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After overhearing her husband and doctor plotting against her, Danielle Morrison flees her home in West Virginia. A few weeks later, after finding a place to lay low for a while in Richmond, she ends up stranded in an unfamiliar parking lot one night. Two caring, protective and dominant men come to her rescue, then offer her a glimpse into a lifestyle she never imagined would be for her. Soon she can’t resist either man or the sexual exploration they offer her, but will her secrets jeopardize her new relationships as well as her freedom?
Dale Evans and Eli Jackson have been best friends since serving in the military together after discovering they both had a penchant for BDSM and a love of ménage in common. Neither can resist the pull of Dani’s vulnerability, fear and open curiosity about their lifestyle, but their efforts to learn more about her over the next weeks are met with unbending resistance. After learning part of what she was keeping from them, they back away from her in anger and disappointment, only to return too late. Will their mistake cost Dani everything, or will they come to her rescue in time to save her from her husband’s threats?
DISCLAIMER: This book contains the spanking of adult women, elements of BDSM, power exchange, and explicit sexual scenes. If any of these offend you, please do not purchase.
One minute blinking green and red lights were beckoning Danielle Morrison down the dimly lit side road and the next, the sudden glare of blinding headlights in her rearview mirror sent panic rushing up to clog her throat. Gripping her steering wheel with clammy hands, she worked to control her unreasonable fear and keep her speed at the speed limit. The vehicle that came out of nowhere stayed on her tail until she saw what had lured her down this road and away from the safety of the crowded shops and restaurants in Stockoe Slip, a renovated mecca along the James River. A huge, all brick, three story warehouse lit up from top to bottom in Christmas lights was a welcoming sight on this otherwise desolate stretch. Relief swept through her, calming her rapid heartbeat somewhat when she spotted a few people entering the building. There was safety in numbers, at least she hoped so as she turned into the parking lot, her shaky breath releasing on a whoosh of relief when the car behind her kept on going.
Pulling her fifteen-year old Chevy truck between two parked cars, she cut the lights and the engine and leaned her head back with a sigh of weariness. After fleeing her home in Wheeling, West Virginia over a month ago, she had spent the first few weeks driving from town to town, never staying longer than a few days. Her husband, Trevor, would eventually find her, of that she had no doubt, but when she arrived in Richmond two weeks ago, she hoped getting lost in a bigger city would give her more time.
Even after all these weeks, she still berated herself for not seeing what was right in front of her. Her mother always told her life would pass her by if she didn’t pull her head out of the clouds. But, being a geek like her chemist father, she hadn’t listened to her until she discovered one day her life hadn’t passed her by but had been stolen from her with slow and meticulous planning and execution.
It had taken losing her job to force her to try the sleeping pills Dr. Landiss prescribed for her insomnia, and she woke fresh and early that fateful morning in November. Skipping downstairs of her two-story mansion, she heard voices coming from Trevor’s office. She hadn’t intended to check them out, or seek out her husband until she heard her name mentioned. Curious, she paused to listen outside his closed door. Her stunned reaction at hearing her husband and the doctor he insisted she see for the strange bouts of sickness plaguing her for months plotting against her left her frozen in shock.
“We need to up the doses,” she heard Trevor snap in a frustrated tone. “The board has been sending her reports on the recent losses. Danielle’s a fucking nerd, but I can’t risk her asking for an independent audit. We’ve come too far and are too close to our goal to slow down or stop now. I just need a few more weeks.”
A disgusted sigh followed then Doctor Miles Landiss replied, “I can up it a little more, but not much. She just lost her job due to taking so much time off and the seeds you planted with her boss about depression and drugs. Now that she isn’t dragging herself into work every day, she’ll have the time to think about getting a second opinion. Then what?”
“Then we institutionalize her like we planned.” Trevor’s cold voice and even colder words had sent shivers of icy fear down her spine as she stood rooted in shock. “Hell, it might be easier all around if we go ahead and do that so we don’t have to worry about her until I can siphon off a few million more. That’s the whole reason I married her in the first place, to have the authority to lock her up and keep her out of my way until I finished getting what I wanted from her.”
“If you weren’t such a greedy bastard, we could high-tail it overseas now and be done with the whole thing.”
“I’m not giving up one iota of the lifestyle I’ve had here the last three years and for that I need more. Unless you’re willing to take less?”
Her doctor had scoffed in a rude manner at that suggestion, then sealed Dani’s fate with his reply. “Without me providing you with the drugs and doctoring her medical records to build a history of drug use, depression and paranoid schizophrenia, you’d have a much harder time getting away with the embezzling. She may prefer her animals to the company, but she isn’t stupid.”
Dani had finally found the strength to inch away from that door, her body shaking so hard she didn’t know where she got the strength to walk away without crumbling in a heap on the floor. Underneath the fear and disbelief, anger had churned inside her at her own gullibility and stupidity. She had never cared about the pharmaceutical company her father started from the ground up, never cared about the millions she knew it was worth and, God help her, never cared Trevor married her to get the coveted CEO position her parents’ sudden deaths in a car accident had left vacated. The only thing she ever yearned for was to become a veterinarian. Grief had come close to costing her her place in veterinary school, and when Trevor, a favorite employee and her father’s friend, stepped in and offered to take care of the house and the company, she hadn’t hesitated.
Looking back, she saw how he took advantage of her grief stricken state and her struggle to balance her school while coping with her loss. He seduced her by taking charge of the assets her parents had bequeathed her that she didn’t want, then seduced her with his body until saying yes to his proposal seemed like the easiest thing to do.
A sharp rap on her window startled Dani out of her thoughts and caused her to jump, her heartbeat returning at once to a rapid, pounding throb. Two faces peered through the pane and her throat went dry at the men’s hard jaws and probing eyes.
“You okay?” the one with the short, military cut mouthed.
Taking a deep breath, she rolled down her window a crack. “Yes, I’m sorry, I was just leaving.”
Stepping back, they watched as she turned her key then winced along with her at the grinding of gears followed by silence. Swearing under her breath, she tried again, praying it would start yet knowing her luck in keeping the truck going on a bad fuel pump had just run out.
The same man knocked on her window again while the other one moved to the hood and gestured for her to pop it for him. Having no choice, she pulled the lever then sat fretting for the next five minutes as they both piddled around with her engine. Of all the luck, she thought with a tired sigh. Next time insomnia had her tossing and turning, she would not let the loneliness of the empty, dark night drive her out of her small trailer.
This time it was the bald man who rapped on her passenger window as the other man slammed her hood down. Reaching across the seat, she rolled it halfway, the blast of cold, December air doing little to cool her heated face. “I guess I need to call a tow truck, don’t I?”
“You need a new truck, but yes, this one won’t be taking you anywhere else tonight.” He hesitated a minute, glanced at his friend who nodded, then invited, “Come inside and we’ll wait with you. You may as well be warm, get something to eat as it might take a while.”
Dani hesitated. It would be stupid to sit out here in the cold and dark, and it was obvious the car behind her that had been responsible for her panic attack had not been tailing her. The two men stood out in the frigid temperature waiting for her, their patience going a long way towards calming her frayed nerves. The large, glittering gold star above the door to the warehouse drew her attention, its symbol of hope the nudge she needed to accept their offer.
Opening her door, she hopped out of her truck then had to look up, way up at the man in front of her. At five foot three, almost everyone towered over her, but both of these men topped six foot by an inch or two, their leather jackets doing little to disguise broad shoulders that made them seem even bigger. Oh, wow, was all her befuddled brain could come up with.
“No coat? Come on.” Taking her elbow, military man ushered her toward the door at a brisk pace, his friend flanking her other side. If there was one thing that worked to perfection on her truck, it was the heater. Wearing just a pale green, cashmere sweater with jeans, she had been plenty warm until now.
A smiling, young woman standing behind a small counter welcomed them as they ushered her into a warm, cozy entry. “Hello, Master Dale, Master Eli. You’ve brought a guest.”
“Candie, we’ll be sitting with…” Dale looked down at the cute blonde with an inquiring lift of his brow. “What’s your name, sweetie?”
A warm flush swept through her body and spread over her face at the direct look from military man’s vivid blue eyes. Sweetie? She couldn’t remember a man ever calling her an endearment. “Dani,” she finally answered, omitting her last name on purpose.
“Dani. Is that short for something?” When she didn’t reply, he exchanged a look she couldn’t decipher with his friend before turning back to Candie. “Dani has car trouble and is waiting for a tow truck. Would you let Master Kevin know we’ll wait with her in the social room until it arrives?”
“Of course. Nice to meet you, Dani.”
Nodding, she was too bemused by the titles Candie bestowed on the two men and her reaction to their nearness as they led her through another door to answer. Just what kind of place was this? The large room with the comforting blaze snapping in a fireplace on the far wall looked like a huge great room you’d see in a private home except for the long, mirror backed bar manned by a young bartender eying them with as much interest as Candie had.
“Why don’t you help yourself to something to eat while we get you a drink. What would you like?”
The smooth, deep voice coming from the bald man on her right slid over her like a caress, much like the avid look in his moss green eyes. With his beautiful, caramel skin, narrow nose and a mouth that increased her pulse rate, he was a man who would draw second and third looks from any woman between the ages of eighteen and eighty.
That sinful mouth curved up at the corners. “By the way, I’m Eli and he’s Dale.”
His mention of their names brought back her curiosity. “Why did Candie call you Master? What kind of establishment is this?” She had a sneaky suspicion, but needed to hear it from them.
“This is The Warehouse, a private club and the only building down this way. Did you take a wrong turn?”
Dale’s rugged voice matched his rough-hewn good looks. A five o’clock, dark shadow stubbled his sculpted jaw, the probing look in his blue eyes sending a ripple of unease to go along with the unaccustomed heated flow of her blood through her veins. “I just got turned around when I left Stockoe Slip.” Her evasive answer sounded lame even to her so she hastened to say, “I’ll have a vodka tonic. How much…” She started to open her purse, but Dale’s large hand covered her much smaller one.
“You’re our guest. Help yourself to a plate and we’ll meet you at that table.”
He pointed to one a few feet away. Since besides the bartender, they were the only ones in the room, she wondered why he designated a particular table among the six empty ones, but didn’t question him. With a nod, she turned toward the long food laden buffet and picked a small plate even though, with her stomach cramped with nerves, she didn’t feel much like eating. After putting a few meatballs and crackers and cheese on her plate, she turned and stopped dead in her tracks at her first glimpse of her benefactors minus their bulky, leather jackets. Oh, wow, was all her fried brain could come up with, again.
Dale’s broad shoulders and thick biceps stretched the snug black tee shirt he wore with tan khaki’s. The solid black emphasized his dark, rugged features, the tiny peak of inky, curly hair at his sternum matching the short, thick pelt on his head. A dark brown, leather vest was the only thing Eli wore with a pair of matching, tight leather pants. The bulging muscles in his arms were just as defined as Dale’s and the tantalizing glimpse of thick pecs, rippled abs and small, brown nipples when he bent to set the drinks on the table sent her hot blood rushing to pool between her legs. She had no idea men like them existed outside women’s imaginations. Her suspicions were confirmed; this was no ordinary club.
The extent of her knowledge about sex clubs came from a research paper from a fellow student in her college Human Sexuality class. Her interest in sex hovered somewhere between a fraction and non-existent. Until now, and her timing couldn’t be worse. Taking a deep breath, she joined them at the table, praying the tow truck wouldn’t take long.
“Excuse me,” she said, sitting down and extracting her pre-paid cell phone from her purse, “but do you know the name of a towing company? I haven’t been in Richmond long.”
“Try Bob’s,” Eli answered before rattling off the number. “He’s a friend of mine and will give you a good rate.”
“Thanks.” Dani hung up a few minutes later, frustration eating at her. Two freaking hours, minimum. What was she supposed to do until then? The men didn’t ask the verdict of her call, just waited with a patience she had little experience with. “It’s going to be a while and I hate to keep you.” Before they could answer, several people entered from the foyer, waved or called out to Dale and Eli then left the room through a door marked private. “What kind of club did you say this was?”
“Relax, sweetie. Nothing goes on in this room and you won’t be bothered, unless, of course,” Dale added with a hint of humor, “you want to be.” Her large, black-framed glasses did nothing to hide the curious spark in her bright hazel eyes, and he wondered if she was as innocent as he first thought. There was an air of fragility about her, heightened by the fear he and Eli both sensed outside even though the dimly lit parking lot didn’t afford them much light.
Eli slid her drink toward her and Dani took a much needed sip, enjoying the burn as it slid down her throat. Lord, but these men’s looks packed a wallop she wasn’t used to, and that was without adding in all those hard muscles. She and Trevor had been married for two years, but had had separate bedrooms for one and half due, he said, to her insomnia keeping him awake. Since she had never experienced more than a few warm, rippling sensations during sex, it had never been a high priority for her. The first few months of separate bedrooms, Trevor put out the effort to visit hers once or twice a month, then it dwindled to once every other month until, she now realized with a start, they hadn’t had sex for over nine months. And she never noticed, never missed it.
“So I am in a sex club. Please, don’t let me keep you from…” She waved an arm toward that other door, not knowing what to say.
“We have all night. Well, with the owner out of town attending his best friend’s wedding, we are supposed to be helping in monitoring the other room, but we’ve got that covered for now. What brought you to Richmond?”
Looking away from those green eyes, she searched for a plausible answer. Other than volunteering at the local shelter, she had kept to herself these past weeks, just one of the reasons she’d allowed her nightmares of being locked away drive her out into the cold to be around people when she couldn’t sleep. She hadn’t realized how truly alone in the world she was until she fled from Trevor with no one to turn to and nowhere to go. And that was on her. She had spent eight years enmeshed in her schooling, chasing her dream because nothing except her beloved parents mattered more to her. With their sudden, devastating loss and the mound of responsibilities she became fettered with, she’d been easy pickings for Trevor to swoop in and take over.
“I was ready for a change. What do you do? When you’re not here,” she added hastily when their slow smiles made her realize she needed to clarify that question.
“I’m a martial arts instructor and Dale just couldn’t give up the military so he went to work as an instructor at Fort Lee. How about you, little one? What do you do when you’re not breaking down in the parking lot of a sex club on a Friday night?”
The glint of humor in his eyes almost drew a smile from her, but as she thought of her job and the regret and disappointment reflected on the faces of the two veterinarian surgeons she’d been mentoring under, tears threatened her composure. She knew she shouldn’t tell them, that the fewer people who knew anything at all about her the safer she’d be, but it was so hard to deny everything she’d worked so hard to achieve.
“Right now I’m just volunteering until I get my bearings, figure out if I’ll be staying in the area or not.”
They responded to her evasive reply with silent looks that had her squirming in her seat. Looking away from those probing eyes, she watched a couple enter the room, the attractive blonde following the man with her with a look of excited expectation, similar to the looks on the other two women’s faces who’d entered a few minutes earlier.
“Curious, little one?” Eli sure as hell was. She ended up at the private club by accident, but didn’t shy away from her curiosity like she did over their personal inquiries, an intriguing characteristic for an unsuspecting drop-in.
Dani swallowed a bite of meatball before she quipped, “Curiosity killed the cat, remember?”
“Ah, but the cat died happy.”
“And watching never hurt anything, or anyone,” Dale put in, his desire to watch her expressive face as she took in the scenes in the playroom increasing by the minute. She tried, but she couldn’t disguise the fact she was hiding something, which stirred his interest in her even more than her soft round body. From the look on Eli’s face, he wasn’t alone in his regard. “We have time to kill before the tow truck arrives. Would you like a tour of the other room?”
It surprised her how much she wanted to. Her curiosity had been piqued the minute she realized what kind of club she had entered, and the tingling response of her usually sexually dormant body added to her interest. What could it hurt to just watch?
“Okay, but just to watch, right?”
“Unless you change your mind.”
She rose from her chair as Dale took her elbow, the sudden attack of nerves making her more appreciative of his support. Her pulse picked up speed with each step she took toward the door marked private. In all honesty, she could admit she didn’t know whether her response stemmed from trepidation over what she agreed to or excitement over stepping away from her comfort zone and taking a chance on something new, something she had no doubt would be so different than what she knew.
“Normally, jeans aren’t allowed in the playroom, but exceptions for guests are permitted so you can stow just your shoes and purse in a locker in there.” Dale pointed to the restroom door, still surprised the stranded waif had taken them up on their offer of a look around the club. She was full of surprises and contradictions, Dani with no last name, and he was chaffing to dig beneath her evasive layers and find the answers to his questions about her.
“Just how strict are the rules in this place?” She didn’t want to back out now, but she also didn’t want to get in over her head.
“They’re bendable, but not breakable without consequences. Relax, little one,” Eli soothed with a hand on her lower back giving her a slight nudge forward. “We said we won’t hurt you, and our word is golden. Now, don’t keep us waiting.”
Before she could change her mind, she rushed into the restroom, found an empty locker and stowed her things. Brushing her damp palms down her denim covered thighs, she returned to her two escorts and gave them a brisk nod of confidence. With any luck, she would return to her trailer and fall asleep with something else on her mind besides her hopeless predicament.