I'm working hard to finish the latest edit of NOBODY'S ANGEL before sending it to my editor and beta readers for one more look before it's release date of Sept. 30. But I wanted to share with you the opening of the book, just to give you a chance to revisit the Masters at Arms club you read about in MASTERS AT ARMS, the introduction to the RESCUE ME series.
If you haven't read MASTERS AT ARMS yet, you'll enjoy NOBODY'S ANGEL much better if you do, although each book will be written as a stand-alone novel, as well). You can purchase MASTERS for the Kindle at Amazon, (also at Amazon-UK and Amazon-Germany--or at Smashwords); for the Nook at Barnes & Noble (or at Smashwords), and for all formats at Smashwords.
Keep in mind, the excerpt below may not be absolute the final version, as I go through final edits in the weeks to come. But it sure is close!
And, if you want to read MASTERS first, DO NOT CONTINUE. There be SPOILERS (and dragons)!
copyright by Kallypso Masters
Marc D’Alessio ignored the familiar hitch in his breath caused when he overstretched the adhesions in his side as he donned the black leather vest over his bare chest. He checked to make sure the vest pockets included the safety and first-aid items he may need while on duty tonight and pulled his yellow armband over his right bicep, identifying him as the club’s Dungeon Monitor Supervisor.
Lastly, he donned the wolf mask to maintain some anonymity. What Italian men don’t do for their mamas… No one he knew from his earlier life in Aspen had ever shown up at the club, but he had promised Mama he wouldn’t be blatant about his lifestyle. Shit, just having her find out about his interest in the BDSM lifestyle had been bad enough. If his little brother Sandro had just kept his mouth shut….
He wished he’d chosen a different mask. The damned wolf one just brought him attention from the unattached subs he really didn’t want these days.
Marc stepped out of the dressing area and walked down the short hallway to where the great room at the Masters at Arms club opened before him. The club was hopping tonight, so he knew he’d have to stay alert. He also was about an hour late and needed to find co-owner Adam Montague to get the lowdown. He scanned the room looking for the retired Marine top sergeant.
Fellow Iraq War veteran Damián Orlando, the youngest of the three club owners, wore his trademark black-and-orange Harley leather vest and had a petite blonde chained to the center post where he delivered evenly placed lashes with his single-tailed whip. The center of the room had been roped off to keep onlookers out of the range of the whip. Both subs and Doms watched the demonstration with rapt attention.
Marc recognized the bottom as one of Damián’s regulars, the expression on her face one of pure ecstasy, despite the red welts he could see on her back, ass, and thighs. He didn’t get off on delivering that level of pain, but his friend sure was popular with the masochistic bottoms who did.
The tattoo on Damián’s flexing bicep showed the rippling tail of a dragon. The rest of the tat was hidden by his vest, but Marc knew it covered a good portion of his chest and back. He’d gone with him for some of the sessions at the tat parlor. With his shoulder-length hair pulled into a queue, and his goatee and moustache, Damián had the look of a real badass.
Marc couldn’t help but remember the shy kid Damián had been when they’d met at Camp Pendleton. Or that trip to the L.A. fetish club the week before they’d deployed to Fallujah. Man, if he didn’t know it for a certainty, he wouldn’t believe this was the same man. The kid sure had come home from Iraq messed up. Marc and Adam had almost lost him during the kid’s deepest depression.
Apparently, with BDSM he’d found a way to regain some level of control over his life again, even if it did mean he’d chosen to delve deeply into the sensual sadist range of the lifestyle’s spectrum.
The two of them had gone through some serious shit together in Iraq. Damián had come out the worse for it. Marc wished he’d been able to do more to save his foot, but he was just thankful that, as his Navy Corpsman, he’d been able to keep him alive. His buddy’s limp was hardly noticeable now and he seemed to be getting his life back on track. Or on track as well as any of the three co-owners had been able to.
Marc loved Damián like a brother and realized he’d become closer to the kid since they trained together in the Marine Corps than he was to Sandro.
Continuing to look for Adam, the scent of sweat and sex filled the air as he glanced over at the stage where Karla Paxton prepared for tonight’s set. She flinched every time Damián’s whip struck the woman’s bare and sweating skin. When Marc had first met her, he hadn’t expected her to last more than her first weekend’s performances. She sure as hell didn’t care much for the lifestyle, even the milder stuff.
But Karla sure did care for Adam—not that his former master sergeant noticed. Shit, the man was clueless.
“You’re here.” Well, speak of the devil, he turned to watch Adam approach him. After all these years of retirement, his friend still kept his hair trimmed to near-Marine regs. Not a high and tight, but close enough. There was a heavy mix of gray among the dark brown hair now.
“Sorry. Got held up on…a mission.”
Adam’s intense stare bore through him as if to say he knew Marc wasn’t being honest, which niggled at his conscience. Adam had gone back for Marc on that rooftop in Fallujah after the mortar blast had slammed a projectile into Marc’s lung. He’d visited him in the hospital as he recovered, often spending his nights watching over Marc as he slept. Most importantly, he’d helped ease some of Marc’s guilt over the loss of his big brother, Gino, who also had served under Adam in Afghanistan. He owed the man so much. Why was he trying to distance himself from him now?
Because you distance yourself from everyone.
No, that was different. Yeah, he did keep women’s at arm’s length emotionally, but knew Adam would die before he ever hurt him or break his trust. So, why didn’t he let him in on what was going on with his lack of interest in the lifestyle lately? Adam had been nudging him for months to tell him what was going on in Marc’s head. He’d quit scening, opting to volunteer as a DM or DMS most nights, when he showed up at the club. One thing was certain. Marc would continue as a co-owner of the club with these men; their band-of-brothers bond would never be broken.
Shit, he couldn’t explain what was going on to himself, much less to his friend. He was just…unsettled since Pamela had dumped him last year. In no mood to talk now either, Marc deflected the unspoken questions. “So, what’s the situation?”
Adam paused a moment, then stood down, rubbing the back of his neck. “Keep an eye on Room 8. They’re new to the scene and I don’t get the feeling the two know each other very well.”
The recent surge in erotic BDSM books had couples coming out of the woodwork to try out what their partners, some of them nearly strangers, had discovered in those romanticized stories. Too bad. Most of the women should have stuck with the romanticized version. They got off on the idea of BDSM, but not the actual experience. Besides, most of their “Doms” had no clue. Too many of them were more into abuse than any type of consensual power exchange.
Until the last few months, Marc had held a series of weekend training sessions when he was off duty from the mountain rescue squad and didn’t have any camping or skiing expeditions planned with his outfitter company. Those Doms who truly wanted to learn to please their partners in the BDSM lifestyle signed up, but they’d represented a small fraction of the couples he saw coming in to experiment on the equipment at the club. Of course, he hadn’t given a class for quite a while.
“I’ll keep an eye on them,” said Marc. Adam filled him in on how many DMs were on duty tonight and where each was stationed. “Anything else?”
“No, pretty routine.” They shared a grin. There was nothing routine about the Masters at Arms, now one of Denver’s hottest fetish clubs. They’d become so popular since hiring Karla to sing that they’d just started opening on Wednesdays, in addition to Fridays and Saturdays.
As Karla began to sing "Song to the Siren," Marc’s and Adam’s gazes were drawn to the young woman commanding attention on the stage. Her wardrobe sure had improved since she’d first started; tonight, she wore a black satin and sequin number that concealed her shoulders, but left a large oval expanse of her chest open, showing off the swell of her breasts. Her arms were bare except for lacy black gloves covering her forearms and wrists. The hem of the dress was more than a foot above her knees, showing off her sexy long legs encased in black mesh stockings. Definitely hot.
Marc turned back to Adam to finish up before getting to work. Shit. The look of intense longing on his friend’s face bordered on pain. If Adam wanted her so badly, why didn’t he just go after her? He knew he shared some kind of history with the woman, but Adam was doing his damnedest to treat her like a daughter. Hell, anyone with eyes could see that the looks Karla gave him were anything but those of a daughter’s. Sure, there was a chronological age difference, but she sure as hell didn’t act twenty-five. She was mature, almost somber sometimes. Not that Adam noticed—when he allowed himself to get anywhere near her. Maybe he was still holding onto the memory of his dead wife, but, after nine years, and with a beautiful woman like Karla wanting him, the man needed to wake up and smell the vino.
Like you’re the expert on relationships. Marc sighed. He’d better get to work. “I’ll make the rounds.”
“Hang around for a drink later on,” Adam said. “I have Birra Moretti in stock.”
Marc knew Adam didn’t drink alcohol, but just wanted an opportunity to grill him for information. He knew Adam wasn’t going to take much more of Marc’s shit before he kicked him in the ass. But not tonight. “Let me take a rain check. It’s been a helluva long day. I’d better go check on Room 8.”
Adam nodded and let him go, probably because he was worried about the couple in the private theme room, not because he wanted to let Marc off the hook. Marc maneuvered around some couples gyrating on the dance floor near the bar, almost tripping over a sub kneeling on the floor beside her Dom at one of the tables.
The Italian woman, who looked too damn much like Melissa for his taste, gave him a come-on with her eyes, then smiled. Totally disrespectful to her Dom, who seemed not to even notice as he spoke with another Dom. Marc just bent down to instruct the Dom to please keep his sub out of the walkway, then continued toward the theme rooms. He and the other DMs were going to be spread thin tonight with a crowd this size.
The hallway to the scene rooms was painted red from floor to ceiling. Flickers from the simulated-fire wall sconces caused his shadow to dance against the walls as he approached the fourth room on the right. To accommodate the voyeurs—and allow the DMs to do their job—a large window gave him a vantage point over the scene inside the room.
Each of the theme rooms was set up with specialized equipment. Some provided furniture and items that conjured up popular fantasies—the office, the gynecologist’s office, the dungeon. He’d hired Luke Denton, his Search and Rescue squad partner and the carpenter who helped renovate the club, to make the specialized BDSM equipment for the club
Room 8 focused on a number of spanking and whipping paraphernalia, including a spanking bench, a leather love seat, a sling, and the St. Andrew’s Cross. A blond Dom, dressed in black leather vest and pants over which his slight paunch spilled, held a leather flogger. His sub was tied spread-eagle on the cross, naked except for the blindfold. Her long black hair hung in waves halfway down her back. Thank God it stopped short of the gorgeous curves of her ass.
Focus, man. You aren’t here to get off on a sub tonight.
NOBODY'S ANGEL will be available to purchase on Sept. 30 at Smashwords, and at Amazon and Barnes & Noble soon afterwards.