Hand in hand, we find our way out of the café. We burst into the dark night. The cold air slaps my cheeks. The sound of the bustle of the street fills my ears.
Where our hands are joined, a wave of electricity runs through my blood. Our eyes meet. The desire I feel is reflecting in his gaze.
Holding his free hand up, he hails a sleek black car that’s parked at the curb. Fanciest cab I’ve ever seen.
It immediately pulls forward a few feet, stopping right next to Bronson.
That never happens for me.
I have a feeling the universe moves for a Bachman.
We slide into the backseat, across smooth black leather. Our thighs are touching. The scent of his cologne fills the cab.
It turns me on. Shifting in my seat, I cross my legs. Just being near him makes my pussy impossibly wet.
My spine straightens. Excitement pulses through me. I’m alone with Bronson. I’m going to his house for the first time.
His hand rests on my thigh.
I put my hand over his, nudging it further up my thigh.
“Naughty kitten. I haven’t even kissed you yet,” he murmurs, giving my thigh a punishing squeeze.
He’s going to kiss me. Tonight. I know he will. Anticipation forms butterflies in my stomach. They take flight, their fluttering wings tickling my insides. My fingers intertwine with his.
“Are we close, Mr. Bachman?” I ask.
He gives me an exasperated look. “Call me Bronson.”
“How about I call you Brauny? That has a nice ring to it,” I tease. I feel light, excited.
His gaze is directed at the windshield. His fingers tighten slightly around mine. He whispers, “Only in private.”
I’d been joking. But he likes the nickname.
We’ve arrived at Bachman’s. We pull down a narrow alley I never noticed. The car stops. I feel my brow furrowing. “How did the cabbie know to go back here? You didn’t even tell him where we were going.”
“He’s not a cabbie. He’s my driver. And my bodyguard. He follows you home every day to be sure you get there safe. I walk you out the door of the store, then watch from the window as he pulls behind you.”
I lean over, whispering, “You have me followed?”
I have asked a senseless question. His brow furrows at me and he states, “Of course.”
I take a closer look around the car. I hadn’t realized I’d been riding in the lap of luxury. The dash is covered in buttons and gadgets I’d never seen before and would have no idea what to do with.
There, on the dash, is a gun. I swallow hard. I’ve never seen one in real life.
The back of the driver’s neck is neatly shaven. A black cap sits on his head. In the rearview mirror, the driver catches my eye and tips his hat to me. “Hello, Ms. Paige.”
“Ah, hello,” I say. I’m unsure how to greet the man who has watched me hike across ten blocks every day. One who owns a gun.
We pull up to Bachman’s store.
Bronson turns to me, his eyes cloud with uncertainty. “Are you sure? You can’t un-see this.”
Nerves and fear of the unknown knot my stomach. But the thrill of adventure, danger, and the delicious smell of his cologne, the warmth of his body pressing against me win. “Yes. I have to see it.”
We exit the car. He takes my hand and pulls me toward the street. His car disappears down the alley. I wait on the stone step, while he unlocks the front door. We walk into Bachman’s. It’s dark and quiet and a touch eerie in here at night. He shuts the door behind us, flipping the lock. Using the light on his phone, he leads me to the back of the store. He unlocks his office door, taking me to the back of the room. There’s a smaller door, one I had always assumed belonged to a closet. He opens that door and turns on a light. Inside is a short, empty hallway. At the end of the hall is yet another door. Taking my hand, he leads me down the hall.
There, on the wall, is a small black rectangular pad. He presses his thumb to it. A green light blinks. The door swings open.
The cold night air rushes past us. We’re outside. We step through the threshold and stand before a large black gate. It’s dark tonight, and there’s barely any moonlight. I can only see shadows. The door closes itself and locks. Bronson moves toward the gate. Motion lights flicker on. My eyes are adjusting as I follow him.
He walks over to a black panel that’s set into a stone wall beside the gate. He gives me one long look. I give him a nod. He presses his thumb against the panel and the gate swings open.
I give a low whistle. “Technology these days.”
“You have no idea.”
He tugs me into a dark alley as the gate closes behind us. Bright floodlights turn on above our heads, the alley fills with yellow light. I look around. We’re in a small outdoor enclosure. There’s another black gate before us. An identical black panel is set in the stone wall.
He lifts his hand to press his thumb to the panel. He stops.
“Wait.” He’s turning toward me, desperation in his eyes.
“What is it?” I ask.
“I have to do one thing. In case I take you in here and we find my instincts are terribly off and this isn’t for you.”
“What do you have to do?” I ask.
“This.” His hands go to either side of my face. His palms cup my cheeks. His fingertips tangle in my hair. He leans down, his breath warm against my skin.
My eyes close.
His mouth presses against mine.
Tiny currents dance over my lips as they caress his. He tastes of rosemary and thyme and man. My hands go to his waist. It feels hard and muscular though his shirt. His hands slide behind my head. Tingles travel down my neck, tiny little hairs standing on end. Our bodies press together. My breasts against his chest. Our thighs meeting one another.
I’m lost. Floating. My mind’s gone blank. I’m nothing but the feel of the kiss.
He pulls away too soon.
Tucking a strand of hair behind my ear, he whispers, “I had to do that. Once.”
“Do it again,” I murmur. My hands run through his dark hair. I’m surprised by the texture—it’s as soft as silk. I pull his face to mine, kissing him again. My lips open, the tip of my tongue running over his.
“Don’t start something you don’t want to finish.” His threat is a low growl.
A delicious shiver runs down my spine. “I never have before.”
I feel his cock hardening, pressing into my hip. My pussy clenches, soaking my panties.
I have wanted him since the day I met him.
And now I am going to have him. An animal-like desire unleashes within me.
I am going to fuck him.
Right here in this dark alleyway. I press myself harder against his cock. He groans.
“Two can play at this game.” His fingers undo the buttons of my coat, shoving it open. He kisses my neck. My head falls back, my eyes closing. His teeth nibble at my skin. His lips caress the sensitive spot between my neck and shoulder. My breath catches in my throat.
I gasp. His hand has found its way beneath my dress. His strong fingers press my pussy over my panties.
“Little kitty’s all wet.”
I let out a moan. He presses harder, moving his fingers up and down, rubbing my throbbing clit through the crotch of my panties. A warm liquid feeling spreads through my core. His kisses continue down my neck, his teeth nipping at my collarbone.
His fingers slip within my panties. They’re sliding into the slick folds of my begging pussy. I moan.
His mouth leaves my neck. Travels down my chest, lips pressing against my breasts over my dress. My belly quivers as his fingers brush lightly against it.
He’s kneeling on the ground before me.
He disappears underneath my skirt.
I give a gasp as his mouth presses a tender kiss on my panties.
His fingers find my waistband. He tugs my underwear over my bottom, past my thighs, over my knees. His hand wraps around my left ankle. Gently, he lifts it from the ground. He slips my panties over my foot, then delicately places my heel on his right knee.
His left knee rests on the ground. His right foot as well, his leg bent, his knee at a ninety-degree angle, the toe of my shoe resting on his thigh. A cool breeze rushes up my dress, caressing the opened lips of my parted pussy.
He dives beneath my dress again. His mouth finds my pussy. It’s hot and wet. It sucks at my swollen clit.
My mind blanks. My body becomes one trembling sensation as he tastes me.
My hands find his hair. My fingers tangle in his locks.
The tip of his tongue traces circles. Teasing. Taunting.
My hands press against the back of his head. My hips move, begging, demanding he satisfy me.
He slaps my bare ass.
My hips stop.
I groan, moaning, “Don’t tease me, please.”
His fingers dig into the cheeks of my ass. His tongue darts inside of me. His left hand stays on my ass, clutching and squeezing. The fingers of his right hand wander between my thighs. His finger plunges within me.
I’ve never felt anything so amazing in my life. I’m a river of liquid warmth, melting.
I cry out.
His tongue licks my clit, massages me, finding a rhythm. My hips move, rocking back and forth against his mouth. Then he picks up the pace. He’s rubbing, licking, harder, faster. His fingers pump in and out. The liquid feeling turns to a burning, a tightening. The climax builds within me, as my clit burns and begs for the pressure to continue.
My hands grasp his shoulders, squeezing. My mouth opens, I want to cry, to scream, but no sound comes. My eyes squeeze tightly shut. My core contracts, my pussy clenches around his busy fingers. Heat washes over me as I come in one powerful, shuddering burst.
I stand, shaking, panting, gasping for air.
He slips my panties over my foot, pulling them up into place. He takes my ankle in his hand, moving my foot to the ground.
He stands, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, revealing a devilish smile.
His normally perfectly gelled and combed hair is wild, messy from the caresses of my hands. His lips are slightly reddened and swollen. He looks years younger, lighter, naughty even.
I pull him into me and kiss him deeply. I can taste myself on him.
When I release him, his gaze is soft. He gives me one long look. “Ready?”
Don’t expose her. She can’t handle it. She’ll run.
You almost went crazy when she left. And that was only for a few hours.
Imagine if you lost her… for good.
Ignoring the voice of doubt shouting in my mind, I think instead of the sweet taste of her pussy. How her velvety lips felt pressed up against my mouth. The way she came with that quiet shudder. The way she kissed me afterwards, like she wanted every bit of me to be hers.
I press my thumb on the keypad. (Why we still call it that is beyond me—we switched from keys to fingerprint and voice recognition years ago.)
The familiar metallic clang sounds as the gears kicks in. The gate slowly slides open.
Paige’s eyes widen.
I take her hand in mine. Tiny. Trembling.
We enter the Village.
A completely hidden, right in the middle of it all, civilization.
Entirely surrounded by a gray stone wall, it’s the size of a full city block. Behind the backs of the windowless buildings that surround it are dozens of black gates, identical to the one Paige and I have just come through.
The businesses and shops that form the square are all owned by Bachmans.
All with their own secret closet in the back of an office, a storeroom, a cloak closet.
They all have blocked exits, accessible only to our family. The gates are wide enough for our cars and each car is programmed with a sensor that automatically opens the gate, like our thumbprint. Which leads to a second gate. Which leads to our Village.
Streetlights light the square. There are a few people milling about. Couples holding hands. Couples kissing in the moonlight. People eating late dinners of bread and fruit and cheese. Drinking wine at bistro tables.
It looks like a completely ordinary evening in a small town.
Only it’s anything but.
“I had no idea this existed,” she gasps.
“No one does. With the exception of the Bachmans. And those we trust, with our lives.” I give her hand a squeeze. “We go through an extensive amount of psychological training—learning who we can bring in and who we cannot. I’m an exceptional judge of character.” A pang rips through my heart as I say, “I’ve only chosen wrong, once. And it ended with a life lost.”
Her big brown eyes widen.
Hand in hand we stroll to the center of the square. Her head turns from side to side, taking it all in. The homes are tall, beautiful row homes, three stories apiece. Seven homes to a street. Seven streets.
They homes are identical in their structure. Each one is made individual by the paint color, gardening and landscaping on the outside.
Within, décor varies greatly, but the footprint is exactly the same. First floor, laundry and kitchen. On the second floor, to the left is the living room, with a beautiful white marble fireplace. To the right, a large office.
The entire third floor is a master bedroom.
There are windows in all of the rooms, both on the western and eastern side of the homes. They are large windows, open to the back garden as well as the street. We may be a secret to the world, but amongst ourselves there are no secrets.
“How long has this all been here?” she asks.
“Bachmans began buying up the land in the late eighteen hundreds. Once the entire block had been procured, they slowly built the businesses on the streets, forming an empty square behind them. The backs of the buildings were all built with no windows on the backside, and the secret doors in the back, for preparation of the Village. Once that was all in place, they were ready to build homes. The rows of homes were built in early nineteen hundred. Each one has a kitchen and laundry on the main floor, living room and office on the second, and master bedroom on the third.”
Paige gives a childlike gasp, pointing up the bedroom window of a red row home. In the window stands Tess.
Well, what we can see of the back of Tess.
Tess’ hands are clasped behind her head. Legs spread, her reddened bottom on full display. The strings of her black corset are tied tightly, cinching her waist.
“Someone’s been naughty. Tess is often naughty. I’ve always assumed she has a little voyeur streak in her. That, or Brett had found his credit card bill for the month. He’s a stickler for budgets,” I say.
Paige turns to me, her full lips forming an ‘o’ of surprise. “Who… did that to her?”
I give a chuckle. “Well, her husband, I assume. He’s the one who punishes Tess. He is married to her, after all.”
Tess shifts her weight. Her ass jiggles in the window. Who knows how long she’s been standing there. I overheard she’d preordered herself half of Daughtry’s spring collection. And it’s not even winter.
The beautiful blush I have so come to love rises on Paige’s cheeks. She turns her head, hiding her face behind my shoulder. She looks so innocent, so naive. It’s adorable.
“I didn’t take you for the shy type,” I tease.
She peeks up at Tess. “I’ve never seen a naked lady before. Much less one that’s…”
“Being punished?” I ask softly.
Paige nods shyly.
We walk on. In another window, Mary is standing in her kitchen, a pink frilly apron tied tightly around her waist. Curls hang loose over her face. Her brow furrows as she studies her cookbook.
I nod toward Mary’s house. “She’s the one that bakes all the cakes for the bakery you visit every day.”
“I’ve never seen her there before.”
“That’s because she’s a stay at home wife. She doesn’t work at the bakery. Neither does her husband John. It’s more of a hobby for them.”
Her brow furrows. “Wait… I think she may have been the one that answered my ad. Mary… that sounds familiar. If it was her, she’s very sweet.”
“She is. She’s kind of the unofficial mother of the Bachmans. And Mary very much enjoys baking. You must try her strudel sometime.” As if sensing us talking about her, Mary looks up, catching my eye and giving me a friendly wave. Open surprise flashes on her face when she catches sight of Paige beside me. Then, delight. The mother hens have all been after me for years to get a woman, but the pressure of my job has been too great. And no one I met mattered—until Paige. Mary gives a big wave to Paige.
Paige shakes her head, shrinking back behind me, as if preferring to remain unseen.
“Don’t be rude,” I say, giving her hand a squeeze.
A small smile crosses Paige’s face and she gives a little wave.
“That’s better. You’ll like Mary. Even though she’s a bit of a busybody.” I have no doubt as soon as Paige and I turn the corner, she’ll pick up her Bachman line (untappable) and spread the word through the Village.
Bronson finally brought someone home.
If she does, I’ll be sure to have a word with her husband, John.
We come to my corner. Beneath the streetlight is my neighbor Carter. He stands with his fiancée Sasha—the one none of us thought would stick. We’d all taken bets on how long she’d last.
She’s still here.
Carter’s face is etched with frustration. They seem to be deep in conversation.
Her hands are on her trim hips. She stomps her foot. “I said, I want to go out. The clubs are just opening and you’re trying to have us go home for the night.”
“Be reasonable, Sasha. We have an early morning. You will not be teaching spin at five a.m. hung over and cranky,” Carter says. He runs his hand through his light hair, obviously frustrated.
Paige whispers in my ear, “They look like… supermodels.”
I chuckle. I’ve lived next to Carter for years. I’ve grown used to his chiseled looks. Sasha has a panther-like sleek quality about her, with long dark hair. Her lithe body is constantly covered in black spandex, showing every inch of her tight curves—she lives in the fabric. “They own the gym around the corner from Bachman’s.”
“Barbells?” Paige whispers.
“That’s the one.”
Sasha flips her shiny mane over her shoulder. “Fine. I’ll go out on my own and you can stay home.” She turns to flounce up the stairs. Leaving Carter on the street alone.
The door slams.
Swearing underneath his breath, he runs his hand through his hair again, leaving it standing on end.
“If you’ll excuse me just a moment,” I say to Paige.
She gives me a small nod.
I leave her on the sidewalk and go to the streetlight to speak with Carter.
Returning to Paige a few moments later, we watch as he takes the stairs, two at a time, his jaw set with determination.
Paige’s brow knits. “What’d you tell him?”
“I said, If you don’t spank her, I will.”
Paige turns to me, her eyes wide. She gasps, “You didn’t.”
“You… wouldn’t do that, would you?” she squeaks. I say, “I knew it wouldn’t come to that. Though I’ve been wanting to take that woman over my knee and teach her a lesson for over a year.”
It wasn’t my place, at the time.
But things simply cannot continue the way they are.
And as head of the family, I’ll act on my responsibility if necessary.
“Has he spanked her before?” Paige asks.
“If he had, they wouldn’t be suffering from these intolerable arguments they keep having. I never interfere in others’ relationships, but I can’t take it any longer. It’s starting to affect the Village. Just spank the girl already,” I say, more to myself than to her.
Paige’s temper makes an appearance, as it often does when I’ve said something that rubs her the wrong way. “That is so sexist. So she wanted to go out? She’s a grown woman. What’s the big deal?” Paige asks.
“Do you think a beautiful twenty-something young woman with a fiancé belongs out drinking at clubs? Alone? Out to all hours of the night? Not to mention, she made a commitment to the gym and with the fees those members are paying, they deserve their instructor’s full effort. Not a cranky sluggish woman reeking of last night’s booze.”
Paige sniffs. She knows I’m right.
“Besides. She dying for it. I don’t know how Carter isn’t seeing it,” I say.
“How do you know?” Paige asks. That blush that I love so much is rising in her cheeks.
I shrug my shoulders. “Simple. She’s bratting.”
“Bratting?” Her brow wrinkles adorably.
Paige may have a temper, but she is no brat. I simply can’t tolerate bratty behavior. Especially when there’s such an easy cure for it.
“Bratting. Testing. Seeking to find his boundaries—the limits of what he will take. When a woman picks fights for no reason, especially trying to break rules that have been clearly set from the beginning of the relationship, she’s secretly begging the man to take control of her. Show her who’s boss.”
“Rules? Taking control? I can’t believe I’m standing here, listening to this right now,” she huffs, feigning disgust.
I lean down, whispering against her ear, “I’ll bet your pussy’s soaked right now.”
I run my fingertip down her cheek, over her bottom lip. “Isn’t it? Does all this talk of a big strong man taking you over his knees, controlling you, punishing you, does it make your little kitty all wet?”
She gives a shiver. She whispers, “That’s beside the point.”
My fingers slide down, brushing against her breast. I can feel her hardened nipple beneath her coat. “Is it? The way I see it—it’s the point exactly.”
Stepping back from me, she makes a harrumphing noise. Her face is red.
I don’t want to push her temper too far. Might get her into trouble before I can even show her the house. “Let me tell you a little secret. The women have all the real power.”
“What do you mean?” she asks.
“They make the decision, have the final say. Of course, once you’re committed, you may not like what you’ve signed up for at times, but still, you sign up for it willingly. You choose to let the man dominate you.”
She is quiet for a moment. “The women have the power. Because they are the ones who say they want this… lifestyle?”
“Bachman women crave this lifestyle. They aren’t happy without it.”
Her voice is small. She looks up at me, unsure of herself. “Do you think… I crave it?”
“Yes.” I lean down. My mouth hovers by her ear. I slip my hand over her ass, squeezing her curve. She gasps as I dig my fingers into her flesh. “Do you?”
Her breath catches in her throat just as my lips press against it. I kiss and suck at her neck, all the while grabbing her ass harder. She’s on tiptoe, breathless.
The word I long to hear escapes her lips. “Yes.”
My cock hardens. I press it against her. My mouth moves to hers. My tongue slips between her lips, caressing her mouth.
Her body melts against mine. Kissing her makes the world disappear. My mind is lost in touch, taste, feel.
I want her. But I’ll wait.
She’s worth the wait.
I pull away. Her mouth remains open, wanting. Her brown eyes shine with desire. Her hands clutch at me.
“Patience,” I say, giving her a wink.
She pouts. My heart beats a little faster.
I take her hand in mine. I point to my door. “This is me.”
Her eyes take in the exterior of my home. Dark gray paint with white trim and wrought-iron accents. Not a feminine touch in sight. She asks, “One Eighteen?”
“Yes. One Eighteen, Fifth Street.”
“How many streets are there?” Her voice is filled with nerves. Her hand tightens around mine.
“All Bachmans? Are you all related?” she asks.
“Yes. But by choice. By pledge. We are family, closer than family. But only a handful of us share DNA. And only a few are decedents of the original Bachmans.”
She looks me over. “Which are you?”
“And how do the others join? Is it like a gang initiation or the mafia or something?” she asks with a nervous giggle.
She isn’t far off. The process of becoming a Bachman man… brutal. It’s secretive, grueling, and once you’ve undergone it, you’re a Bachman for life. Or your life ends. I swallow hard and say, “You aren’t too far off the mark for the men.”
“And the women? How do they join?” she asks shyly.
My heart tugs, a feeling I’ve only known her to bring out in me. I say, “One can only become a Bachman woman by marriage. There is no divorce in our world.”
Too much to lay on someone for a first date? Though going out with the head of New York’s largest crime ring is hardly a normal experience. I press my thumb. The door opens. Leaning towards the panel, I say, “Home.”
All the lights in my house flicker on.
“Impressive,” she says. Her eyes are wide. Her hand grabs mine.
“Thank you. Joshua handles all our tech. He’s great. His wife—”
She interrupts me. “Wait. Let me guess—his wife does the vacuuming for the town? Stays home ironing the suits?”
“No. She’s our lawyer. Best in the state.”
Paige gives an impressive nod. “So the women are allowed to work outside of the home?”
“We’re doms—not cavemen. Trust me—no one respects the strength and intelligence of women like the Bachman men. We just like to spank their asses when they get out of line.” I give her ass a swat.
She shoos me away with her hand. “So, this Joshua… he doesn’t mind if his wife makes more money than him?”
What a strange question. “Of course not. Why would he?”
“And Mary—she chooses to be a stay at home wife?”
“It’s just that you all don’t really fit into any mold,” she says, eyeing me.
“Neither do you.” I flash her a smile, showing her into my foyer. Having her here with me, I feel relaxed. Almost jovial. It’s what she does to me.
The familiar scent of home greets me. Lemons and lavender. A fresh bouquet of white flowers graces my entryway table. The cleaners must have come today. Which means my fridge is stocked and there will be white wine, chilled.
Sometimes it pays to be the boss.
Paige looks around, taking in the décor. It’s all white and black. Classic bachelor pad. If the bachelor has good taste and limitless funds.
“It’s beautiful,” she says.
“Thank you. I enjoy decorating it.”
“You have impeccable taste,” she says.
“Takes one to know one. May I take your coat?” I ask.
I help her out of the coat—my favorite purchase to date—and hang it in the hall closet. I shrug out of my suit jacket, hanging it next to her coat. I like the way our outerwear looks, hanging in the same closet beside one another. Shaking the silly notion from my mind, I ask her, “Wine?”
“Yes, please.” She folds her hands in front of her, following me into the kitchen. The white marble countertops gleam. There’s a fire crackling in my kitchen’s fireplace. The gray stone floor shines thanks to the recent polishing.
Paige sits down at one of my white leather barstools. With her dark hair, olive skin, and high cheekbones, she’s a classic beauty. She fits right in, making my kitchen feel warm, cozy.
To have her here, in my home, she’s so, so… mine. I want all our clothes mingled together. Lying in a heap on my bedroom floor.
I want her to stay with me tonight.
And I know she wants to stay with me. The flush in her cheeks, the sultry look in her eyes, she wants it as badly as I do.
But I’m the head of the family for a reason. I don’t jump into things. I don’t do relationships. So if I’m going to make an exception for Paige, I will need her commitment.
I pour the wine. One question burns in my mind. Will she accept my proposal?
I won’t waste her time, or mine. I hold the glass out toward her. Our fingers touch, as I pass the glass to her. Before I let go, I say to her, “I won’t have you unless you are mine.”
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