One man stepped toward her. Handsome, but too slick for her taste.
“Alec, introduce us.” It wasn’t a request, and he didn’t wait for Alec’s response but reached out, caressed her arm, then grabbed her wrist. She shrank back. Tugged. He wouldn’t let go.
“Mr. Babcock, Mr. Sterling’s guest is here for another.” Alec stepped in front of her, and the guy dropped his hand. Babcock scowled. Alec tucked her hand back into the crook of his arm, and she instantly felt better.
Less like prey.
“Eden, welcome to the Marquis Club.” The silky voice of Ben Sterling cut through the miasma of carnal danger. He moved to her other side and slid an arm around her waist. The gesture might have appeared intimate, but it was a comforting touch.
“Kurt, some of our lovely female guests are here tonight. I believe Delphine particularly enjoys your, ah, vigorous attentions?” The words were casual, but Eden heard the authoritative bite in his tone.
Seemed Kurt wasn’t playing nice.
But Ben’s protection gave her a sense of calm, even as the other man frowned.
“Come, Ms. Grant. My friend awaits.” He turned his back on the other man and led her down a hallway.
“For what?” Ben’s tone was intense.
“That fella was a tad pushy.”
He sighed. “Kurt does come on strong. He’s a bit too aggressive, and I hope I won’t have to remind him again. Our female members here come alone to play, knowing we have protocols in place to protect them, and ourselves, for that matter. Some of the ladies have mentioned Kurt’s overly aggressive behavior, but Delphine has similarly extreme tastes in her play, so they work well together.” Ben’s smile had a touch of the killer to it. “We are friends, but not all men or women adapt to this lifestyle’s restrictions, or parameters of mutually negotiated play. If Kurt continues on this course, I may find it necessary to ban him. We have our standards, after all.” His grin was sharklike.
“No douche bags need apply?”
“Ms. Grant, you are a revelation.”
“Good thing or bad?”
“Very good. You’ll see.”
She tried to remain casual as she puzzled over that comment. They strolled slowly, and she sensed Sterling was giving her time to absorb the eroticism of the place. Unlike the public clubs, Marquis was more sedate but hummed with a kind of hungry energy.
As they moved around the space, she saw no women. With one exception. A woman in stockings, garters, heels—and nothing else—was on her knees, fellating two men in rotation.
Eden cast a glance at her host, to find him watching her.
“Outraged? Or aroused?”
“Puzzled.” She tipped her chin in the direction of the trio. “I didn’t expect any sex, especially public sex. The other clubs don’t permit it.”
“We are a private establishment and not bound by the same rules and restrictions. Generally, there are few public displays. Only when requested, because it allows our members to indulge their kink. Exhibitionism, voyeurism.”
She maintained a calm facade, but her insides quivered.
Would Sterling’s friend be a man like these? A heated image filled her mind. Her, on her knees, deep throating a man’s cock while others watched. Desire turned liquid, and moisture pooled between her thighs.
Sterling patted her fingers on his arm.
“No matter what feelings the scenes evoke in you, remember it is all accepted here. Accepted by me and my friend.”
She nodded, focused on not losing her footing. Her legs suddenly felt weak. She needed a moment to gather herself before they continued down the hallway.
“I don’t understand. These single women you mentioned. They just come and play with whoever wants to? Like some kinky Sadie Hawkins dance or something?”
“You sound scandalized.”
“Is it typical? In the public clubs, everyone was on equal footing. Here you have members who come clearly expecting sex and a party girl to play with. Like hors d’oeuvres.”
Ben laughed. “A curious way of putting it, but accurate. The ladies here know they’ll get the play they want, but also know there’s security. Matches have been made, though most want no strings. Some of my friends are waiting to meet the woman of their dreams, and until she arrives, they’ll indulge their appetites here. In a private environment, with all the amenities I provide.”
She still didn’t get it. Maybe she’d understand after she’d played. Ben changed the subject while she pondered.
“May I say you look amazing, Ms. Grant? Excellent wardrobe choice.”
Sterling.” She emphasized the Mr
. “We’ve just chatted about a blowjob scene. Go crazy. Call me Eden.”
Her words elicited another chuckle. It was a dark, hedonistic sound, and she couldn’t help but wonder what his kinks were.
“Do you folks each have your own special kink? Or is it sort of like those panties I used to have as a girl? A different kink for every day of the week?”
“Priceless. A woman with a sense of humor like yours is a rare thing. But honestly, each pervert is unique.”
“Join the club, Eden.”
“Touché, Mr. Sterling.”
“Turnabout is fair play. Call me Ben.”
“Okay, Ben. Is your friend into flogging? Hot wax? Pony play? Because I have to say the whole prancing-around-with-a-bridle thing does nothing for me.”
“Exploration is an exhilarating part of this lifestyle. You never know what gets you off until you’ve tried it.” Again a look of intense scrutiny. “I suggest you and he explore your perversions together. If you decide to pursue an acquaintance, that is. I will say he is an earthy man. A man of simple pleasures. Sadistic but simple.”
“It’s not gentlemanly to tease a girl.”
“You have no idea.” With that loaded statement, he swept open a door, pulling her through before retreating into the doorway. Her breath caught.
The room was empty.
“Please enjoy a glass of champagne, and make yourself comfortable. My friend sends his apologies. He was delayed by business but will be here momentarily.”
An ornate clock indicated it was nearly ten p.m. “You rich guys sure know how to live it up.”
“That smart mouth is apt to reap you unexpected results in this world. Particularly with my friend.” Leaving the delicious threat hanging in the air, he winked and left, pulling the door closed behind him.
She was in a state of high anxiety. Her heart was pounding, her pussy throbbed, and her mind was awhirl with wild and fantastic scenarios.
The situation called for champagne. She poured herself a full flute from the bottle of Moët & Chandon Dom Pérignon chilling in a sterling cooler. Then she paced back and forth, sipping too fast.
Should she arrange herself in a provocative pose on the elegant velvet chaise? The gold carpet was thick. Should she be waiting on her knees?
Insane. She was waiting to meet a perfect stranger, in a private building, alone in a room, contemplating being naked for the intro?
It was the stuff of true-crime shows.
She put down the empty flute and, shaking her head, strode toward the door.
She was five feet away when it opened.
HUD’S COCK HAD been hard for three days. But when he opened the door to the private room Ben had arranged and laid eyes on Eden Grant in the incredible, creamy, smooth flesh? It was like a shot of Viagra right to his dick.
She was beyond description. Lush but fiery, she stood straight and confident. An air of female vulnerability enveloped her as well. It screamed to take her and fuck her hard. Make her his.
He stepped into the room, watching her. He pulled off his tie and tossed it onto a table as he moved closer.
He was a big guy. She couldn’t have been more than five feet six. He loved the height advantage allowing him to look down at her from a foot over her head. Call him a caveman.
If the club fit.
“Eden Grant.” He didn’t hold out a hand. He simply invaded her space like a predator. Stepped close enough to feel the heat from her body.
To smell her perfume. And beneath it the distinct scent of female arousal.
She’d watched him intently with brilliant green, feline eyes. Suddenly her jaw dropped. Those mesmerizing eyes widened, and he knew she’d figured it out.
“You’re the Rocket!”
“It’s what is says on my driver’s license.”
“Super Bowl MVP kinky? Seriously?”
“Kink knows no professional boundaries, Eden. Look around. Your doorman? Into Daddy/little-girl role play. Your accountant? Has a monthly appointment to be beaten by a woman in leather. Your boss? Commanded to bark like a dog and kept in a cage.”
“Not my boss.”
“Don’t be so sure.”
She snorted. “The only thing that gets him hard is a whacking-good P and L statement.”
Fuck, he loved a snarky sense of humor. A mouthy woman was practically a license to punish her naughty ass on a frequent basis. Not that he ever waited for an excuse to turn some bodacious cheeks red and hot.
An expectant moment of silence hung.
“So. Nice to meet you and all, but, um, how is this supposed to work?”
“First of all, what happens at Marquis stays at Marquis.”
“Ben had me sign the confidentiality release, but I’m in media so I’m aware of the good-faith expectations here. I knew I’d be meeting someone influential.” She swiped two fingers over her healthy cleavage. “Cross my heart. What happens from here on out is our little secret.”
He’d been burned before, so the release gave him a measure of security. Besides, her saucy nature turned him on. She’d be a fighter, and what was better than showing a feisty lady like her around his wild world?
“I’ll be blunt.”
Yeah, paddling this woman was going to be a treat.
“Ben’s my friend. He knows I like a woman with spirit who’ll love intense play. A woman who’s never played, because I love being her first.”
“I’m not an eighteen-year-old virgin.”
“You are a kink virgin. Never played. Never submitted, right?”
“Not unless you count the IRS. They have me on my knees on an annual basis.”
He grinned. She was a pisser. But it was time for an opening play to let her understand he was in control. Always.
“Put down the glass.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“What part of my instruction wasn’t clear?” He stared at her. Watched her process his command. A few seconds later, she set her flute down on the table.
“How close do you want me?” What he wanted
was to see that smart mouth spread wide around his cock as she knelt at his command. Beautiful in her submission. Wanton in her desires.
He reached out, grabbed her by the arms, and pulled her tight against him. First things first.
“This close.” He dipped his head and ran his nose through her hair. At her soft intake of breath, he lowered his mouth to the flesh of her shoulder.
“Oh my God.” She jerked in his grip, but he tightened his hold.
“Look at that. I’ve marked you.” The indentation of his teeth marred the soft flesh. It made him nearly mad with possessive power. She looked surprised, but not fearful. “Shall I stop? Tell me you don’t want to push this envelope. I’m all about pleasure and pain. I want to feel your flesh beneath my hands. I want to watch your ass turn red while you beg me to stop spanking you. I’ll make you come like you never have. It will be a wild ride, and you’ll love it. I’m a true sadist, and I want you to walk through that fire with me. But it’s all about consent. Yours.”
“I didn’t expect this.”
“Be honest. You didn’t know what to expect. I will lead you, but nothing happens without your consent. Good?” She smelled incredible. Like sex. A spicy perfume, that aroma of feminine arousal. She was responding, but how far could he push? “Can you let go, Eden? Give yourself to me? There’ll be nothing you don’t want.”
Her eyes were wide. Beneath his hands, against his chest, her body quivered. Excitement. Fear of the unknown.
He was a crude fucker. A sadist who loved to hear a woman whimper. Scream. Beg. But past accusations to the contrary, he wasn’t an abusive asshole.
“I’ll only hurt you as much as you let me, but it’s like no pain you’ve ever felt. You’ll see. I’ll fuck you until you beg me to stop. I’ll push you, I’ll scare you, but I guarantee you’ll love every fucking minute.” At his words, she tensed. Her gaze never left his, as if she was searching. Weighing him. She licked her lips.
“Don’t I need a safe word?” Her query was tentative.
“Pick a safe word, then. The one word that will tell me to stop. Whenever we’re playing together, I’m in control, but your safe word works. No matter what.”
“What if I don’t want you to do something?”
“Give me the word, and it stops.”
Her chest heaved. Her anxiety turned him on, but it was the desire in her eyes that made him ravenous. A woman who wanted to give herself over to the unknown, to his power, was the hottest thing on the planet. But as he watched her hesitate, he wanted her too badly to play games.
“You can trust me. Trust me never to harm you. To respect your safe word.”
“I don’t know why I believe that, but I do,” she whispered hoarsely.
Looking down, he acknowledged Ben had been right. Her looks were incredible, but it wasn’t just that. It was that smart-ass mouth and her feisty nature. It was a body that held such sensual promise. It was the quiver in that body, even as she refused to back down. She was the real submissive deal.
“I want to do more than play with you tonight. And not here.”
“You mean sex?” Her nostrils flared. Her nipples hardened.
“Hell, yes. Tonight. Give me tonight. Your apartment.” His voice sounded tight with hunger. She reached up one hand and touched his chest, and where her fingers lay, his flesh ached.
“All right. Tonight.”