Cherise's latest addition to the Shadowlands series was released yesterday. Enjoy this brief look at another great read by Cherise Sinclair.
Determined to find the human traffickers preying on Shadowlands’ submissives, Master Raoul gets himself invited to a small slave auction.
Once informed, the FBI orders him to reject the limited choices so the slavers will invite him to the big auction. To Raoul’s shock, one of the slaves is the kidnapped friend of a Shadowlands sub. She has a scarred body…and an unbroken spirit. He can’t leave her behind. Ruining the FBI’s carefully laid plans, he buys her.
Kimberly’s freedom has come at a devastating price: the other women are still slaves. An FBI raid is their only hope for rescue. Desperate to help the Feds locate the big auction, she agrees to pose as Master Raoul’s slave.
Wearing a collar again is terrifying, but under the powerful dominant’s care, Kim starts to heal and then to blossom. This is what she’s been drawn to—and fled from—her entire life.
She escaped the slavers who captured her body—can she escape the master who’s captured her heart?
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“And you, sir?” The Overseer turned to Master R. “I heard you enjoy dispensing a good beating.”
The hand gripping her neck flexed slightly. “I’ll use a flogger.”
Staring at the floor, Kim breathed out, trying to tell herself a flogger wasn’t as bad as other stuff. Like a whip. Or a cane. Unless he picked one of the nastier kinds. Her nerves were jumping with her need to yank away and run, but she wouldn’t even get out of the room. And then she’d pay and pay and pay. I can endure this. It’s only pain.
Somehow she could feel the buyer’s attention on her like a warm breeze. His thumb stroked the side of her neck. “Dahmer, you’ve got a pretty setup here.”
“Thank you,” the Overseer said, his voice with that slick, sharp edge to it. “Although pulling everything down and setting up in a new house becomes tedious.”
“I can imagine. How long have you been in this…line of work?”
“The Harvest Association hired me about seven years ago.” The Overseer’s laugh made Kim’s skin crawl. “The side benefits are great — like training the merchandise.”
“I daresay. Do you choose the women?”
“Our watchers select potential slaves according to what we’re looking for at the time.” The Overseer nodded to Holly. “That one was picked up for our annual ‘Blondes are more fun’ auction. In the Southeast quadrant, I select from the list and contract the appropriate people to make the pickups.”
“Quite a few layers in your group. That’s reassuring.”
Layers upon layers. Drown the bastards and let crabs eat their bodies. Kim bit her tongue until she tasted blood. Early on, the Overseer had explained how long the Association had been in business, and the impossibility of their families ever finding them. One despairing slave had tried to commit suicide that night, but the torn plastic cup couldn’t cut her skin deep enough.
“The safety and anonymity of the association and our buyers is our primary concern.” The Overseer stopped. Kim glanced up to see him gesture toward the floggers on the back wall. “I think you’ll find something there that fits your needs.”
“How much time do we have?”
“Long as you want.” The Overseer’s eyes met Kim’s. “According to her last owner, this piece of goods doesn’t break down quickly.”
Her skin went cold; her hands started to tremble. Lord Greville had never stopped until she’d broken, and then he’d…
Master R snorted and pulled her back against his body, his arm around her waist, one wide palm covering her breast. “Any ham-handed idiot can make a woman scream. I prefer to assess…responsiveness.” His powerful hand caressed her, his touch light. Not somehow repugnant, but still…touching her, as a reminder that her body was no longer her own. She tried to move, but the iron band of his arm held her easily in place.
The Overseer tipped his head. “It’s a pleasure to have an experienced dominant.”
As if he’d recognize experience if it bit him on the butt, Kim thought, but Master R was a dom. She could tell. As the Overseer left at a hail from the fat buyer, Master R turned her around. His face held no expression she could read, and a tremor ran through her. What was he planning to do?
Did she want to try to get him to buy her or not? He hadn’t been cruel — not in the way the other two buyers displayed. Her stomach sank when she saw Holly restrained on a bench, enduring the slash of the cane, whimpering with each blow.
On the St. Andrew’s cross, Linda was silent, but tears streamed down her face as the whip left red stripes on her breasts and stomach. The older woman had admitted she was a masochist — actually liked pain — but not like this. Never like this.
Kim didn’t want either of those sadists, yet this man was…observant. Too smart to get away from. She flinched as Holly’s buyer changed to a leather strap, the sound loud in the room. Should she chance the cruelty in hopes of escape? How badly would she be damaged before she could get free?
“You’re thinking too much, little slave. Keep your eyes only on me.”
Her attention jerked back to him at the soft command. His veil of remoteness had dropped away again. Folding his arms over his chest, he studied her, his dark gaze skimming over her face, her shoulders, her hands, her legs. Under the discomfort of the heavy silence, she shifted her weight as the flutters in her stomach increased. An experienced dominant. She saw the signs in his posture and in the way that sometimes she reacted to him as a dom — not a monster.
He’s a monster. Never forget that.
“What is your real name?” he asked softly.
My name. Part of me. Not answering this. His chin lifted and under his gaze, her defiance that had infuriated Lord Greville bent as inevitably as a palm tree in a tropical storm. “Kimberly. Sir.”
“Thank you.” When his face softened in approval, her muscles relaxed even though she knew — she knew — he was a slaver. And he — he wanted to use a flogger on her.
He grasped her shoulders and turned her so her back was to him. Why wasn’t he being rough with her? As he traced lines down her back, his fingers were warm, the calluses scraping lightly. “You’ve been whipped. Was it before or after your slavery?”
Her throat went tight. Slavery. Why did hearing the word send disbelief through her every time? This can’t be me. Can’t be happening. “After.” Lord Greville’s eyes, crazy mad, the pain, falling to her knees, blood everywhere.
He grunted. “Assholes.”
What? She forced herself to stillness.
“You are not going to escape this evening without some pain, chiquita.” Even as she stiffened, he pulled her back against him again, his body like a brick wall, his arm circling her waist. He fondled her breasts, his gentleness disconcerting. His breath teased the curls at her temple. “Did you enjoy being flogged before all this happened?”
That was a different life, no relation to the one now.
She should never have told him her name — hearing it now, used in a master’s authoritative voice, shook something inside her. My name. I’m real. I’m still me, Kimberly Elizabeth Moore. She swallowed, remembered the question about BDSM clubs and play parties. Before. “I — yes.”
“Good girl.” His resonant voice relaxed her, even as she tried to keep herself defended. “And restraints? Do they bother you?”
This seemed like before somehow, the dance of negotiations, while finding a partner who liked what she did. But it isn’t, Kim. You’re a slave. A fuckhole. A slut. She stiffened.
He nipped her earlobe, making her jump and raising the oddest tingle inside her. “Stay in the present with me, Kimberly,” he said, his voice so very different than earlier. Low and rich and smooth with a hint of a Spanish accent. As unexpectedly warm as a sunny day in the spring. “Answer me now. Do restraints bother you?”
“No. Not really.” Not like enclosed spaces, hoods, cages. Her stomach turned over, and her chest constricted.
“Something bothers you. What?”
As if she’d give him a weapon to use against her. To punish her with like the Overseer had. Her mouth compressed into a thin line.
“No?” He sighed and turned her to face him. As he regarded her, he massaged her upper arms, his grip powerful, controlled…warm. “I am going to restrain you and flog you. I will use my hands on you, perhaps my mouth. I know you don’t have a choice in this” — his eyes chilled for a moment — “but you might find it easier, knowing I won’t exceed those boundaries.”
He — he was right. He planned nothing she hadn’t enjoyed at one time — nothing she hadn’t survived since. No cages. The relief blanked her mind, and a thank-you escaped before she could pull it back.
One corner of his mouth tipped up. “I like hearing gratitude.” He ran his knuckles over her left breast. As always, since soon after her capture, she felt nothing. No pain, no revulsion, just…nothing.
His eyes narrowed. He stroked over her breast again slowly, this time studying her face as he did. Without lifting his hand, he stroked upward and over her shoulder. Her neck.
The skin on his fingertips was a little rough. His palm melted the ice under her skin the way the heat from the sun would dissipate morning fog on the water.
“You will need much work, chiquita,” he murmured, “but this is not the night.”