An Excerpt From: MAID FOR MASTER
Copyright © NINA PIERCE, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
Jesus.Even though Jonathon Brierton wasn’t particularly religious he prayed for Divine intervention. Not that he wanted any lightning strikes or halos of light illuminating the shadowed corner of the club where he’d hidden himself, but a little more help in the patience department would certainly go a long way at the moment. It went against his baser nature to sit back and wait rather than walking over and convincing the copper-haired beauty leaning over the railing across the way to put on his collar and join him in one of the private dungeons below.
She was a natural submissive. He felt it in every fiber of his being. Claire Calderwood just didn’t know it—or at the very least—was unwilling to accept that part of herself. Jon just needed to come up with a plan of action that didn’t scare the living shit out of her to convince her she needed this—and him.
“Are you too focused on your next conquest to be good company?” Ethan Jacobs, the manager of the XTC Resorts here in Key West, didn’t really need an invitation and slid into the padded chair next to Jon without waiting for an answer. His crisp white shirt and the knife-edged creases of his black dress pants were in sharp contrast to the yards of leather and miles of naked flesh displayed by most of the patrons of Paradise Cove. “You weren’t exaggerating, my friend. She is exquisite.”
He didn’t need to ask whom Ethan referred to. The manager had personally checked Claire and Jon into their separate suites earlier in the day. “And scared,” Jon said. Even from this distance he could see it play across the tremble of Claire’s lips and the nervous fingers toying with her hair. He’d expected that. It just grated that he could do nothing at the moment to help her overcome it.
“But she’s here tonight and completely mesmerized by the scene in the public dungeon.”
“Only step one, my friend.” Jon pulled his gaze from Claire. There was no sense torturing himself. It would be a half-hour or more before the Doms and subs in the open arena below would finish playing out their scenes. Their interactions were intense, and he had no doubt the private rooms one floor below would be filled with eager players following the show. He intended to be in one of them with Claire. He had the room already reserved and set up for her. Until then, he needed to bide his time. “And there is the small detail of her not knowing exactly who I am,” Jon added quietly.
Ethan stared at him, the questions etched in the deep V between his manicured brows. “I’m pretty sure she mentioned you were on vacation together.”
Jon lifted his glass of tonic water, the ice long melted. “Correction, she booked a vacation to Paradise Cove with her fiancé.” He gulped the last of the tepid drink but couldn’t dislodge the lump of guilt clogging his throat. “The man conveniently broke off the engagement at the last minute and cancelled his trip. I slipped in, managed to convince her to keep her plans and allow me to tag along.” He set the glass down. “But Claire believes she’s here with Jonathon Brierton. She knows nothing of Master Xavier.”
Ethan fell back in his chair, his baritone laughter rolling in rhythm with the pounding beat of the background music. “That would explain the whole ‘pretend the boss isn’t here’ charade you’re trying to pull off this weekend.”
Their easy friendship relaxed the knot in Jon’s shoulders. “It didn’t occur to you I might actually just want a vacation?”
“At one of your own fetish resorts? Hardly.” Ethan scoffed.
A submissive on staff delivered beverages to their table and knelt obediently on the floor beside Ethan. Naked, save for the black leather circling her neck, wrist and ankles, and the silver-and-gem-studded chains hanging stylishly from her nipple and clitoral clips, the woman was a breathtaking vision in her docility. Normally the sight would have piqued the Dom clamoring inside Jonathon, but tonight there was only one submissive he ached to dominate.
Seeing Jon’s lack-luster response to their waitress, Ethan brushed his hand down the silky length of blonde hair. “Thank you, Thalia. Give me a few minutes with Master Xavier and I will be sure your patience is rewarded.” The woman purred under his ministrations and promises. Despite his impeccable appearance, Ethan was a Master in every sense of the word. He was as capable of disciplining a petulant submissive as he was satisfying a disgruntled guest. Jon couldn’t have asked for a better friend to oversee the day-to-day operations of Paradise Cove.
He’d met Ethan fourteen years ago in college when the two of them had trained together, honing their Dom skills at a fetish club in Chicago. When Jon had decided to open his first Xavier Touring Club Resort, XTC for short, eight years ago here in Key West, it had been Ethan who had helped him hand-pick the staff. Every Dom and Dominatrix, every submissive down to the housekeeping staff, willingly satisfied the desires of any vacationer here at Paradise Cove. It was Ethan’s attention to detail that kept even the most demanding clients coming back time and time again.
The carnal cries of orgasm rose from the dungeon, drawing a collective sigh of release from the crowd at the railing. Jon couldn’t help but stare at the startled O of Claire’s plump lips and wide-eyed fascination. He hoped like hell he hadn’t called this whole thing wrong. The second-guessing stabbed at his confidence. It was an unfamiliar feeling. But then again, he wasn’t sure he’d ever had so much at stake in a seduction.
Ethan touched his arm, bringing Jon’s attention back to him. “You, my friend, seem a little preoccupied with her reactions. I think there are a few details about this woman you haven’t shared.”
“She’s the sister of a friend back in Indiana.” Jon shrugged.
“And?” Ethan dragged the question out, nonchalantly rubbing at the beaded moisture on his glass.
“And I felt bad after what she’d been through with this latest loser and offered to escort her here.”
“And…” Ethan pressed again, the staged indifference gone from his tone.
“And I’m totally, helplessly in love with the woman, and she doesn’t know I exist.”