Katya pushed her way through the crowd of writhing bodies at Club Triptych. Music pounded against the walls of the old church, the rhythm a steady beat inside her head. A broad-shouldered guy in leather pants and a mesh shirt lightly rubbed Katya’s hip in a bid for attention. She couldn’t remember the last time someone had dared to grind up against her uninvited. It was almost a novel experience.
Turning her head, Katya lifted her chin and found the young man’s gaze. She knew he’d see a slim, attractive woman in a tight black dress that enhanced her cleavage and flattered her round butt. He’d look at Katya’s green eyes, pale complexion, and the black hair tumbling over her shoulders. He would want her.
“Hey, baby.” He offered a hand, presumably to encourage her to dance.
Katya took the hand and bent his finger back, locking it between hers and pushing gently until he sank to the stone floor of the club. She offered him a cold smile. “You’re a cute little boy.” With her free hand, she cupped his cheek and brushed her thumb over his lower lip. His pupils dilated as he became aroused. “But I’ve had enough toys like you to last a lifetime.”
Katya leaned down and gave the young man a kiss. He moaned when she bit his lip. She dominated his mouth for the span of only a few seconds, but she sensed the inferno of desire she set off inside him. It was almost disappointing. Letting go of his hand, she walked away without a backward glance. There was no doubt he was still kneeling, ready to beg her for fulfillment.
Dark laughter rose above the music inside the club. Katya would have known that sound anywhere. The man standing at the top of the staircase leading to the Underground didn’t even bother to hide his amusement. His head was flung back, his shoulders shaking as his belly laugh rolled across the room.
Katya gave Malachi Kingston a withering glare that would have sent any other submissive to the floor. “Shut your mouth before I feel compelled to beat a little sense into your rebellious head.”
“Mistress Alkaev.” Malachi stopped laughing and offered a bow from the waist. “I’m pleased you had the time to come by this evening.”
Katya corralled her instant reaction to Malachi’s too-casual offering of respect. Most days she wanted to fuck him and throttle him at the same time. There was something about the man that had always appealed to the dominant side of her personality. Malachi was a challenge any strong Domme would love to take on. Unfortunately the powerful submissive was already attached to a man not even Katya wanted to tangle with.
At the end of the day, Malachi wasn’t her problem, although he had been the one to entice her back to the club. “You told me you had something that would be of particular interest to me.”
“Which is about the only thing that seems to get you out of the house these days.” Malachi turned so she could lead the way down the stairs to the locked set of doors that opened to the Underground.
Katya considered Malachi’s comment before responding. She had become a recluse recently, but she had her reasons. “If you made a false claim just to drag me out on a Friday night, I’m going to chance Demon’s wrath and take a strap to your pretty little ass.”
The gleam in Malachi’s slate-gray eyes would have charmed the sternest taskmaster. “If that was the case, Demon would probably tie me up and give you his blessing.”
Two Triptych employees held the doors open for Katya and Malachi. Once they’d entered the lower corridor, she heard the doors close and lock behind them. Malachi maintained a subtle space between them, remaining just behind Katya in a position that would never challenge her dominant status. She appreciated the respect but wondered how Malachi managed the dichotomy of being the club’s owner and yet more submissive than dominant by nature.
He seemed to guess her thoughts. “I’ve not forgotten my training, Mistress.”
“Although I’ve heard a rumor you have a submissive of your own these days,” Katya prodded. “Truthfully I believe that was what brought me to the club tonight. You playing at being a Dom is something I’d like to see.”
A tiny smile kicked up the corners of his mouth. “I wouldn’t call her my sub. Selena is Demon’s. Honestly, they’ve both got me whipped.”
A laugh slipped past Katya’s lips, sounding almost like a bark. She smiled in spite of herself. Humor was a rare find these days. “It sounds as though you’re happy.”
Katya thought of the dark life Malachi had led as a submissive to the hell-bitch Dominatrix who had once owned Club Triptych. The local community knew Seraphina had gotten on the wrong side of a whole host of legal problems. The most popular opinion was that she’d deserved it. And most of the other practitioners were glad Malachi had wound up as the club’s sole proprietor.
“Enough of my drama,” Malachi said lightly. “I’m sure you’d rather discuss the situation I called you about.”
They left the long corridor and entered a low-ceilinged room with a bar at one end and a small stage at the other. A Saint Andrew’s cross was positioned on the stage. One of the local Doms was showing off his submissive. The female sub had been elaborately tied to the cross. Her Dom wielded a flogger with no small amount of skill. She was a pretty thing with ripe curves. Her nipples were clamped and chained to the collar around her neck. The sound of the whip striking her flesh was punctuated by her gasps of pleasure.
Katya gazed at the audience, noting several new faces and more than a few changes in partners or status. She wore no leather, no chrome, and carried no crop. She’d been out of the loop for nearly a year, and she felt the separation now more than ever. She was beginning to think it had been a mistake to come at all when a man sitting at the bar caught her eye.
Emphasis on the word man.
He was head and shoulders taller than any other male in the room save Malachi, although Katya would have bet money the stranger had at least two or three inches on Triptych’s owner. The intriguing man was dressed in black leather pants that hugged every slab of glorious muscle in his thighs and calves. His chest was bare, his broad shoulders tapering down to a trim waist. There was an intriguing trail of dark hair that began just below his navel and disappeared into his pants.
Katya’s heart thumped against her ribs. She took note of the blue stars tattooed on his torso. They appeared to begin somewhere on his back and wrapped around the left side of his body before following his hip down toward his crotch.
Her libido was clawing at the cage she had carefully erected around it. Her breasts grew heavy, and her nipples hardened. It was too bad, really, because Katya didn’t fuck other Doms. Not even when they looked as yummy as this one.
He had a thick neck and strong features. His nose looked as if it had been broken more than once, his chin and jawline carved from granite, and his blond hair was shorn close to the scalp. She couldn’t tell what color his eyes were from across the room, but she entertained the notion that they might be a beautiful bright blue.
“That’s Laredo sitting by himself at the bar,” Malachi said.
“Come again?” Katya realized she’d zoned out on whatever Malachi was saying. In fact she’d been so intent on the stranger with the tattooed stars that her panties were actually wet.
What. The. Hell?
Malachi cocked his head and lifted an eyebrow. “I told you that I have a green submissive in need of a strong Domme to take him in hand. He’s been too much for the other female Dommes we have here locally, and he has a hard and fast rule against belonging to another male.”
Katya swallowed, still sure she’d misunderstood. “You’re talking about the guy sitting there with the stars tattooed on his side?”
“Yes. His name is John Laredo.”
“You’re fucking with me,” she snapped.
She was furious with Malachi even though she knew what really pissed her off was her own sad lack of self-control. She knew her body’s reactions for what they were. She was attracted to this man. Hell, she was in lust with this man. But there was no way he could possibly want to be somebody’s submissive. The guy had alpha male
stamped all over him.
“I’m not fucking with you, Mistress.” Malachi’s tone was filled with caution. “I know better than to show you that sort of disrespect.”
“Where the hell is Demon?” Katya demanded, knowing Malachi’s Dom was never far away from Malachi, especially not when his submissive was having a meeting with another Domme.
Malachi pulled out his phone. “Let me text him.”
The smooth tone was familiar to Katya. It soothed her agitation. Demon had been the one to oversee much of her training as a Domme, though it had been years since that illuminating experience.
Originally from China, Demon was slightly taller than Katya’s five-foot-nine-inch height. He had golden skin and perpetually shaggy black hair that covered his intense dark eyes. Everything about him was understated, but the crackling energy of his presence was what Katya continually struggled to incorporate into her life.
Demon turned to Malachi. “Leave us for a moment.”
“As you wish.” Malachi dipped his head to Demon, bowed to Katya, and then headed off in the direction of the handsome stranger.
“It’s been a long time,” Demon said quietly. He took several steps back. Katya followed until they were standing on the fringe of the room. Demon spent several seconds watching Katya stare at John Laredo. “You’re a strong Dominatrix. You always have been.”
“I had a strong teacher.”
He tossed a hank of hair out of his dark eyes, and Katya squirmed beneath his regard. She wasn’t fooling him. Not many people could. He knew she was interested. She knew she was interested. Where was the harm in asking a few questions?
Katya sighed. “What’s his story?”
“He’s a fighter.”
“Is this a personal problem, or he is actually a professional fighter?”
“He’s on the MMA circuit with a manager, a sponsor, the whole package. He’s only recently moved to the area from somewhere in Texas.”
“Texas?” Katya didn’t even bother to hide her skepticism.
“His accent is more pronounced than yours.”
“And yet probably still less than that hardcore Bostonian thing Malachi has going on,” she retorted.
Demon said something in Cantonese. Her elementary grasp of the language wasn’t enough to decipher the whole meaning, but she read the mocking tone just fine. He was reminding her that it didn’t matter where people came from. Basic human nature was what they all had in common.
“I get your point, but it changes nothing.” Katya could feel the dominant side of her personality rising to the challenge in spite of her reservations. “What the hell landed him at a club like Triptych?”
“Dissatisfaction in the bedroom?” It sounded as though Demon was guessing.
“He hasn’t told you?”
“He didn’t have to.” Demon sighed. “Put yourself in his place.”
Katya’s mind balked at the order. It wasn’t that she couldn’t empathize with the man. She just didn’t want to get in that deep. It was better to live the way she had been, casual scenes with unattached submissives when she could no longer stand her self-imposed isolation. No relationships, no strings, no trouble, and nothing to bring any sort of attention to herself.
“He reminds me of Malachi,” Demon said quietly. “Strong men who grow tired of always being in control become prey to people like Seraph.”
Katya almost cursed out loud. Demon knew how much she envied him the relationship he’d had for so long with Malachi. Now Demon had another submissive, presumably a woman who was just as strong, sexy, and stubborn as Malachi. Demon had discovered someone who might be similar in strength and natural inclination to his own submissives, and he was offering Katya the chance to take on the challenge. She’d be worse than a fool to refuse this opportunity.
Still, John Laredo was a professional MMA fighter. That was way too much exposure for someone like Katya, who stayed as far out of the limelight as possible.
“One of his stipulations is to keep his private life and his public life completely separate.” Demon tilted his head to look at her. “He doesn’t want you to run his career. The two of you can iron out the details on your own. It might not even work. Maybe the chemistry won’t be there.”
She gave an unladylike snort. Demon was never wrong when it came to things like chemistry. Besides, her hormones were practically salivating at the thought of bending this man to her will and teaching him the meaning of submission and passion. It wasn’t just a challenge. It was the opportunity of a lifetime.
Demon pressed. “Shall I introduce the two of you?”
Katya muttered a few choice oaths in her native Russian. “I’m really not prepared to scene.”
He flashed a rare smile. “Don’t be obstinate. I think we both know that Katya Alkaev is always ready.”