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Broken by His Hand: A Dark Billionaire Romance by Piper Stone – Sample

Chapter One



I knew more than a thing or two about the concept, not that it became any easier over time to deal with. I’d been the voice of reason, the brother with a conscience. I’d come to realize that being the caretaker of the heinous secrets contained within the walls of Club Darkness had taken a toll.

Rich. Demanding. Monstrous. The men who frequented the club were some of the most dangerous and powerful people in the world. They’d paid a pretty penny to set foot inside, their yearly dues more than the majority of people made in ten.

My brothers and I were very careful about who we allowed inside our hallowed doors, our background checks more intense than those of the FBI.

Although we’d made a few mistakes, all of which had proven to be costly.

One day, our empire could be toppled.

But not under my watch. And for those who tried? I had no issue eliminating them.

In whatever means necessary.

I’d spent my life protecting Gregory and Christopher, foregoing certain desires and proclivities that some would consider heinous. They were my brothers after all.

Hissing, I turned the steering wheel, moving around a well-lit corner in Georgetown, my gaze drifting to the rearview mirror. For some reason, I was antsy tonight, exhausted from long hours spent at the club.

But a wicked hunger furrowed in my loins, the kind that had been increasing over the last few months. Soon, I would no longer be able to deny my needs.

Neither one of my brothers understood the darkness dwelling deep within me, a brutal beast longing to see the light of day. My father had told me more than once that I was exactly like him, a man who enjoyed inflicting pain. While I’d fought the concept the majority of my life, I’d come to the realization that he’d been right.

Maybe it was time to step out of my comfort zone.

Even my nightmares were tainted with blood, as if my dangerous path would soon catch up to me.

My grip on my cellphone was white-knuckled, my anger close to the edge. While the crown prince was one of the most powerful men in the city, his demands to join the club had become repugnant, pushing me into making decisions that could be regrettable. Yet, I was in no mood for the man’s kind of pressure.

“While I understand your position, Prince Al Amoundi, the rules of the club are imposed for a reason, including privacy for every single one of our members. While I understand your continued desire to join the club, I feel that it wouldn’t be in our mutual best interest for that to happen.” I certainly didn’t owe the asshole any kind of explanation. Members were carefully selected, put through rigorous checks. Besides, I knew what the asshole wanted. Access to congressmen and senators, attempting to forge an illegal union between countries. What a crock of shit. The prince was one of the evilest men I’d ever met.

Yes, business was conducted in the club’s rooms and dark spaces, corporations developed while friendships were tossed aside. I’d been privy to dozens of meetings, gleaning data that would be kept along with other private information. I’d only come close to exposing a member’s secrets twice.

And a part of me wished I’d swung the heavy bat.

I’d have no issue using the dirt I’d discovered on the prince if necessary. Sadly, my guess was that he knew exactly what I could hold over his head.

“You will learn that you are nothing in my world, Michael. I only hope for your sake that it’s not too late.” The prince’s English, perfected by years spent at American schools, pissed me off more than usual.

I chuckled as I glared at the phone, a snarl pushing up from my throat. I refused to allow him to get under my skin.

The bastard hung up on me, but only after cursing in his native language, the threat one I’d heard more than once. I’d become used to the verbal abuse, although there were days in which I craved exacting revenge. I tossed my phone into the passenger seat, turning up the volume on the satellite radio, a smile curling on my lip from the sound of Disturbed. A little heavy metal was in order tonight.

My anger continued to build, the kind of rage that couldn’t be soothed with liquor or a fine cigar.

No one threatened me. Not for any reason. I didn’t give a shit how much power and influence they had or if their money was counted in gold bars. I was finished with the wretched bastards who’d attempted to take advantage of my good nature.

Screeching around a second corner, I jerked the gear into fifth, accelerating past several slower vehicles as my grip on the steering wheel tightened. The prince had managed to get under my skin, something I prided myself on never allowing to happen. Fuck him. Fuck the club for tonight. Maybe it was time I took a night to myself.

I beeped the horn, hissing as the traffic slowed at a damn yellow light. My impatience surprised the hell of out me. As soon as the light turned green, I sped around the four cars, the sound of my ringing phone forcing me to shake my head.

“Christopher. Impeccable timing. I’m afraid that Prince Al Amoundi might consider making waves within the club.”

Christopher laughed. “As if Gregory and I weren’t prepared. However, that’s not why I called.”

“Then why did you call?” A flash of headlights in the rearview mirror drew my attention. The damn asshole was way too close. If there was anything I loathed, it was a tailgater.

“A package was delivered for you at the club.”

“A package?”

“No return address. You know how I feel about that kind of shit.”

Christopher was by far the most skeptical of the three of us, untrusting of almost everyone around him. While he had his reasons, his distrust fueled his brutal tactics.

Chuckling, I shifted lanes, preparing to make the final turn toward the interstate. I definitely needed a night to myself.


The sound exploded within the car, the vehicle instantly veering off course.

“What the fuck?”

“What’s going on?” Christopher barked.

“Fuck if I—”


“Get him on the table. Now!”

The voice was unfamiliar, yet the feminine lilt was pleasing. I tried to open my eyes, but my eyelids were so damn heavy. What the hell had happened? Other sounds filtered into my mind, although the majority nothing more than beeps and clicks.

“Doctor, his blood pressure is dropping.” The second female voice was more urgent.

“God damn it. I need the IVs stat!”

I felt a hand on my arm, but I couldn’t move or acknowledge anyone. Everything was fuzzy, so damn cold.

“What the hell is the man’s name?” the first voice barked.

“Um. His identification says Michael Dunmore.”

“Michael, my name is Dr. Russo. I’m not certain you can hear me, but you were in a car accident and you’re in the hospital. We’re going to do everything we can. I assure you that you’re in good hands.”

A doctor. What the fuck? I couldn’t remember a thing. Wait. Images. Flashes. Nothing was making any sense. There was no pain, no sense of anything. I struggled, finally managing to open my eyes, wincing from the extreme light.

Peering down at me was the most intense, gorgeous set of emerald green eyes I’d ever seen. When she smiled, a sudden wave rushed over me.

“It’s okay,” she insisted. “Just rest.”

“Doctor! We’re losing him.”

“God damn it! Not on my watch. Get the paddles ready.”


“Get on the table now,” I commanded, pointing toward the wooden surface, my heart racing. “On your stomach.”

Her face was pensive, her enigmatic emerald green eyes penetrating into my very soul. “Yes, sir.”

While her reply indicated surrender, I knew better. She was far too powerful, dominating in her field. It would take time to tame her, but there was no doubt I would release the woman hiding beneath the surface. Even as she moved toward the smooth maple structure, she gave me a defiant look, her lovely mouth pursing out of frustration as well as a hint of fear. She had no idea what she was facing.

As she crawled onto the smooth wood, her breathing ragged, I drank in her essence. Everything about her was exhilarating, the fragrance of her sweet pussy filtering into my nostrils. She couldn’t hide from me any more than she could continue ignoring her dark needs.

I inched closer, slapping the tawse against my hand. Every time the smooth leather smacked against my skin, she shuddered, a slight whimper escaping her mouth. “You’ve been a very bad girl.”

“Yes… sir.”

“And you’re going to pay for your disobedience.” I trailed the implement down the length of her spine, slowly drawing it into the cleft in her ass. She had a magnificent body, her curves the kind forcing every red-blooded male’s mouth to water. And she was all mine. As I guided the tawse down her right leg then up her left, her scattered moans were a sweet reward. There was nothing like the sight of her pretty pink pussy to keep my aching cock throbbing, my balls tight as drums. I was ready to fuck her.

But first, much needed discipline.

I delivered four hard strikes in a row, savoring the way goosebumps popped along every inch of naked skin.

“Oh. Oh…” She tossed her head, her long fingers clamping around the edge of the table as her legs kicked out.

“Be a good girl and remain in position or your punishment will be that much worse.”

She shot me a daring gaze, her entire face gleaming from the hint of anguish as well as excitement. There was no doubting her arousal, her raging need to submit.

And I was the man to provide everything she required.

As I continued to give her strike after strike, her body undulated, her face shimmering as she whimpered, her fists clenching. My cock throbbed, my balls remaining tight. I couldn’t wait to be inside of her. I smacked her upper thighs, my gaze drifting to her pussy lips glistening from her pooling wetness.

Unable to take it any longer, I dropped the tawse and dragged her to the edge of the table, making certain her legs remained apart. The second I rubbed the tips of my fingers down her back, she jerked up, arching. Every inch of her body was exquisite, reacting to my touches in a way I wouldn’t have believed only a month before.

She was learning to surrender.

To my every need.

To my dark desires.

To the man who now owned her.

I unfastened my belt, taking several deep breaths. When I freed my shaft, I rubbed my hand down to the base, squeezing until it became painful. I was a sadistic man, refusing to take no for an answer. Some would call me a monster.

For the lovely woman who’d entered into my world, she called me Master.

“Now, I’m going to fuck you,” I said in a gruff tone before gripping her thigh with one hand as I positioned the tip of my cock with the other. Closing my eyes, I enjoyed the very second my cockhead slipped past her swollen folds, stretching her tight muscles. The moan erupting from the core of her being only fueled my fire, increasing the raging beast as it clawed its way to the surface. All time seemed to stop as I thrust the entire length of my cock inside, smiling as she tilted back her head and whimpered.

She’d fought to overcome me, to thwart my authority every time we were together until she was unable to resist the call deep within her to surrender.

As I plunged hard and deep, the force shoving her against the table, she tossed her head from side to side. Her reactions were exactly as I’d hoped, adding to the adrenaline flowing into every cell and muscle. I could fuck her for days. There wasn’t a part of her body I didn’t own, including her heart and soul.

With every savage plunge, I knew there was no stopping my actions. A growl erupted from my throat as I pounded into her, her juice slickening my aching cock. When she was fucked long and hard, I eased my shaft into the air, sliding the tip into the crack in her ass.

“Now, I fuck you in the ass. Remember, my sweet woman, every hole belongs to me.”

A cold wave shifted over my body. Suddenly, my eyes were desperate to open, my heart thudding rapidly.

I stared up at the ceiling, unable to focus. Blinking several times, spotted, ugly ceiling tile was a clear reminder that I might just be in hell. There wasn’t a part of my body that didn’t ache and as I struggled to lift my arm, I realized after a few seconds that an IV line was sticking out of my arm.

My thoughts all over the place, I finally became cognizant that I was in a hospital bed. Exhaling, the deep breath created an ache in my chest. The sounds of machines did nothing but piss me off. A freaking hospital. What. The. Fuck? Huffing, I closed my eyes, a series of vivid pictures rushing into my mind, one rolling after the other. My car. Tumbling. Breaking glass. While the memories of the accident were mere flashes, images of darkness, I would never forget the sound of the crash.

The crunching metal.

Glass flying.

Or the few voices that filtered into my mind after what seemed like a lifetime of agony. I would never forget the cold, the same harsh chill remaining in my body.

“He’s awake.”

Christopher’s familiar voice was followed by a deep grumble. I was able to turn my head, struggling to keep my eyes open as Christopher and Gregory walked into the room. I tried to offer some kind of acknowledgment, but all I could do was sneer, my anger furrowing into every cell and muscle. I found it difficult to move my arms, as if they were made of molten lead.

“Jesus. You look like shit, brother,” Gregory offered as he moved closer, shaking his head. Even though his words were harsh, there was concern in his eyes.

Shifting, I gazed from one to the other. “I’ll live.” My words were little more than a ragged whisper.

“Our stoic brother,” Christopher said, laughing. “You worried us, Michael. The doctor said it was touch and go for a little while.”

The doctor.

Incredible green eyes.

A penetrating smile.

A luscious body.

“You actually died on the table,” Gregory said quietly as he walked around me. The sound of his shoes on the floor managed to echo in my ears.

“As… I said. I’m… alive.” I knew the words were little more than ragged grunts and I hated the weakness. “What time is it? Help me get up.”

Gregory glanced at Christopher before he spoke. “You’ve been out for over twelve hours. You’re not going anywhere.”

As I attempted to sit up, every muscle screamed of exhaustion. “Fuck me.”

“Just relax,” Christopher suggested. “At least you survived. Your Lexus? Well…”

A whoosh as the door was opened drew my attention. As the beautiful doctor walked into the room, I was immediately pitched into the visions from before. A sudden rush of adrenaline created a more rapid beeping sound.

Her eyes opening wide, she moved rapidly toward me, glaring at my brothers. “I’m sorry, but you can’t be in here.”

“They’re… family,” I managed as she leaned over. The animal deep within me hungered to the point I had difficulty breathing. The scent of her alone was enough to wrangle the beast from his cage.

“Mr. Dunmore. I don’t give a shit who they are. You need your rest.” She tipped her head, shifting her heated gaze from one to the other.

Christopher backed away first, holding up his hands. “I understand. We will check on you, brother.”

I glared at Gregory as he lifted a single eyebrow, a smirk crossing his face.

“Be nice to your doctor,” he offered. When they both left, I had difficulty facing the fact I was alone. The thought was a crushing reminder of the man I’d become.

She huffed as she took my wrist into her hand, testing my pulse. “I forbid visitors for a reason, Mr. Dunmore. You are still in intensive care.”

“But I survived.” I heard the hoarseness in my voice, as if I’d been put on a ventilator. Swallowing, I studied her intently, mesmerized by her eyes, so green that I envisioned lush meadows.

“Yes, you survived, Mr. Dunmore, but your heart was challenged.” The doctor moved to the other side of the bed, checking the various instruments, darting several glances in my direction. Even the way she twisted her lips was alluring.

“Michael. My name is Michael.” There was something about the beautiful fiery creature that had already captured my desire. With her high cheekbones and voluptuous lips, and hair the color of spun honey, my cock ached to slide into her sweet pussy. She’d been the subject of my hazy dream, the image of her naked body remaining in the forefront of my mind.

“Well, Mr. Dunmore, my name is Doctor Russo. While your vitals are strong, you are going to do everything I tell you to do. Period. Is that understood? I will not accept anything less.”

There’d been no one in my life who’d talked to me in such a demanding manner. Not my father. Not my brothers. And certainly not by any woman who’d been by my side. I was intrigued not only by her beauty but her intense demeanor, the way her brow furrowed as she studied my vital signs.

However, I refused to stay in the hospital. Not only did I hate feeling like a prisoner in my own body, an intense nagging remained in the back of my mind, the fog penetrating my brain waves further increasing the anger.

I shifted, pushing back the sheets, wincing as I attempted to throw my legs over the edge of the bed.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Dr. Russo asked, her tone demanding as she rushed around the end of the bed. “Get back in bed.”

“I’m sorry, Doctor, and I know you mean well, but I need to get the hell out of here.” Coughing, I took a deep breath, doing everything I could to control my breathing. I didn’t like the thought of being caged, even under the control of a sexy woman.

“You’re not going anywhere. I have my methods of making you obey, Mr. Dunmore.”

As I gazed into her eyes, my body’s reaction was electric, the desire unlike anything I’d ever experienced. When she gripped my arm in an effort to curtail my actions, a ragged breath escaped from my chest. I managed to stand, towering over her by several inches. “Yes, I am leaving, Doctor. I have a business to run, but I do appreciate your kindness.” The second I took a step forward, my knees buckled, pitching me forward.

She caught me but not before her body was crushed against mine in her attempt to steady me.

I gripped her arms, digging my fingers into the pristine white coat she was wearing, my breath skipping.

Not from pain.

From the hunger sweeping through every cell and muscle, igniting embers I’d long since thought dead.

Her breath caught in her throat, a subtle yet telling moan slipping up from her lovely throat. As she dragged her tongue across her pursed lips, I could almost hear the echo of her rapidly beating heart as she clung to me.

The next few seconds were magical, driving me to another state of being, the kind where I became an absolute predator.

And she was my prey.

The vicious, filthy thoughts that were running through my mind were mirror images of the dream, utterly dark longings of what I craved doing to her. I eased one hand behind her, pressing my palm against the small of her back. The slight action caused another sound to slip past her lips, her eyelids half closing. I drank in her sweet perfume, the mixture of night-blooming jasmine and exotic spices filling my nostrils, the scent intoxicating.

Her entire body shook in my hold, a light flush cresting along her jaw. She was without a doubt the most beautiful woman I’d ever laid eyes on.

She swallowed visibly then pressed her hand against my chest with just enough pressure the spell was broken. “Mr. Dunmore. My guess is that you’re a powerful and dominating man in whatever you do; however, in my hospital, you are the patient, which means I am in charge. You are going to get back into that bed and you will wait until I discharge you. Do you understand me?”

A smile curled on my lips, my hunger only increasing. I brushed the tips of my fingers down her long strands of hair, every part of me more alive than I’d ever been. “Very well, Doctor, but you need to keep in mind that I always get what I want. I will be released tomorrow. That is without question.”

Dr. Russo exhaled then stared me directly in the eyes, a knowing look on her face. “If you’re a very good boy, we will see. If not, I have no problem getting two very large maintenance workers to tie you to that bed. Trust me, Mr. Dunmore, I also always get what I want.” Giving me a slight push, she guided me backwards until I was forced to sit on the edge of the bed. When she lifted a single eyebrow, I fought to keep a growl from rushing up from the very depths of my being.

She seemed relieved when I didn’t bother fighting her, yet her hands shook as she eased the covers over my legs, almost immediately taking several steps away and turning around. When I spoke, I softened my tone, although the beast clawing at my insides wanted nothing more than to feast on her incredible body.

“It’s very rare that a woman intrigues me the way you do, Dr. Russo. There is nothing more enticing than confidence. While beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, intelligence speaks to the soul.”

While she remained quiet, I was easily able to tell how nervous she was by the way she fisted her hands.

“Thank you, Mr. Dunmore.”

“Michael. Only the members of my club call me by Mr. Dunmore,” I instructed then attempted to open the drawer on the utilitarian cabinet, assuming my wallet was placed inside. When she turned, likely from the sound, her face was pensive, her gaze enigmatic. She was attempting to delve into my psyche.

“Here, let me help you with that.” As she reached inside the drawer at the same time, our fingers touched. Reacting immediately, she jerked her hand away, biting her lower lip as if she’d been scalded while taking the action.

I never allowed my eyes to leave her as I retrieved my wallet, finding one of my business cards highlighting the club. “If I may, I’d like to borrow your pen.” I held out my hand, assuming she would oblige.

She remained curious as I scribbled an address on the blank side. After handing her both card and pen, she brushed the tip of her finger across my embossed name, her lips moving slightly repeating my full name. Her eyes narrowed when she read the other side, shifting in my direction a few seconds later. “What is this?”

“An address for my favorite club. While it’s very quaint, they have some of the most intense jazz musicians in DC. I hope that you’ll meet me for a drink tomorrow night at nine-thirty.”

“It remains uncertain whether you will be released by then,” she stated defiantly.

“I assure you that I will be, Dr. Russo.”

The electricity shared between us threatened to explode.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Dunmore, I will not be available. We’re not allowed to date our patients.”

Refusing to blink, I held her gaze for several seconds, noticing that she pocketed the card.

“Rest assured, after today I will no longer be your patient.”

An incredulous look on her face, she shook her head slightly.

“I do hope that you will alter your plans, Doctor. It would be a shame to enjoy an entire bottle of Chateau Margaux all by myself. I prefer to indulge in my dark proclivities with a beautiful woman by my side. And while I’ve been known to bite, that’s usually only after a second date.”

I adored her rebellious attitude, although I was a keen observer. Her hunger was evident by the shimmer in her eyes.

She gave me an incredulous look, before once again backing away, stopping only briefly after she’d opened the door. “I will check in on you later today, Mr. Dunmore. Make certain and get some rest or I will make arrangements for you to do so.”

“One more thing, Dr. Russo. If you do decide to join me, understand that you will be opening the door to an entirely different world.”

“How so, Mr. Dunmore?”

“I meant what I said, Doctor. I take exactly what I want.”

She hesitated, taking a deep breath. Her subtle action only fueled the fire burning deep within.

When she left, I closed my eyes, my cock aching from intense arousal. Everything about her was exactly what I craved, my balls tightening at the thought of stripping her free of her tight confines. I wanted nothing more than to indulge her with a taste of a firm hand, the freedom to explore all the darkness that dwelled within her.

I would taste her.

Train her.

Fuck her.

Then she would surrender to me, body and soul.

Chapter Two


“Get the crash cart. Now!” I yelled over the noise, my voice barely reaching the other side of the room. I rushed toward the man lying on the table, the flatline on the monitor pissing me off. The accident was horrific, at least four vehicles involved, including a bus. There were patients stacked in every room, at least eight waiting in the hallway, and more on the way. Only the most critical were being attended to. This was the third patient I’d seen in barely fifteen minutes, the first losing their battle quickly.

I rubbed the arm of my jacket across my forehead, trying to catch my breath as I studied the hallway outside of the exam room. Dozens of people rushed by, nurses racing from one location to another. The sight of blood caught my attention, my jacket covered in splotches. After taking a deep breath, my patience level reached its limit. “Where is that crash cart?”

I heard the squeak of wheels as a nurse burst into the room, pushing the cart in front of her. “Here you are, Doctor.”

Giving her a hard glare, I yanked it closer, preparing the system. “Come on, buddy…” Hell, I realized didn’t even know his name. For some reason it seemed vitally important, although I had no time to find out. I’d pulled ER duty all week, likely because I’d managed to piss off the hospital administrator. At least I wasn’t working the graveyard shift. Then I’d get to experience the most horrific traumas.

The flurry of activity in the room felt more suffocating than normal, my heart racing from the sweep of adrenaline. “Stand back,” I barked as I held the paddles in the air, glancing one last time at the monitors. The patient had one chance in five of making it. “Clear.” As I issued the required voltage, I studied his sallow complexion, taking a few seconds to listen for any change in clicks and beeps.



“We go again. Clear.” Wasting no time, I repeated the maneuver, shaking my head.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Several seconds ticked by. A full minute.

“Doctor, we have normal sinus rhythm.”

Nodding, I let out the breath I’d been holding as another doctor burst into the room, his expression something I would never forget. “Dr. Russo, I need you on this one.”

“What do we have?” I asked as I dropped the paddles onto the cart.

I’d never seen Dr. Carter exasperated in any manner. He was a cool cucumber, notorious for his arrogance and his adoration of nurses. At this moment, he was positively stricken.

“A child needs our help.”

As I climbed the stairs to the entrance of my brownstone, I realized how exhausted I was, every part of me covered in perspiration. I felt filthy, as if the blood from dozens of patients had stained my entire soul. While I’d worked hard to achieve my goals, graduating medical school at the top of my class, no one could have prepared me well enough for the horror show of the day.

Leaning against the building, I gazed up at the moon just beginning to crest over the tree line. The view of the lights of DC across the Potomac River was just as beautiful as always, only tonight the magnificent view didn’t hold as much prestige. There were monsters everywhere, including those living in million-dollar mansions with no regard for anyone but themselves.

Shuddering, I managed to unlock the door, slipping inside and immediately taking a deep breath. I didn’t bother turning on a light before walking toward the stairs, my feet heavy.

I’d even managed to get into another spat with the administrator. Drake Samuels had targeted me from day one, on my case about every action I took, including calling social services on the child who’d been burned significantly. While I’d known early on that Drake was all about the bottom line, I hadn’t taken him for a dickless wonder, terrified that the child’s prominent father would create a situation. But that’s exactly what had been relayed to me.

After he’d chastised my actions, reminding me in no uncertain terms that I was still on probation, I’d embraced the fact that I wasn’t certain I could remain working there. Or at least for the pompous prick. At this point, I was too exhausted to think about it, except I made a mental note to find out when the next hospital board of directors meeting would be. Maybe it was time I mentioned Drake’s unscrupulous attitude, as well as his lack of standards to them.

Yeah, and I’d be out of a job faster than I could say peanut brittle.

Sighing, I realized only after entering my bedroom that I hadn’t managed to remove my white jacket before leaving the hospital. White. Hell, I had to wonder whether the numerous stains could be bleached clean.

When I turned on the bathroom light, I jerked at the material, now wanting nothing more than to rid myself of the horrible reminder of the day. As a card fluttered to the floor, I followed its slow descent, my thoughts drifting to the mysterious patient. When I bent to retrieve it, I could swear I gathered a scent of the man’s exotic cologne, the fragrance unlike anything I’d ever smelled. “Club Darkness. Michael Dunmore, CFO,” I said out loud. Images of his face flashed into my mind.

Dark and dangerous.

Brooding and demanding.


Sexy as hell.

He was exactly the kind of man I couldn’t stand, one who believed he could lord his power and influence over everyone. His line about taking what he wanted had left a bad taste in my mouth.

As well as wetness pooling between my legs.

I’d felt almost dirty after leaving his hospital room, forced to stand in the corridor to collect myself.

He’d even insisted on checking out of the hospital that morning after only having spent a single night, refusing to take no for an answer. He’d waited until I was in crisis mode to do so, clever man.

He obviously used his stunning good looks to his advantage, sweet talking the attending nurse. I would have a word with her later. I rubbed my finger across my lips, remembering his luxurious dark hair with just the hint of gray at his temples, seductive charcoal eyes, and a chiseled body—at least from what I’d been able to tell when his massive chest had been crushed against mine.




Why I’d been instantly attracted to him I couldn’t explain, but as a quiver shifted down my spine, I rolled my eyes. The exhaustion was just getting to me. I’d heard of the Club Darkness, although there was no chance in hell that I’d ever set foot inside. The posh BDSM establishment was for the rich and famous, the clientele consisting from politicians and judges to doctors and corporate moguls. And all men.

I could only imagine what occurred behind the darkened walls in private.

Kinky sex.

Whips and chains.


Then why is your pussy quivering?

Oh, no. I wasn’t going listen to my inner voice, although my nipples were so sensitive as the lace bra shifted back and forth that I let out an exaggerated whimper.

I fingered the lettering before flipping the card over. Bar Nouveau. The jazz club was much more to my liking. How many times had I passed by the bright red neon sign on my way home from a late-night shift? How many times had I left my driver side window open just to hear the melodic strains of music as I drove by?

After staring at the card for a full minute, I tossed it into the trash. Michael Dunmore had assumed that I would obey his command. Well, the man was wrong. At this point I didn’t need any distractions, my entire career hinging on whether or not I got off the hospital administrator’s shit list.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to get Michael’s face out of my mind as I removed my clothes, finally gazing at my reflection in the mirror. I looked haggard from working so many late-night shifts, but the lack of spark in my eyes had little to do with fatigue. When had I actually enjoyed a night with a member of the opposite sex? I made several funny faces, trying to look more alive. It wasn’t working.

I stood in the shower for what seemed like an hour, trying to scrub the stink of blood and sweat off my skin. And all the while, I couldn’t stop thinking about Michael. He wasn’t my type, although the men I’d previously dated hadn’t been my type either. Maybe I was just looking for excitement. A mysterious stranger. A naughty tryst. Freedom. I finally turned off the water, leaning against the tile, images of his face popping into my mind.

By all rights, he was still my patient. That would make getting involved with him a breach of my doctoral duty. What the hell was I thinking? I wasn’t getting involved with him. Not now. Not ever. I wasn’t a risk taker. I needed my job, refusing to move to another city after finally figuring my way around DC. Well, at least a portion of it.

I yanked a robe from the back of the door, grumbling as I struggled into the soft terry, still on edge. What I would indulge in was a glass of wine or two. As I padded into the kitchen, I flipped on my iPod then grabbed an already open bottle of wine, laughing softly at the song selection. I’d left it on a shuffle of my jazz collection.

The first sip of wine was excellent. The next gulp even better.

By the time I’d consumed half the glass, I’d grown more curious about the club itself. I chewed on my lip before yanking my iPad off the counter, maneuvering to the club’s website. Looking wasn’t going to hurt a thing. While I’d anticipated a very dark and sensual page, I hadn’t expected to be staring at three of the most gorgeous men in all of DC. Hell, maybe the entire East Coast. While it was easy to tell they were brothers, each man had a distinctive look, powerful and provocative.

When one of them walked into a room, they took command.

What was also surprising was their pedigree. That’s exactly the word I thought of as I read over their bios. They were all highly educated, including Michael’s graduation from Harvard. He’d served on the boards of several foundations and nonprofit organizations. His hobbies? Cooking and playing guitar.

I found myself gripping the counter as I stared at his picture. Even the dimple in his chin was far too sexy. What I’d learned early in life is that if something or someone appeared to be too good to be true, it usually was. And… there were always secrets hiding underneath the debonaire stylings and brooding eyes. Always. I typed in Michael’s name on Google, uncertain of what I’d find.

Page after page of glowing articles and notations. With one exception. The brothers had been investigated for a sex crime ring, finally exonerated without an arrest being made. I eased the iPad onto the marble, filling my wineglass to the rim. As I walked out of the room, I looked back at the computer and smiled.

Then I flipped the switch.

The darkness was comforting.

I remained outside the door to Bar Nouveau for a solid five minutes before finding the courage to go inside. The corner bar had massive windows allowing for a view of two streets, the atmosphere dark and inviting. I was surprised how attractive the interior was, the shadowed lighting and the scent of the wooden surfaces drawing me in. Even the small but well-designed stage added to the comforting space.

The music was exquisite, fueling even more of my senses. I was surprised at the enthusiastic response of the crowd as a song ended, the musicians obviously pleased at the response. As I made my way through the scores of people, I scanned the crowd, unable to catch a glimpse of Michael. While I was a few minutes late, I couldn’t imagine that he’d leave without waiting for a period of time.

As I drew near to the back, a sudden rush of electricity tickled the back of my legs, my heart skipping.

The brush of his hand was subtle, yet just as dominating as his actions from before. When I slowly turned to face him, I was surprised how much different he appeared from when he was lying in the hospital bed, as if he’d fully recovered.

He said no words, merely cupped my face, rubbing his thumb back and forth across my cheek as his eyes bore into mine. I realized I’d placed my palm against his chest seconds after, my mouth suddenly dry. The touch was almost too intimate, his entire demeanor predatory. His gaze sweeping down the length of my neck, I could feel the rumble of his heartbeat as a slight growl erupted from his throat.

“You’re late, Sophia. You will learn that I don’t like tardiness.”

“I… I wasn’t certain I was coming.”

“I knew that you’d alter your plans. Our connection is too passionate. However, you disobeyed the rules.” He took me by the hand, pulling me to one of the tables, the location almost secluded in comparison to the others. A bottle of wine had already been opened, two glasses partially filled. While I couldn’t tell if he’d tasted the cabernet as of yet, I would venture a guess that he hadn’t.

Passionate. The word reverberated on my tongue and in my mind. My inexplicable draw to him was even more concentrated, the yearning yanking at every sense of decency. I wanted to be bad with him, to explore the dark side of sin. I couldn’t get over the intensity of my reaction or the way his expression remained carnal, as if the man was ready to eat me alive.

It was as if he’d been able to read me, grabbing a sense of the woman inside. Either that or he was the most arrogant prick on the face of this planet. A knot formed in the pit of my stomach. I decided to choose the latter until proven otherwise. He’d also taken the time to learn my first name and the way he said the single word, his tone ripe with a sensuous husk, left me tingling all over.

“Rules?” I found myself asking, as if I wanted to hear the answer.

He waited until I was positioned in my seat before sitting down in his, immediately pushing one of the wineglasses closer. I was shocked how unnerving the entire situation was, including my ability to crawl out of my comfort zone. I’d second guessed my decision to meet him for a drink at least a dozen times. Maybe more. But I’d been compelled, his voice alone increasing the blatant hunger. I’d simply found a lovely red dress in the back of the closet and prepared myself for the evening, enjoying the three-block walk on a crisp fall evening.

Instead of shutting him down.

Instead of going to bed without looking back.

“Yes, there are always rules that must be followed,” he answered. “I deal harshly with people who break them.”


“Meaning harsh punishment.”

I found myself curious as to what he meant, my heart hammering against my chest. “And what would you do to me, Michael, if I broke those pristine rules of yours?”

The sound slipping past his lips could only be described as a feral growl. “I’d spank your perfect bottom, Sophia. I’d make certain that you understood that with every incident of bad behavior, there are consequences.”

He spoke the words as if he owned me, controlling every aspect of my actions.

“Well, I’m not a woman who accepts discipline. On any level. You should learn as well as accept that about me, Michael. Don’t push. I will push back.”

“Perhaps we met for a reason, Sophia.”

The way he said my name continued to send chills down my spine. “Should I feel lucky, Michael? Granted, I wasn’t supposed to be working in the emergency room. I’m a surgeon. Then again, maybe it was your lucky day given you almost died. Some resident physicians might not have acted quickly enough, thereby saving your life.” My statements were icy but needed given he was determined to get control. The man didn’t even know me.

As he eased back in the hardback chair, his studied me intently and swirled his glass. He was so casual, completely comfortable with his surroundings. For a few seconds, he seemed to be concentrating on the trio of musicians, the melodic music only adding to the sensual atmosphere. When he slowly turned his head, there was no doubt that his entire focus was directed on me.

Yet I could detect a hint of amusement on his face. “I am fully of aware of who you are and what you can do. You come highly recommended as a doctor, Sophia, your credentials spectacular. You graduated top of your class from Duke, becoming one of the youngest surgeons in the entire country. You’ve received many honors for your various White Papers, including words of praise from some of the leading experts in your field. However, you’ve allowed your personal life to suffer in order to advance your career.”

I leaned forward, giving him a seductive smile. Two could play at this game. I refused to be unnerved by some jerkoff who thought he could unravel my inner needs. No one had access. No one.

“And you graduated from Harvard, first in your class, receiving two degrees. You took care of your younger brothers after your parents’ death, foregoing your career in order to ensure that your brothers’ needs were taken care of. You run a club that is well respected as well as feared, the power you and your brothers wield nearly unmatched. You’ve never been married, although you remain on several lists as being one of the most eligible bachelors up and down the East Coast. From what I can tell, you are the glue that keeps Club Darkness together, but at what price, Michael?”

He hesitated before reacting, finally lifting his wineglass and giving me a single nod of respect. “Touché, Sophia. Nicely done.” I watched as he took a sip, the single act more alluring than I could have imagined. I hated the fact my skin was on fire, every nerve ending seared.

“You don’t know anything about me, Michael. I am a careful woman in all things.”

“Being careful is a virtue; however, I’ve found that when you allow hunger as well as risk to enter your life, you will be much happier.” He leaned forward, his face close enough to mine that I was able to feel his heated breath dancing across my skin. The man was mesmerizing in ways that I found difficult to understand or even put into words.

“What are you looking for, Michael?”

As he’d done before, he toyed with his wine, bringing the rim to his succulent lips. Even the way he savored the flavor of the wine was provocative, his entire face lighting up.

I could only imagine his expression when he slipped his tongue deep inside me.

The thought was riveting as well as sinful as hell, forcing me to drag my glance outside the window. The feel of a single finger underneath my chin created a wave of tremors encompassing every synapse, every cell within my body.

Michael turned my face toward him. I was unable to take my eyes off his, the music suddenly fading into the woodwork, my skin on fire from the single touch. “I’m looking for a woman who ignites my darkness, who enjoys the kind of thirst that can’t be quenched easily or quickly. What I desire more than anything is a partner who understands the meaning of submission. I think you are that woman, Sophia. In fact, I know you are.”

There was nothing berating about his statement, but every single syllable grabbed at my insides, wrapping a firm hand around my psyche. There was no one else in the room, no naysaying assholes preventing me from accepting a part of me that I’d long denied. There was only him.





His eyes continuing to shimmer even in the darkness, he brushed his finger along my jaw, sliding the tip to my lips. He took his time tracing my mouth, his obvious delight in my reaction evident in his ragged breath. I found myself lost in the simple action, straining forward as my nipples pressed against the thin material of my dress, the ache creating a pool of wetness between my legs.

“I’m a keen observer and I can tell how much you hunger for the darkness; filthy sex, the kind that leaves you panting for more even though your mind can’t embrace what occurred only minutes before. You long to taste the wildness that the woman inside has been searching for, releasing yourself from the complexity of your everyday life. Isn’t that true, Sophia?”

I didn’t know how to answer him, nor could I envision anything but being stripped bare, shackled spread-eagled as he whipped me. The thought was as riveting as it was terrifying.

“You’re one arrogant man, Michael.”

He laughed softly. “I won’t lie to you. Some would say I’m a very bad man, one capable to performing heinous acts.”

Was the man trying to scare or entice me? “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Yes, you should,” he whispered, his sultry tone unlocking another layer deep within. “You are a very bad girl in need of attention and care, someone who will take the time to nurture you. Train you. Own you.”

Every word he said was exhilarating, leaving me shaking to the core.

How could a man I didn’t know have this much effect on me? How could I dare want him when I knew nothing about his life other than what had been placed under a glossy photo? But there was no denying the attraction, the building hunger that kept me on edge.

I could almost feel his lips against mine, my entire mind going blank as he peered down at me. Why did I want him more than I’d ever craved anyone else? Why was the rush of adrenaline unlike anything I’d ever experienced? And why couldn’t I break free of his hold?

Very slowly, he slipped a single finger past my lips, taking his time as he pumped the long digit in deliberate and easy motions. I wanted to hate him for what he was doing but I was far too excited, a white-hot heat rocketing into every muscle. There was no doubt he wanted control over me.

Beyond any level of indignation.

Beyond any concept of rationality.

Even though my tongue swept across the tip of his finger, gathering a taste of tobacco, I refused to give in. He wasn’t going to receive my submission. I closed my eyes, shoring my resolve as I forced myself to look away, taking two sips of my wine as a smirk crossed my face.

This simply couldn’t happen. No man took control over me, neither in my profession nor in my personal life. I had to shut off my desires for fear that I’d never be able to control them again.

“I think I need a moment to freshen up, Michael. Then we’ll continue our conversation.” I rose from the chair, planting my hands on the cool wood as I leaned over.

Dirty girl.

No. Not today.

When I spoke, I made certain there was conviction in my voice. “You don’t own me, Michael Dunmore. You never will. I only surrender when and if I say and to date, that has yet to happen. I suggest you keep that in mind.”

When I pulled away, the rake of his fingernails across my skin was telling.

My desire was increasing.

The second he issued several dark words, my entire body froze.

“Make no mistake, Sophia Russo. You will belong to me. One way or the other. That is something that you… need to keep in mind.”

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