Circle of Masters

an excerpt



Chapter One


This dump is supposed to be a future BDSM Club. Touring his latest business investment, Landon Riker walked along side his younger brother and new business partner, Roman. When Roman first came to him with the idea to open his own bondage club, Landon doubted his brother's ability to run a successful and safe facility. Seeing what he did now, he was sure Roman was in over his head.

It wasn't that Landon didn't consider his brother a competent businessman. Under even the worst circumstances, Roman had the ability to turn shit into gold. Yet, he lacked a level of intimacy with the main element of his business that made for a good owner. From the little information his brother shared, Roman's tastes ran parallel with the lifestyle of a swinger, not the hardcore stuff BDSM he'd be offering at the club. Without the exhaustive knowledge of the ins and outs of bondage and submission, would Roman's level of awareness for problems be as great? If he used substandard equipment or wasn't careful with background checks for potential clients the entire operation could blow up in his face.

Now that he'd seen the building, Landon's level of concern grew exponentially. Why in the hell had he'd gone ahead and given Roman the money he'd never know. After seeing the run down structure and some of the pre-purchased inferior equipment, he regretted the decision tenfold. The bones of the building might be sound but the open tiles in the ceiling revealed old plumbing and substandard wiring, requiring more money and time for repairs. I should have taken the time to come down here and personally overseen the purchase. This will never do.

"And the bar area will go over there with the dance floor in the middle." Roman stopped and turned his attention to Landon. "Thoughts?"

This place should be condemned. "It still needs quite a bit of work. What did the building inspector say?"

"The building is solid."

Landon didn't bother to hide his frown. "You said that already. What else did he say?"

Roman shrugged. "It just needs a few upgrades."

"Like the wiring and plumbing?" Landon countered.

"We're working on that. The major renovations to the basement are complete and they're working on the main floor now. I know it doesn't look like much, but the place has a solid roof and the basement doesn't leak. It just needs a little TLC."

It needs a wrecking ball. "Right." Landon brushed a finger over a stack of piled flooring awaiting installation. "At this point it would be nice to see something completed, so why don't you show me what your workers have accomplished in the basement?"

"Sure. This way." Roman motioned to a closed door on the far side of the room.

Landon shook his head at the amount of work still to do. No matter how much polish and shine Roman applied to this place tentatively named Nocturne, it would be nothing like Desires, Landon's club back in his little town of Freemont, just outside of Chattanooga. "I can't say that your choice in facilities instills me with confidence, Roman. Honestly, I wish you would have run this by me before you decided to purchase this place."

"Another company was looking at the property and there wasn't time. Trust me, bro. I'll have this place up and running in no time."

Somehow his assurances didn't provide Landon with any additional comfort, especially when all he saw was more money pouring into this hole in the ground. "Yes, but how much more money are you going to need in order to make that happen, Roman?"

His brother waved a dismissive hand as he continued across the room. "You of all people know how difficult it can be to start a business from nothing."

Landon walked around a future scene area containing a stockade and a table that would eventually hold toys. "True, but I also know that you need something special to draw customers in and keep them coming back. This-" He spread his arms wide and motioned to the large room. "Looks like nothing more than somebody's over glorified basement."

Roman stopped short and turned to face him. "I am doing the best I can and you need to be patient. This will work if you give it a chance."

Landon recognized the challenge and dug in for the fight. "I'm sorry, I know you're a genius with money, but it takes more than business smarts when you're dealing with BDSM. This time it's possible your best might not be good enough. You can't cut corners or skimp on important issues like safety." He folded his arms over his chest. "Besides investing in good quality equipment, you'll have to recruit knowledgeable dungeon monitors and make sure to post the safety rules in several areas of the building."

"Would you relax?" Roman reached for the door that apparently led to the basement. "I have it all under control."

"I hope so," Landon muttered as he followed Roman inside.

The steps leading into the bowels of the building groaned under their weight causing Landon to pause. "You did have a certified building inspector in before you bought this place, right?"

Roman shot him a disgruntled look. "Of course I did. The stairs are old, but perfectly safe. Now do you want to see the basement or not?"

"Fine." He motioned for Roman to continue. "Lead the way."

As they reached the bottom of the steps, Landon's opinions lifted with what he saw. The concrete outer walls were clean and painted a light grey color, while sheet rock interior walls partitioned off the large room creating smaller scene areas. Each makeshift room was painted a different color hinting to a future theme. A large track of new lighting ran down the middle of the room with mounted fixtures pointed down into each single room, providing enough light that dungeon monitors might be able to see, while keeping the mood sultry. Not bad.

He strolled down the hallway toward the door at the far end of the room. "Where does this door lead?"

Roman reached for the handle. "There's another room on the other side. I think it was probably a large storage room before, but we're working on turning it into a theater type scene room."

"Really?" The idea of a theater room intrigued Landon. While his club had small scene rooms set up so people could watch through one-way windows, the participants couldn't see out onto the crowd. Having a live stage area where people could sit in theater seating and watch as if it was a play could provide a whole new level of excitement to those who love public displays. "Can I see what you have so far?"

"Sure." Roman turned the handle and pushed open the door. "I'm sure you'll like what you-" he paused, his eyes going wide in shock. "What the hell?"

Landon followed his brother's gaze to the stage on the far side of the room. There with only a single spotlight showing was a woman cuffed and hanging by chains from the ceiling and a man wielding a whip. "Hey!" Roman took off toward the stage with Landon right on his heels. "Stop!"

The man turned toward them, Landon saw his eyes were glazed with rage and was that lust. "You're interrupting my scene," he said as calmly as if he were cooking a meal or having a conversation.

"The scene stops now." Roman yanked the metal tipped whip from the man's hand. "How did you get in here?"

A sudden awareness flickered in the stranger's eyes and the glazed look disappeared. He cast a quick glance at the woman then took off at a run.

"Oh, no, you don't." Roman leapt off the stage and raced after him, leaving Landon alone with the battered and bloody woman.

"Hang on, sugar. I'm going to get you down." He scanned the area and found the release for the chains. Slowly he lowered her to the floor. As soon as her legs touched the wood, they collapsed, turning her into a crumpled bloody pile. He rushed to her side and took a moment to assess her condition. Instead of soft leather cuffs meant to protect a sub from any serious damage, the bastard had used what appeared to be a standard issue police cuff. The metal abraded the flesh and in some places dug nasty gashes in her wrists. Removing the cuffs would be painful, but his first priority was the ball gag used to silence her cries.

Careful not to step on her mass of red curls splayed over the wooden floor, he knelt beside her and reached to brush the rest of her hair from her face only to have her recoil from his touch. "It's okay. I'm not going to hurt you." He located the buckle on the strap and released her from the gag. She sobbed, her cry tearing at his heart. How could anyone do this to another human being?

"Shhh, you're safe now." He took a closer look at the cuffs, discovering a release lever. Not real cuffs, thank God! "I'm going to remove these cuffs now, sugar." Careful of the raw skin around her wrists, he took his time, easing first one then the other from around her flesh. She moaned and the sound carved yet another hole in his heart. "I'm so sorry, sugar. I know that hurt. I'm going to get you help. What's your name?"

"K-Kinley. Kinley Ross, Sir," she managed to whisper.

"Okay, Kinley. My name is Landon and I'm going to help you. Can you tell me who the man is that did this to you?"

"My Master."

Master? The anger in him welled. That weasel whipping her was her Master? The first job of a Dom was to protect his sub, not torture her. "Were you his sub or slave?"

"Slave, Sir."

"I got him," Roman yelled as he raced back across the room toward them. "I have two of the construction workers upstairs holding him until the police get here."

Landon swallowed hard and forced down his rage. The last thing he or Roman needed was a scandal before the club had even opened, but in his current mood, if Roman hadn't called the police, he would have killed the bastard. "You called for an ambulance too, right?"

"It's on the way."

"Good. Once she's received medical care, I want to know how in the hell that son-of-a-bitch gained access to our club."

* * * *

Please stay with me! Landon rolled over for what seemed to be the hundredth time and punched the pillow. Two days after finding Kinley hanging and bloody, her frail and frightened voice continued to ring in his ears. Somehow, in those first few moments after saving her, he'd gained her trust and like a lost puppy, she'd latched onto that trust as if it were her life raft. When the ambulance crew arrived, she'd been combative with them and pleaded with Landon to go with her to the hospital. Only after he'd cupped her face in his palms and used his Dom voice, instructing her to stop fighting had she settled.

Her tears clawed at his conscious and threatened to break down his resolve. He almost gave into her plea, but before he caved, she complied, quieting so the medics could help her. A natural submissive. That fact intrigued him despite the chance that her horrific experience might ruin her for the lifestyle. It would be such a shame for that to happen considering her sexual needs could end up going unfilled all because of one sadistic bastard.

Landon blew out a frustrated breath and glanced over at the clock, 6:30 glowed in bright red. Hell! He threw the covers off and climbed from the bed. Maybe a shower would help alleviate some of the fog sleep deprivation caused. Not bothering to assess his appearance he turned the shower on, setting the taps to hot, then stripped and stepped inside. Almost immediately, the muscles in his shoulders began to relax sending that oh so wonderful tingle through his body. He leaned forward and pressed his hands against the tile, letting the heat infuse him. His eyelids drifted shut and within seconds, he could clearly picture the look on her face as the paramedics wheeled her into the ambulance. Her sad, frightened eyes pled with him not to leave her, but the medics refused to allow him to ride in the ambulance.

What would it be like to see those eyes bright with happiness and filled with lust? By her temperament, he imagined she would be one hell of a lover, tentative yet seductive. He could almost feel her long delicate fingers wrapping around the base of his penis. Her touch would no doubt be gentle, hesitant, yet erotic in intensity.Her other hand might cup his balls, playing with his sac as she stroked up his length, milking him.

He wrapped his own hand around is cock and gave a forceful stroke upward. A hiss broke from his lips to mix with the sound of running water. Through heavy lidded eyes, he looked down to see a clear bead of moisture topping the middle of his cockhead, clinging to small slit like a topping on an ice cream cone. He groaned as the image of Kinley on her knees filled his mind. She'd flick her tongue out, teasing his responsive flesh before laving over the tip to take a small taste of his essence. At first, she might play around the cap, using her pretty, pink lips and velvety tongue to taste every inch of him. Then she'd lean in closer and run the tip of her tongue down the thick protruding vein in his shaft. Using her talents, she'd trace his soft, sensitive flesh to where it connected to the even more delicate skin covering his testicles. In no hurry, she'd suck them into her mouth, one at a time to shower attention over his balls until the tension became too much to bear.

His hand tightened around his length, the added pressure mimicking the way he envisioned her stroking and sucking him until desire, raw and voracious reared up, claiming every muscle. The burning in his groin morphed to liquid fire and shot up his shaft with amazing speed. He pumped hard, his fingers squeezing his length as opaque jets of semen shot into the steamy air. A growl tore from his throat and morphed into a series of grunts corresponding with each thrust. His body slowly relaxed as the last of the spasms ceased, leaving Landon weak and shaken at his core. He leaned to rest his forehead against the cool tile. When in the hell was the last time he'd come so hard from his own hand? What kind of sick fuck was he to fantasize over a woman obviously emotionally and physically abused?

With a heavy sigh, he pushed away from the wall, turned off the water and stepped from the shower. He grabbed a clean towel and began to dry. The haunting image of her face, battered and pleading, replaced the sexy vixen he'd pictured only moments before in the shower. Good God! A new layer of guilt ettled over him as he began to dress.

Two days ago, he'd promised to follow her to the hospital and had spent the better part of the evening pacing the tiny waiting room for word on a woman he knew nothing about. All he'd eventually been told was that she was stable, had been moved to a private room, and he could come back the next day during visiting hours.

Now he'd just had an erotic fantasy about her. What in the hell was happening to him? The images of her ashen skin, bruised and bloody would haunt him for months to come, so where had that daydream come from?

Just as the nurse suggested, he'd returned the next day to see Kinley. What he'd found was a tiny, battered, and broken woman, sleeping like an angel. Yet, the pinch of muscles around her full lips spoke of the pain she suffered and possibly a deep sadness that went beyond the whipping. He'd wanted nothing more than to explore the whys of her haunting expression. Knowing she needed her rest, he'd chosen instead to leave his business card with his hotel information scrawled across the back at the nurse's station. "Be sure to tell her that if she needs anything at all do not hesitate to call me."

Two days later, he hadn't heard a peep, but that didn't stop her from continuing to captivate his thoughts. Not good. He needed to remember his priorities, the least of which was becoming someone's savior.

Between running Desires and Riker Security Services, the last thing he needed was to try to take on a sub with emotional issues. If he wanted to scratch an itch, there were plenty of unattached and willing subs at the club, so why would he want the tangle of a real relationship?

Relationship?

He lifted his gaze to the steam-covered mirror. "What in the hell are you thinking?" he asked the blurry image behind the condensation. She needs protection, his conscious argued. "She's a grown woman and she hasn't asked for my protection."

She's obviously been abused by somebody she knew and trusted. Do you really think she'd ask for help from a complete stranger? You have to be the Dom you are and take the initiative.

His fingers curled around the edge of the granite sink. "I offered help when I left my business card at the hospital. The choice to accept that help must be hers, otherwise there is nothing I can do. Besides, after what just happened in the shower who says she'd be any safer with me?"