When a mysterious invitation to a new BDSM club arrives in Valerie Thornton’s mailbox, she sees it as a fateful intervention. She has long suppressed her desire for a strong man who can nurture her inner-most desires and bring the submissive inside her to life. Now widowed with an empty nest, she’s alone, unfulfilled and wondering what she’s been missing.
Walking into the most exclusive club in LA all alone, Valerie almost loses her nerve, but the testosterone-filled atmosphere is pure temptation. Each dominant man she sees is sexier and more handsome than the last. When she meets intimidating Eric Dupree, the Master Dom takes her breath away. He seems perfect for her and Val knows he could bring her secret fantasies to life. She’s ready to throw herself at his feet, but refrains. How could he possibly be interested in a forty-year-old BDSM novice like herself?
As managing partner and Rossi CFO, Eric should be thrilled. Club Decadence LA is successful and Rossi is growing by leaps and bounds. But as he approaches middle age, he finds that he needs more than his career and bachelor lifestyle can give him. In walks Valerie Thornton, an innocent to his world. What has brought her to his club, of all places, and why can’t he get her out of his mind?
The tight leather skirt rode up a bit more with every step she took.? Pulling it down in back once again, Valerie Thornton wondered for the umpteenth time what she’d been thinking by wearing it.? Looking at the steep steps, she knew that the climb up to the main entrance would show her goods to anyone behind her, especially her dimpled thighs, most of her ass, and the thin scrap of lace that was wedged between her cheeks like butt floss.? Although not technically a thong, the upward-inching garment didn’t deserve to be called panties.? She was going to kill her friend Kate who had helped her put the awkward and uncomfortable leather ensemble together.? Valerie, who had no psychic ability whatsoever, had a feeling that this night would be transformative.
Looking up at the massive double doors, Val paused.? Her heart was racing and her palms were sweaty.? She licked her dry lips and swallowed, her throat tightening.? That she had come this far simply amazed her, because a forty-year-old widow did not go out clubbing by herself.? It smacked of desperation and promiscuity that were not consistent with her nature.? Still, she had a craving, an unfulfilled need.? Could it be that what she sought lay behind those heavy doors?? Moreover, could she actually bring herself to climb the remaining steps and walk inside of a sex club?
“If you don’t bite the bullet now, you might never get the nerve again.? And wouldn’t that be a shame?”
Val turned at the sound of the deep voice behind her.? She met the kind gaze of an extraordinarily handsome man, at least a decade her junior.? She noticed his eyes twinkled with amusement, but not mockingly so.? They were warm and friendly, and she got the feeling he was quick to laugh and smile.? Her eyes widened as she took in the leather vest he wore over broad shoulders and a smooth, muscular chest.? His bulging biceps were bare and one was sporting some kind of abstract tattoo.? The open vest exposed his rippled abdomen and she followed the thin line of dark hair to a narrow waist and a pair of tight, black leather pants.? He also sported an impressive erection that was outlined brazenly against his button fly and several inches down his leather-encased thigh.? Holy Cow!
“Little sub, a word of advice.? Curb your enthusiasm once you get behind those doors.? If you give a Dom inside a once over like that, you’ll be bare-assed over a spanking bench with a line of eager tops waiting to take a turn.”
“I’m terribly sorry,” Val gasped as mortification raced through her.? She’d been caught blatantly gawking at this young man.? “This was an incredibly bad idea.”? She moved to race by him, but he grasped her arm gently.
“Wait!? I didn’t mean to scare you off.”
Having made it down two steps, Val realized that the man was a giant.? Never considered tall by any measuring stick, Val was dwarfed by this outgoing Dom.? Although she had never met one in person, she could tell he was a dominant by the sheer confidence he exuded.? He smelled heavenly too, but he looked no more than thirty and her physical reaction to him, least of all the dampness of her tiny panties, made her feel like a perv.
“It’s probably best if I just leave rather than make a bigger fool of myself.”
“Why did you come here?”
Startled by the deep, commanding tenor of his voice, her eyes flew to his, and he had taken on a stern, no nonsense expression.? The authority he projected compelled Val to answer.
“Curiosity, I guess.”
“Try again.? A woman doesn’t come to a BDSM club alone out of curiosity.? So, I’ll ask once more, why did you come here?”
“I?um?” Her voice cracked as her mind searched for a coherent response.? Clearing her throat, she started again quietly.? “I have a need?”? She couldn’t go on as she felt a rush of heat rise from her chest and suffuse her face.
He smiled and said, “A good honest answer I can appreciate, even if you don’t know quite yet what that need is, little subbie.? You’ve come to the right place. No matter the kink or the sexual persuasion, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Decadence LA.”
Val’s gaze flicked away in embarrassment, unable to meet his amused eyes.? He chuckled softly as he took her hand gently.? Raising it to his lips, he pressed his mouth to the back of her fingers like in one of the historical romances she rapaciously read.? A passing tickle made her stiffen; was that his tongue or just his breath?? It happened too quickly to be sure.
“I have a proposal, shy newcomer.? I will accompany you inside and show you around.? After you have looked to your heart’s content, I can introduce you to some nice, amenable Doms or if you still want to leave, escort you safe and sound to your car?no pressure.? How does that sound?”
“So you wouldn’t want to?” again she couldn’t continue.? Was she actually going to ask this man, who she didn’t even know, why he didn’t want to be with her?
“Sweet newbie, you are quite delectable and I would enjoy nothing better than showing you the ropes, no pun intended.? However, I am only in town for a few days on business and I sense you are looking for more than a little playtime.? Am I right?”
“Yes, Sir.”? Hearing how that sounded, she frowned a bit.? Why had she called him Sir?? She wasn’t even inside yet and she had already fallen into a submissive role.? What made her respond to him so readily, with barely a thought?? He did have the commanding Dom presence, just like in her BDSM books, which she gobbled up faster than the historicals.? Chronologically he was a kid, but his experience and self-assurance made him seem older.? She was the youngster in this mix, the novice to be led, the student to be taught, the initiate to be trained.? A wave of excitement swept through her at the thought of what that training would entail, but the Dom in her mind’s eye was not this man.
Squeezing her hand, he redirected her thoughts to the present.? “So, are you ready to explore?? To see if you can find something or someone in this place that will fulfill the need inside you.? That need that made you boldly put on tight leather and incredibly high spiked heels and come out all alone.? That need that made your body shudder just now and made your pretty pink nipples stand up and beg for attention.”
Her free hand flew to her chest and she felt her tight aching nipples press against her palms.? Yes, they were hard, but how had he known their color.? Had he guessed?? Looking down in a panic, she searched for a wardrobe malfunction in her tightly laced corset
“You’re all covered, sweet sub.? I’m a foot taller than you are and from my vantage point, I can see right down the front of that delightful corset.? Now, I have to be at a meeting in an hour.? What’s your decision?”
Her jaw fell open and she clutched the material to her chest.? Although far from flat chested, she didn’t quite fill out the top.? When she’d tried it on, she had twisted and bent, even jumped up and down to test it.? She felt it was safe when nothing had popped out.? Standing before him now, she felt horribly exposed. ?Lowering her gaze, she wondered what he must think.? Duh, Val, she chided herself, it’s a sex club.? She knew, as did he, that people came there for one reason.? They came to spank or get spanked, flog or be flogged, but mostly to fuck and get fucked, didn’t they?
Her brain almost short-circuited as she realized where her thoughts had wandered.? What was wrong with her?? Had she actually thought that word?? Had some vulgar entity possessed her body?? She didn’t ever speak that way or act like this.? She was the president of the PTA for five year for God’s sake.? After her kids had graduated, she started community projects to keep busy.? She even volunteered on holidays at one of the homeless shelters.? She made cookies for the all bake sales and went to church every Sunday?well, almost every Sunday.? Maybe she needed to see someone, professionally.
Her thoughts snapped back to the present when his long finger lifted her chin and their eyes met.
“Your answer, please.”? Although he spoke as softly as he had since they’d met, his voice now held a sharpness.? He wasn’t teasing anymore.
Swallowing against her dry throat, she searched for an answer.? She could feel her heart beating in her ears; it must be the adrenaline rush.? Fight or flight, she thought.? She opened her mouth to speak but the interchange between her brain and tongue failed, and nothing came out.
“I’m going to assume that’s a no, sweetheart.? Too bad, because I see plenty of what-ifs and regrets in your future.”? He pinched her chin gently and then turned to mount the stairs two at a time.? He’d reached the doors, his hand lifting toward the lever, when she decided.
“Wait.”? As fast as her stilettoes would allow, she rushed up behind him.? Clearing her throat nervously, she prayed for the ability of intelligible speech.? “You’re right.? I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with regrets.? We have an agreement, so what harm can it do to look?? I would be happy to have you show me around The Club, Sir.”
“Atta girl.? If nothing else, you’ll go home with your curiosity satisfied.”? Gallantly, he offered her his arm, waiting until her small hand curled into its crook.? “What will I be calling you tonight, little subbie?”
“I’m Valerie, Sir.”
“A beautiful name, but I bet your friends call you Val.? May I?”
A friend, she thought nodding, more comfortable with that image.? She could live with that.? As his smile deepened, a sexy dimple appeared in his cheek.? He was devastating and she was sure he’d left a trail of broken hearts in his wake.
?”I’m Tony and a host of other nicknames, but I’m Master T to you tonight.? Say it for me, Val.”
“Very good. Shall we go?”
Angling her head, she finally put a finger on what had been bugging her.? “Do I detect a Southern drawl?”
“Ah, darlin’, you’ve caught me.? I am in fact San Antonio born and bred.”
“Texas!? I’m from Austin, myself.”
“So I’ve rescued a fine yellow rose tonight.? My daddy would be proud.”? Covering the hand on his arm with his own, he gave a gentle squeeze.? “Oh to be a California native,” he said with a sigh of regret.
“And 15 years older.”
He barked with laughter. “Too young, huh?”
“Sorry, Sir, but I have a son not much younger than you.”
“Haven’t you heard you’re as young as you feel?”
“Yeah, and I still feel older than you.? Not cradle-robbing old, but it still makes me feel rather perverted.”
“We’ll be friends then, sweet Val.”? Tilting his head toward the doors, he asked, “Shall we?”
“Yes, Master T.”
He opened the door wide and a waft of cool air swept over her.? It was accompanied by the overwhelming scent of leather and beeswax.? There was also a musky smell of sweat and other erotic aromas, which she surprisingly didn’t find at all unpleasant.
“That is the scent of sex and submission, darlin’.? The nectar of the Gods, I must say.”? With a chuckle, he swept her inside, the heavy door closing behind her, cutting off the late afternoon sun.? She expected to hear the discordant sounds of horror movie music.? Instead, she was treated to a soothing ballad, “Leather” by Tori Amos.
Her eyes connected with Master T’s in wonder.? The music, the d?cor, even the conservatively dressed young woman working behind the reception counter was all rather anticlimactic.
“Expecting naked women writhing to Nine Inch Nails in the lobby?”
“Don’t be disappointed.? That’ll come later when The Club is in full swing.”? He gave her an outrageous wink and pulled her farther inside with a chuckle.
Unnerved, she reminded herself she was here tonight as an observer and followed as he led her to the counter.? The cute young receptionist had just finished checking in the guests ahead of them. “Master T!? You’re back,” she said, practically bouncing with excitement. ?Her enthusiasm dimmed when her eyes fell on Val.? “You brought your own submissive tonight?”
“Alicia, this is Valerie.? She is here for open sub night.”? Sliding the crumpled invitation from Val’s cold fingers, he presented it.? “She will only need a guest contract.? Tonight, she’s just browsing.”
“Isn’t that a crying shame?”? Another deep voice resonated throughout the small lobby and everyone turned to see the new arrival.
“Eric.”? T nodded in greeting.? “Are we still set for nine o’clock?”
“Yes, all parties have responded and will be in attendance.? But enough about business, I’m more interested in this little sprite you have with you.”
“Val, meet Master Eric.? He is the managing partner here at Decadence LA”
Val couldn’t stop staring at the sex-on-a-stick gorgeous man that stood before her.? She could almost feel the steam emanating from between her thighs and she worried her inaptly named panties weren’t up to the job of containing her heat.? She wiggled uncomfortably as her pussy tingled and practically sizzled with need.? Not quite as tall as Master T, he was still impressive at several inches over six feet.? Despite the long-sleeved black shirt he wore, she could tell he was just as ripped and muscular as her younger escort.? Where T was dark-haired, dark-skinned and of obvious Italian descent, Eric was fair with dark blonde, closely cropped hair and blue eyes.? He had handsome patrician features that were flawlessly beautiful and she suspected he had some European nobility in his family tree.
She felt a tug on her hand.? “You’re gawking again, subbie.”
She glanced at Master T with chagrin.? “I can’t seem to stop.? I’m sorry, Sir.”
“She’s a newbie, Eric.? Here by invitation for open sub night.”
“Which member invited you, Valerie?? It is Valerie, correct?”
“Yes, Sir, but my friends call me Val.”? She met his eyes expectantly.? He was the manager, the Master Dom, if you will.? She was sure he had unrivalled experience and the thought of being his submissive made her libido go into overdrive.
“Well, Valerie,” he said, deliberately eschewing her diminutive name.? “I hope you will find what you are looking for here, whether that be friends or something a bit darker.? Either way, you have yet to answer my question.? Who is your sponsor for the evening?”
“I don’t know, Sir.? The invitation came in the mail without a return address.? That card is all I received.”
“Ah, so we have a mystery sponsor,” Master T murmured behind her.
“That won’t do for the first night.” Eric said with a furrowed brow.? Val noticed it didn’t detract at all from his beauty.? In truth, his thoughtful demeanor was as attractive as the sexy smile he’d worn when she first saw him.? Everything about him was appealing, for that matter.? His next words startled her.? “She cannot enter without a Master’s recommendation.? One of the owners has to sponsor any unvetted guest. You know that, T.”
“I’ll sponsor her then.”? He stiffened behind her and Val noticed a subtle tension between the two men.? What was that about?
“And how do you know her, T?”? When he didn’t answer, Eric cursed softly.? “You’ve only just met, haven’t you?? What did you do, pick her up in the parking lot?”
His silence was his answer.
“Dammit, T, you know the security issues I’m dealing with.”
“I can vouch for her, Eric.? I won’t let her out of my sight and I’ll have her out of here by twelve.”
“That goes without saying.? I don’t allow newbies on? special event nights.”? He was staring intently at her and she was beginning to feel like a bug under a microscope.? “Unless you collar and tether her to keep her at your side, I will have to decline her invitation.”
T stepped around the desk and rummaged around underneath.? When he re-emerged, he held cuffs and a collar.? They were white with “Decadence Submissive” tooled into the leather.? He approached Val and lifted the collar toward her.? “You’ll have to be my submissive tonight, Val.? Nevertheless, our previous agreement still stands.? This simply means you are off limits to other Doms and will have to stay with me at all times.? Understand?”
“Master T, darlin’,” he murmured as he clasped the collar around her neck.? “For tonight, I am your master.”? He applied the matching cuffs to each wrist before turning her to face Eric.? “Satisfied?”
“Hardly,” he said in a low, sensual voice, an odd look on his face.? Was that disappointment?? Surely not.? This man could have any woman in the place on her knees and ready to serve with a mere snap of his fingers.? Get over yourself, Val.
When he moved toward them suddenly, walking behind T as he approached the desk, she got a waft of his scent.? Heavenly, she thought as her mouth watered.? She didn’t think anyone could smell better than T.
Master Eric held out his hand to Alicia.? “Four-foot lightweight, please.”
Alicia bent behind the counter and quickly produced a length of chain with a white loop on the end.
Val gasped.? The tether he spoke of was a leash.? She felt the manager’s intense gaze sweep over her, slowly perusing her from the top of her head to the four-inch spike heels on her feet.? Something in his look made her tremble; it was powerful yet fiercely controlled.? His gaze was so compelling that she could almost feel it, like the sweep of his hand as it glided over her.? Her body responded with a fiery heat, eclipsing anything she had ever felt before.? The pleasant feeling Master T had aroused was a flicker, an infinitesimal spark, compared to this.? Master Eric did something to her, creating an instant attraction so strong that she felt a rush of arousal arc through her and settle deeply between her thighs, further dampening her panties.
Unlike T, Master Eric was closer to her age, at least forty, maybe more.? He had fine lines around his eyes and a few tiny creases by his mouth, from laughter she hoped, because up until now, all she had seen from him was a pensive or serious expression.? Maybe, she thought, that was his club fa?ade.
“All right, Valerie you are welcome at Decadence.”? Eric’s deep voice penetrated her musing. ?It sharpened noticeably when he addressed T.? “You are responsible for seeing she stays out of trouble or it will be your ass in a sling.”
As he strode away, Master T chuckled.? “I always did like rattling his cage.? I miss that.”
“Eric and I are both ex-military and worked private security together in San Antonio.? We were sent here to fix a problematic opening at the Rossi Security branch office and he stayed on here.? I think it’s because he wanted to get away from me, but that’s another story.? The CEO was interested in opening another club and decided Los Angeles would be ideal since a good many of the regulars in San Antone were Hollywood types already.? So he offered Eric a partnership if he also took over the management of The Club.”
“He works two full-time jobs?? I’m stressed working part-time.”
“Actually, it’s more like three.? He is the chief financial officer for Rossi Security Inc., so he oversees all of the finances back in Texas, as well as here. ?Most of it can be done by computer these days, unless he has to come in to chew someone out personally.? As far as The Club goes, you’ll see he has a lot of help.”
T was downplaying Eric’s responsibilities, but Val wasn’t buying it.? She did all of the finances for her own small business and it drove her nuts.? She couldn’t imagine running a nightclub on top of it.
“At least he doesn’t work in the field, too.”
“No, we all do that, even Cap Rossi, the company president and CEO.? You can take the warrior out of the services, but you can’t take him out of the man.”
The man must never have time for himself or a social life, Val thought with disappointment.
“Don’t feel bad for the old man; it’s made him as rich as Midas, plus work at The Club isn’t such a hardship.”? He gave Val a leering grin and she imagined he and Eric both availed themselves of the “recreational perks” of the job.
“Anyway, I cycle through from time to time to pitch in, but other than a board of masters who help with membership approvals, The Club is solely his baby now.? Better mind him, little sub.? Eric is the Master Dom and has full authority here.? He can make your play either extremely pleasant or very uncomfortable.”
She knew better than to discount his warning, the words “very uncomfortable” rousing her vivid imagination.? A graphic image of lying naked over Master Eric’s lap, while his hand seared her bottom to a crimson hue, flashed before her eyes.? Smothering a groan, she shifted uncomfortably as a flood of moisture pooled between her thighs.? Giving herself a mental shake, she released her hands which she’d been wringing unthinkingly?a nervous habit for certain?and looked away.? Had he sensed her attraction to the surly Dom?? She already knew Master T was very perceptive, but had he figured out she’d willingly prostrate herself before Master Eric and submit to just about anything?? Her fervent response was a surprise.? She hadn’t actually gotten inside the sex club and she was already acting like an animal in heat.
“My goodness, the big bad Master Dom made quite an impression.? But I didn’t mean you personally, Val.? I don’t think you’re ready for Eric.? I was thinking of a fluffier type Dom to initiate you.”
“Fluffier?? What does that mean, exactly?”? Fluffy meant soft and light.? That didn’t sound anything like what she wanted.? Her husband, Kent, always a kind, giving man, had been gentle and tender.? They’d been best friends in high school and been inseparable.? They went to the same college and it seemed natural after graduation for them to marry.? When the kids came along, she couldn’t have asked for a better father for her children.? Theirs had never been a grand romance, like in the movies.? Instead, it had been comfortable, like an old pair of jeans, and she’d learned to be content with what they had.
However, after years of soft and sweet as a staple in the bedroom, she wanted something different now.? She wanted hot, steamy, mind-blowing sex.? She wanted something hard and dark that appealed to her inner bad girl.
Kent had been gone almost four years.? With the kids away at college, her nest was empty and she was lonely.? Her friends, especially Kate, were badgering her to get back out there.? Kate was one of the few she had confided in about her submissive desires.? She’d had them for years, but had never told Kent.? She’d subtly tried to spice things up with him, but he’d never taken the hint.? When she mentioned role-play he’d declined, worried he’d feel silly.? She’d even tried to get him to spank her over the years, to no avail.? When she’d finally come out and asked for it, he’d reluctantly agreed, given her two mild swats and then called it quits, afraid he might hurt her.? She’d stopped trying after that and sublimated her needs with her volunteer work and the children.
Surprisingly, Kate shared her fascination with spanking and was dating a man who, she claimed, paddled her ass like a pro.? She said it was heavenly and everything that she’d imagined.? After two failed marriages, Kate had finally found the perfect man, one who wouldn’t take her crap when she was in a “mood” and who called her on her bullshit.? That’s exactly what Val wanted.? If she was going to dip her toe in the relationship pool again, she wanted a strong man this time, one who would take her in hand when she needed it, spanking, paddling or even flogging her, if necessary.
As a rush of heat flooded her core, her mind reflexively conjured up her favorite spanking fantasy.? It changed slightly each time, but the basic dream stayed the same.? A powerful man took her over his knee after admonishing her firmly for some imagined offense.? He’d wrap his sinewy arm around her waist, tugging her skirt well above her hips.? Then her panties would come down, but not all the way.? He’d leave them twisted just above her knees.? Somehow, that seemed naughtier, more wicked than if he’d pulled them off altogether.? Once bared, he’d rub her cool skin until it was warm, bringing the blood to the surface and stimulating the circulation, both to her bottom and deep within her.? Stifling a groan, she imagined him bringing his big hand down forcefully right on the fleshiest part of her backside.
The brush of T’s hand against her cheek interrupted her daydream bringing her sharply back to reality.? “I see he made more than an impression.? He’s very strict, Val, and although skilled, he at times practices on the fringe.”
“What?”? She raised her hands to her burning cheeks.? They felt scalded, both from the heat of her fantasy and the fact that T knew what she’d been doing.? “I don’t know what that means either.? Is there a BDSM dictionary I can get for all these crazy terms?”
“As a matter of fact, there are many books on the topic and several online resources.? Don’t worry about it; a good Dom will teach you what he wants you to know.? When I say fringe, I mean edge play.? Ever heard of that?”
“It’s kink that goes beyond the mainstream, even for BDSM, if you can imagine that.? It’s darker, extreme and poses higher risks.? Some use breath play, knives, and needles.”
“Oh my God!? You mean?” Disappointment flowed through her.? That was too far out for her.? Knives?? Holy cripes!
“I didn’t mean Eric practiced those techniques, Val.”? He grinned at her sigh of relief.? “Nor is that type of play allowed in The Club.? We have liability issues to consider.? Eric’s edginess includes some imaginative equipment and a bit of a spark, shall we say.”
“Please stop being so cryptic and tell me.”? Val was about done with his little cat and mouse game and her voice revealed her irritation.
“Little subbie, although I promised no shenanigans with you tonight, that doesn’t mean I’ll tolerate a sassy or rude-mouthed sub.? I’m happy to take you over my knee for a good hiding like we give in Texas.”
She blanched in alarm.? He was so easy to talk to she’d forgotten their roles.? Offering a quick apology, she said contritely, “I’m sorry, Master T.? I forgot my place.? It won’t happen again.”
“I’ll hold you to that.? Now then, where were we?”
“Master Eric’s edge play, you were going to tell me about his spark.”
“Can’t you put two and two together, Val?? My good friend Eric is an expert electrician. ?He likes restraints and then kindling a spark with violet wands and other delightfully shocking devices to bring about a highly charged response.”? He laughed at his own puns, but they barely registered with Val who was fixated on one word?electricity!
Noticing the time, T grabbed her wrist and pulled her toward administration.? “Let’s get your guest paperwork done and head out. I’ve only got about 45 minutes, so the tour is probably going to be delayed until after my meeting.”? He led her to the conference room and seated her at the large glass top table.? A clipboard loaded with forms was placed in front of her just as Master Eric appeared in the doorway.
“There’s a call on the red line for you, T.? It’s Cap.? He says it’s urgent.”
“Damn!? Okay, will you help Val with her forms until I ge