I do what I want and who I want. I don’t follow anyone’s rules—even my own.
I knew I shouldn’t touch her, but it didn’t stop me.
Didn’t stop me the second time either. Only made me want a third.
My lifestyle suits the savage I am, and she doesn’t.
But Temperance Ransom is my newest addiction, and I’m nowhere near ready to quit her yet.
I’ll have her my way, even if it means dragging her into the darkness.
Hopefully it doesn’t kill us both.
Why is he wearing a mask?
Instinctively, I take a step back as the heavy door swings open, revealing the rest of the doorman’s tall body and the other half of the ornate red-and-black leather mask obscuring his face.
It’s not Mardi Gras season anymore, and this antebellum mansion is dozens of miles away from Bourbon Street, where spirits are high and revelry is in full swing, no matter the time of year.
Louisiana, you’re beautiful, but you’re also creepy as hell at night sometimes.
The doorman gestures for me to enter, and I hesitate on the threshold for one final beat, clutching my bag to my side before stepping through the archway. He closes the massive wooden door behind me with a decisive thud and throws a long bolt.
I’m locked in. What did I get myself into?
Chills skate over my skin, and my blazer does little to stop the shiver working through me.
This is not a haunted house. Or a dungeon. It’s a potential customer. I tell my overactive imagination to calm down but blood pounds in my ears, competing with the slow, rhythmic, and visceral beat of the bass coming from somewhere inside.
The sprawling plantation house reminds me of something out of a movie, especially with its massive trees dangling their moss over the banks of the bayou. Mansions and their expensive everything make me more nervous than the gators lurking in that murky water.
My senses shift into high gear as I scan the polished wooden planks of the floor, covered by thick rugs that probably cost more than I make in a year. The muted glow of gaslight sconces adds to the otherworldly feel—at complete odds with the throbbing beat of the club music.
For the dozenth time, I wish I did more research before I showed up for this meeting, but I’ve been so busy, I can barely manage to shovel three bites of food into my mouth for lunch.
It’s worth it, I remind myself. I have a respectable job now. There’s no mud on the bottom of my shoes to track inside these days.
Even though I know I’m in the right place, my polished designer knock-off pumps itch to beat a path to the door and out to my car . . . except it’s not there, because the overly efficient valet drove it away before the front door even opened.
I swallow back a lump of unease but straighten my shoulders and turn my attention to the doorman, who seems to be waiting for me to compose myself.
When I meet his hooded stare, he doesn’t speak. I hold out the note that showed up on my desk at Seven Sinners. He takes it from me and glances at the printed text, but still says nothing.
“I’m supposed to meet someone?” I hate that my voice sounds like I’m asking a question rather than making a statement. I shake off the unease and find my assertive tone. “I’m here to meet someone for a business discussion. Can you please direct me to the office?”
The doorman gestures to the opulent staircase before me with the card before offering it back.
My sweaty palms leave smudges on the edges as I snatch it from his grip. I should have known from that fancy cream linen paper that this wouldn’t be like the normal bars and clubs I’ve visited to hawk Seven Sinners Whiskey.
“Thank you.” I give him a nod, and once again get zero verbal response. This place is bizarre. Time to get in and get out.
Attempting to look unaffected, I stride toward the red-and-gold runner climbing up the stairs.
I’m just here to sell whiskey. All the whiskey.
The treads beneath the soles of my shoes vibrate more with each step I take. As I round the curve of the staircase, I find another masked man waiting for me at the top.
I offer him my invitation and stare over his shoulder at the light spilling out from beneath a set of closed double doors.
There. That has to be the club. See, nothing different about this place after all.
Except there is, and I don’t know if it’s my overactive imagination, but I swear I can smell sex in the air. Images of all the things that can possibly be happening behind those doors assail my brain. I force my attention back to the man for direction.
He jerks his head to the side and starts down a wide gold-and-white-striped corridor, away from the doors. He pauses at the corner as though waiting for me to follow him, and I uproot my feet from the floor and stumble forward to catch up with my bag smacking my hip. Instead of leading me farther down the corridor, he steps out of the way to reveal another set of curving stairs and points upward.
Seriously? I thought this was a business meeting, not punishment for missing my date with the gym for the last six months.
My arches cramp in protest as I smooth down my skirt, reset my bag, and climb to the top, but at least this discomfort takes my mind off the peculiar feel of this place.
I’m going to have to sell a ton of whiskey to make this trip worth it.
When I hit the next landing, there’s a third man, this one the size of a linebacker, wearing a matching mask.
Where the hell is everyone else? What kind of club has silent doormen and no tipsy patrons stumbling back and forth to the restroom?
I don’t have time to ask either of those questions before masked man number three reads the words on the card I hold out and leads me down a hallway to what I assume must be the manager’s office. At least, I hope like hell it is.
An ornate door with an antique brass knob awaits at the end, and he pushes it open and gestures for me to enter with a meaty hand.
I pin my most professional smile on my face and take a deep breath, ready to charm whoever awaits me inside into buying more whiskey than they plan.
With a confident stride, I make my way inside.
“Hi! I’m Temperance—” I trail off when I realize the chair behind the desk, dimly lit by a simple banker’s lamp, is empty.
A quick scan of the rest of the dark room reveals no signs of life.
What the hell?
“Okay, then.” I clear my throat, poised to turn around and get the hell out of this place, when a light flickering to life distracts me.
But it’s not a light in the office where I’ve been shown, but a light in the room next door. A room that I can apparently view through what appears to be a two-way mirror.
Am I really seeing this?
And by this, I mean a monstrous iron-and-wood four-poster bed draped with black silk sheets . . . and restraints.
A bedroom. A kinky bedroom.
I stumble back a step, reaching for the doorknob, but my gaze fixes on the black mask of the woman entering the bedroom and the heavily muscled shirtless man with his palm on the small of her back.
This isn’t just any trendy secret club interested in adding top-notch whiskey to their shelves.
It’s a sex club.
I should be horrified. Running screaming in the opposite direction and out to my car. But instead, I’m rooted to the floor.
I have a front-row seat to one of my dirtiest fantasies. A fantasy I finally got up the nerve to try to fulfill a few months ago, because Lord knows I don’t have time to have a relationship, but my search for a non-sketchy sex club in New Orleans fell flat. Google sure as hell didn’t have this one on the map, and neither did any of the forums or blog posts I read.
A real underground sex club.
A tingle of excitement, like I’ve just discovered a secret key to another world, shoots through me as the man shuts the door to their room and slowly circles the woman before pushing her to her knees with one dominant hand on each shoulder. He has the look of a conqueror inspecting his war prize, complete with tribal ink marking his chest and upper arms, and dark leather pants. It’s hot as hell.
The rational part of my brain says I should look away, not invade their private scene, but I glance quickly at the door I entered through. No one is bursting in to tell me it’s some kind of mistake that I was led here.
The woman, dressed in red lingerie, keeps her gaze downcast, but I’m not nearly as disciplined. I can’t take my eyes off her companion as his ass flexes against the leathers.
When he stops in front of her, he releases her shoulder and buries one hand in her honey-blond hair, gripping her at the base of her neck, forcing her attention to his face.
They are completely and utterly absorbed with each other, and neither of them spares even a glance at the wall that serves as my voyeuristic porthole. Do they know? They must.
His voice somehow comes loud and clear into this room. “You wanted my attention down there, little girl. You’ve got it all now.”
My heart thumps harder as he reaches for the flap of his leathers with his other hand and yanks it open, freeing his heavy cock.
I bite down on my lower lip to stifle the hushed oh my God dying to break free. The sting from my teeth serves as a reminder that this isn’t one of my dreams.
This is real.
My conscience wars with me, telling me to turn away. Go back down the stairs. Run out the front door. Find my car and get the hell out of here.
But that and any other thought of business dies away as he wraps one palm around his thick cock and gives it a rough tug before thumbing the tip. The ruddy reddish-purple shaft seems to pulse against his grip, and my lip trembles as my thighs clench.
Why is it so frigging hot to see a man handle himself like that?
Using his grip on her hair, he guides her lips toward the head.
Sweet Lord. I shouldn’t be turned on by this. But my sweaty palms and the thumping pulse that has taken up residence between my legs expose my lie.
This is the hottest thing I’ve ever seen in person.
“You want this? Is that why you’ve been acting like a little brat?” His words are muted, like the sound is being piped into the office through speakers, or maybe it’s because the blood roaring through my head is drowning out normal sound. Either way, his gruff, deep voice drags over my senses, making goose bumps rise across my skin.
“Yes, sir.” The woman’s chin bounces as she licks her lips.
He drags her face an inch closer to his cock. “Show me how much.”
My nipples pebble against my bra at his rough order. Heat, completely inappropriate fiery heat, streaks through me as one of the woman’s hands dives between her legs.
“You don’t get to touch yourself until I tell you to. I’ll turn that ass of yours red before you finger that wet little cunt.”
I squeeze my thighs together like he’s somehow threatening me. Ordering me. Dominating me.
And I wish he were.
“I want your hands on my legs. I’m going to fuck your face. Remind you who owns these lips.”
A quiet moan echoes through the room, and I’m ninety-nine percent sure it came from her and not me. Okay, ninety percent sure.
I squirm, my chest rising and falling faster as she rests her palms on his muscled thighs and he feeds his cock into her mouth inch by inch.
Oh my God. I can’t watch. I shouldn’t watch. I’m not a dirty little thing who likes to watch. I’m not. Really. I’m not.
But I’m a filthy liar, because none of the words I use to berate myself make me tear my gaze away from the most erotic scene I’ve ever seen play out.
He shifts his grip, using one hand to cup her chin and tilt her head to the angle of his liking as he powers deeper inside, more of his rock-hard shaft disappearing with each thrust.
His growl echoes through the room, and I can feel it in the wet heat between my legs like a heartbeat.
“You feel that? You want more?”
Her plaintive, muffled cry for more unleashes another round of shivers as my breathing shallows. My inner muscles clench as I imagine a cock sliding past my lips and down my throat. My gag reflex flutters at the all-too-real and intense feeling.
That could be me.
Her fingertips curl around his legs and mine do the same, but instead of smooth skin, mine scrape across the fabric of my skirt. Two thin layers. That’s all that separates me from making myself come in approximately 2.5 seconds.
My fingers tense, stretching as though itching to move.
Don’t you even think about it, Temperance. Don’t you dare think about it.
But then he slows his movements, pulling his cock from between her lips. It glistens in the dim light as he wraps a hand around it and strokes. The woman’s need is visible in every tense muscle of her body as she fixates on his lazy movements.
“I’m not coming in that pretty mouth. Not tonight. Tonight, I’m taking that ass you’ve been teasing me with. Bending you over so I can see your cunt and your tight little hole. I get so fucking hard when I think about turning it red before I finally bury myself inside.”
Oh, for fuck’s sake. This isn’t even fair.
I swallow the saliva filling my mouth and back up until I bump into the edge of a desk. My heels wobble, and I reach out a hand to steady myself.
I cross my legs and shift back and forth to try to stave off the urge to do more. I’m here for business. Not for pleasure. But the reminder is a fleeting one, disappearing from my brain as soon as he speaks again.
“Tell me you want me to take your ass. Own it. Make it mine so you never forget who you belong to.”
The woman’s mouth drops open and her tongue darts out to wet the corner. “Yes, sir.”
He reaches down and extends a hand. “Stand.”
She complies by sliding her fingers into his and rising gracefully to her feet. Then his movement turns rougher as he spins her around and bends her over the end of the bed.
My heart thunders as I squeeze my thighs together, and the man yanks the crotch of her thong aside, baring her pussy and ass.
It’s obscene, but I can’t look away.
My fingernails dig into my leg through my skirt as he barks another order.
“Spread your legs.”
The uncompromising tone of his voice ricochets through my body, and part of me wants to comply like the woman as she slides her legs a few inches farther apart, creating an even more indecent visual.
The heat between my legs jumps what feels like a million degrees, and I suddenly wish I’d done laundry this week, because then I’d be wearing underwear. Instead, wetness gathers and threatens to drip down my inner thighs.
A dirty, shameful feeling curls inside me and I squirm, squeezing my legs even tighter together, but it doesn’t change the way my body responds. Especially not when he claps his palm between her legs with a smack. Her hips jerk and a moan spills out from between her lips.
Oh good Lord. He spanked her pussy.
I cover my mouth with one hand to silence my own sharp breath, and my teeth dig into my skin.
He plunges a finger inside, moving it out and then back in. “This is mine. You flash it at anyone else, and I’ll tie you up and drag you to the edge so many times, you’ll be delirious before I ever let you come. That’s a fucking promise.”
He pulls free of her body and lands a hard smack on her ass. She screeches as his handprint blooms red on her skin before he covers it with a firm grip, and the sound coming from her mouth turns into a moan.
“You know I love to hear you beg.” He releases her and lands another blow. “But you’ll remember your manners or get nothing.”
Her wail wraps around me as he caresses the cheek he just stung. The desk bites into my ass, but I know it’s not the same.
I want to know what that feels like.
The truth blows through my mind like a hurricane. Unstoppable. Unashamed. Un-fucking-believable.
Is it possible to spontaneously orgasm? I have to get out of here. But my fingers curl around the sharp edge of the wood as though it’s the only thing keeping me grounded.
With my nipples harder than diamonds, I wait for her to beg. Please. I want to see—
Oh good Lord, I’m going to hell.
He grips his cock with one hand, her ass with the other, and lines up the head with her entrance. “Pussy first. You’re not ready for me yet.”
The pace of my breathing nears hyperventilation.
I need to do something. I have to—
Any capacity for rational thought is ripped from my brain as he buries his cock inside her and her scream fills my ears. He pounds into her over and over, and I hate her. I hate that she’s receiving his perfectly rough thrusts that rip moans of ecstasy from her throat, and all I have is the clenching emptiness between my legs.
I want that. I need that. It’s been way too long since I felt . . . anything like this. Actually, I’ve never felt anything remotely like this.
This dark edge of pleasure is something I’ve only read about. Wished for. Dreamed about.
Her moans and cries intensify, and he praises her. I close my eyes, letting his words wash over me, and pretend he’s whispering them to me.
My fingers edge toward the hem of my skirt and I draw it up inch by inch. I need more. Just a little—
“My naughty secretary should know better than to touch herself during work hours.”
The deep, rasping words come out of the shadows and brush over my skin, leaving goose bumps in their wake.
Shock freezes my movements, my fingertips locked on the material of my skirt, as a chair creaks and the disembodied voice takes the shape of a tall, broad-shouldered man stepping into the dim pool of light. A black leather mask obscures the top half of his face, but his piercing blue eyes burn hotter than a five-alarm fire. They sear my skin everywhere they touch.
“Do you have anything to say for yourself, Ms. Smith?” His sculpted lips are perfect—except for the fact they called me by the wrong name.
“Umm, uhh . . .” I stammer as I attempt to find words that can possibly apply to this insane situation. “I-I’m sorry, I think you have the wrong—”
His eyes narrow, but the heat remains intact. “Nobody argues with me in my office. Strike two, Ms. Smith.”
“But I’m here for—” I make another attempt to explain his mistake, but he cuts me off with a tilt of his head.
“Whatever I want.” He emphasizes each word as he takes another step toward me. “And tonight, what I want is you.”
My teeth dig into my bottom lip as he slides his suit jacket off his shoulder and down one arm before repeating the motion with the other. His movements reveal a crisp white shirt perfectly tailored to broad shoulders, thick biceps, and a narrow waist.
Holy wow. He’s sex in a suit.
“If you’re still in this office in ten seconds, I’ll take that to mean yes, sir, I’m ready.”
I glance at the door and back at him as he begins the countdown.
“Ten . . .”
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