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Club Shadowlands is a superbly crafted story that will dazzle any BDSM fan and have them adding it to their must read list! Five Hearts! ~ Shannon from The Romance Studio
The print book Masters of the Shadowlands contains both Club Shadowlands & Dark Citadel (Books 1 & 2 in the series).
An eternity later, she spotted a glimmer of light. Relief rushed through her when she reached a driveway studded with hanging lights. Surely whoever lived here would let her wait out the storm. She walked through the ornate iron gates, up the palm-lined drive past landscaped lawns, until finally she reached a three-story stone mansion. Black wrought iron lanterns illumined the entry.
“Nice place,” she muttered. And a little intimidating. She glanced down at herself to check the damage. Mud and rain streaked her tailored slacks and white button-down shirt, hardly a suitable image for a conservative accountant. She looked more like something even a cat would refuse to drag in.
Shivering hard, she brushed at the dirt and grimaced as it only streaked worse. She stared up at the huge oak doors guarding the entrance. A small doorbell in the shape of a dragon glowed on the side panel, and she pushed it.
Seconds later, the doors opened. A man, oversized and ugly as a battle-scarred Rottweiler, looked down at her. “I’m sorry, miss, you’re too late. The doors are locked.”
What the heck did that mean?
“P-please,” she said, stuttering with the cold. “My car’s in a ditch, and I’m soaked, and I need a place to dry out and call for help.” But did she really want to go inside with this scary-looking guy? Then she shivered so hard her teeth clattered together, and her mind was made up. “Can I come in? Please?”
He scowled at her, his big-boned face brutish in the yellow entry light. “I’ll have to ask Master Z. Wait here.” And the bastard shut the door, leaving her in the cold and dark.
Jessica wrapped her arms around herself, standing miserably, and finally the door opened again. Again the brute. “Okay, come on in.”
Relief brought tears to her eyes. “Thank you, oh, thank you.” Stepping around him before he could change his mind, she barreled into a small entry room and slammed into a solid body. “Oomph,” she huffed.
Firm hands gripped her shoulders. She shook her wet hair out of her eyes and looked up. And up. The guy was big, a good six feet, his shoulders wide enough to block the room beyond.
He chuckled, his hands gentling their grasp on her arms. “She’s freezing, Ben. Molly left some clothing in the blue room; send one of the subs.”
“Okay, boss.” The brute—Ben—disappeared.
“What is your name?” Her new host’s voice was deep, dark as the night outside.
“Jessica.” She stepped back from his grip to get a better look at her savior. Smooth black hair, silvering at the temples, just touching his collar. Dark gray eyes with laugh lines at the corners. A lean, hard face with the shadow of a beard adding a hint of roughness. He wore tailored black slacks and a black silk shirt that outlined hard muscles underneath. If Ben was a Rottweiler, this guy was a jaguar, sleek and deadly.
“I’m sorry to have bothered—” she started.
Ben reappeared with a handful of golden clothing that he thrust at her. “Here you go.”
She took the garments, holding them out to keep from getting the fabric wet. “Thank you.”
A faint smile creased the manager’s cheek. “Your gratitude is premature, I fear. This is a private club.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.” Now what was she going to do?
“You have two choices. You may sit out here in the entryway with Ben until the storm passes. The forecast stated the winds and rain would die down around six or so in the morning, and you won’t get a tow truck out on these country roads until then. Or you may sign papers and join the party for the night.”
She looked around. The entry was a tiny room with a desk and one chair. Not heated. Ben gave her a dour look.
Sign something? She frowned. Then again, in this lawsuit-happy world, every place made a person sign releases, even to visit a fitness center. So she could sit here all night. Or…be with happy people and be warm. No-brainer. “I’d love to join the party.”
“So impetuous,” the manager murmured. “Ben, give her the paperwork. Once she signs—or not—she may use the dressing room to dry off and change.”
“Yes, sir.” Ben rummaged in a file box on the desk, pulled out some papers.
The manager tilted his head at Jessica. “I will see you later then.”
Ben shoved three pages of papers at her and a pen. “Read the rules. Sign at the bottom.” He scowled at her. “I’ll get you a towel and clothes.”
She started reading. Rules of the Shadowlands.
“Shadowlands. That’s an unusual na—” she said, looking up. Both men had disappeared. Huh. She returned to reading, trying to focus her eyes. Such tiny print. Still, she never signed anything without reading it.
Doors will open at…
Water pooled around her feet, and her teeth chattered so hard she had to clench her jaw. There was a dress code. Something about cleaning the equipment after use. Halfway down the second page, her eyes blurred. Her brain felt like icy slush. Too cold—I can’t do this. This was just a club, after all; it wasn’t like she was signing mortgage papers.
Turning to the last page, she scrawled her name and wrapped her arms around herself. Can’t get warm.
Ben returned with some clothing and towels, then showed her into an opulent restroom off the entry. Glass-doored stalls along one side faced a mirrored wall with sinks and counters.
After dropping the borrowed clothing on the marble counter, she kicked her shoes off and tried to unbutton her shirt. Something moved on the wall. Startled, Jessica looked up and saw a short, pudgy woman with straggly blonde hair and a pale complexion blue with cold. After a second, she recognized herself. Ew. Surprising they’d even let her in the door.
In a horrible contrast with Jessica’s appearance, a tall, slender, absolutely gorgeous woman walked into the restroom and gave her a scowl. “I’m supposed to help you with a shower.”
Get naked in front of Miss Perfection? Not going to happen. “Thanks, b-b-b-but I’m all right.” She forced the words past her chattering teeth. “I don’t need help.”
“Well!” With an annoyed huff, the woman left.
I was rude. Shouldn’t have been rude. If only her brain would kick back into gear, she’d do better. She’d have to apologize. Later. If she ever got dried off and warm. She needed dry clothes. But, her hands were numb, shaking uncontrollably, and time after time, the buttons slipped from her stiff fingers. She couldn’t even get her slacks off, and she was shuddering so hard her bones hurt.
“Dammit,” she muttered and tried again.
The door opened. “Jessica, are you all right? Vanessa said—” The manager. “No, you are obviously not all right.” He stepped inside, a dark figure wavering in her blurry vision.
“And find you dead on the floor in an hour? I think not.” Without waiting for her answer, he stripped her out of her clothes as one would a two-year-old, even peeling off her sodden bra and panties. His hands were hot, almost burning, against her chilled skin.
She was naked. As the thought percolated through her numb brain, she jerked away and grabbed at the dry clothing. His hand intercepted hers.
“No, pet.” He plucked something from her hair, opening his hand to show muddy leaves. “You need to warm up and clean up. Shower.”
He wrapped a hard arm around her waist and moved her into one of the glass-fronted stalls behind where she’d been standing. With his free hand, he turned on the water, and heavenly warm steam billowed up. He adjusted the temperature.
“In you go,” he ordered. A hand on her bottom, he nudged her into the shower.
The water felt scalding hot against her frigid skin, and she gasped, then shivered, over and over, until her bones hurt. Finally, the heat began to penetrate, and the relief was so intense, she almost cried.
Some time after the last shuddering spasm, she realized the door of the stall was open. Arms crossed, the man leaned against the door frame, watching her with a slight smile on his lean face.
“I’m fine,” she muttered, turning so her back was to him. “I can manage by myself.”
“No, you obviously cannot,” he said evenly. “Wash the mud out of your hair. The left dispenser has shampoo.”
Mud in her hair. She’d totally forgotten; maybe she did need a keeper. After using the vanilla-scented shampoo, she let the water sluice through her hair. Brown water and twigs swirled down the drain. The water finally ran clear.
“Very good.” The water shut off. Blocking the door, he rolled up his sleeves, displaying corded, muscular arms. She had the unhappy feeling he was going to keep helping her, and any protest would be ignored. He’d taken charge as easily as if she’d been one of the puppies at the shelter where she volunteered.
“Out with you now.” When her legs wobbled, he tucked a hand around her upper arm, holding her up with disconcerting ease. The cooler air hit her body, and her shivering started again.
After blotting her hair, he grasped her chin and tipped her face up to the light. She gazed up at his darkly tanned face, trying to summon up enough energy to pull her face away.
“No bruises. I think you were lucky.” Taking the towel, he dried off her arms and hands, rubbing briskly until he appeared satisfied with the pink color. Then he did her back and shoulders. When he reached her breasts, she pushed at his hand. “I can do that.” She stepped back so quickly that the room spun for a second.
“Jessica, be still.” Then he ignored her sputters like she would a buzzing fly, his attentions gentle but thorough, even to lifting each breast and drying underneath.
When he toweled off her butt, she wanted to hide. If there was any part of her that should be covered, it was her hips. Overweight. Jiggly. He didn’t seem to notice.
Then he knelt and ordered, “Spread your legs.”
Black Ravens Reviews gives Club Shadowlands 5 Ravens and a Recommended Read. Lace says: Masters of the Shadowlands1: Club Shadowland by Cherise Sinclair is a breathtaking BDSM that held my attention till I turned the last page. In one word…POWERFUL. I only wished I could rate this stellar book a “10”!
The Romance Reviews 5 Stars from Michelle R. who says: There are those books that strike a chord with you. Books that you recommend to everyone you know. Books that you think about in quiet moments. These books change you in some small way. I highly recommend Sinclair’s book to anyone willing to be surprised by the compassion and caring that goes into making a successful Dom/sub relationship work or for anyone just looking to have their toes curl and their blood race.