It’s amazing where your life can end up after being tasked with keeping tabs on New York City’s sassiest redhead.
She’s got a mouth on her that makes you want to take off your belt. An attitude that needs adjusting. And a body that just won’t quit.
Liam and I are the newest surveillance officers for our family—the Bachmans. The Village is already equipped with cameras and monitors, but we needed to expand our presence to the blocks surrounding our home.
We’ve set up shop in a warehouse. One that houses a screen displaying the view of every camera overlooking each of our legit businesses. We keep our eye on potential new recruits that frequent the family gym, Barbells. Monitor and track all government agents who think they’re working undercover, frequenting our shops. And keep an eye on the clean employees—the ones not involved with the mafia side of things.
And, from time to time, we’ve got to fire someone.
It isn’t pretty, having to rid the world of pests, but it’s a job that has to be done.
In addition to our security responsibilities we’ve been charged with surveilling journalist Lulu, making sure her tell-all article about us—the world’s more powerful and secretive mafia family—never makes it to press. In the process, we’ve found ourselves desiring her.
Two dominant men lusting over the same woman could be a problem. Huge. Blood might even be spilled.
But that won’t be the case with us because there’s something that sets us apart from the men around us.
We don’t mind sharing.
I’ll be her daddy. He’ll be her papa.
And she’ll be our princess, our sweet girl.
I’m rocking long legs, red hair, and a big mouth—one that gets me into trouble, often. Especially after I’ve had more than one margarita.
Tonight is one of those nights I’m throwing back a few glasses of liquid wickedness. Licking the salt from the rim, I take a long drink. As the golden liquor warms my insides, I find my discretion melting like a block of ice in the Mojave desert.
My tongue instantly loosens.
Secrets are going to be spilled.
I take solace in the fact I’m in the sole company of my best friend, Victoria Bachman, a woman with secrets of her own. A recently married wife of an officer in the world’s most elusive and powerful mafia.
She and her powerful family live in a secret Village hidden behind the walls of their New York City businesses. The men form a Brotherhood. The buildings create a protective wall around their little town. No one outside of the family is allowed in.
It’s said trespassers are shot on sight. Their bodies disposed of in the river.
They’re bad, dangerous men, but they also have a redeeming quality I quite admire. Their organization is of a Robin Hood nature. They take from the greedy, the corrupt and put the money back in the hands of those who need it most, making themselves billionaires in the process.
Victoria’s wanted to be a part of the couture-covered clan of women as long as I’ve known her. They call themselves the Beauties. They are as closely knit as a group of females can get. They spend their days shopping, dining, decorating their gorgeous townhomes, and gossiping.
Their luxurious lifestyles have one cost: these beautiful brides must obey their husbands.
Sad, but true, my best friend has tied herself down to a dom, a man who demands respect and his woman who will submit or pay the price. To further throw women empowerment into the dark ages, there’s another fact about my friend; Victoria has a husband she calls Daddy, one who spanks her.
Considering myself a strong feminist, when she first told me about her lifestyle, I balked at the idea of a man telling her what to do. Taking her over his knee to spank her, chastising her like a little girl, and her willingly agreeing to this arrangement.
But the more I talk to Victoria about her lifestyle, the more I’ve come to understand that real power lies in being able to choose the relationship you desire.
It turns out that my notion of love is not the only correct one.
Though, over the years I’ve found myself running further and further from love. I go through men like I go through lattes. For some reason, I grow bored of them after the first few sips.
Downing the rest of my margarita, I focus my attentions on my friend. I have secrets to extract. And some to share.
She’s as short as I am tall, with dark hair and aquamarine eyes. A little doll. No wonder she’s got herself a daddy.
She giggles, finishing off her drink. “Why are you staring at me in that weird way?”
Hoping there’s enough liquor coursing through my veins to tell her what I’m thinking, I lean in. “You know that conversation we had this time last week?”
She snickers. “The one where we shared a pitcher of sangria and you confessed that you’ve been having erotic dreams?”
“Yes, but they’re not just erotic,” I remind her.
“Oh, I forgot. Clairvoyant. Dreams that see the future,” she teases. “If I were you, I’d invest in a good vibrator instead of a crystal ball.”
I balk. “It’s not that crazy of an idea that people dream things before they happen. Remember when I had that dream about my cat dying?”
“And she was hit by a car a week later? That could have been a coincidence.” Victoria gives a shrug, lifting her glass in salute to dear Bells, my old tabby. “May she rest in peace.”
I choose to ignore the sarcasm. “What about the time I dreamt I got caught cheating on a final exam?”
“And it came out the following day that half the senior class had received and memorized the answers to the test? But you weren’t one of the ones who cheated. So, you pretty much just ruined the point you were trying to make.” She tips the glass into her mouth, downing half the sunny liquid.
“Dreams don’t mean exactly what you dream. You have to be open to interpretation.” Holding the thin stem of the margarita glass, I swirl the remaining liquid around the edges of the glass bowl. “I still saw it coming.”
Her ocean eyes study my face for a moment. Giving up the teasing, she leans in toward me over the table. “So, what did you dream, this time?”
Fire rises in my face. There’s no way I can tell her what I’ve dreamt. It’s too taboo, too filthy, even for my kinky little spanko friend.
The waiter breezes by and I order us another round of margaritas. I change the subject. “Tell me, how’s married life?”
She eyes me. “Are you asking on the record or off, Miss Journalist? I don’t want the details of my life ending up in your gossip rag.”
“Off,” I promise.
She rolls her eyes. “First of all, please tell me you’ve given up your death wish of infiltrating the Brotherhood and dating a guy only to then write a tell-all article for The Spread.”
“Come on. You know I’m new there and the only way for my boss to take me seriously is if I do this piece.” Me writing this article is the only source of contention between me and Victoria, but I have to make it happen. I’ve just moved to the city and though my apartment is the size of a shoebox, it comes with a huge price tag—one that can only be paid by handing over a bestselling juicy piece to my boss. “The Spread is after me to turn it in. All I’ve written so far is about what kind of dog stroller is the celebrity favorite, and which nut milk is best—almond or cashew. I need a real article.”
Her face hits her palm in disgust. “So you’re still thinking of sharing the Bachman family kink with the world to get ahead as a journalist?”
Moving her hand from her forehead, she slams it onto the table. “I’ve told you once and I’ll tell you again: you’d be putting your life on the line. This is a dangerous mafia. The Bachmans are very secretive. And the man wouldn’t take it lightly if he found out you were using him for your work.”
Our third drinks arrive. Lifting the glass to my lips, I lick the salt, then take a sip of the fresh beverage. This one is stronger than the last. I glance over at the bartender and he gives me a wink.
Fat chance, dude.
I give him a waggle of my fingers and a smile. He’ll ask me for my number before the night is through, and I’ll turn him down—I’m not looking to date, I’m looking to investigate. And my next conquest will have the letter B in front of his last name and a piece on his hip.
We stick to gossiping about the Beauties. I love hearing about their crazy antics, and Victoria’s stories don’t disappoint. When my drink is about half empty, I begin to giggle uncontrollably. The liquor is coursing through my veins, making me feel loose and carefree.
Ready to tell my friend what it is I’ve dreamt of.
Both I call my own.
One watching while the other one pleasures me.
I start my confession by jogging her memory. “You know when I first moved to the city and met your then-fiancé, Luke, for the first time? Do you remember what he said about me?”
“How could I forget. You came barging into town declaring no man could tell you what to do. But he saw through your facade. He said you were a strong woman looking for a man who would make you powerless in his arms. He still thinks you need a daddy.” She gives me a pointed look that makes heat rise in my face.
Her husband’s words used to make me livid. To suggest that as a grown ass woman I wanted a man to spank me and spoil me made me see red. But ever since I started having these dreams, I’ve reconsidered my angry response.
When I awake from envisioning two men loving me, pleasuring me, punishing me, I somehow feel as if a void has been filled in my chest.
Avoiding her gaze, I shrug, quietly making my confession. “Maybe I would like a daddy of my own.”
“I knew it!” She gives a clap, jumping back in her chair. “You want a daddy!”
“Or two.” Tipping my glass, the rest of the liquid pours down my throat. Finished with my drink, I set the glass onto the table and await her response to my confession.
Turning my eyes up to meet hers, I find my friend speechless, her mouth hanging open.
“Say something, Victoria.”
She shakes her head, stammering. “It’s just… you always spoke so poorly of men and marriage and my lifestyle. I know they say the more someone protests about not wanting something, the more they want it, but I had no idea Luke was so right about you. Like, times two.”
I shrug. “I guess I’m too much woman for one man.”
She stares at me as if she’s discovered a unicorn in the woods. Her words are hushed, reverent, afraid she’ll scare me away. “Maybe you are.”
I squirm in my seat under her intense gaze and parrot her words. “Why are you staring at me in that weird way?”
“It’s nothing. Just a rumor I heard about there being a fourth Bachman world.” Shaking her head, she looks down at the table, spinning the paper coaster beneath her perfectly manicured blood-red fingernail.
There are three hidden Bachman worlds that I know of. The Village, a picture-perfect town of row homes in the city filled with power couples and newlyweds. The Parrish, a private island off the coast of Greece with white stone mansions and large expanses of pristine beaches where families with children live. And the Hamlet in Connecticut, a hidden suburban town couples move to from the Village when they decide to raise a family.
The existence of a fourth Bachman world is news to me. News that might make me some money. This revelation could be an excellent addition to my article. “Tell me about it.”
She nods. “It’s the kind of rumor that gets passed around when the Beauties have had a few bottles of wine. None of us can actually confirm its existence.”
Immediately I go into journalist mode, leaning forward and taking mental notes. “Why not?”
She shrugs. “Because none of us have been.”
She lets out a tipsy giggle as she whispers loudly, “It’s where the Duets go.”
“The… Duets? Is this like a singing thing? Are you guys not only taking over organized crime, but also topping the charts?”
“Duets—as in two men who love the same woman.”
Two men. One woman.
My dream, my fantasy. Squirming in my seat, I press my thighs together. “I’ve heard a lot of crazy Bachman terms, but not that one.”
She giggles again. “I’ve also heard Charlotte call it ‘a pair that can share.’”
“A pair that can share? That’s a thing… like, a thing? I thought my overactive imagination, my out of control libido dreamt up having two men at once. You’re telling me that in your world, it’s real? With its own community?”
“Yes.” Locking eyes with me, she gives me a nod. “At least that’s what I’ve heard.”
I reach across the table, grabbing her hand. “Tell me more. Please.”
Pulling away, she shakes her head. “All I can tell you is that it’s called the Mountain. That’s all I know. We should drop this topic; I’ve already said too much.”
“Why? If it’s just a rumor, why can’t you tell me—”
Holding up her hand, she cuts off my words. “Never mind. Look, no matter what you want, please, I’m begging you, stay away from the Bachman men. Find another way to write your article. Can’t you get into some celebrity circle and get invited to one of their insane parties? With legs like yours, surely you can infiltrate the movie star world and get some dirt on their sex lives. Or, why don’t you find some punk band, do them all at once, and write up the orgy for your mag.”
“Gross, Victoria. Just because I dream of having two men at once does not mean I want an orgy.”
“I’m just saying—find someone else.” The hard warning look in her usually soft eyes sends a little chill down my spine.
The Bachmans are the only group of people more talked about than the local movie stars. Rumors and gossip swirl around the family, creating an atmosphere of curiosity and intrigue. One that, if infiltrated, would sell a hell of a lot of magazines.
But I don’t want my friend to worry, so I keep my thoughts to myself. I nod my head. “I’ll figure it out.”
“Just figure it out with someone that doesn’t belong to a mafia.” She finishes her drink, setting her empty glass back on the table. “Let’s go. Luke will be waiting for me.”
When I get back to my tiny apartment, I throw on sweats and collapse onto the bed. This night is no different from the others. I drift off, sleep taking over and delivering me to a dream world.
One where I’m at the mercy of two big men.
I can’t make out their faces, but their bodies seem larger than life as they loom over me.
They stand before me, arms crossed over the bare skin of their muscled chests. Assessing me. Deciding what dirty things they’re going to do to me.
My heart pounds. Sweat breaks out over my skin. My core melts.
I awake. They disappear, leaving me with a determination burning in my chest; I will infiltrate the family and I will write a tell-all about it. One that will rock the city and put my name in the mouth of every editor-in-chief in town. And maybe fulfill my personal fantasy in the process.
Showering and dressing in a short, flirty number, I head out to my office for the day. Shaken from the dream, I’ve taken longer to get ready than usual, making me late. It’s going to kill my wallet after the three pricey margaritas (I never let Victoria pay for me) but I take a cab.
It’s a short ride and I’m three blocks from my building when I see the gold swirling letters on the sign of Bachman’s Jewelers.
The name makes my heart hammer in my chest. The anxiety of missing a deadline courses through me. I’ve never missed a deadline, and my boss is riding my ass to turn in a first draft of my story—a paragraph even.
And I have nothing.
Determination wells inside of me. I’m going to infiltrate this mob, today. I don’t know how, but I’m doing it.
The beautiful gold letters grow closer. Maybe behind those walls is something. Something I could write about. Getting into the shop is easy. Though the Bachmans are the only ones who can afford the fine jewelry that’s inside, it’s open to the public.
Maybe, just maybe, there’s a way into the Village from the back of the shop.
It’s a dangerous mission, but I’ve worked too hard for this job to risk losing it. I make up my mind; today is the day I begin my real investigation—the one that is sure to make me famous.
I’m going to see what I can find out by perusing through their jewelry store. Plenty of Bachman couples shop here. Maybe I can eavesdrop, get some clues on where to start.
Or, find a way into the Village.
“Let me out here! Please.” I tap the shoulder of the cab driver.
He pulls over and I shove a crumpled bill in his hand.
I slide out from the cab and stand before the impressive storefront.
“Bachman’s,” I breathe, my gaze caressing the sign. My hand grabs for the door handle and I feel electricity run through my palm from excitement. As I make my way inside, a bell hanging from the door alerting the salesgirl with a friendly tinkle that makes me jump.
I’m greeted by a picture-perfect Beauty. A crisp white button-down shirt is tucked into her floral skirt. A string of pearls hangs around her neck. She comes rushing over, her large brunette curls bouncing off her shoulders. “How can I help you?”
“Hi there.” Can’t she tell by my thrift store vintage dress and knockoff yellow purse I have no business in this place? I study her open, eager face. She’s one of those who’s going to be excited and polite no matter who you are—like a small, yapping lap dog. “I’m just browsing.”
“I totally understand. This place is gorgeous, isn’t it? Take your time and call me if you need me. My name’s Charlie.” She gives me a wink as if to tell me that she remembers a time she too couldn’t afford this place.
Giving her a tight smile, I move toward the back of the store.
Lucky for me, a couple comes in, perfect pedigrees and dressed to the nines. They ooze wealth and the desperate need for all the attention in the room, which Charlie happily provides them.
Leaving me to browse around on my own.
What am I looking for?
A trap door in the marble floor? A bookcase that turns with the push of a button, creaking as it opens to expose a secret entrance to their town?
I take a long look at Charlie. She’s knee deep in diamonds and commission-based sales, not that she needs the money. She’s paying me no mind whatsoever.
Taking the opportunity I’ve been gifted, I dash down the long hall. To the right there’s an impressive office; a small clock sits on a huge mahogany desk. At the end of the hall is a black door, a blinking green light shining from the lock. One you must need a keycard to open.
To my left is a longer hall. A dark one without an overhead light. One that looks foreboding, yet for my intent and purpose, promising.
At the end of the hall I can make out the glint of a silver door handle.
Like any journalist worth their ink, I have to know what’s behind that door.
Dashing down the hall, I wrap my fingers around the handle. My heart is beating so hard in my chest, I can hear the blood as it whooshes through my arteries.
Am I on the precipice of mortal danger? What will I find on the other side of this door?
I have no idea, but something in my gut, an instinct older than time and stronger than my will to survive bubbles up, telling me to push down and open that door.
Even if I shouldn’t.
I follow the golden rule for good reporting—always listen to your gut.
I push the handle down and open the door slowly, grateful there’s no sound of a squeaky hinge. Peeking past the door, I find a large, dimly lit warehouse. The ceilings are high, the floors concrete. The place looks vacant.
Strange. I’d thought Bachman’s was next to Daughtry’s Clothing store. This must be some kind of shared hidden place behind them both. Finding nothing of use, I turn to head back to the jewelry store. As I’m closing the door, I hear the deep timbre of a man’s voice.
One I’d recognize anywhere.
It belongs to Jet; the tall, broad-shouldered man with the ice blue eyes and sleek black hair. A newly initiated member of the Bachman Brotherhood and the man I’d first pegged to seduce in order to pen my tell-all about the family’s kinky sex lives.
I know him from around the city. We’ve danced at the Bachman family’s favorite club, Gotcha’s, him holding me close as we sway. Chatted at a few parties, always finding ourselves in a dark corner together, a light banter flowing between us.
Using all my womanly wiles and tricks of the trade, I tried to get him to hook up with me, but he declined, saying, “I don’t mix business with pleasure, unless I’m forced to,” whatever that meant.
Now I can’t make out what he’s saying, but I grab onto the words, mission, shipment, and danger.
Stepping further into the big open space, I close the door quietly behind me. Tiptoeing toward the sound of the voice, I hold my breath, terrified to make a noise.
I see no one. And the talking has stopped. I look left, then right.
The place is eerily silent. Further in the warehouse are a few doors, mostly closed. There’s a blue glow coming from an opened door of a room in the back. I want a closer look, but my body freezes in fear.
Though the voices have gone, I sense I’m not alone. I feel eyes on me. Prickles raise on the back of my neck and I turn as slowly as one of those ridiculous girls in the murder mystery movies who know the killer is just behind them but still call out, “Who’s there?” anyway.
Only I say nothing, my words caught in my throat, unable to form a sound with my sandy dry tongue.
Materializing from the shadows, Jet stands before me, looming like a giant—one that wants to gobble me up. A thatch of black hair hangs over his eye and he brushes it out of the way to get a better look at me. “Are you lost, little girl?”
His words send a tremble through me, tightening my nipples. “I was just… I guess I did get a little lost and—”
“Nosing around where you shouldn’t be?” He gives a raise of one dark, intimidating brow.
I shake my head. “I-I was… investigating.”
“Well, around here do you know what we call investigating?” he asks, his deep voice sending a shiver down my spine.
He says, “A cause for a disappearance.”
My blood runs cold, a white heat flashes over my face. “M-murder?”
“Maybe.” As he studies my face, a slow calculating grin crosses his face. “Of course, in this mafia, we are gentlemen. We hate to lay a finger on a lady.”
I say, “That’s not what I’ve heard.”
“What have you heard?” Jet demands.
If I’ve risked my life, I may as well try to garner some information from him. I egg him on, hoping for dirt. “That you punish your women… physically. That you inflict pain to keep them in line. To make them submit to your will.”
“Then you’ve heard wrong.” He gives a predatory grin that doesn’t match his words.
A second voice joins our conversation. “Partially, at least.”
I look over my shoulder to find the owner of the smooth tone. Another large man, his body tight and muscular, though not as broad-shouldered as Jet, with sandy hair and bright green eyes, steps out from the shadows.
Jet gives him a greeting with a tilt of his chin. “Hey, Liam. Tell our little visitor here what parts of the legend she got right.”
He steps forward, his jade eyes burning into mine. I catch the faintest hint of his woodsy cologne. “You mean about how we punish naughty little girls we catch snooping.”
“Spank them until they’re begging us for mercy.” Jet gives a dark chuckle.
Liam’s eyes rove over my body as he crosses his arms over his chest. “Make their pretty asses red like a cherry—”
“Then use them for our pleasure,” Jet answers.
My life might be on the line but the first question that pops out of my mouth is on clarifying facts for my article—are they talking about anal? “Wait—use the women, or use their asses?”
They answer in unison. “Both.”
Jet smiles. “We like to punish them, inside and out.”
“Tell me more, gentlemen.” My throat suddenly feels impossibly tight but I press on with my information gathering mission. I’m getting direct quotes right from the source. I swallow hard. “But only if they consent, right? I mean… you wouldn’t take a woman that didn’t want to be with you?”
Liam gives his own dark chuckle. “But you will want to be with us.”
Jet’s eyes undress me. “Not only because of what we can do to that tight little body of yours.”
“But because if you don’t submit to our way, you’ll still be punished.” Liam steps closer.
So does Jet. “But not by us.”
I take a step back. “What do you mean? What will happen to me?”
“Like I said, the Brotherhood doesn’t like snoops.” His tone is heavy, his words a warning.
Jet crosses his arms over his chest, pushing up his already insanely huge biceps. “We can always turn you in to the cops for trespassing. Or, call your magazine and let them know that you went about gaining your information in the most unethical way.”
“Wait—you know about my article?” I squeak.
Liam raises a brow. “Yes, and you sneaking around gathering information, it’s no different from stealing, is it?”
“And those who steal from the Brotherhood rarely live to tell the tale.” Jet’s words make me shiver.
Liam leans in, his face close to mine. “What’s it going to be, Lulu? Or should we call you Lourdes?”
They know my name. They know my intentions. A sick feeling swirls through my insides. My shaking words tumble from my mouth. “It’s Lulu to you.”
“What’s it going to be?” Jet asks. “Are you going to take your punishment from us, or should we call your boss and lodge a complaint, Lulu? The Bachmans have a lot of influence in this city, as I’m sure you’re already well aware.”
Liam shrugs. “Or we could take her to Rockland. Though there’s no telling what he’d do to her.”
I can’t lose my job. I can’t go to jail. And I do not want to face the head of this family—he’s not going to look lightly on my trespassing.
My only choice?
To submit to these two men.
To let them punish me however they choose.
The knowledge should have me panicked, have me wanting to run, wanting to cry. Instead I find a calm, curious warmth spreading over my entire body. Much like when I wake from my recurring dream.
I look into Jet’s blue eyes, then Liam’s green ones. Taking a deep breath, I hold up my chin—though I’m about to lose, I can try to retain my pride. “I choose your way. But know this—I don’t go down without a fight.”
They exchange a knowing glance—as if they’ve just won a contest, and my body is their prize.