Walking to the Dungeon
an interlude in the Masters of the Order universe by Jillian Verne
What the hell am I doing?
The thought keeps running through my head while I follow Sabin away from the crowd…away from the party…away from anything remotely familiar. He is my fiancé. I trust him.
But surrendering control?
Not easy for an uptight, type A litigator addicted to caffeine, hockey, and cheesy sixties television like me.
I glance at the gigantic rock on my left hand. Sabin’s a Texan – he does everything big – but holy smokes, Batman. The thing is actually heavy. I guess I’ll get used to that, but it’s only been on my finger for a little over an hour.
Wow. I’m engaged. Never thought I’d see the day.
“You doin’ okay, darlin’?” Sabin asks in that smooth drawl that runs like silk over my skin.
“Yeah,” I squeak.
This man actually makes me squeak, and it’s infuriating. I graduated the Ivy League for Christ’s sake. Twice!
Sabin chuckles then gives my hand a gentle squeeze. He knows I’m off balance right now, and of course, my playful cowboy loves it, but he always reminds me I’m not alone anymore.
I can rely on him. I am safe with him. Something I never thought I would feel again, but I know it’s true. I know it to my marrow.
Damn, that is sexier than sin, and a huge part of why I’m following my fiancé to a dungeon. A real dungeon. No joke. I’m in Monaco attending a masked ball with a bunch of kinksters.
Is that a word? I’m so new to all this, I don’t even know.
I suppose kinky people – I know that’s a word. Well, maybe two – might be a bit of an understatement for the group I met tonight. The Order. No pot bellies in this bunch. No slackers either. Every person I’ve me tonight was charismatic. All were beautiful in the way wealth can make a person beautiful. Some were outright stunning. Even those less naturally attractive had some characteristic that made them utterly appealing. I met financiers and ballerinas, blue bloods and artists, captains of industry and politicians. The Order is a multilingual, multicultural, multitalented group and somehow, they made a closet geek from South Philly feel like I belonged. These guys are true masters of the universe. Money, business, politics, philanthropy, and sex. Kinky sex – the real deal.
Torches light the gloom as we walk along the hallway to the dungeon. Not a playroom or a tricked-out den, a real dungeon lies beneath this villa, a series of rooms with a bleak past. If the ominous character of the passageway is any clue, this place was built to inspire fear.
And it does.
It’s such a simple sound. My high heels clicking in time with Sabin’s heavy footfalls. Without the firm hand tugging me along, I would…
I don’t know. Do I want this or not? Whatever “this” is.
There are no answers, only my jumbled emotions and that simple, intimidating sound.
The stone floor gives way to ancient steps carved into rock, wide and uneven, to carry us down. Down. Down. The dampness in the air thickens. The temperature drops. My heart beats faster.
Sabin stops in front of a bulky wooden door with rivets and rusted banding that look original. I stumble to halt. Me, a woman born in my stilettos, almost falls into him as if I’ve forgotten how to walk. High heels and ancient stone do not play nice together.
Sabin splays my hand over his palm and with eyes fixed on my engagement ring, says, “I want an equal, Alessandra, to share my life. I want smart and ambitious. I don’t mind tough or bossy or dedicated to the job because I am too. I want someone who works hard and plays hard. I want the challenge. In other words, I want you.”
His thumb plays with the diamond, his eyes refuse mine. “But there are times when I want the opposite of equal. This is one of those times.” He catches my eye. “Did you mean what you said upstairs?”
He doesn’t have to say more.
I swallow hard and glance at the torchlight against the gray stone walls. This wasn’t exactly what I meant when I invited “my Lord” to top my hierarchy.
People call Sabin “My Lord.” I still can’t believe that one, but the Order is hierarchical and follows strict protocol, and Sabin is its second-highest Master. One of two who run the whole show.
And I am…a bossy, over-educated, workaholic, missionary-only, closet geek who somehow attracted the attention of a man like Sabin.
I still can’t believe he’s mine. My man is a genuine blond Adonis. A sexy cocktail of Southern American charm and supermodel good looks. He has a high forehead, a square jaw, and a wide mouth that curves up with an ever-present devilish grin to flash his perfect, pearly-white teeth. His golden mane is usually pulled into a low ponytail. Tonight it hangs loose, cascading over his lapel to his pocket square.
I start dreaming of what lies beneath his tuxedo. Sabin in a tux is hot. Sabin in nothing is hotter than the hinges on the gates of hell. I begin undressing him in my mind, loosening his black bow tie, undoing the onyx buttons one by one, and slowly parting that crisp cotton shirt…
“You didn’t answer my question, Alessandra,” Sabin says and shatters my X-rated thoughts.
Oh, right. My Lord topping my hierarchy. What did I mean when I said that?
I know how I arrived at this spot, but somehow, suddenly, I don’t know at all. I know nothing of what actually happens in a dungeon. I have no idea how extreme Sabin might become on the other side of that door.
Will it hurt?
Will I cry?
If I do, will he stop?
I scan Sabin. He is too gorgeous dressed in his tuxedo. He’s gorgeous dressed in jeans and well-worn boots. He’s gorgeous dressed in a business suit. He’s over the moon gorgeous dressed in nothing.
“Someone’s daydreaming again.” His voice is playful.
I stare deep into his eyes. I’m not afraid of this man. Afraid of the dungeon on the other side of that mean-looking door, but not afraid of Sabin.
“I’m ready to go with you, Sabin.”
Removing a skeleton key from his pocket, Sabin slips it into the lock and pushes aside the huge slab of wood.
Of all things, the first thing I notice is the light refracted through leaded crystal medallions of chandeliers similar to the ones on the upper level of the villa. A silly thing to notice given what the rest of the room contains. A mahogany bar with a mirrored back, innocent enough until you notice the hulking St. Andrew’s cross reflected in the glass. Comfy cordovan sofas nestled against the walls between closed doors, one with iron bars. A leather bed with a metal canopy draped in chains. Everywhere the profane awaiting its use on the willing. Every object whispering the invitation to enter the mysterious world of sadomasochistic play.
“Before we enter, Alessandra, understand what it means. We are not equals here.” Sabin extends his hand, palm up, and suspends it in the air between us. “By taking my hand, you’re agreeing to submit. Whatever I ask, whatever I want, you will give.”
I have seen Sabin’s serious side, but it is usually laced with a certain playfulness. A playfulness that is completely lacking right now. Tendrils of his authority and more than a hint of menace wrap around me, weaving an inescapable net to capture my reluctant desire.
But only if I consent to play by Sabin’s rules and his rules alone.
Only if I take his outstretched hand.
I know I’ve a got a stupid deer-in-the-headlights look on my face, but I manage to keep my voice firm. “I understand.”
“Then take my hand.”
I put my hand into his, but deep in my mind, I’m still holding back. Locking a part of myself away in a safe, solitary place. I hope he doesn’t see that.
Sabin bends to kiss the back of my hand and whispers against my knuckles, “Come, my love, and learn to be adored.”
Then he places his free hand on the back of my neck. He’s made this possessive gesture before, and its effect gives new meaning to the term “honey dripper.” I begin to ache while he guides me to a room off the main chamber.
The room isn’t overly large, rather intimate and close. The perfume of incense and leather hang heavy in the air, hinting of bygone sex. A lone piece of furniture—some type of low table with a solid base and leather top—sits to one side. Implements of the most decadent variety hang on stone walls. And the light. The crystal light will soon glisten on my moist, naked skin.
Sabin positions me in the middle of the floor and moves away. The sound of the lock clicking makes me flinch on my stilettos.
He turns but doesn’t approach. So close yet so removed. He’s standing no more than six feet from me, but the dynamic sets us worlds apart. He loosens his bow tie, unbuttons his shirt to the waist, and runs a hand over his scalp. The muscles of his torso ripple as his fingers comb through his golden mane. His turquoise cross is uncomfortably absent.
The perfectly undone tuxedo, the flowing hair, and the glimpse of tan skin against white cotton tempts me to drop to my knees and crawl across the impassable distance between us. But I know to stand where he’s left me. Alone and on display, atop a blood-red carpet in the center of a stone floor.
Leaning against the door, Sabin crosses his arms over his chest, one foot over the other, and stares from beneath hooded lids. Up and down. His eyes move with lazy appreciation.
“Strip for me, beautiful.”
There’s my sexy cowboy. I breathe a sigh of relief at the flash of the familiar in this foreign place.
The wave of desire that hits me every time Sabin strikes that quintessential masculine pose makes me downright dizzy, but now? My heart is thudding heavy in my chest. My pulse is quickening and heating my skin. My beaded gown is irritating the puckering peaks of my breasts. A mounting ache is gnawing low in my belly.
All that and Sabin hasn’t laid a single finger on me.
But above anything else, I feel my own beauty radiating outward from an unexplored place inside, only to be reflected back in shades of cornflower blue. Through Sabin’s eyes, I feel erotic and exciting.
Music begins to play in my head. The raw, suggestive rhythm I’ve always wanted to hear with a man. I close my eyes and roll my shoulders. Listening. Loosening. Losing myself to the seductive lure of submission. Images of the dungeon flash behind my eyelids.
“We are not equals here.”
The music plays louder.
I begin to dance. Swirl my hips around one way and back the other as my body succumbs to a sound only I can hear. I slip a strap off my shoulder. Wind my torso around as I move the other strap away. The beaded fabric falls, catching at my hips. Turning back, I lift my arms and literally feel Sabin’s gaze wash over my exposed breasts.
To dance like this for a private audience of one makes me feel like a sexual goddess. I raise my chin to the ceiling, run my fingertips along the arc of my neck to my cleavage, and brush the downy skin before sliding my hands lower to ease the dress off my hips. Wearing only a thong and heels, I raise my arms again and bend back to accentuate the movement in my breasts. I let my hips flow with the sinuous motion of a belly dancer. Stepping aside, I leave my dress discarded at my feet.
“Keep your eyes closed and stay on the carpet,” Sabin commands.
Dancing is a liberty allowed, but only on his terms.
His voice is sharper with the power of being in this room. I lose myself to it and the silent rhythm pulsing through my body, yet never allow my dancing feet to move from the plush carpet. The headiness of being controlled sends me writhing and twisting into an ever more decadent performance. Adrenaline courses through my veins, my muscles strain to create pleasing poses, and my soul, set alight on the powerful seduction, soars.
Sabin moves in close. The taut peaks of my breasts brush against the hard planes of his chest. Without warning, he grips my wrists, yanking them high above my head and trapping them there in a firm hold. The harsh touch frightens me, but I keep my eyes closed, savoring the flavor of this fear. It isn’t fear at not seeing the man who has captured me in a dungeon. It is fear of the force with which I need him to.
I inhale Sabin’s spice, rub my breasts against his silk lapels, skim my thighs against his pants to feel my nakedness dance against his full dress.
“You’re a powerful woman, Alessandra,” Sabin whispers in time with the music playing in my head, as if he can hear it. “Surrender your power to mine. Open your eyes and see the man who owns you,” he demands and corrals my body back against the cold stone.
Yikes. My eyes pop open with the shocking chill of stone against my bare back.
Then I meet Sabin’s eyes. His hypnotizing cornflower-blue eyes. They shine with an intensity I’ve never seen in them before.
There is love and lust. His dominant gaze is filled with all the things Sabin imagines doing with me.
Doing to me.
All the things I want him to do.
“I am yours, Sabin.”
“I am yours, Master,” he corrects, and I moan the words back to him.
“My body is yours, Master,” he says, and again I moan my reply.
“My will is yours, Master.”
I can barely get the heady words past the paralyzing arousal of what being dominated is doing to my mind. Not to mention my body.
“Offer your greatest gift, and I will satisfy your darkest dream. Let me show you the woman you are meant to be. Mine. Mine to the extreme.” Sabin eases back without releasing my hands, and his voice becomes deathly serious. “But be sure, Alessandra. I give you a single chance to say no.”
The heavy note of warning pierces the mindless seduction. Sabin wants me to think, but I have no experience to draw on.
How can I take ownership of something so foreign?
Who is the lover I will meet in this dark place?
What is his will?
I search Sabin’s eyes and find nothing but the exacting stare of a Dom who will respect me enough to release me, but will never obey me. Nothing but an invitation to surrender myself completely to a complete unknown.
Memories begin to flicker through the back of my mind.
Memories of all the times Sabin could have hurt me, but didn’t. Memories of the kindness he showed instead. Memories of laughter and sparring. Memories of mutual respect and admiration. Memories of sex and the mixture of lust and gentleness in his eyes as he clung to his control so that powerful body wouldn’t harm me.
Everything Sabin does is for me. Always for me.
And I will do anything for him.
This isn’t about toys and games of the very adult variety. This is about trust.
“Yes, Sabin. My answer is and always will be yes.”
He smiles, the way only my cowboy can, and says, “Let the dark game begin.”
One hand continues to hold my wrists over my head while the other slips beneath my thong and moves it aside. With two fingers, he penetrates me quick and hard. I gasp with the pressure. He bends, licks a trail down my throat to the pulse throbbing at the base of my neck, and bites me. The fierce sting sends lightning arcing through me. Every nerve ending comes alive with the effort to suck that invading hand deeper into my body.
“Ah, my greedy girl. Always wet. Always hungry for me,” Sabin purrs into the crook of my neck, his voice edged with masculine pride.
He spreads his fingers to open me wider and pushes deeper. I feel the thickening wetness coat his hand, hear it as his fingers move inside me, and thrill to the obscenely sexy sound. Arousal lights me right through, and my lips part with the need to have his covering them while he touches me.
Sabin denies me, nuzzling my neck, sucking and biting the ever more agonized spot at the juncture of my shoulder. The harsh affection sends my aching sex into overdrive. Caught between pleasure and pain, all I can do is moan.
Moan with the bite of teeth marking my skin.
Moan with the pressure of male fingers spearing and scissoring inside me.
Moan with the eroticism of being utterly controlled yet utterly free.
Sabin eases his torso forward, trapping me more fully against the wall. He releases my wrists – I’d forgotten they were over my head until the blood rushing back into my fingers makes them tingle – and cups my face.
“Kiss me, Alessandra.”
I open my lips wider and press them against his. His breath is warm and scented with coffee. I close my eyes as his hand caresses my bare hip.
Oh, God. My heart is thumping. Something inside me is unlocking.
Yes, Sabin. Let the dark game begin.
I wrap my arms around his strong shoulders and let myself go.
*Jillian Verne © 2016
* * *
Sabin and Alessandra are from Masters of the Order: Godsend, available now from Loose Id, Amazon, ARe and wherever fine ebooks are sold.