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Taken and Trained by Vonna Harper – Sample

Chapter One

Taken and TrainedShe ran, stumbling over the uneven ground, trying to steady herself, only to be jerked forward by the rope wrapped around her wrists. Fear started to drill into her, prompting her to clench her teeth and try to deny the emotion.

Nothing to be afraid of, everything to embrace.

Shaking off the sweat running into her eyes, she focused on the rider ahead of her. She barely noticed the massive animal with its prancing legs and proud head held high. Instead, she concentrated on the rider. The big man only occasionally looked back at her, and his eyes told her nothing of his thoughts, his plans for her. Mostly, she stared at his broad and naked back.

A jerk on her tethered wrists forced her to acknowledge the rope leading from her bonds to him. She was his prisoner, his possession; helpless, forced to move at his pace.

Again trepidation started to slip past her defenses, forcing her to repeat her mantra that there was nothing to be afraid of.

She had no past or future, no present beyond this moment, no emotions except for those controlled by sensation. Her thighs burned, and her calves threatened to cramp, but between her legs, sexual heat rolled. And yet, she wasn’t afraid. No, damn it, she wasn’t! Instead, she embraced this journey. If she knew only one thing, it was that he wanted her for what she was, a female.

And as his captive, she’d submit.




The alarm clock rang, and Lacey woke hot, sweaty, and tangled up in the bed sheets. She wiped a hand down her face and stared at the clock. Six a.m. Damn. She’d barely gotten three hours of sleep.

She was going to be as tired as shit today. Lacey sighed. Just the same, she sat up and gave her pillow a pat before getting to her feet and walking into the bathroom, leaving the incredible dream behind.

At least she tried to leave it. There’d been something about it she couldn’t put a finger on this morning, something slightly off, something that had made it not as much fun as it should have been considering this was what she wanted—and why she’d contacted Fantasies Unlimited.

“You look like crap.”

“Gee, thanks,” attorney Lacey Stapleton of the county’s D.A. office shot back. She should have been insulted, but her fellow lawyer was right. No matter that she’d slapped on more makeup than usual before coming to work this morning; her effort hadn’t come close to hiding the fact that she’d barely slept last night.

“Just being honest,” Kayla countered. “What’s the problem? Is getting ready for the Blackstone trial giving you fits? Don’t worry. We’ve got more than enough evidence to fry his ass.”

“I always get uptight just before a trial starts, same as you.” Lacey shrugged. “Nothing I can’t handle. If the phones would only stop ringing this afternoon, which they won’t, I’ll have the time I need to tie up the last of the loose ends.”

“If you’re not having insomnia over the latest dirt bag about to get what’s coming to him, then what is it?” Kayla gave her a stern look, her gaze searching. Her eyes suddenly narrowed. “Don’t tell me you’re getting some. If you’ve been holding out on me—”

“I haven’t, believe me.”

Kayla sighed. “Me either. Like when will either of us find an eligible man as long as we’re doing what we are? Every member of the opposite sex we come into contact with is—oh, let’s see.” Kayla held up a finger for each possibility she ticked off. “Behind bars, should be behind bars, just been behind bars, a cop, or another lawyer. And you know our pact. No sleeping with the enemy.”

“Cops aren’t the enemy, at least not always,” Lacey replied. “But you’re right about one thing. I wouldn’t trust a defense attorney as far as I could drop-kick him. Not that they’re bad guys, I guess, but they’re on the opposite side of the legal fence. As for other males who frequent the courthouse, they’re either married or up to their eyeballs in alimony payments, to say nothing of decades-old student loans.” She chuckled. “Then there’s the frequent fliers who are suing, being sued, or paying fines.”

“Okay, so you’re as hot and bothered as I am. Is that it? You aren’t sleeping because you spend the night wearing out the batteries in your sex toys?”

Even though the office door was closed and the conversation should be private, Lacey put her finger to her lips. She’d keep the conversation light. “I plead the fifth on that. I’m not going to tell you everything about my sex life! Mostly, I need a vacation. A long one.”

“Me, too. And not alone. Gotta throw in a tall, dark, and hard, mostly hard male.”

Occasionally, Kayla’s frankness embarrassed Lacey, but getting to know her coworker had helped her open up about the sometimes hot-blooded woman she kept hidden beneath her professional facade. Her career had pretty much separated her from her conservative Midwest childhood. These days, she called a spade a spade and embraced her sexuality—even if it sometimes still surprised her. “I’m assuming you’re talking about an island retreat full of naked native males whose only desire is to cater to us.”

“Now you’re getting there.” Kayla’s look was a little too wide-eyed to be taken seriously. “Okay, about those naked males. What kind of catering did you have in mind?”

“What do you think? Of the carnal variety.”

“Hmm.” Kayla grinned. “Strange, but that’s exactly the thought I had. Me, I’d love to turn into a high-maintenance bitch. You know, needing a lot of massages and tropical drinks followed by long and lingering sex. Or short and hard, I ain’t picky. If the stud doesn’t perform according to my exact standards, I’ll send him to the dungeon and snap my fingers, indicating I’m ready for the next in line to step forward. Yeah, that’s it. And while we’re at it, put a switch in my hand so I can keep the studs in line. After all, I’m the mistress of this show. What about you, you ever want your own herd of sex slaves?”

Sex slave. If I’m the one wearing the label and chains. “‘Fraid not. I don’t have a dominant bone in my body, which is probably why last night’s dream took the turn it did.”

“What turn?” Kayla was fairly drooling. Lacey almost laughed. Conversations like this really turned her friend on. “What happened?”

Watch what you say. “That’s the hell of it, it didn’t last long enough for anything to happen, but—”

“Is this going to soak my panties? Go on, tell me everything you remember.”

Not going to happen. “Promise you won’t blab.”

“To whom? Like the rest of the staff knows what you and I talk about. Spill, pronto.”

“All right,” Lacey said, although she still wasn’t ready to fully open up, especially about the unsettling part. “This stud on horseback had thrown some ropes on me and was pulling me behind him.”

“What stud?”

“I didn’t ask his name, all right? Didn’t say a word to him or him to me. I’ve been putting the same hunk into most of my sex fantasies, you know, Tarzan-on-steroids.” After Kayla’s nod, she continued. If it had been anyone else, she wouldn’t have said a word, but Kayla was special—someone she trusted with most of her most intimate thoughts. In addition, she made a point of providing Kayla with the same outlet. “It was him. Tarzan with deodorant but no clothes. After I’d put my sex toys aside and fallen asleep, he showed up in my dream.” She concentrated. “We were both naked. Much as I wanted to ask where he was taking me, I didn’t. I wasn’t scared, at least I don’t remember being afraid.” Just a little. “Instead, I could hardly wait to get to wherever we were going. It was going to be good, hot and good. Well, at least I was pretty sure it was going to be both of those things. It was my dream, after all.”

“You were his captive?”

“Oh, yes!” Lacey pretended to pant.

“Maybe he was your master or dom?”

Picking up a file, she fanned herself. “Maybe. Don’t make me drool.”

“Oh, that’s rich!” Kayla clapped her hands and laughed. “Lady assistant district attorney and closet submissive. Hey! I know! That’s what I’ll get you for your birthday—your very own master, a stud who knows how to push all your buttons. Plus he’d be quick to bring you in line if you misbehave.”

Master. She’d just opened her mouth to maybe tell Kayla something when her cell phone went off. Saved by the bell. There were some things even Kayla wasn’t going to know, at least not now.

“A master…” she muttered over her shoulder because she wasn’t quite ready to meet Kayla’s eyes. “Just make sure he brings a paddle, rope and cuffs, and a spreader bar for my legs,” she blurted out before she could stop herself.

“Oh, shit, you have been giving this serious thought, haven’t you?”

What comes after thinking? Desperately needing, maybe? More than needing, determined to make it happen—safely. Sending a deposit to Fantasies Unlimited. “Why do you think I keep having those dreams?” she asked as she activated the phone.

What’s behind these powerful needs? And do I really want them?

A barn.

A barn with rafters overhead and a rope dangling from one of them.

Her wrists still tied together in front, Lacey stood under the rope. Slivers of sunlight made their way into the barn between the weathered wallboards and glided over her captor’s body, making him look like a gift wrapped just for her. He stood several feet away, his arms crossed over his muscled chest and his equally muscular legs widespread. He wasn’t touching her, but Lacey sensed the potential, the threat and promise. Her breathing came in quick bursts, and her legs burned, reminding her that she’d been running after him and his horse. Trying to keep up. How she’d become his prisoner and what he intended to do to her were vital questions. Yet with him so close, she could barely concentrate on the two thoughts, much less anything else.

“You want this,” he said. “Every line of your body tells me you do.”

“You don’t know me. You don’t know what I want,” she told her dream man/lover.

“Yes, I do. Just as you know me.”

What did he mean by that? Her dream had never progressed this far. Until now he’d been silent. “What do you want from me?”

“This isn’t about what I want, Lacey. This is all about your desires.”

Relieved that this was her dream and she controlled her fate, she’d been on the brink of thanking him when she stiffened. Was the light in the barn becoming brighter or were her eyes adjusting? She blinked. The man wasn’t young, but he wasn’t old, either. Maybe early thirties. His belly was nonexistent, and his muscles were sharply carved. He carried his nudity with pride, as would any man blessed with such height and breadth. His cock lay easy between his legs, waiting for a reason to come to life. His eyes, his incredible eyes, were either dark brown or black, and there seemed to be no end to their depth. They more than spoke to her; they stroked and caressed and challenged her. They found her core.

Understood her.

Shit. That was going deep. Since when had her dreams been analytical?

“Look up,” he ordered. “See what I’ve prepared for you. It’s exactly what you’ve been waiting for.”

He was responsible for the overhead rope, was he? “No! I’d never—”

“Don’t! Don’t lie to either of us.”

I’m not, she wanted to say, but he was right. Her every nerve hummed. She was loose and soft and hot, wet with wanting and waiting. “I don’t want to.”

“I’ll hold you to that. Step one: show me what you want to have happen.”

No, she didn’t want this responsibility! She needed to be putty in his hands, manipulated and manhandled.

“Go deep inside yourself,” he pressed. “What do you find?”

Fear and excitement, along with a million other emotions. Instead of telling him the truth, she shocked herself by extending her arms and touching the rope above her. “Put it around my wrists and pull my arms over my head. Make it so I can’t get away.” So I don’t have to think or direct anything.

His mouth quirked, and his cock started to come to life. “Once I’ve done that, there’ll be no turning away. No stopping. If you resist, I’ll punish you.”

Not sure whether she was going to scream or remain silent, Lacey rose onto her toes and gripped the rope. She looked at her captor and licked her lips.

This was a dream. Her dream. She couldn’t get hurt, because she controlled it.

Real life was different—unknown.

The gray-eyed man with thick, reddish-brown hair nodded at but didn’t speak to the older woman behind the gym’s front desk. His surgeon hadn’t cleared him for physical activity when he first signed up, but then he hadn’t asked. A man—him, anyway—wouldn’t survive without activity. Even more to the point, working out wore him down and that made sleeping easier. The nights were still iffy and might always be, but at least he now approached darkness knowing he’d done what his body demanded.

He entered the men’s changing room, but waited until he had it to himself before stripping out of his shirt and slacks and putting on faded shorts and a T-shirt that might not survive another washing. He didn’t give a damn about official workout attire. His clothing choice served one purpose: to cover the scar.

Despite the attention his impressive height garnered, he only rarely acknowledged the women who watched him lift weights. He was here to work, to reestablish himself as a man.

To put what no one here knew about behind him.

Weary of himself, he walked out of the changing room and into the area where only the strongest women and only some of the men ventured. He grabbed two seventy-five-pound weights and stretched out on his back on a padded bench. He lowered the weights to his chest, filled his lungs, and pushed up, not stopping until his elbows were locked. Not breathing, he lowered the weights and repeated the maneuver. Up and down. Lungs empty and then full. Feet flat on the floor on either side of the bench, teeth clenched, and eyes closed, he locked into the rock music blasting through the speakers.

Hard. Existing only for this moment, honing these muscles, blotting out the past, thinking about the future.

And the woman without a name he’d soon own thanks to his involvement with a secretive organization called Fantasies Unlimited.

She’d be forever changed by the time they were done with each other, but he wouldn’t change. Damn it, he wouldn’t! He’d already undergone enough change for one lifetime.

“At least it’s payday,” Kayla pointed out the next morning when Lacey and she wound up in the conference room at the same time. Kayla had come by to pick up the notes she’d left behind, and Lacey would be using the room for a meeting with someone she hoped would be a key witness.

Wanting nothing more than to return to last night’s dream so she could take things to the next level, to one hopefully punctuated by fucking this time, plain and simple, Lacey opened her briefcase. After promising herself that she’d program her mind to do just that when she went to bed tonight, she tried to focus on the briefcase’s contents. “Damn,” she muttered. “What a week, and it’s only Wednesday! Anyone tell me I don’t earn my salary, and I’ll punch his lights out. Are we still on for drinks tonight?”

“You better believe it. I’d be running screaming out of here if I didn’t have that to look forward to.”

Since her witness was due momentarily, Lacey struggled to put on her game face. “You aren’t the only one. I swear I’m going to do nothing except sleep this weekend, if I make it that far.”

“What about dreaming? Maybe choreographing a little fantasy BDSM?”

How did you guess? Lacey glared at her partner in crime. “Put a cork in it, will you. I’m sorry I said anything.”

“Come on, there’s nothing wrong with a little fantasy.” Kayla shrugged. “In fact, the more the healthier. At least, that’s what I read somewhere.”

“BDSM? That’s pretty intense.” Like she hadn’t thought about it countless times.

“Depends on how far one goes. Not that I know what I’m talking about of course, but apparently it can be everything from some mild stuff like a silk flogger to lifestyle complete with collar.” Kayla’s cell sounded. When she saw the number, she gave it a middle finger salute. “Say, what about the hunk on horseback? I do love a man who knows his way around horses. You still dreaming about him?”

“Yes,” Lacey admitted. Even though Kayla and she had the room to themselves, she looked around. “Last night we were in a barn, and I was encouraging him to tie me to a rafter.”

Kayla fanned herself with her hand. “You’re killing me!”

“I’m killing myself.”

“Yeah, I can see how that might happen. Just keep me posted.” Kayla winked. Her cell went off again. “Shit, duty calls. The first drink’s on you, right?”

Technically, the first drink was Kayla’s responsibility this week, but Lacey didn’t say anything, figuring it all came out in the end. Besides, thanks to Kayla’s exit, she was alone in the conference room, free to ponder what might have happened after her dream man had finished securing her to the rafter. Unfortunately she must have fallen more deeply asleep because she didn’t remember anything after that.

What would it feel like to be rendered helpless, to have a mysterious man circle her with a predatory look in his eye, to touch her when and where and how he wanted? Maybe he’d carry a whip—not a monster one, of course, but a lightweight tool capable of caressing and sometimes stinging her flesh. He’d slap her buttocks and breasts to get her attention—not that he didn’t have it already—and then he might order her to spread her legs so he could concentrate on her labia, even her clit.

She’d moan and beg—not that he would stop, but that he would take her further and further into… something. And when she was certain she couldn’t stand any more, he’d liberally apply his large hands to her ass simply because he could. Once he had her whimpering and even hotter, he’d let her down so he could spread-eagle her on a four-poster bed. Then he’d climb onto it, kneel between her spread legs, and run his knuckles over her inner thighs. Her spanked ass would throb, adding to the sensations she was happily weathering.

“Miss Stapleton? Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. The receptionist said I could come right in.”

“That—that’s just fine.” Praying her cheeks weren’t flushed but guessing they were, Lacey stood and extended her hand toward the dirt bag’s middle-aged landlady. “I want to thank you for coming in this morning. Let me assure you that you’re doing right by detailing what you overheard when you were at Mr. Markham’s apartment. You were there because you were trying to collect the rent, weren’t you?”

“Yes, not that it did me any good. That man—”

“I understand. I have just a few questions to ask you. This shouldn’t take long.” Just long enough for me to shake off this fantasy I so easily fell into.

Only before long, and thanks to a considerable outlay of money, her dreams were going to become reality.

That’s what she hadn’t told Kayla, or anyone else. Fantasy was all right, but only up to a point. There came a time when a person had to take the next step.

One she could hardly wait to start.

One that scared her in ways she couldn’t articulate even to herself.

After work, Lacey and Kayla met up at the lounge attached to the Wayward Hotel near the center of town. A clean and respectable establishment with mostly white-collar patrons, they had initially selected the bar because they’d thought there might be an abundance of intelligent and well-heeled men paying it a visit. Unfortunately, experience had taught them that although a good number of men frequented the lounge, the majority were so wiped out by their high-stress careers that they were more interested in getting loaded than laid.

And that was just fine with Lacey as she joined Kayla at the bar. Despite the way Kayla and she talked about the joys of modern single life and endless possibilities, she’d never truly shaken her conservative upbringing. At her core she was pretty modest, maybe even sexually repressed—something she didn’t want to be.

Dang it! Time to cut loose from the past and see what she was capable of experiencing.

If things went her way, her dream captor might pop her cherry tonight. Not that she had a real cherry left to pop since she’d lost her virginity a week into her second year of college. But if her erotic dream failed to materialize, she had something even better to look forward to. Well, at least she prayed things would turn out the way she hoped and needed and had paid for—and still couldn’t believe she’d done.

“You look marginally better than you did yesterday,” Kayla told her once their glasses of wine had been placed in front of them. “Sorry I didn’t have time to tell you that this morning.”

“Marginally? Doesn’t sound like a compliment.”

Kayla shrugged. “Your cheeks looked flushed. Must have had a little virtual fun in the sack last night, huh?”

Lacey leaned closer and lowered her voice. “It depends on your definition of fun. Progress is being made, but stud-studly and I haven’t gotten to the main event. For someone I conjured out of my imagination, he isn’t being very cooperative. Instead of doing what I want him to, he insists on going at his own pace.” She sighed. “Such is the way of dreams, I guess.”

“Dreams, nothing. His behavior is proof that he’s a dom, albeit a make-believe one.” Kayla waited until a couple looking for a table were out of earshot. “So what did you want to have happen once he had you strung up and helpless in that barn? Come on, I swear I won’t say anything to anyone. Believe me, I can use all the material I can get for my own solo nights.”

Thank goodness the overhead TV was blaring out a basketball game. “There’s not much point in making a list of what I want make-believe man to do to me since he isn’t cooperating.”

“Point taken, but what if you prime the well, so to speak, with a well-directed session with your sex toys ahead of time? If you’re like me, it takes equal parts vibration and imagination to get me off.”

“If I make myself climax, all I want to do afterward is sleep.” Lacey took a moment to savor her wine and mull over her admission, not necessarily in that order. The more time she spent with the topic, the easier it got. Of course the wine helped. Any more relaxed and she’d wind up telling her friend what she’d done. Knowing Kayla, she wouldn’t insist she’d lost her mind. In fact, Kayla might ask for Fantasies Unlimited’s unlisted phone number. “But if I’m hot and bothered when I go to bed, well, that’s when the dream gets interesting.”

Kayla took a healthy sip of her wine. “Yeah, I can see that happening. So what is your role in this here dream other than being strung up and waiting? I’m trying to figure out whether you’re really a candidate to be a BDSM sub.”

“Have you always been this nosy?”

“Hmm. Let me think about it.” Kayla frowned. “I must confess I don’t have many girlfriends who think the way I do. In fact, you’re the only one. Spill.”

Against all wisdom and admittedly influenced by the wine, Lacey dove into her imagination. “I want him to handle me, to touch me everywhere, to be helpless to stop him. I want ropes pulling my elbows together behind me.”

“Really? That sounds painful.”

“No.” She laughed. “Not really. Are you going to interrupt or listen?”

“Listen, for now.”

“Why don’t I believe you? Okay, I want to be tied up and wearing a gag, maybe a blindfold. Yeah, a blindfold’s okay. I don’t know what he’s going to do next, but I’m not afraid, just excited. Turned on.” She swallowed. “Really turned on.”

“Holy shit.” Kayla stared at her empty wineglass as if she had no idea how that had happened. “I’m getting turned on just listening to you. So let’s get specific about this touching business. What can’t you stop him from doing?”

Fucking me. Over and over again. Every way there is and then some. But as close as she and her coworker had become in the two years they’d been working together, Lacey wasn’t ready to reveal all of her secrets. Normal women didn’t really want to become some sexy man’s sex slave. Oh, they might occasionally fantasize as a way of revving up a fuck session, but it was all in good, semi-clean fun.

Only she didn’t want fun. She needed her arms stretched over her head or elbows nearly touching behind her, spreader bar forcing her legs apart while he, whoever he was, did whatever he wanted to her, and she gasped and moaned and screamed.

While she came.



“The only thing I can do is wait. Anticipate,” she said, leaving her other fantasies unvoiced. Admitting she wanted to be helpless took some getting used to. “Look, I get all the being in control and more I could possibly want on the job. I turn the key to my chastity belt over to some man because I need to be putty in his hands.” His plaything.

“Chastity belt? Geez, but you have an active imagination. And that sounds like a true sub.”

“A true sub,” she admitted more to herself than her friend. Like I spelled out when I forked over the big bucks to Fantasies Unlimited.

It was too late to back out.

From where he sat at a table near the back of the bar, Ash Blacemore had a clear view of the two women. The distance between them and the TV made it impossible for him to hear what they were saying, but because another Fantasies Unlimited staff member had gotten close enough to Lacey to attach a bug to her purse the other day, he didn’t need to be near.

Despite what she’d said about being a submissive, he knew she was still fighting or, more precisely, questioning her nature. Of course, it was possible that her hesitation was part of the game she was playing. He’d seen it before: women pretending they didn’t want to be manhandled when in truth they’d give up five years of their lives to be under some man’s thumb, even if they had to pay for the privilege.

Lacey was in a dangerous place, on the brink of something she didn’t fully understand. If she went into it ignorant with blinders on, turning herself over to a man, no matter under what conditions, the experience could destroy her. On the other hand, if done right, she was in for the ride of her life. Not that he cared as long as his own itches were scratched, to say nothing of padding his bank account. He’d agreed to provide a service. In exchange for a healthy payday, he’d be what the lady wanted, or rather what she believed she wanted. He’d keep his emotions out of it. That was how it needed to be.

“What do you think?”

Ash turned toward the other man at the table. He’d known Takeo for more years than he cared to think about, and although Takeo could be a pig, he never minced words, which was something Ash prided himself on as well.

“She’s sniffing around BDSM all right, making it all pretty in her mind, but she doesn’t know what the hell she’s in for.”

Takeo nodded. “But you’re going to teach her, right?”

He shrugged. “It’s what she paid for. She’s my assignment. I’ll do what I was told to do.”

“Like hell. You didn’t have to take the assignment.”

No, he didn’t and maybe he shouldn’t. “And the point of that would have been?”

Takeo’s harsh laugh came as no surprise to Ash. “I’m just giving you a hard time. If you’re going to devote some time with a customer, you might as well get something out of it, right?”


“And because beneath that handsome exterior of yours, you’re a bastard, you’re going to take this customer to the edge without giving a damn about the consequences for her.”

Another shrug. “Like I said, it’s what she paid for. I’m here to fulfill her wishes.”

“The hell you are. You’re in it for yourself and you alone. I knew that when I recruited you. Ever since your little run-in with a bullet, your bastard side has really come out.”

Watch what you’re saying. “No reason for it not to.”

This time, Takeo’s laugh made Ash’s ears ache. As far as he knew, the owners of Fantasies Unlimited believed he’d gone to work for them and accepted the kind of assignments he did for one reason: he loved sex. Takeo, however, saw beneath the surface. Sure, getting paid to bonk one broad after another was a hell of a gig, but not every man succeeded at the job. There were too many things that could go wrong and end in disaster especially when one indulged in the BDSM scene where trust and discretion were of the utmost importance. The owners at Fantasies Unlimited had taken him through a rigorous application and education process. Even though he’d been working for them for a couple of years, they still monitored his behavior.

So far none of the female clients had complained about the way he dealt with them and he’d gotten several bonuses for a job well done. After all, how many men could be trusted to treat liberated women like sex slaves and not be tempted to take things to the next level—a potentially dangerous level?

He was tempted to cross the line from play to reality all right, not because it afforded him the opportunity to assume a persona for a paycheck but because of a need that ran so deep even he didn’t understand its source. Takeo had never said anything, but the man clearly sensed something dark was going on inside him. That’s why Ash was determined to keep emotional distance from the other man. He wasn’t about to risk laying himself open. No way would he allow another person to figure out more about him than he understood.

Shaking off the temptation to get deep into self-analysis, Ash turned his attention to Lacey. She was attractive and slim, maybe five foot six, with long arms and legs. Because she still had on her suit jacket, he couldn’t tell much about her breasts but he’d soon take care of that. He was partial to long hair, but she had one of those short, highlighted styles that needed cutting god knows how often. At least it didn’t look as if half a can of spray had been used on it. Unfortunately, she was too far away for him to have a clue about her eye color, but her eyes appeared to be large with thick eyebrows.

What intrigued him the most, however, was that, on the surface, she didn’t look anything like the creature she’d admitted to being in the profile she’d filled out for Fantasies Unlimited. Her power outfit and modern hairstyle said female professional, not desperate-to-be submissive. But then, most people looking at him with his clothes on wouldn’t guess he’d taken a bullet to the chest or that the slug had turned his life around.

He didn’t understand the change he’d undergone. Maybe, if he’d opened up with the shrink he’d been sent to in the aftermath of the shooting, he’d know why he’d morphed from a dedicated, if ordinary cop into a man who needed to be in control, who got off on being called master, who didn’t give a damn about the women assigned to him as long as they gave him what he craved—power.

Hell, maybe the transfusions he’d been given while he was in ICU had come from some dom with a private dungeon filled with chained women.

Enough! This wasn’t about him. It was about his current assignment. He concentrated on Lacey. If she truly embraced the BDSM lifestyle, they’d have a hell of a good time before he cut her loose and walked away. But if she lacked the qualities a submissive needed to thrive under a master’s thumb, better she learn that before she ventured past the safe environment of Fantasies Unlimited into the real thing.

“So what’s the plan?” Takeo asked. “You gonna pick her up tonight?”

“No, I’m waiting for the weekend. According to her application, her imagination fires up once she no longer has to think about what she does for a living. Right now she’s debriefing when she needs to be relaxed. Looks like she thoroughly researched our business and is convinced of our professionalism. What was it she wrote? Oh, yeah, that she trusts us ‘to make the experience memorable.’ Whatever her partner decides to do and when, she’s all for it. I’m thinking, yank her out of her world and throw her into mine when she’s most receptive.”

“And you’re going to do that how?”

“Through the power of suggestion.”


He grunted. “That’s for me to know and you to try to figure out.”

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