouse.
“Very good.” He leaned toward my ear and whispered, “That’s what this one’s for.”
Another thrill of excitement shot between my thighs and I hated the fact he could tell. His fingertip brushed along my right forearm, pressing beneath the crux of my arm, sending a shiver up my spine.
“Cameron.” I shuddered in response and twisted my wrists in their straps. “I can’t breathe.”
“Relax.” He caressed my bottom lip.
I nipped at his thumb, my tongue tracing the tip.
His eyelids became heavy, his teeth clenched, his jaw tensing. “You are exquisite.”
The elevator purred, getting louder, pulling his attention away for a second.
His dark stare found me again. “Has anyone ever told you that?”
He looked surprised. “Let me show you just how exquisite you are.”
Cameron pressed his lips against my mine, bruising them, opening my mouth with his, daring me, capturing me with ferociousness. His erection pressed against my belly, and the pleasure and pain it would bring became all too real. Unable to push him off, I had no choice but to surrender, opening my mouth and going with him, drowning in the lightheadedness caused by his embrace.
This man was way out of my league, and yet he was here with me, seducing me, his velvety tongue tangling with mine. He’d called me exquisite. Made be believe it. This dreamlike moment was an impossible fantasy. A slow, steady throb of pleasure built as my moan entered his mouth, my tongue battling his, lost in this craving.
He pulled back slightly and held my gaze. “How do you feel?”
“Nice,” I murmured, hating myself for saying it.
I gave a nod.
“Is your pussy nice and wet?”
I bit my lip, hard.
“Good girl.” He gave an impressed smile.
“Cameron,” snapped Richard.
I jolted back into the room.
Richard stood ten or so feet away, his face unreadable. Cameron glanced his way.
“Untie her,” said Richard.
“We were exploring.” Cameron found my gaze again. “Weren’t we, Mia?”
“Now,” said Richard.
Leaving me strapped in, Cameron stepped back. “Mia’s been a very naughty girl.”
“So I see,” said Richard.
Richard blinked through dark blond lashes. “You realize what it is I want to do to you?”
With the window closed, this room lacked the air we both needed so desperately. From the way his chest rose and fell he too must have felt short of breath.
He raised his chin in defiance. “Say it.”
“You want to dominate me.”
“Subjugate you.” He stepped closer. “Control you. Conquer you.” His left hand rested against my chest and he eased me back against the wall again and pressed hard. “Fuck you.”
He looked hesitant. “Mia, I have never taken on an untrained submissive.”
“What does that mean?”
“They’ve always come to me primed.”
“By who?” I sucked in my breath. “Cameron?”
Richard stepped closer and brushed a stray hair out of my eyes.
“I want it to be you,” I said softly.
“You deserve someone better than me.”
“Don’t I get a say?”
“Right up until the moment you agree to become my submissive. Then all choice is lost.” He narrowed his gaze. “You wouldn’t want that. Would you?”
My legs felt weak. I breathed a sigh of sadness when his hand fell once more to his side, threatening never to touch me again.
“You and I are miles apart,” he said.
“Are you trying to convince yourself? Or me?”
“What is our common ground?”
“You don’t think I’m good enough for you?” My voice broke with emotion. “Is that it?”
“Other way round.” He looked intently. “You are innocence incarnate.”
I broke his gaze, my heart aching with the thought I’d failed him, failed me.
My inner musing told me to stay strong, tell him want I really wanted, needed. Him, it had only ever been him.
My words flowed from an unfamiliar place. “I’m returning to the balcony. If you find the strength to face what we both know, that there’s real chemistry between us, join me. Ask me out on a date. I may even say yes.” I picked up his glass of wine and strolled off with it, leaving him standing there. I headed across the living room and out onto the balcony.
Facing the breeze, I let it wash over me, inhaling the freshest air. This place offered a new start. The promise of fulfillment close enough to touch…
If I dared to reach out to it.
After several minutes of savoring the view, I regretted my outburst, letting him know my true feelings. I downed the rest of the wine, taking pleasure from knowing his lips had brushed where mine were now on the glass. The softest sigh escaped me.
I turned around—
Richard leaned against the balcony doorjamb. “Start slow?” His alluring blue gaze burning fiercely into mine.
“Are you sure this is something you want?” he whispered. “I’m not good at compromise.”
“What do you have in mind?” he said.
“Chrysalis’s party tomorrow night. Let me go with you.”
He twisted his mouth as though mulling over it.
“Pick me up tomorrow at six,” I said.
Richard stepped onto the balcony. “You do realize I’m the dominant.” He towered over me, emphasizing his point. “An issue you would be wise not to forget.”
Damn, that turned me on.
I stretched out my arms to either side and clutched the handrail. “Your irises dilate when I push back.”
Don’t push back. Cameron warned he prefers malleable.
Could I be this woman? Could I fall at Richard’s feet and become his sex slave? What was I willing to give up in order to become his lover? His submissive.
I’d do anything.
He shifted closer. “What else do you see?”
“That you want this as much as I do.”
“Some things are inevitable.” His expression softened, his face now serene. “I have so much to show you.”
“I want that.”
“Mia.” He narrowed his gaze, his intensity returning. “Are you truly ready for such blinding pleasure?”
A flurry of what felt like butterflies burst out of my chest. Tingles of excitement caused me to shiver, and an exquisite ache in my belly settled low. In the deepest depths of my soul I felt ready for this, for him.
“It’s a good thing we’re not alone,” he said.
“Not that it matters,” I said. “I only ever see you.”
Richard’s frown dissolved and he ran his fingers through his golden locks.
“I’ll see you tomorrow then,” I whispered breathlessly, melting in the wake of his stunning smile.