Master of the Abyss
MOUNTAIN MASTERS & DARK HAVEN, BOOK 3
On the mountain, the watcher seeks out evil women. And then they die.
Two years ago, when Jake Hunt uncollared his slave, she committed suicide. Guilt-ridden, he will commit to a woman for one night only, devoting his energy to a mountain lodge that caters to a BDSM crowd.
Kallie Masterson is tough. Unwanted as a child, she worked hard to become a wilderness guide. She’s proud of who she is, and hurt that Jake frowns on her for acting like a man.
After rescuing the macho guide from a bar fight, Jake is stunned that the ugly men’s clothing hides a warm, responsive woman. A submissive woman. When guide business brings her to the lodge on BDSM night, and she is obviously aroused by the play, Jake takes the little sub right into his world of pain and pleasure. He warns her: one-night-only. But she responds so beautifully–so joyously–under his command, that one night soon becomes two, then three…
Then a missing hiker reminds Jake of his past lover, and he realizes he’s become too involved. He pulls back.
Meanwhile, the watcher on the mountain has rendered his verdict: Kallie Masterson is evil. The sentence: Death.
PRAISE FOR THIS SERIES
"I can’t get enough of this author with her delicious Doms and I know I’m not the only one. I was looking for a quick hot read that would not only stir up the tingly bits but also sear my heart and Master of the Abyss was hands down the best choice. Rating: Completely Seduced" ~ Belinda from The Bookish Snob Books
"Keep ice on hand as you read the scenes in Master of the Abyss between Jake and Kallie; you will be panting as the chemistry between the two is very intense. I enjoyed this book and recommend that both books be added to any BDSM lovers bookshelf to be read again." Golden Blush Award
~ Literary Nymphs Reviews
"Ms. Sinclair continues her track record of delivering scintillating, exciting, engaging romances and Master of the Abyss is no exception. A fantastic addition to the phenomenal Mountain Masters series, Master of the Abyss is not to be missed!"
~ Joyfully Reviewed
"BDSM fans, this is a must read! Debbie says: Cherise has done it again!! As if there was ever a doubt. A great mix of love, BDSM and mystery. This story is about learning to trust again, healing old psychological wounds and learning to love." 5 Stars
~ The Romance Reviews
"I can’t help but to highly recommend Ms Sinclair’s stories. She is able to take a lifestyle that most aren’t too knowledgeable about, make it understandable and desirable and give her readers an emotional love story that addresses real issues." TOP PICK
~ Night Owl Reviews
The sound of melodic laughter added a sweet note to the country-western music drumming through the ClaimJumper tavern. With a slight smile, Jake Hunt tipped his chair back against the rough log wall and took in the view of the women at a corner table. Gina, Andrea, Serena—all of them tall, curvy, feminine. Beautiful women. Over the last two years, he’d dated all three. Perhaps when he’d been only twenty, he might have prided himself on that—but now? No girlfriend, no wife, no children. No plans for any. That’s pitiful, Hunt.
A fourth woman sat at the table, Kallie Masterson, and he gave her a speculative look. He’d seen her around over the last couple of years but never paid much attention to the grown-up tomboy. However, if Serenity Lodge teamed up with the Masterson Wilderness Guides like he and Logan were considering, she’d be one of the people they’d deal with.
In marked contrast with the other women, Kallie had short black hair that appeared as if she cut it herself—with a knife—and no makeup. Rather than a pretty top like the others, she wore a red flannel shirt that completely hid her small frame. Baggy jeans and scarred boots. He shook his head. Women were definitely equal to men and should be treated that way, but why the hell would a woman try to look like a man?
Or act like one. Serena had once mentioned that Kallie had tried to outmacho the boys all through high school. He sized her up. Maybe twenty-five or twenty-six, she appeared to have turned into a pint-size Chuck Norris.
As he watched, she bounced up, hands waving, relating a story that sent the others into hysterics. Jake grinned. Most women’s high-pitched giggles reminded him of champagne bubbles, but Kallie’s husky chuckle? Coke. Yep, a Coke would bubble pleasantly at rest, but shake it up and it’d froth all over you—and eat the corrosion off your battery too.
“Jake!” Serena abandoned the table of women and glided across the room.
He rose to his feet. “Serena, what can I do for you?”
“I’m twenty-five today, and I want a birthday kiss.” She tossed her blonde, wavy hair back over her shoulder and flirted up at him through long lashes.
“I might be able to handle that.” He pulled her into his arms, all fragrant woman, and kissed her thoroughly enough to have the mostly male bar cheering. As she plastered herself against him, his cock gave only a few jerks in token interest.
Nothing new and not her fault. She was exactly the type of woman he enjoyed: soft, sweet, and lush. But these days, a good book held more attraction than a good lay. As he pulled back, she clung, so he gently eased her arms from around his neck, then squeezed her shoulder. “Happy birthday, sugar.”
She hesitated, obviously hoping for more, but he resumed his seat.
Her face fell. “Fine,” she muttered and returned to her table, hips swaying, every man in the place watching.
Jake tipped his chair back against the wall and drank some more beer. The clock above the bar read nine. Almost time to go meet his brother down the street. Meantime he’d enjoy the entertainment. Pretty women, good music, and…ah, perhaps a little action. In the center of the room, some idiot tourist was taunting Barney, a logger built a whole lot like the purple dinosaur that bore the same name. Did the tourist have a death wish?
And there went the domino effect: Barney rose to his feet and delivered a solid right cross. The tourist crashed into a table filled with loggers. Two pitchers of beer unloaded their contents over the burly men. One soaked man threw his chair at Barney. The chair bounced off and hit a biker. The biker jumped to his feet.
And then the whole bar erupted.
Jake laughed and dropped his chair legs back on the floor. He hadn’t been in a brawl in a year or two—Logan said he’d turned into an old man.
As he headed for the free-for-all, high-pitched shrieks drew his attention to the women’s corner. Blocked from escaping through the entrance, Andrea, Gina, and Serena had barricaded themselves behind the table. Kallie stood in front, one scruffy sprite, boots planted, guarding the territory. Looked rather like Toto trying to defend Dorothy from all comers.
The woman was dumber than—Jake blinked in stupefaction when little Toto sidestepped a drunk, then shoved him hard enough that his trajectory altered to miss the women’s table. The man hit the wall with a nice crunch. Kallie laughed and bounced on her toes. She slugged another guy in the breadbasket and dodged as he landed on hands and knees. Jake grinned. Not bad. Not bad at all. Nonetheless, a barroom brawl was no place for a woman.
He glanced toward the main knot of fighting, where the bikers surrounded Barney. Too close to the front door. Even as Jake looked, Barney threw a man across the room—straight for the women’s area. Having turned to check her friends, Kallie didn’t have a chance. The biker slammed into her ass, flattening her like a pancake onto the sawdust floor.
Oh hell. Jaw tensed, Jake shoved his way past two brawlers and kicked another out of his way to get to her. He lifted the biker off and flung him at Barney before dropping to one knee. So small. Limp. Not moving.
The gut-twisting memory of a different body—of Mimi’s body—slid into his brain like an icy knife, and cold sweat slicked his palms. “Kallie?” He touched her cheek. Don’t be dead. Dammit.
When she inhaled with a harsh sound, relief made his head spin. Get a grip, Hunt.
She was already moving—just had the wind knocked out of her. In fact, she was very much alive and using words that would make his mother blanch.
“Fucking son of a bitch,” Kallie snarled. What had hit her? She was lying on her stomach on the damned tavern floor. Rising slightly, she wiped sawdust off her face and gagged at the stench of stale beer. Whoever hit me is going to die.
With a grunt, she pushed herself up to a sitting position, and for a second, she would have sworn angels were singing. And then, to her regret, the music descended into the noise of men yelling and Swedish curses as the owner tried to move the fighting outside. She took a breath and waited for the world to stop swirling. She’d still kill whoever had hit her—but maybe later.
“Let’s see the damage, sugar,” said a deep, rumbling voice. Hard hands closed around her arms, steadying her.
She looked up at a darkly tanned, lean face. Strong jaw with a faint cleft in the chin. Thick brown hair. Cobalt blue eyes. Jake Hunt. Oh wonderful—of all the people to see her like this. Kallie tried to pull away.
His grip tightened. “Hold still.”
“Let go of me.”
Ignoring her, he ran his hands down her shoulders and arms, his eyes intent on her face, his touch gentling when she winced. “Banged your shoulder up some.”
“I’m fine.” The knowledge that she had Jake Hunt checking her over made her want to sink back to the floor in embarrassment. She tried to shove his hands away with as much success as moving a granite boulder. “I don’t need any help, got it?”
“Anything else hurt?”
His gaze ran over her body, and she flushed, acutely conscious of her less-than-hourglass shape—more like a two-legged pear. Scarred face or not, the man could have had any woman in Bear Flat and had dated most of the good-looking ones. She wasn’t one of them.
“No, nothing hurts,” she muttered.
“Your jaw is bruised.” He cupped her cheek with a big hand and tilted her face toward the light. “Did you bang your head? Let’s see your eyes.”
“I said I’m fine.” Averting her eyes from his intense gaze, she tried to push his hand away again. Unsuccessfully.
His voice roughened. “Look at me, Kallie.”
The low, commanding tone shook her bones, and she shivered. Her gaze flashed up involuntarily.
His eyes narrowed, becoming more intent until she felt like a deer trapped by a cougar. She swallowed hard.
A smile flickered over his angular face. “Well now,” he murmured. “Appearances can be deceiving, can’t they? Aren’t you supposed to be tougher than any man around?” His hand still gentle on her cheek, he ran a thumb over her lips, sending a tremor through her, followed by a wave of heat.
Wimp. Wuss. Her muscles had turned to water, but she managed to grasp his wrist, trying not to notice the thick bones, the steely tendons. She firmed her voice, and it still came out sounding all girlie and weak. “Don’t.”
“Don’t what?” he asked softly. And he regarded her…differently…in a way that sizzled straight to the center of her body.