So, your drinks may come with a bite ~ consider yourself warned.
As you all know, Ms. Joey has been very gracious to spend time at my Lair;
so, I thought it only fitting for me to return the favor and head over to her lair.
Well, that is where I thought I was headed.
Turns out, the directions she gave me lead me to Gideon's house.
(Jacob's older brother... from her Queen Vampire series)
Do you hear the fear in my voice?
That's just the nerves talking.
This man scares the beejeezes out of me!
But, I am a fearless hussy determined to get the scoop
- no matter the cost.
Attached to the directions Joey gave me was a little note:
Bring Bud and dress sexy...
Beer - check
Sexy Dress - check
Great, so I don’t even have to knock. But when the elevator doors open, there’s definite knocking – as in the wind is knocked right out of my lungs. This man is freaking amazing hot. Talk about drop a girl down to her knees and beg to taken. Damn.
He gives me the once over and I shiver from just his look. "Come in," he barks at me. His bed side manners need a little touching up, but the sheer force in his words sends another shiver down my spine.
I take a six pack of Budweiser from behind my back. Leverage. Ha!
**sending up a huge thank you to Joey for telling me to bring the beer**
- death my Gideon -
I was going to go happy.
He walks back into the living room and a smug look goes on that face... hummm... maybe I wore him down with the beer... Probably not! Oh well... On to my mission.
Gideon, I want to thank you for meeting with me.
Aaannnd I want to thank you for letting me peek inside the man that has intrigued for me two books now... and when I finally get to yours.. I can say four books. You have been an enigma to me.
He gives me another stare. “I’d still be an enigma, but Anwyn...she wants me to make sure you leave with what you want, and she expects me to be pretty creative about it. Course she said to tell you...” He looks toward the ceiling, brow creasing as if trying to recall word for word. “ ‘You take the choke collar off a Rottweiler, don’t expect him to behave like a poodle.’ Don’t know what the hell she means, but do you have a problem with that?”
**Did I just say that out loud...**
Can you tell us something about yourself that we might not know. We are just learning about you; however, the only facts I do know is that you are Jacob's older brother and that you are/were a vampire hunter. Who is Gideon, the man behind the leather jacket?
He twists off the beer top, takes a swig, keeping his eye on me the whole time. Or rather, traveling up my legs to the skirt that barely covers well, anything. Oddly, it’s not like he’s going to make a play for me. More like he’s figured I’ve worn the dress to have things noticed and he’s more than happy to oblige me.
“Why is it women always think there’s more? We’re not that complex, sweetheart. This is it. Mean, impatient and don’t-fuck-with-me attitude. Thanks for the beer, though. That was sweet.”
He considers me, cocking his head. “You didn’t come from the parking lot in that get up, did you? You make sure James or I escort you back to your car when we’re done here. If I was your boyfriend, I’d have to smack your pretty ass when you got home for not being more careful in an area like this. Anwyn runs a first rate club, but zoning laws made her put it in the middle of the worst area of the industrial district.” His face darkens and he takes another swig of beer. “Bad things can happen to a woman in an area like this. Anwyn knows that better than anyone.”
**Thoughts of a spanking given to me by Gideon was running very hot in my mind.**
**Wickedly delicious I might add...**
**Like you have never thought about it... Damn this man.**
Trying to regain some sense of what I was doing here, clearing my throat.. Gideon, what makes you tick?
He sits down on the other end of the couch. When he crooks a leg up on the sofa, he stretches denim over his thighs as he shrugs out of the coat, tossing it over the chair. He’s wearing a snug dark T-shirt under it that shows off muscular arms. Surprising me, he pulls off my shoes, putting them on the floor, and then slides the cold beer along the arch of one of my feet, making me yelp and pull it away. He gives me a grin.
"What makes you tick, honey? Or any of us? I’m here because Anwyn needs me. She had some trouble and now she’s a vampire. She didn’t ask for it.”
That shadow crosses his features again, and he rubs at his five o’clock shadow of stubble with the point of his wrist and leaned back, stretching his arm along the edge of the couch and dangling the beer off his knee with a loose hand. The inside of his leg near the knee is brushing my foot. “Since I was eighteen years old my life’s been about killing vampires before they can kill humans. Unfortunately, I’m usually too late to do anything but handle the mop up and prevent additional deaths. Now she’s one of them, and half the time I think I’ve lost my fucking mind, staying here in a no-win situation.”
Brooding now, he looks down at the beer and my feet. He’s staring right at my ass, but I get the feeling that’s just to occupy his eyes, because his mind is somewhere else.
“But the night before it happened, we were together. She told me to get out, because I wasn’t particularly nice. If I hadn’t left...maybe she would have been okay. I knew her before, see? Like I said, she didn’t ask for this.”
**Trying to switch gears here... I did not come here to bring him down, shit.**
**Other clearing of my throat...**
“Fucking political correctness.” He sneers. “If something kills human beings to live, they’re a murderer. I don’t care if they can’t survive without having one person’s life blood every year. They can do what they got to do, but I’ve got to do what I have to do. If I catch them, I kill them. I’m not concerned about their feelings or whether they watch Oprah, or if they wear fucking Prada shoes and love to watch Dancing with the Stars. Jesus.” He gives a short, bitter laugh and shakes his head. “I’m scaring you, sweetheart, and Anwyn will chew on my ass if I do that. Women. Christ. Change the topic, let’s talk about something different.”
**Where were these words coming from! Damn I was brave woman and I didn't even know it!**
**Can't kill a girl for trying huh...**
That changes his expression for sure. He glances around the apartment, and for the first time I notice a beautiful silk robe with a red rose and gold dragon print draped loosely over a chair, half on the floor as if whoever had been wearing it had had it pushed off her shoulders. Maybe so this man could push her against the chair and kiss her, hold her naked body against his fully clothed one. Or, knowing that Anwyn is a Mistress, maybe she’d had this scary, gruff man kneel in front of her, commanded him to untie the robe and spread it open and then place his lips on her skin, just below her navel and above other smooth, silky areas, giving him a taste of near-Heaven, but not permitting his mouth or tongue to go there all the way. Maybe not until I gave a good report on his behavior... **holy shit**
As if he can tell what I’m thinking, he gives me a considering look and now it’s a bit wary, as if he’s not sure he wants to say what he’s going to say. “What makes me hot and bothered is a woman who smells like salvation and sin at once. Who knows how to bring out the need in a man to grab for both, so that he’ll do whatever it takes for her to offer them to him. It’s a bitch. You end up fighting yourself, you know, because you go down a path that’s like jagged glass on bare feet. The pain feels good, deserved in a way. Though you don’t think you can bear another moment, you keep going anyway. Because you know what she has for you is worth it.”
**This man's words are like poetry to my ears and like ecstasy to my nerves**
**Yea, I was going to die of Death by Gideon**
**Train of thought where did you go... Come here damnit.. Okay...**
Gideon, why don't you tell me what kind of woman can do those things to you?
Now there’s a rueful tug at the corner of his sexy mouth. “I think you know the answer to that one, sweetheart. It’s not ‘the kind of woman’ who can do it for me. That type of woman, she’s one of a kind. And I guess because of what I am to her, how we’re connected...” His nostrils flare as he looks back toward that pile of silken fabric. “I can still take in her scent as if she’s standing there. Every perfume or soap, the shampoo she uses, the oils and lotions she puts on her skin... The lingering smell of her arousal, which made her so damn slippery before she left I could almost taste it without her letting me have my mouth on it. Anwyn. She does those things to me.” He paused, stared at me. “She can make me beg, and no one does that. It’s damned irritating.”
So, if you had to take me on a date, what would we do?
He gives me a thorough, lazy look, and now that intensity eases, such that he gives me a bit of an easier grin. “In that dress, honey, the only thing I’d be doing would be you. Right here, up against a wall, about two seconds after you walked through the door, until you were screaming and clawing at my back, begging to come.” He shrugs, takes another sip of the beer.
“But after that, I like ice cream. You like ice cream? There’s a place at the park that sells it. I kind of like the cart type with the guy in the little white suit. Don’t see those any more, but I have some fond memories of it. Get some ice cream, sit ourselves down under a tree. Might be good to have you sitting between my knees and I’d share the ice cream with you, pass it back and forth and maybe taste it on your mouth. Think butter pecan would taste real good with that butterscotch lip gloss you’re wearing.” Leaning forward, he inhales, his vibrant blue eyes pretty darn close. “That is the flavor you’re wearing, right? Mind if I take a small taste?”
**I will not stutter, I will not stutter, breathe in, breathe out... **
**That does not help cuz I smell him**
**I am not stupid, I know the rules here and besides she would kick my ass**
He leans in, giving me a look of pure deviltry. “We wouldn’t want her to think she has me completely housebroken, would we? She likes it when I don’t behave. Gives her the excuse to do all sorts of things.” He takes a small taste, an easy nuzzle of the lips against mine, the hint of a tongue teasing the seam, then he sits back, nodding. “Butterscotch.”
I read a little of the excerpt of your book and I was left begging for more. Broken furniture and a determined man. Can you tell us about your experience at the BDSM Night Club?
He shifts uncomfortably and his response sounds vague, evasive to me. “Well, it’s not really my kind of place. I was coming here looking for something in particular. It really wasn’t what you think about when you think of these places. Anwyn was something special, different, and somehow I just knew she was here. Kind of like a feeling, an intuition, when you know you’re supposed to be somewhere at a particular time, if that makes sense.” His leg starts twitching, an agitated bounce, a very physical man feeling hemmed in.
Are you more of a dom or sub?
“Neither. I don’t have much of a life to be looking into those kind of things.” He shifts uncomfortably then scowls, as if someone is talking to him. “She says I’m not being honest. Damn vampire. Let them in your head and they’re a pain in the ass for all eternity. I’ll stake her myself before it’s all over.” He sighs.
“Okay, yeah, for the past year or so, I’ve been stopping at different clubs when they’re convenient to my work. And yeah, I’ve been seeking out the Mistresses. But I’m not some pussy-whipped loser looking for a Mommy to spank him, got that?” He points a finger at me with a ferocious expression, tilting the beer in my direction. “It’s just, there was this time, long time ago, when I had a night with someone like that. And it stuck with me, the way it made me feel. At peace, all the voices in my head quiet. I was looking for that again, not to be tied up and whipped and have something stuck in my ass.”
**Visions of Gideon being tied up in front of me are dancing through my head....**
**Or is it me tied up for him.**
**Damn this freaking man to hell**
**I hope to hell he can NOT read my mind!**
So, you like some kink huh? What kind of kink you into....
He snarls, no other word for it, but then he closes his eyes, appears to count to ten before he responds. “Damn, girl, you don’t know when to quit, do you? If I was your boyfriend or husband, I wouldn’t let you out of the house. You’d give me gray hairs. But I think all you women are like that, flying in the face of a pissed off grizzly bear, thinking a sexy dress will keep him from eating you alive.”
**My mind is so far in the gutter right now, a tow truck couldn't get me out if it wanted too**
He sets the beer down with a determined thump and suddenly leans over me, his chest pressing into the point of my hip where I’m curled up across from him. One very large hand closes over my throat, heated and oddly gentle despite his words, but the strength in the callused palm is obvious. He could snap a woman’s neck with little effort, which makes the gentleness of his grip that much more unnerving. His eyes come very close to mine.
Thinking of what he said about Anwyn’s scent, I’m very aware of his. That lingering perfume is on his mouth, where he kissed her flesh, but there’s a smell of gun oil, leather and a faint flavor of his favorite beer, a very masculine and unnerving combination.
“What kind of kink am I into? The kind where I put a woman who doesn’t have the sense to keep herself safe over my knee and give her a sound whipping until she’s begging me to stop, and she’s hot and wet because she responds to that in a man, a man who will do anything to keep her safe. The kind of kink where I put her under me then, and ram my cock into her, until she’s screaming out her climax and promising she’ll never do anything to risk herself again, to scare the life out of me, that she knows she’s mine and knows I can’t bear to lose her again...”
**Okay, visions of allllll kind of things are running through my freaking mind now.**
**Can he read my thoughts?**
** I must be as red as blood right now.**
**Shit shit shit shit**
Letting out an expressive oath, he suddenly lets go of me and bolts up from the couch. Striding a few feet away, he takes a deep breath. He hit the edge of the coffee table when he moved so abruptly, and the nearly empty beer had toppled, fortunately not breaking but landing on the rug, spilling the last few drops. He ignores it.
“I’m sorry,” he says at last, keeping his back to me. His broad shoulders flex as he clenches his fists. “I told her I was no good at this, but she seemed to think it was good for me to talk to you. I don’t know why she asks me to do half the things she does.” He gives a half laugh then, that bitter sound.
“She just corrected me. Said she didn’t ask me. She told me to do it.” His expression softened then, just a tad, and I wonder if Anwyn said something more comforting, easier, something that might soothe some of the pain it’s obvious he’s carrying. He turns then, looks at me. “Okay, I can tell you think you shouldn’t ask me anything more, but I’m not a damn coward, and I can do this. Ask your other questions.”
A brave man you are indeed Gideon, brave and proud. **And absolutely freaking sexy as shit, so I do keep some some stuff to myself**
Since I only got a taste.... What makes BDSM work for you?
He comes back to the couch and surprises me by taking a slow, deliberate knee in front of me, so we’re about eye to eye
“This,” he says. “The way your eyes got wide and intrigued when a man went to his knees in front of you. The way you wondered just what you could make me do, and it got you hot, thinking about it. It tells me that I know I can give you pleasure, that I can maybe take us both somewhere else for awhile, away from whatever bugs the shit out of us, because everybody has something that does.” He paused, considering.
“BDSM doesn’t do that for me, though. She does.”
Have you done anything that has made you say, "WTF am I doing?"
He rolls his eyes. “Only every single fucking thing I’ve done since I walked through the doors of this club, since I never should have walked in.” He pauses then, a look of regret on his face. “No, I didn’t mean it like that. Shit. Now she’s pissed and she’s closed down.” He gets up, stomps off to the kitchen for another beer. “Sorry, did you want something? I didn’t even offer you anything. I’m not very good at this. Hell, most of the time in the past few years I’ve been staying at hotel dives where you don’t invite someone in who knocks on your door. You shoot them through the cheap plywood. So, want anything?”
**so I will deal with the best next thing if I can't have my SoCo**
Your mannerism is very unlike anyone I have come across Gideon. It is kinda refreshing to see a man be a man. I'll take SoCo with ice please.
And I have one more questions for you.. I am sure you are familiar with Joey's Mermaid series... If I was being courted by you or one of the men from the Mermaid series... Who would win me over and how??
Gideon snorts and brings me my drink. “Those angels and their damn wings. A girl sees a guy in a short skirt who can fly and the rest of us don’t have a chance.” He cocks his head though, considering me.
“If that merangel Alexis didn’t have his heart wrapped up and tied in a neat little bow, I think Dante would be the one who would turn your head. You’ve got too much of a fascination for the dangerous, brooding ones. With that half Dark One and half vampire blood, he makes me look like Mr. Fucking Rogers when it comes to brooding.”
He smiles then, and this time it’s just plain humor, a lighter expression that makes the tension in the room dissipate. “He’s an artistic type, so he’d probably take you to some forest grove with lots of wildflowers, the kind of place you’d imagine fairies dancing. He’d talk you into sliding off your clothes and lying on the grass naked, and then he’d paint all sorts of things along your soft skin, make you part of that wild garden. Tiny blue flowers, long stemmed grasses.” Gideon approaches me but this time he stands over me, studying my body. Reaching down, he slowly slides the strap of the dress off my shoulder, down, down, until he exposes the top curve of my breast. His finger passes over it, considering.
“For the finishing touch, he’d draw a fairy right here, a small male prince, leaning down, bracing a hand on this ripe curve to plant a kiss right on your flesh.” Gideon withdraws his touch, straightening. “And then you’d be all his. Dante’s.” He gives me a quick smile. “All I could offer you is ice cream in the park, sweetheart. That’s all I’ve got in my bag of tricks.”
You know sweetheart, sometimes all it takes is ice cream. The rest is up to you after the ice cream is gone. Wings can only take you so far. **Oh, I know how to play the game too**
His eyes warm with appreciation, almost as if he’d heard the thought I’d tacked at the end of that. He tips a new bottle of beer to clink in companionable agreement against my glass, managing to brush the condensation on the bottle against the point of my wrist, a harmless tease, showing we were more relaxed again.
Gideon, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to me. It means more than you know. **evil glean in eyes and wicked smile on my face** It has been my pleasure getting to know you and I look forward to reading about your journeys into the Vampire Series.
“Well, one of us should enjoy it. I have a feeling it’s going to be the rocky road to Hell and back for me.” He speaks dryly, but offers me a hand to help me off the couch. “Let me walk you out to the parking lot, see you safely to your car. Though I expect Anwyn will want to meet you face to face before you leave so she can make sure I didn’t give you too much shit.” He winces then. “She’s fussing at me about my language around you. Says if I don’t watch my mouth, she’ll give you a tour of the club and demonstrate how all the equipment works...using me.” Seeing my expression, he rolls his eyes. “Yeah, I’m in trouble now. Let’s head up and go find her. And pretend you’re not a woman for a moment or two – be merciful, for Christ’s sake.”
Quote from Gideon/Vampire Mistress to put next to the book:
“What will you do to me, if I let you tie me up?” As he asked the question, his pulse was up again, Anwyn noted. The fingers were clenching, but from the very question, she knew his mind was circling around the temptation of it, his need to surrender. It made it harder to keep her voice steady. “Whatever I want. Your choice is to trust me, even if you’ve never trusted anyone in your life.” “Why should I do that?” The truth was there, but she almost hated to say it. The look in his eyes would break a Goddess’s heart, let alone a mortal woman who found him too irresistible to be safe. “Because you have nothing left to lose.”
Gideon Green is a hardcore vampire hunter. But in the past year, his only family, his little brother, became a vampire queen’s servant – and then a vampire himself, giving Gideon a different view of the vampire world. Since Gideon’s sole purpose for over a decade has been killing vampires, the violence that has scarred his soul now haunts his conscience.Then he crosses paths with a sexy BDSM night club owner, Mistress Anwyn. Their connection is immediate and intense, but she has a silent partner--the vampire Daegan Rei. When Anwyn is viciously attacked and turned by a rogue vampire, Gideon and Daegan join to protect her through a dangerous transition. As the bonds between the three of them draw tighter, Gideon faces an unbelievable truth...that the path to meaning in his life may be found in surrendering to the desires and needs of two vampires.
© Copyright 2009-2010 - All Rights Reserved
Anwyn stood in the security room, her eyes trained on the surveillance screen for the Queen’s Chamber. With the high canopy bed, lush draperies, and polished restraint systems, it was one of her favorite rooms. The stainless steel and gleaming wood instruments of pleasure and torture had been rendered by quality craftspeople. She’d spent a lot of time designing it, her own private fantasy room in a club dedicated to fantasy. In some ways, she considered it hers, though she took very few sessions herself anymore.
Running any business consumed a great deal of time, and Club Atlantis more than most. An exclusive BDSM club, Atlantis dared to cater to the most extreme players, the ones who wanted to step boldly over the lines and fully immerse themselves in a world few understood, even those who played at less strenuous levels. Knowing diversity was key to business success, Anwyn had an upper level for those softer lifestyle people, as well as the dabblers and thrill seekers. This was the underground level, its geography enhancing the psychological impact of what it was about. The deep core zone.
Though everything that occurred in Atlantis was legal in the ways that mattered, they had the same philosophy as an illegal business. The people who came here paid a high price for the painful pleasures they sought, and therefore they weren’t interested in lawyers and liability suits. It made it easier to meet those needs.
Down here, people were fully dedicated to hardcore Domination and submission. They understood that consensual was a term used by the politically correct. They wanted to lose themselves in their craving need to dominate or be dominated, and for those purposes, choice was often a disruption to the fantasy. Because that was a line that required careful straddling to make sure everyone stayed safe, her largest cost was well-trained security outside each playroom door, and video surveillance of what was happening inside. The eyes she paid to watch those screens never wavered, her staff making a play by play judgment as to where the line was. A private ambulance and an on-staff medical team were ready to help those who needed it.
At this level, it was about a desired, if temporary, reality, and she was committed to giving it to her clients. However, since many personalities were incapable of handling what they thought they wanted, the vetting process for this level was strict. She herself personally approved or rejected all applications after viewing video tape of the entry interviews. Which was why she was sure none of her staff understood why she’d approved Jon Smith. He had every warning flag that resulted in a rejected application.
He was aggressive. Passive, active, and every spot on the spectrum in between. He was a tiger trapped in a small cage, almost mad with confinement, though only he could see the bars. In his interview, he couldn’t define what he wanted, but he had an obvious, burning need for what they were offering. He’d given the name “Jon Smith” with an insolent sneer, daring them to challenge it, even producing a driver’s license that backed it up, but that didn’t mean she believed his lying ass for a minute.
He was 120% trouble. She’d known it the first time he’d darkened the club’s doors in a battered leather jacket, scuffed boots and faded jeans, those midnight blue eyes vibrant with a breathtaking energy and passion. Because she knew only one other with eyes that piercing, she’d taken a second look to be sure their new guest was a mortal. He was, through and through. The badly cut dark hair that fell to his shoulders tempted touch, enhancing the fact he was all wild animal, fierce and beautiful and scarred. Most people dressed up for their sessions in some way. He’d come as he was, she was sure of that. Probably his only adjustment was leaving behind whatever weapons he’d been packing, because that was one rule the club never bent. There were weapons here, for controlled use, but that was it. Only the highest level of her security team, most of whom were ex-military, ever carried.
He was so overwhelmingly alpha she’d wondered—and still did—if he might need a Master’s hand in addition to a Mistress’s. But during the entrance interview, he’d reacted to that as if the interviewer had threatened his testicles with pruning shears.
“No, I do not want to be ass-fucked by a man.” He’d surged out of the chair and loomed over Madelyn, who was fortunately one of her more unflappable Mistresses. “Do I look like a faggot to you?”
It was a kneejerk hetero reaction, and one Anwyn quickly dismissed. People in the vanilla world were so caught up in their categories and labels. What people needed inside these walls had little to do with their sexual orientation, politics or gender. They needed to be stripped down to their souls, in order to find the lost treasure of themselves again. That was why she’d named her club Atlantis. That, and because it had lingered in her own childhood memories, a young girl who read the legends of the enlightened city, trying to find her own answers.
Of course his violent reaction was another reason his ass should have been booted out of here. She’d watched his taped interview, read his terse, uncommunicative responses. James Watts, the head of her security team, said flatly he was a risk, that he wouldn’t recommend his admission. Instead, following her intuition, Anwyn approved his temporary pass and met with her more experienced Mistresses, several of whom agreed to take the plunge.
In his first session, he wouldn’t be bound, but he was okay with pain. He kept goading Madelyn, his assigned Mistress, asking for higher and higher levels, and as he did, he’d get more worked up. He never moved to hurt Madelyn, but when his frustration level got too high, he destroyed furniture, equipment, got verbally abusive. Then, contemptuously, as if paying a whore, he’d thrown down a wad of cash for the repairs and stormed out.
But he came back. He’d seemed a little surprised that he’d been let back in, and Anwyn had felt her staff’s speculative glances when she made the decision. During that visit, she’d ordered a camera trained on him, so that later that night she could watch it. Alone. From beginning to end.
He’d sat at the bar, watched the public play, but hadn’t tried for another private session that time. There’d been a female slave bound for a flogging, and the few times his eyes strayed toward her, his gaze would just as quickly slide away. Anwyn had a trained ear for the begging note in a cry of pain, a clue to building desire and pleasure, so she knew the woman was receiving what she wanted. Though he apparently recognized it enough not to interfere, his shoulders had hunched, as if he found it difficult to bear the woman’s cries.
In contrast, he’d watch the play involving a Mistress without flinching. When a scourge landed on a bare male back or buttock, leaving red welts, his fingers would tighten on his glass. Even through the screen, Anwyn felt his yearning, a gas fire that threatened to consume. It was too similar to what she knew and remembered, and she felt oddly stripped as she looked into his face and saw how lost he truly was, this feral creature who’d come to her door, not sure if he wanted to beg for a bowl of scraps or break in and take whatever he wanted.
His next private session had gone no better than the first. Tara was strong, tall, an almost masculine woman. He’d hated her, with a viciousness that had almost come to blows when she’d tried to force him to his knees. Tara’s MO was that she got physical with her clients, and she was trained for it, a former MP and karate blackbelt. Madelyn had tried mockery, Tara brute force, and he’d responded to neither.
So tonight, Anwyn had sent in her best psychological Mistress, Chantal. She’d tried clever manipulation and head games to break him down, and now Anwyn was looking at a destroyed dresser, a shattered mirror. The rich hangings on the bed had been ripped down, shredded. Their problem child sat on the bed, his head in his hands. He hadn’t moved since Chantal had gone to the door, dropped her persona and told him in an even tone that the club didn’t have what he was seeking. She’d made the private signal to the camera that she was done with the session, no intention of returning after he had a cooling-off period.
“He’s a loss, Anwyn.” James had come in behind her and now leaned against the wall, his well-developed arms crossed and brow furrowed, the intent gray eyes as focused as she’d expect from a man who’d spent twenty years working with the DEA. “You’ve got the best instincts I’ve seen, but I think you’re off on this one. He’s not a psychopath, but he’s too close to it. Too damaged. Completely unpredictable. We need to cut him loose. He’s going to hurt someone.”
“I agree with your assessment. But I want to try one more thing.” Leaning over, she pressed the button to reach the security guard posted outside the Queen’s Chamber.
“Engage the locks on the door, Alan. I want Mr. Smith to know he’s not free to leave.”
She straightened, glanced at James. “I’m going to take over this session.”
His jaw tightened. “I could send in three men to secure him. Maybe that’s what he wants. You know we’ve had clients before who want the forced binding.”
“Yes, but not him. If we go that route, I think we will push him over that dangerous edge you’re concerned about.” She studied Smith’s broad shoulders, the scarred hands clenched at his neck. “He’s all beast, James. A male will be a threat to him, only make things worse. He’s seeking a woman’s touch, but he’s looking for a specific woman. One he knows he shouldn’t have, shouldn’t want, but with every wrong woman we’ve sent him, his need has only gotten sharper, his self-damnation deeper. The goal is surrender, James.”
“To what? Or whom?”
“The only opponent he’s been fighting all along. Himself. I’m going to clear the ring so he can go hand-to-hand with himself. Then maybe he’ll let go.”
James gave her an arch look. “I have absolutely no idea what that means.”
“I know.” She smiled at him. “It’s a lot like watching the Dog Whisperer. Cesar can’t always explain what he’s doing. He just knows, because he feels what the dog feels. That’s something most people don’t get.” Though she kept the smile on her face, she knew James was sharp enough to see there was no humor behind it. “In order to understand a creature’s pain, you have to step inside him, see through his eyes. And be strong enough not to feel sorry for him, teach him how to be a dog again. Live in the moment, because this moment is all there is.”
“I didn’t realize Cesar was Zen,” James muttered.
“All good trainers are, James.” She laughed. “Feed that link to my private changing area, please. I want to watch him while I get ready.”
“Speaking of animals, you’ve had another alley cat show up. She looks pregnant. I think they’re spreading the word that you’re handing scraps out the kitchen door on the graveyard shift.”
“You can stop sounding so disapproving. I know you do it, too.” She gave him an absent smile. “We’ll have to catch her, get her spayed. Maybe she’ll be more tameable than the others so far.”
“If anyone can do it, it would be you. Just be careful,” he advised, nodding toward the screen, telling her he was referencing Gideon, not her assortment of alley cats. “I know who will have my ass if someone hurts you. As scary as this son of a bitch is”—he dropped his voice so only she could hear him—“I’d rather deal with ten of him than a tenth of Daegan.”
James, you don’t know the half of it. “I run this club,” she said crisply, snapping his spine straight at the reminder of who paid his check. “If I get hurt, he will take that up with me.”
The security chief held his tongue until she’d left the room, but then he grimaced, attracting a curious look from the two security techs monitoring the screens. “Yeah, right,” he muttered. If something happened to the remarkable Mistress Anwyn Inara Naime, Daegan Rei would make everyone within these walls responsible. There’d be hell to pay.
James returned his attention to the Queen’s Chamber. You hurt her, buddy, your personal demons will look like Disneyland characters next to what will come after you. You better hope she’s right.
* * * * *
Okay, so maybe this time he’d really pissed someone off. They probably wanted him to stew until some stuffy club owner in a suit gave him a strong talking-to about his bad behavior. Delivered the official word that they didn’t want him here again or they’d call the cops. Or hell, maybe they’d actually called the cops. Somehow Gideon doubted this place handled its problems with official law enforcement, though. Most of their security team looked like Rangers or SEALs.
He wasn’t particularly concerned by a locked door, but the fact he wanted to leave and it was locked irritated him. That irritation continued to grow. He knew he was under video surveillance, so he’d prowled about some, kicked a prissy-looking vanity stool across the floor so that it made a satisfying dent in the velvet wallpaper. Queen’s Chamber. He hadn’t seen a queen grace it with her presence yet. Maybe some ladies-in-waiting. Pretentious bullshit, but he’d liked the room. That’s why he’d destroyed it.
“All right,” he snapped. “I get it. You want me to leave and not come back. I don’t need your lectures. You know I have the money to cover it. Just let me the hell out of here and I’ll go. Throw a bottle of Jack on the tab.”
Another long, ten minute silence. Fuck it. He was going to take down the door. He’d had enough.
Just as he was determining which of his picks he was going to use, or if it might be just as satisfying to rip it off its fucking hinges, the locks snicked back, and the doorknob turned. When the door swung inward, he curled a lip, ready to leap and snarl at whatever inferior being came through it.
Instead, he went still.
Though he’d scoffed at their efforts, he’d recognized that the three Mistresses they’d sent had been formidable in certain ways. The first, the one who’d conducted his application interview, had been older, stout and more experienced, with a superior rack. Beautiful, full tits just begging for a man’s adoration. Then there’d been the Amazon with the martial arts moves, kind of a tall and better cut Lara Croft. Today’s contender had had that slim, upright look of a spinster schoolteacher.
This one…she wasn’t formidable at all. Not physically, but what she did bring into the room preceded her by about ten feet, and packed a punch.
Maybe about five-six. A little on the slim side, but a body that wouldn’t quit, C curves and an ass that would fill out a pair of jeans in a way that would make even a non-vampire crave to bite. Only instead of such casual attire, she wore painted-on latex black pants and stiletto heels she worked like a pro. He’d expected some equally intimidating corset, so that she was tight and armored from neck to toe. Instead, she wore a lace camisole, one that gathered on her hips and gave the outfit a casual, sexy look. Her slim throat displayed an onyx choker with an earth goddess pendant on it, and her hair, a sable brown, was loose on her shoulders, shining waves that coaxed a man’s fingertips.
It was an unsettling mix of Mistress and sub, vanilla next-door girl and experienced woman. Hard to pin down. He’d never seen her before, because he was sure as hell certain he’d have remembered her. Maybe even asked for her, when he’d asked for nothing else. He’d basically said “figure out what I want or go fuck yourselves”. He’d been kind of surprised they’d accepted his membership, and suddenly he realized they’d never stopped auditioning him. This was who’d been evaluating him, the guy who couldn’t tell them what he wanted because he didn’t know himself.
When her gaze came to him, he was pinned by killer blue-green eyes that should have belonged to a mermaid. They were framed by brown lashes, and underscored by a soft, small mouth that was an unbelievable tender pink, frosted with a light gloss.
Though he was unbalanced, he wasn’t fooled by such fragility. This woman ran the show.
“Your real first name, Mr. Smith. Your given name. I don’t care about your last name.”
He’d heard of women who purred, or who had a touch of velvet in their tones, a practiced art. But he realized he was wrong when he thought the way she walked in the stilettos and wore the latex was professional, learned. Her sexuality was innate. There was a rasp to the voice, a husky pleasure just in the speaking, that touched him as if she’d run fingertips up his bare spine while he was strapped to a whipping post, unable to do more than strain toward her.
Holy hell, where had that thought come from?
She moved into the room, sliding a shard of wood gracefully out of her way with her foot. The stilettos were boots, laced with scarlet ribbon, crisscrossed on metal hooks that stopped just above her ankle. Tiny charms clinked together at the ends of the laces as she moved. “Please pick the broken dresser up and set it against the wall. Then I would like you there.”
She nodded toward a prayer bench in the corner, set before a tranquil fountain and stained glass depiction of a male angel. Back lights drew the eye to the blue of the angel’s robes, the silver of his sword and wings, the darkness of his hair.
“I’m still waiting on your name, Mr. Smith.”
“Why should I do anything you ask? What makes you so different from the others?”
Of course he knew, but he wanted her to prove it. Was afraid she would.
She considered him. He knew body language. If she was daunted at all, if there was any tension to her, it was faint, and it wasn’t anxiety. It was the irresistible drug of female arousal. He knew the really good ones were into what they did, even in a place where you paid for it, but some part of them stayed detached, that invisible line between client and proprietor, strangers.
She wasn’t detached at all. That beast that had been raging in him, that he’d carelessly unleashed towards the others, made him fear for her now. Because the beast wanted her. It hadn’t wanted the others. That soft hair alone was taunting him closer.
As if she knew his thoughts, she tossed it over her shoulder in a smooth, elegant move, a faint smile coming to her lips as his eyes followed it. “You should do it because I did not ask you to do anything. And because you’re not a coward.”
Unlike the last Mistress, she wasn’t trying to goad him. Her voice remained smooth, thoughtful, not derisive. She kept her gaze on him, her expression serious. “You’re here for what I have to offer. So let’s proceed. Tell me your name, and go to the bench, please.”
“Trey,” he said. Her expression did not change, the eyes didn’t even flicker, but he swore he felt the ocean of the blue-green color close over his head for a moment, the slither of a feathery tail as the mermaid swam past, leaving him behind.
Turning, she moved back toward the door. “You may stop at the accounts office to pay for the damages. I wish you a good night.”
She didn’t hesitate, didn’t slow down. If it was a game, she was damn good at it, and usually so was he. When she reached the door, he didn’t even have the extra moment her turning the latch would afford him, because the same security guard who’d opened the door for her did it from the outside now, not only confirming the interior surveillance, but the fact this was a woman who didn’t have to touch doorknobs. Not if there was a breathing male within fifty feet.
“Gideon,” he snarled.
She didn’t stop. In a blink, she was gone, the door closing on well-oiled hinges behind her. Gideon stared at the door, his hands closing into useless fists at his sides. Hell, he shouldn’t be here, shouldn’t be doing this. She’d been right to leave. Vaguely, he knew he’d paid them for the right to be here, that he should be pissed, but he understood this place better than he would have at one time. This underground level wasn’t about memberships and having your ass kissed.
Then he realized something. The door was closed. They left it open after a session’s completion. At this point, the security guard would have put his carefully blank face back in and told him how many minutes he had before his ass was expected to be out of there. Instead, he heard the locks snick in place again.
Something loosened in his chest and tightened even lower.