MASTERS OF THE SHADOWLANDS, BOOK 2
After Kari breaks up with her date during Beginner's Night at Club Shadowlands, she's given the option to continue with an experienced dominant. Despite her steamy fantasies about BDSM, the inexperienced schoolteacher plans to simply observe. Yet under the unyielding hands of Master Dan, she not only participates, but gives him everything he asks for. There is nothing she can hide from him. Not her passion…or her love.
Still mourning the death of his wife, Master Dan avoids getting involved with women and he never takes a sub twice. But this modest little beginner is such a sweetie, one night is far from enough. As he plumbs her responses, taking her ever deeper into the world of BDSM, the gentle submissive begins to show him how barren his life has become and what a dark citadel he's made of his heart.
During their three nights together, the teacher will learn to submit...can she teach the master to love?
PRAISE FOR THIS SERIES
"Cherise Sinclair has written a highly erotic, emotional rollercoaster story that drew me in and held me captive throughout the story.” Five Angels! ~ Melissa C. from Fallen Angel Reviews
"BEST BOOK! Dark Citadel takes the reader on one hell of a ride. This story is a must read if you enjoy the BDSM genre, especially if you’re attuned to works that are less about the sexual acts themselves and more about the tension that comes just before. Tightly written, beautifully crafted, and something meant to be read more than once. Cherise Sinclair has gained a fan for life with this one." ~ Whipped Cream Reviews.
"Recommended Read. Okay peeps, if you enjoy reading truly awesome BDSM Stories then pick-up Dark Citadel book 2 in the Shadowland series by Cherise Sinclair. What you leave with will both shock you as well as make you want to come again." ~ Black Ravens Reviews
"Dark Citadel is a fantastic second book in the Master of the Shadowlands series. … The sex scenes between the two are so sizzling, I felt I needed a fire extinguisher to get through them so keep lots of ice handy." ~ Literary Nymphs
"5 Stars and an (O)rgasmic heat level. Dark Citadel is a decadent delight and an immensely satisfying read." ~ Just Erotic Romance Reviews
Oh God, what was she doing?
The man’s grasp enfolded her hand. Master Dan. She didn’t even know his last name.
They crossed the room, heading toward a heavy wooden door. She halted abruptly.
She looked up. Good grief, he was even bigger than Buck. Somewhere over six feet, but when you’re short, anything over six feet was hard to judge. His shoulders were beyond broad. Like the other men in the room, his gold-trimmed black leather vest had nothing under it. Well, nothing except muscles and more muscles and a sprinkling of black chest hair.
His biceps bulged, and his forearms appeared almost as thick. The leathers he wore for pants were — wow, really tight.
When her gaze managed to move back up to his face, he smiled, laugh lines crinkling around his eyes. Her face heated, and she knew her pale skin reddened.
“You’re allowed to look, sweetheart,” he murmured, running a finger down her hot cheek. “I enjoy having your eyes on me.”
His eyes were a dark, dark brown, his face tanned and hard looking until he smiled. But when he didn’t… She remembered the hard look on his face when he had grabbed Buck. She bit her lip. Go home, she told herself. Now.
He started to push the door open.
“No. Wait, please.” She held up her hand. “If it wouldn’t inconvenience you, might I take a minute to think?”
“Take all the time you need.” Crossing his arms, he leaned one shoulder against the wall, amusement in his eyes.
Just standing here beside him wasn’t going to work. Shoot, even Madame Curie wouldn’t be able to think with that man looking at her. Kari turned her back and paced across the room.
Stay or not? That was the basic question for tonight. So check the facts.
If she simply went home, nothing would change. Her life would go on. She’d never know if she might have learned something that would make a difference in her sex life. Nothing else had. How many relationships had failed due to her lack of interest in sex? She’d thought her basic personality or body created the problem. But the excitement she felt hearing about domination — heck, just the word itself — had been amazing. A revelation in a way.
She could definitely get aroused.
But this BDSM stuff appeared very, very strange. Kinky. And she wasn’t a kinky person in the least. Shoot, the school nuns had used her as an example of model behavior. “Why can’t you be more like Kari? She’s polite. She follows the rules.”
Well, following the rules in the bedroom wasn’t working too well for her, now was it?
She reached the end of the room and turned around. Master Dan hadn’t moved, his patience apparently inexhaustible. Nonetheless, she needed to figure this out, pros and cons, and reach a decision.
In the Go Home column: First, she didn’t know nearly enough about this stuff. She scowled as she paced back. Her home computer had died last month — stupid technology — and she couldn’t afford to replace it yet. She sure couldn’t research BDSM on the school computer. So she only knew the tidbits Buck had doled out. Her mouth tightened. She hated being ignorant.
Second: She didn’t know this man at all. How dangerous was that? She could just imagine, all her friends and family mourning around her grave. The tombstone would read Kari Wagner, Died of Sheer Stupidity.
In the Stay Here column: It would be almost as bad to have her grave marker read Died of Terminal Bedroom Boredom. Unmarried and childless. There was a darned good reason she wanted to try this stuff, after all.
As for knowing the man? She glanced at Master Z. The owner had leaned back in his chair, fingers steepled, watching her pace. He was no dummy, and he’d basically recommended Master Dan.
And Master Dan sure wasn’t anything like Buck. She pursed her lips. She considered that a major bonus, right there.
What about being ignorant? Well, she might be, but she had a feeling that Master Dan knew all about the subject of domination.
She stopped in front of the door to the bar, could hear the sounds of classical music and muted conversation. If she left now, she’d never have the courage to return. Her head said no. Her heart said go for it.
Master Dan straightened.
She placed her hand in his. Go it was.
“Nervous?” he asked softly.
“A bit.” No point in hiding the truth. Considering her heart was trying to pound through her chest, he could probably hear the noise.
“Let me make it easier. Right now, all we will do is go into the club room and talk. Can you trust me that far?”
Just talk in a bar. She could handle that. “Okay. The bar.”
“Good girl.” His eyes softened.
Opening the door, he escorted her through, setting a warm hand low on her back.
Once inside, Kari paused to look around. The huge room boasted a circular bar in the center, and wrought iron circular stairs in the corners. Groups of plants sectioned the tables and overstuffed couches into secluded sitting areas. Flickering wall sconces and glass chandeliers hanging from low rafters provided shadowy light and made the hardwood floor gleam.
A scattering of people occupied the couches and bar stools. To Kari’s relief, no one was doing weird things or having sex on the floor. Leathers, latex, and skimpy dresses seemed the attire of choice — nothing too outlandish.
He followed her gaze. “Beginners tend to dress conservatively. You’ll see a big difference when the regular club members are here on Saturday.”
As they crossed the room, Kari spotted Buck at the bar. Her step faltered.
He noticed her, and his face lit up. Then he saw Master Dan with his arm around her, and his mouth compressed so hard his lips disappeared.
To her relief, he didn’t approach. She would hate to be the cause of a scene, or even the center of attention.
Without speaking, Master Dan slid his hand up to her waist and moved her closer, his nearness comforting.
Once past the bar, he found an unoccupied sitting area. Taking the very center of the couch, he pulled her down beside him. He smelled of subtly dark cologne, of soap…of man. And she was way too close. She tried to shift away, only to realize he’d wedged her between him and the arm of the couch.
“Does it bother you to sit beside me?” he asked, leaning back and studying her. His leg against her thigh was hard, ungiving.
Did he expect her to be rude? “Um, no, of course not.” Trying to ignore the feeling of being crowded, she tipped her foot up, wiggled her toes. Why was she barefoot anyway?
“Look at me.” He put gentle fingers under her chin, forcing her to meet his level gaze.
“Kari, part of the adventure is being honest with each other. When I ask you a question, I want an honest answer, not a polite one.” He smiled slightly. His fingers were warm as his thumb traced little circles on her cheek. “Let me show you what I’d like.”
He pitched his voice a little higher and said, “Master Dan, when I realized I was between you and the couch arm, I felt trapped. Like I can’t retreat if I want to.” His voice returned to its natural subterranean deepness. “Is that about right?”
How did he know that?
He kept watching her with those intent eyes, and each stroke of his thumb across her skin left heat in its wake. He lifted his dark brows. “Kari?”
“Yes,” she said almost inaudibly. “That’s how I feel.” The admission left her feeling as if she’d undressed in front of him, and she tried to look away. He tipped her head back, let her see the pleasure on his face.
“Good girl. I can tell that wasn’t easy for you.” He brushed a kiss across her lips.
Her lips tingled although the touch had been fleeting, a tiny hint of pleasure.
Dan studied the little newbie. Nervous as a burglar who’d tripped an alarm. And so polite. Her hands lay in her lap, laced together.
“May I ask you some questions?” He massaged her cold little fingers as he waited for her reply.
“Of course. May I ask questions also?” She fidgeted. He watched her fidget. His deliberate intrusion into her personal space definitely set her off balance.
“I hope you will since that’s my job tonight, being an instructor. So what do you do when you’re not in a wicked house of sin?”
“I’m a –” She hesitated, stiffening a little.
Smart girl, not blurting out too much personal information. Caution wasn’t a bad thing. “Ah. Never mind that. Why don’t you tell me about the assh — about Buck? I’m assuming he’s not your husband.”
“No!” Obviously horrified, she frowned at him. “I wouldn’t have gone with you if I were married.”
“Good to hear. Just a boyfriend, then?” And hadn’t the man looked steamed there at the bar. Dan automatically checked his surroundings. All clear.
“I was dating him.” She studied her fingers. “He’s usually a nice man. I’m not sure why he was like that tonight.”
The idea of dominance brought out more than just true Dominants. Perverts, control freaks, and general assholes were plentiful. “You need to be careful about who you trust when you’re getting into any kind of power exchange. That’s why the class is restricted to this room tonight. No one goes anywhere private.” He put his arm across her shoulders, pulling her closer. Curves and softness. Delightful. “Have you ever been married?”
“No. Engaged once, but it didn’t work out.” The muscles around her eyes tightened…a past hurt? Before he could quiz her, she asked hastily, “How about you? Are you married or involved?”
The unexpected question stabbed through him, and he forced his voice to stay even. “No. My wife died a few years ago. A car accident.”
“I’m so sorry.” She laid her hand on his cheek. “Do you have children?”
He shook his head. “She wanted to wait. She said she was having too much fun to want to slow down.” At times, he could be grateful he wasn’t responsible for a child; other times, he ached for someone to love.
“I’m sorry,” she repeated.
“Thank you.” Her sympathy touched him inside, lightened the heavy feeling in his gut. He took her hand and pressed a kiss to the center.
She smiled at him, her eyes gentle…and pulled her hand back.
Her retreat returned him to the present. So the little miss might be shy, but not when someone needed comfort.
“Um — Mas –”
“So many worries. If ‘Master Dan’ feels awkward, call me Sir. Any other designation here will get you in trouble.”
She frowned. “All right, but –”
He interrupted, taking her hand. “So, Kari. We get a variety of people on beginners’ nights. Some have used bondage and such at home, sometimes for years. Do you have any experience at all?”
“Not really. I…we…Buck wanted to tie my hands, and I wouldn’t let him.” Her muscles tensed, and she tugged at her hand. “I probably don’t belong here. Not really. I’m not –”
He chuckled but didn’t release her hand or move his arm from her shoulders. “You know, if someone like Buck tried to tie me up, I’d run for the hills. All that shows is your body has better taste in men than your mind.”
She blinked. Relaxed a little.
“What does your body say about being with me?” he asked. “Do you feel safe?”
Glancing away from him, she considered, and her brows drew together. “Pretty much. Yes.” She sounded surprised.
“All right then. Now tell me about your fiancé. Did you two try anything?”
Her lips curved up. “Oh, no. The thought would have appalled him.”
He traced a finger over her plump lips, and her gaze darted to him. “So no experience at all. Why are you here?”
She looked down, pulled in a long breath, and raised those gorgeous eyes back to his. “Buck told me about domination and bondage, and I didn’t realize real people do…it. I’ve never been that interested in sex, but when I heard about this, I was…”
She nodded. “But honestly, I don’t think this will work for me. I’m very… I’m not the type of person who –”
“You’re modest. Polite. Obey the rules.”
Relief at being understood showed in her eyes. “Yes. Exactly. My father was quite devout and very strict with my sister and me. Catholic girls’ school, no dating in high school, no makeup. She rebelled; I was the good daughter.” She gave him a sidelong look. “I’m very repressed.”
He laughed. Not so repressed that she’d lost her sense of humor. Still, that explained a lot. Dan fingered her tight French braid, glanced at the dress buttoned to her neck. She wouldn’t find this easy.
“So you see, I’m probably wasting your time. I’m very sorry.”
Now he knew about her background, he thought she’d been brave just to come here. Should he let her go? He thought about the way her eyes had heated at just a simple command. “Let’s talk a little longer and see.”
Her foot pointed to the door, but her fingers still gripped his hand. She wanted and didn’t want. Did she have any idea how that type of dichotomy could entice a Dom?
“All right.” She raised her chin.
“All right,” he echoed. “We’ve established you have no experience. How about fantasies?”