Jake made his way through the small group at the side of the stage. “Are you ready, Mistress Lyn?”
“Just Lyn.” She turned to greet the man. “And yes I’m ready.” Jake. Decent man, firm but willing to bend on a few things. At first, he hadn’t liked the idea of the fake Lyn, but when she’d explained her reasoning, he’d accepted it and worked with her. “Many out there?”
“Most of them,” Jake admitted, a warm smile touching his eyes. “You made quite an impact on the group. Impressive.”
That had been the plan. “Glad to hear it all worked out.” Lots of new members, which is why they asked me back.
Well, if her little act had shaken a few people up, then so much the better. “They seem like a decent lot.” At least, most of them did. She hadn’t missed the one man being escorted out.
“The regulars are, and they were smart enough not to let on that your double was a fake. As for the guests, that can always be hit or miss.” Jake gestured toward the auditorium. “Shall we?”
“Indeed.” She patted a loose strand of hair back into place and followed him out past the curtains. How many had been out there in the audience? A hundred? Maybe more. It had been hard to tell from her place on the stage.
Her throat tightened. Over a hundred people still waited for her. Some in jeans and T-shirts, others in fetish gear that ranged from the mild to the wild. Businessmen who played the game, women in skimpy outfits with collars or loose chains around their necks, and everything in between. A band tightened around her heart, and sweat beaded down the length of her back as she stopped. Breathe, she had to breathe and let the panic ease. They weren’t judging her. They didn’t know her background and sure as hell weren’t trying to use her to get to her father or the company. No, they wanted to talk, to get to know her, to find out how she could help them. There would be a few submissives who would offer themselves, those who hadn’t heard a word she had said and had been focused on her actions and how she had made Bella dance beneath the touch of crop, lash, and paddle.
They were drawn to the danger of submission, eager to offer themselves, and too emotionally young to think beyond the moment.
We were all that way, once. Willing to dive into the deep, dark end without thinking it through. God, how close to the edge did I come before I realized how dangerous it all was?
She’d be the first to admit, if asked outright, that she’d made some damned stupid mistakes early on. If anything, that added to her desire to shake the ones who would kneel and plead for a chance with her. They knew better. They were here, they’d read the rules, had a chance to talk to others who had more experience, but that didn’t stop the rush, either the sub or Dom version. That dangerous drive to push the boundaries, explore, and then jump off the cliff regardless of the danger.
“Mistress Lyn, thank you for doing this. I can’t tell you what an honor it was to—”
“Just Lyn.” She smiled at the eager young woman who moved toward her as she walked into the auditorium. Carolyn was a name she never used with those in the scene as it increased the chances of someone tracing her to her home address on the edge of Las Vegas.
“Pardon?” The bubbly, brown haired, slender woman frowned.
“When I’m not in a scene, I’m just like everyone else. Lyn works fine.” Carolyn continued. “I’m not your Mistress, and this isn’t a formal full-service event.” She winked, trying to take the sting from her words. “Many Dominants will be flattered by the offer of the title but will tell you the same thing. Titles are for your Dominant, not for every Tom, Dick, or Lyn—otherwise they become meaningless. Those who insist on the titles at all times, those are the ones you want to be a little wary of. Some have good reason, and some have earned it being a whip master or skilled toy maker; others are posers trying to enforce their rank
Color claimed the woman’s features, and she shifted her weight awkwardly from one foot to the other. “I’m sorry. I didn’t think about it that way. It’s just that— I mean, online they—”
“Chat rooms are great for exploring ideas, but they’re fantasy. No one can force you to your knees through a computer screen. If you don’t like what’s going on, you can hit Leave or X out of the room. In real life you should go by the rules of the event or club. I believe, if you read the information about this club, it goes over expected protocols.” Chat rooms, online groups, and message boards were all fine when you were trying to figure things out, but unless you balanced that with common sense, you ran the risk of coming out thinking that you knelt to every Dominant, had no limits, and whatever other myths you wanted to include in the mix. Oh, it wasn’t that such relationships didn’t exist, but tempering fantasy with reality was the only safe way to go in Lyn’s mind.
“So, you don’t have a problem with people exploring online?” A strong, deep male voice with a hint of humor broke through the background noise.
Carolyn turned her attention away from the young woman to meet the hazel gaze of a tall, black-haired man in leather pants, and a chest harness complete with a heavy, stainless steel chain around his neck and leather cuffs locked at his wrists. She swallowed but tried to hide the reaction, refusing to look away from the powerful gaze that drilled into her. “No, I don’t. There are some good resources that can be found online. In some respects, it can be a safe environment when you’re taking the first steps in figuring out if this is for you or not.” Need, hard and unrelenting, moved through her body, down from her chest, tightening her nipples and breasts, into her jeans until damp, clenching hunger coated her inner walls.
“You don’t like online resources?” The female submissive turned her attention to the interloper, searching his face for answers. “They can be a good start, as Mistress Lyn said. I don’t understand—”
He moved closer, cutting her off with a graceful, dangerous prowl that put the woman within grabbing range. “I never said that.” His voice dropped into a low purr. He leaned in, not enough to infringe on the woman’s space, his gaze narrowing, locked on the submissive. “It’s not wise to put words into someone else’s mouth.”
The little one
was missing from the statement, but his tone, the way he looked at the submissive, spoke volumes. Powerful, and he knows how to use it in order to control people. Damn. If he’s a submissive, I’m going to put in an order for flying monkeys.
“I’m sorry,” the young woman stammered. “I didn’t mean to offend.” The woman’s gaze automatically lowered.
Fuck, if he growls at her, she’ll be on her knees in a heartbeat.
He shifted his weight, left hand moving, and for a moment Carolyn wondered if he was about to reach out and cup the woman’s chin or touch her cheek. Then the moment vanished, and he turned his attention away from the submissive to pin Carolyn with the full force of his gaze. “My apologies, I didn’t mean to barge into the middle of a conversation.” His tone changed from the subtle power she had felt before to one far less confident.
Fake, so not buying it.
Her sex clenched as their eyes locked. Heat, need, hunger, it didn’t matter what she called it. The effect claimed her, threatening to leave her panties moist and her heart racing. She bit back a snarl and forced a calm smile into place. He couldn’t know. No way would she let this bastard know that he affected her. Not like this. “Not a problem. These after-demo talks are always informal. I find the informality allows for a better flow of conversation and information. Otherwise a lot of submissives will look to the Dominants to lead the conversation. Some are even wary about speaking out at all.” Hazel eyes, gold flecks, a strong jaw, and dark hair cut short. A military cut? No, not quite, close though.
Dark stubble shadowed his jaw and top lip, though not from poor grooming.
Strong build not too muscled
. He wasn’t a gym rat. No, this was a man who worked out to keep himself in shape. For his work or a habit from time in the military?
His stance, the way he watched the room, he was aware of everything and everyone around him.
Why is he here?
“Thank you for your understanding, Lyn.” He flashed a grin, and her gaze was drawn to a small chip in his top left canine. A tiny imperfection that drew her in, making her want to study him further. “Not all Mistresses are so forgiving.”
“During a scene, I’m not.” She returned the smile even as she made the decision to draw a line in the sand. “Not that you’ll ever get the chance to find out.”
Not a line, a fucking wall. Ten feet high, topped with razor wire. No way in hell I’m ever doing a scene with this one!