The Last Good Knight - Excerpt
Coming soon from MIRA Books - THE LAST GOOD KNIGHT, a five-part Original Sinners serial novella. This story takes place approximately three years before THE SIREN.
Part One - Scars and Stripes
“I can do it. Try it again.” Nora took a deep breath followed by a deeper drink of her vodka and tonic.
“Mistress, this is the fourth time.” Simone gave her a pleading look. “Are you sure?”
“I’m sure. I got it this time. I’m ready. Do it, sub. Go.”
“Okay, okay.” Simone ran a hand through her rainbow-colored hair and looked Nora in the eyes. “How old are you?”
Nora stared at Simone without blinking. “I am…”
“You can do it, Mistress.”
The ice in Nora’s glass rattled in her hand.
“Holy shit!” Simone applauded. She threw her arms around Nora and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Good job!”
“Oh, my God, that was hard.” Nora rubbed her temples. “I hate being thirty. I swear I was in my twenties a week ago.”
“You were in your twenties a week ago.”
“That explains it. Thank you, Rainbow Slut. I needed a little help getting to stage five in the grieving process.”
“Happy to help you find acceptance anytime, Mistress.” Simone leaned against Nora’s shoulder, and Nora kissed her on top of her multicolored hair. With or without rainbow-striped hair, Simone would have been attractive, but no one could miss that mass of soft, flowing hair that fell down her back in an array of five different bright colors.
“What the hell do you use on your hair, anyway? Kool-Aid?”
Simone giggled and Nora decided she had probably earned a beating tonight. Simone looked up at her with eager eyes and the Mistress pressed a long kiss onto her carmine-colored lips. Maybe the rainbow-hued sub had earned more than a beating.
“If you ask nicely, I might beat you and fuck you,” Nora said against Simone’s lips. Simone groaned, but not in an erotic way.
“I can’t, Mistress. I’m booked.” Simone looked heartbroken, devastated and miserable. And utterly adorable.
“Who booked you? I’ll kill him.”
Simone shrugged and shook her head. “I don’t know. Mr. King told me I was needed in the bar at ten, which is—”
“Now,” came a familiar voice from behind Nora. She didn’t turn around. She didn’t need to. She’d know that cold, pretentious, overeducated voice anywhere. “Simone, shall we?”
“Yes, Mr. S.,” Simone said, and Nora could tell she was trying not to smile—not in front of the Mistress anyway. The only person Simone enjoyed subbing for more than Nora was Søren, and Søren was her ten o’clock. Well, wasn’t that just peachy.
“Eleanor…” Søren said and Nora refused to turn around and look at him.
“Søren. Have a lovely evening.”
“I certainly plan to. Excuse us.”
Simone shot Nora a final apologetic glance as she took Søren’s proffered arm like a lady with her squire. No one could play the part of the gentleman better than Søren, but it was all an act. She and Simone knew that from personal experience. When he shut the dungeon door behind him, the gentleman turned into a sadist and all pretense of chivalry died. Thank God. Søren was no gentleman and she was no lady. And that’s how it should be down here.
Out of the corner of her eye, she watched Simone disappear from The 8TH Circle’s VIP bar. She kept her eyes lowered respectfully, her posture submissive, but Nora saw the pleasure of anticipation gleaming in her eyes. By day, Simone worked on her Ph.D. in International Relations. She paid for that expensive education with money earned on the floor and in the dungeons of Kingsley’s S&M clubs. But Simone never charged Søren a penny for his hour with her. With Søren it was always pleasure, never business. Nora knew that Simone and almost every other submissive at the Circle would pay him for the privilege of a beating. And to think once upon a time, Nora belonged to him—heart, body and soul. And she’d given it up for this. For freedom.
And it was worth it. At least that’s what Nora told herself.
Nora spun on the barstool and gazed round the club. A quiet night, as weeknights usually were. Quieter, anyway. Only two hundred or so deviants floating about instead of the usual five hundred on Friday and Saturday nights. But this was a school night. Half the members of the club were married and had kids. At least 90 percent of her clientele were married men who’d rather lie to their wives and come to Nora to explore their fetishes than tell the truth to the women they’d pledged to love and honor. It was a good thing, too. If the wives of the world were a little more open-minded about male submission and fetishes, where would she be?
Out of a job.
Feeling frustrated by Simone’s abrupt departure, Nora took another drink of her vodka. Maybe she should call it a night, go home, get some sleep. She might even get up early tomorrow and work on her new book. Kingsley didn’t let her have much in the way of free time these days, now that her career as a Dominatrix had taken off. In two years she’d become the go-to gal for all things kink. The money poured in. The pain poured out. Days off were few and far between.
As she hopped off her stool, the elevator at the end of the bar rose. Maybe Kingsley had decided to come up for air finally. She hoped so. She wanted to chew him out for sending Simone to Søren when Nora had already decided that Simone would belong to her tonight. Not that Kingsley had known that, but Nora never missed any opportunity to drive Kingsley halfway up the wall. Maybe she’d make him take Simone’s place on her St. Andrew’s Cross tonight.
But no, it wasn’t Kingsley who stepped out of the elevator. It was a different man—one she’d never seen before. He wore black jeans and black boots, a red T-shirt stretched over his broad chest. He had a good tan, short dark hair and a handsome face—handsome in a rugged sort of way with half a day’s stubble and troubled eyes. Troubled? Interesting. Nervous she might have expected, especially since he seemed to be new. But troubled? That was a mystery she had to solve.
The man came up to the bar and ordered a boring American beer. With nonexistent effort he popped the top off and drank it in a few easy swallows. She noticed a handkerchief tucked in his back pocket—black on white: a submissive looking for a Dominant. This evening was starting to look up.
“Military,” she said, walking over to the bar stool next to him. “Am I right?”
“Is it the haircut?” he asked.
“And the really good posture. Let me guess…Army Ranger. All you guys are kinky fuckers.”
He laughed a little.
“Oh, insulted, are you? Gotta be a Marine, then.”
He shook his head. “Keep guessing.”
“That’s ‘Keep guessing, Mistress’ to you.”
He swiveled on his stool and for the first time looked straight at her. She wore black thigh-high boots decorated with a dozen silver buckles, a red leather skirt, red corset, black jacket and a black top hat complete with red band. She looked amazing and she knew it. Kingsley had gotten the best tailor in the city to design her fetish wardrobe. Yet another reason she’d been looking for a little play tonight. Shame to waste such a good outfit on an evening of celibacy.
“Keep guessing, Mistress.” He bowed his head in deference.
“Only one type of military more proud of themselves than the marines. Navy SEAL?”
He said nothing. Only sipped at his beer.
“I knew it. SEAL,” she said. “Give me a second to pat myself on the back.”
She reached her arm around her shoulder and swatted herself awkwardly.
“This is harder than it looks,” she said. “Don’t laugh at me.” Nora switched arms and tried patting herself from around and behind her back. “I’m going to keep doing this until you admit you’re a SEAL.”
She crossed her arms over her face and then stretched back to pat herself again. Her breasts nearly popped out of her corset.
He laughed even harder.
“Fine. Just stop that before you hurt yourself,” he said, a broad grin taking over his face and a twinkle shining in his dark blue eyes.
Nora immediately dropped her arms to her sides.
“Whew. Thank you. That was getting weird fast.”
“For both of us.”
“What are you doing at my club, Mr. Navy SEAL? I know it’s not Fleet Week. I have Fleet Week marked on my calendar. And my underwear.”
“It’s Mr. Ex-Navy SEAL. And I’m here because I was told to come tour the place, enjoy myself and see if I liked it.”
“You do like it, don’t you?” Nora rested her chin on her hand and waggled her eyebrows at him.
“It’s definitely…entertaining?” He turned the word into a question. She didn’t blame him. Hard to find the right word to describe The 8th Circle. Most days she just called it home. “Nice floor show.”
“I’ll be here all week.” Nora held out her hand. “I’m Mistress Nora. Nice to beat you.”
Instead of shaking her hand, he took it delicately and brought it to his lips for a kiss.
“An honor to serve you, Mistress Nora. I’m Lance.”
“Would you like to serve me, Lance? I haven’t been served all week.” She gave him a wide smile, a smile with a promise, a promise she fully intended to keep.
“Someone should serve a woman like you every single day, or as often as you desire, of course.”
She took her top hat off and set it on the bar. Without pretense or shame she perused his body. One good thing about being a Dominatrix—she got to have as much fun as the men of this world did. Dominatrixes weren’t just allowed to treat men like sexual objects, they were expected to. Hell, they were even paid to. Down here the Dominatrixes were treated like queens. Even the male Dominants usually gave them wide berth. Every male Dominant except for a certain arrogant six foot four blond she’d like to see on her cross one of these days. Kink or crucifixion, either one worked for her.
“You’re good at this,” she said, impressed by his attitude.
Lance leaned in a few inches and lowered his voice.
“I’ve had a little practice, Mistress.”
Click here to pre-order THE LAST GOOD KNIGHT coming May 6-10. U.K. pre-order links coming soon. Stay tuned.