Kate stood in front of the mirror as music by Halsey filled her small room. With her heart thumping a steady anxious beat, she turned her head from side to side to insure that her dark hair was perfectly sleek from the smoothing lotion. Kate added another coat of mascara, but didn’t add liner under her brown eyes. She thought she should look polished, but also soft and sweet. She put on light pink lipstick that matched her nail color.
Outside, in the common area, her laughing suite mates called out that they were leaving.
“Okay!” she said. “Have fun!” She’d told them she was going on a date, which wasn’t true. It was her cover story.
She sang along to ‘Sorry,’ her hands fluttering nervously near her phone. There was still time to cancel. But she did really want to see it—the secret sex club that her thoughts had chased like a fading dream ever since she’d heard about it.
Outsiders, even those in the BDSM community, could never be sure whether the Marquis Club was real or an urban legend… unless they were invited to join. That was the way the club wanted it, and it went to great lengths to keep its location, members, and its very existence a secret. That’s why the invitation Kate had gotten was so special.
Like a lot of other girls, Kate had been curious about the lifestyle. But unlike a lot of girls who experimented with bondage and submission during sex to spice things up, Kate was drawn to it on a deeper level. A traumatic experience early on had made her retreat into her fantasies, rather than exploring BDSM in real life as she longed to do. It had taken over a year for her desires to get the best of her.
Eventually though, she’d tried again. She’d ended up going with a couple she trusted to the mansion of a wealthy and very dominant man named Randall. He currently had two pets, both set up in apartments that he paid for. At the party, he showed off their bodies and engaged in play, as did many people who attended. There hadn’t been sex at the party. At least not openly.
There’d been bondage and nudity, and it was incredibly sexy. The best part of Kate’s night had been a spanking by Randall. There had been nothing tentative, or anything frightening about it. She’d been soundly spanked till tears stung her eyes and she had to rub her thighs together. The experience left her sore and aroused and anxious for more.
Being spanked by Randall had fueled her fantasies for days, so she’d met him for a drink. He explained in his rough English accent that he wasn’t looking for another pet, but he wanted her to join his club.
“A club full of strangers?” she’d asked hesitantly.
“Only strangers until you get to know them. There are good clubs and bad ones. Just like the people who join them. The key is a rigorous screening process, especially of the dominants, and relentless adherence to the club rules. Let’s take the club I belong to. There are background checks. There are interviews and a vote. The vetting process for new doms is thorough and takes months. A hard limit has never been crossed in the club. If that happened, the dom would be more than expelled from the club. He would have made enemies of people who are bad enemies to have.”
“I understand,” she said, plucking at the hem of her dress. “But I enjoyed your party so much. With just a few people at a time. I think that’s the sort of environment where I can be comfortable.”
“That party was to allow me to meet you, love. I have a club, two pets, two ex-wives, and a business to run. I rarely throw parties.”
She bit her lip. She didn’t want to hear that it had been a one-time thing. Her dark hair fell around her face as she tried to hide her disappointment.
“You could have so much more. You’re hesitant. That’s all right. Smart girls should be cautious, especially after being misused. But trust me, you should visit this club.”
“I’m not sure.”
“There’s no rush. It’ll happen when you’re ready. I’ll be out of the country for a week. When I’m home, we’ll have another talk about it. And if you’re a good girl and agree to visit the club, I’ll warm that backside for you as a reward.”
She flushed and looked up at him through her lashes.
“When will you be back?”
He’d laughed and patted her hand.
Kate had smiled, relaxing.
She’d met again with Randall, or Master Randall as he’d be called in the club, twice more in the following five weeks. On the third meeting, he’d told her the next time she called, she needed to be ready to accept an invitation to visit the Marquis Club.
It took just over a week for her to call him. He’d coached her on what to say in the call. No use of the club’s name or even the word club. She was only to say that she’d like to meet his colleagues. She’d mentioned which nights she was free to visit.
He’d called back and told her to be ready Thursday night and that a car would pick her up at seven o’clock. She was to wait for a call before coming down to the street.
“The campus is really safe, especially at seven. Other people will be coming and going from dinner. I don’t mind waiting outside. The weather’s been nice.”
“Female submissives don’t stand around alone on the street. On a night you’re coming to the club, you’re our responsibility. You’re extremely important to us, love, every one of you. You’ll be called when the car is there. Don’t come down before.”
That explanation had given her a little thrill. Though she understood from their conversations that she’d be giving up a lot of control while in the club, some of the rules persuaded her that the safety of the submissives was just as important to the club as the pleasure of the dominants.
The black town car with its tinted windows arrived five minutes before seven and idled on the street. She received a text that simply said, Car’s arrived.
She made her way downstairs, her heart pounding. The driver who wore a black suit opened the back door for her. A very pretty girl with dark blonde hair leaned forward and smiled. She wore a lime green satin bustier and skirt. Kate immediately felt underdressed in her pale yellow knit dress.
“Hi, I’m Nikki.”
“I wasn’t told what to wear. I could run up and change into something a little sexier if you don’t mind waiting.”
“I don’t mind waiting, but they do. Besides, you’re beautiful. They’ll love that dress, simple and sweet. It’s perfect. Come in,” she said with a wave of her hand.
Kate sat next to Nikki, and the driver closed the door.
“Getting picked up seems like a very formal process.”
“Yeah, but you’ll get used to it. And there are a lot of days when I’m running errands that I wish I had door-to-door service with a driver to carry my packages or to collect me with an open umbrella when there’s rain or sleet.”
“I can see how that would be nice.”
“I wonder whether Master Randall explained about the blindfold?” Nikki asked, holding up a black eye mask.
“He did,” Kate said, clasping her hands. She closed her eyes and bent forward.
“I know it’s a little nerve-racking, but better to be nervous tonight than on every other night you come to the club, thinking that someone will crash the place and take photos with a long lens of the people who come and go. Not that it would be easy unless they tried to breach the walls, which wouldn’t work all that well. Security’s really great.”
Kate nodded as the black silk-lined blindfold plunged her into darkness. “It’s scary, though, to go to an undisclosed location. If someone decided that they didn’t want to let you go, you’d be stuck,” she said.
Nikki touched her arm lightly and then slid a hand down to clasp Kate’s. “No one will do anything to you that you don’t agree to try. I’ve been a club sub for over a year. At the end of the night’s fun, everyone goes home. It might be really late. I’ve gotten home just before sunrise a few times. But I’ve always outrun the sun.”
“Randall said I would be okay. I trust him.”
“Now that we’re headed to the club, practice calling him Master Randall, so you don’t slip while inside.”
“Would that lead to a punishment?”
“Not tonight, but remember that just like you’re trying to decide whether the club would suit you, the club’s trying to decide if you’d suit the club. Unless you’re a switch?”
“So there are dominants and submissives. And there are some people who are called switches because they switch roles.”
“I think I did read that somewhere. It didn’t really stick with me, since I’m not interested in that.”
“You might be one day. That’s the great thing about the club. You’ll have a ton of opportunities to try a lot of different things. It’s a kinky theme park without the roller coasters. Unless you consider mechanized spanking benches and other hydraulic-powered equipment roller coaster rides. They can definitely provide an emotional ride,” Nikki said with a laugh.
Kate grinned. “I’m really glad they sent you. I’m so much less nervous now.”
“Hold on to that. You’ll be nervous again before the night’s over. I promise. But it won’t be terror, you know? It’s all about the thrill that comes from losing control and the adrenaline spike that comes from pain and stress. The release from that, it’s like nothing else.”
“I know,” Kate whispered.
Nikki squeezed her hand.
Rory doused himself with some water and toweled off. Doing roleplay scenes under the lights was like being a damn actor. He could’ve said no, of course, but you had to give the subs a little sugar now and then, and a lot of them loved role-playing.
Rory tossed the pile of heavy costume clothes into a bin and pulled his leather pants back on.
“Shay,” Rory said.
Shay turned, running a hand through his damp hair. “I need a haircut. Badly.”
“You need to get yourself a pair of clippers, brother. Life gets so much easier,” Rory said, running a hand over the stubble of his buzzed hair.
“Yeah, but not everyone can get away with looking like a gangbanger. The cyclists and marathon-running former geeks of Silicon Valley would back right out the door if you turned up for a meeting.”
Rory grinned. “What are you talking about? The tech crowd should be good with me. Put me in some chainmail and I look just like a World of Warcraft avatar, right?”
Shay laughed. “I didn’t say they don’t want to be you. I said they don’t want to meet you.”
Rory shrugged. “Looking respectable stopped being a priority so long ago I can barely remember what that was like. Hey, where’s Nikki? She never misses a roleplay, and she’s the one who asked me to get in on this little game. She was such a good girl last week for me, I wanted to reward her. Then she’s not even part of it.”
“I think her plans for the night got changed.”
“Why’s that?” Rory asked, looking around. He hadn’t heard about any other big group scene going on. And other scenes could’ve been scheduled around the night’s big roleplay.
“D sent her on a mission.”
“Outside the club?” Rory asked, surprised. Getting the young female submissives safely to the club and home was a well-orchestrated operation. If someone was going to leave the club during play hours on an errand, it wouldn’t normally be a twenty-something girl.
As Shay and Rory walked down the aisle between scene staging areas, various club members called out their appreciation for the roleplay’s execution. Shay and Rory nodded acknowledgment.
“That’s why,” Shay said, inclining his head at a girl standing with Nikki just inside the curtains that concealed the entryway.
Now what do we have here? Rory thought.
The girl’s body was the kind he loved best. Hourglass and juicy. Nikki was really beautiful in her own way, but so thin that Rory held back on some of the things he’d have done to a girl with more flesh to protect her.
The girl turned her head and spotted them. When her eyes met his, her full lips parted and she dropped her gaze. A moment later, she glanced up through her lashes, then looked away again. He knew that look. Hunger tightened his muscles and curled lower.
“If you’re going to send a fairy on a quest, that’s exactly the kind of treasure you want her to come back with,” Shay said.
“Amen, brother,” Rory said, still watching the girl. She wore a pale yellow dress that showed off her tan skin and dark hair. She was on the tall side and had probably chosen the thin-soled flat shoes as a result. The strap around her big toe had a little yellow and white flower on it. Fuck. He didn’t have a foot fetish, but he wanted to suck on every inch of her, including her feet. “Look at those flowers on her shoes. Looks like a garnish.”
Shay chuckled. “Agreed. Definitely edible.”
“Who found her? Nikki?”
“Randall? The English guy?”
“He doesn’t train subs, does he?” Rory asked. “He’s not around much.”
“He doesn’t, but not just because he’s gone a lot. Doesn’t have the temperament for it. He’ll be the first to tell you. Breaking in sub virgins doesn’t appeal to him. He goes in for really rough play and likes to push it. Training subs takes time and patience.”
“Who’ll be D’s first choice? D himself? You?”
“I don’t know. He’ll choose after he talks to her. You know D.”
“I do know him. Gotta watch myself in that office. Might start crying and drinking milk, talking about my childhood and shit.”
Shay barked out a laugh. “Yeah, I could just see that.”
Rory grinned. “Let’s go say hello.” He watched as D approached Nikki and the girl.
“Can’t. Got a scene.”
“What? Now? You’re like a machine, man.”
Shay shrugged. “What can I say? It’s tough to be popular,” he said with a wink.
Rory nodded, registering what Shay said a couple of beats late because he’d been watching D take the girl toward his office. “Later,” Rory said and strode away.
He didn’t head to D’s office immediately. Instead he walked through the curtain to the entryway where Nikki was taking over from the sub who’d been manning it.
“Hello, Master Rory. I’m very sorry I missed the scene tonight. Did it go well?”
“People seemed to think so. Would’ve been better if you’d been a part.”
She smiled, dropping her eyes for a moment before looking up. “I try.”
“You could be an actress. Ever try that?”
“A little community theater,” she said with a nod. “It’s fun. But not as fun as doing a scene in the club.”
She smiled again.
“Shay said D sent you out to bring back a potential club member.”
“Why’d he send you? She skittish?”
“Yes, but not overly so. She’s not conflicted about what she wants.”
“Good. What does she want?”
“This,” Nikki said with a small smile.
“From what I can see, she’s kind of perfect for the club.” The phone rang. “Excuse me, Sir,” Nikki said before she picked up the phone, her hoop earrings swinging. “Thank you. I’ll alert her that you’ve arrived. She’ll be down in a minute,” she said into the phone and then hung up.
“How long till you’re done with coordinating the pickups?” Rory asked.
She glanced at her tablet’s screen. “Another hour. All the unaccompanied subs will be in the club by nine.”
“Find me later if you want to do a roleplay scene, just you and me.”
Her face lit up. “Really? Two in one night… that’s incredibly generous of you, Master Rory.”
He shrugged. “Gotta make sure good girls get rewarded,” he said.
Master D was handsome, articulate, and rather distinguished. If asked to guess, Kate would’ve put him in his mid-forties. He could easily have been a buff version of one of her professors.
He asked questions in a low voice that had her leaning forward. He wanted to know about her background and former BDSM experiences, but his interest didn’t put her on edge. She found herself talking about things she’d never told anyone. When she got a little tearful, he was sympathetic without causing her to break down further.
“I thought maybe I’d just go back to fantasizing, reading books and blogs and things. But… after a while it just didn’t feel like enough. And I guess, too, I got over what happened. Mostly I have, I think.”
“You’re quite brave, Kate.”
“Oh, I don’t know.”
“I do,” he said firmly. He smiled at her then. “Let me tell you a little about us and then if you’d like, a tour.”
“Master Randall said that I’d only have a tour if we decided I’d become a member?”
“I’m anticipating that we’ll both think that a tour’s appropriate.”
Her lips were dry. She smiled and licked them. “I hope so. And thank you.”
He nodded. He explained that the club’s membership fees were percentage-based with more affluent members paying more than those who hadn’t accumulated as much wealth.
She flushed. “I hope to be successful enough one day to be among the group that pays higher dues, but at the moment—” She flushed.
“That’s fine. A girl in school may pay just a few dollars a year as a token.” He looked at her intently. “I don’t want you to get the wrong impression though. It happens that more of the dues come from the club’s dominants, but we do have a few submissives who pay a great deal as well. This is a not a situation in which anyone is paying anyone else to participate in anything. We strongly discourage the club’s dominants from buying gifts for the club’s submissives and prohibit monetary gifts. Money, when one doesn’t have enough of it, can be coercive. Do you understand?”
“You don’t want someone like me, who’s on financial aid at an Ivy League school, to feel like this is a way to finance college?”
“Exactly. I never want you to feel like you’re prostituting yourself, but it goes beyond that. I want you to extend your limits when and if you decide you’re ready to do that. I don’t want you to feel that whether you can afford your rent is dependent on changing a hard limit to please a club’s dominant. That’s a dangerous and slippery slope. This is a club for like-minded people to satisfy their needs and cravings. And that’s all it is. No one is ever going to pay your rent or your tuition. And no one is going to pressure you into changing your hard limits.”
She smiled. “I think it’s a good policy. A smart one.” She tucked her hair behind her ears.
“That being said, the club has a good relationship with a couple of exclusive boutiques that provide some specialty clothing. The club has a dress code, so we have an account that covers part of the cost of that clothing. And that’s a discount that’s used by all members who choose to shop within those establishments. It’s also not uncommon for members to donate to what we call the Clubwear Fund. So things can be very affordable.”
She nodded. “I didn’t know what to wear tonight. Master Randall said I should just wear a dress that suits me.”
“And you did. Well done.”
The tap on the door made her glance over her shoulder.
“Come,” Master D said.
The door opened, and he was there. The guy who looked like he belonged in a Fast & Furious movie.
“Rory, this is Kate. She’s thinking about joining us. Kate, this is Master Rory.”
“Welcome,” he said.
“Thank you,” she murmured.
He had the most amazing hazel eyes. She realized that she’d been staring at him for a little too long and dropped her gaze, biting her lip.
“D, Talia wanted to know if you need to cancel your scene with her?” Master Rory asked.
“No,” D said, glancing at his watch. “Kate and I are almost done talking. J’s going to explain more when he takes her on a tour, assuming she’s inclined.”
“Yes, very,” Kate said to D, her cheeks still warm.
“J’s all the way over on Dungeon Row,” Master Rory said.
“He won’t be long. Rory, you’ll look after Kate while she waits?”
“I’m not here for the Canada Dry,” Rory said with a glance at the mini-fridge in the corner.
“Good,” Master D said, taking Kate’s hand. “I’ll see you in a little while.”
“Thank you, Master D.”
“Of course. We’re happy you’re here.” To Rory, D only inclined his head before he left.
Master Rory, who was shirtless, was so sculpted he could’ve been in an illustration in an artist’s anatomy book. He had a black sun tattoo on his shoulder and barbed wire circling his enormous bicep. He took her breath away.
“Want something to drink? D goes for the ginger ale, but he’s got other things in there.”
“I am thirsty,” she said, moistening her lips.
His gaze lingered on her mouth. “How about hungry? There’s food in the lounge.”
She shook her head.
“Shame. Seeing those lips wrapped around anything would be a show worth watching.”
She swallowed, unable to meet his gaze. She felt like her entire body flushed.
“Name your poison. Strictly nonalcoholic while there are still decisions to be made.”
“Um,” she said. She was having trouble focusing. She’d lowered her gaze and now she couldn’t tear it away from his six-pack.
“Why don’t I choose for you? Since you’re busy,” he said mildly.
“Sorry,” she said, dragging her eyes up. “You’re just—”
“What?” he asked, moving to the front of the desk and leaning against it.
He was close enough to touch. She tucked her fingers under her legs as a precaution.
He leaned forward and caught her chin in a firm grip and then tipped her face up. “I asked you a question. Answer me.” His voice was so forceful it took her breath away.
“Like a fantasy come to life.”
“Which fantasy?” he asked.
“All of them,” she whispered, staring up into his eyes.
“Hope she invited you to put hands on her,” a voice said from the doorway.
“She did. An unspoken invitation,” Rory said, brushing his thumb along her jaw before he released her face. “Unless I misread things. Did I, Kate?”
She swallowed and shook her head, her jaw still tingling from where he’d held it.
Rory stood, bringing his body close enough to lick. Then he moved away, and she finally turned her attention to the man in the doorway.
“Um, hi,” she said, standing up. “I’m Kate.” She extended a shaky hand.
The man in the doorway was handsome, too. In the same way that D was. Tan, fit, nice features. He was probably in his early forties, though it was hard to tell. He was very tall, probably six-four or six-five.
“Kate’s thirsty,” Master Rory said, pulling her attention back to him. “You got here too soon. I never heard what she likes to drink.”
“Water’s fine,” she said softly.
Master Rory got a bottle, unscrewed the cap, and handed it to her.
He nodded. “I’ll see you later.”