Saturday, December 30th
Two months earlier …
Something flashed, momentarily blinding India as she stoods waying gently on her ridiculously high heels. It wasn’t the fact she was about to be auctioned off to the highest bidder that had her pulse racing, her palms sweaty; it was who that bidder was. Fortunately, it wasn’t the sixty-plus year old Dom casually standing at the front of the stage, his gaze riveted on the obscenely high split up the side of her dress. Nor was it Master James, the incredibly sweet Dom whose heart she’d reluctantly just broken.
No bids had come from the one man she’d have given anything to spend the evening with. But Indy didn’t want to think about Master Trey right now, not when she was shamelessly staring into the eyes of another man.
Just as his lyrical Irish accent cut through the crowd, the spotlight that had been focused on Indy shifted forward to reveal her leading suitor. With shoulder length black hair, high cheekbones, pale green eyes, and dark stubble, he was beautiful. The perfect combination of rough and ready. His older adversary, who looked like he could do with a seat, shot a glare over his shoulder before returning his attention to Indy. She tried not to cringe. Master Gabriel, the owner of the club, wouldn’t like that, and he scared the shit out of her.
As the Irishman’s bid hung in the air unanswered, Indy counted, knowing they’d passed the required three seconds long ago, yet no one seemed to care. Certainly not the auctioneer, a Dom she’d briefly met backstage, who’d started pacing again, following the same tight little circle he’d used to make his introduction. And just like the first time he’d blatantly pointed out her assets, limits and apparent willingness to please, which was a complete load of shite, India found it impossible not to fidget. Not that anyone could see her gently tugging the cuffs which held her wrists bound together in front of her.
“Is that it, Ladies and Gentlemen? Is the gorgeous India to be sold for a grand total of fifteen hundred pounds?”
Cheers erupted, along with the odd smutty comment, yet it was the cocky grin of her prospective Master that once again caught Indy’s attention.
“Aye, I think she’s mine alright. Aren’t you, Pretty?”
Heat flushed Indy’s cheeks just at the thought of being his.
“In that case, let’s end this. Going once.”
The auctioneer raised his arm, then swept it down with such a theatrical gesture, Indy found herself questioning his sexual preferences.
He did it again, merely confirming her suspicions.
Yep, all women were safe around Master Lomax. The name alone should have been a dead giveaway, and the shirt. In the harsh fluorescent light, it was definitely lemon.
His final sweep was exquisitely flamboyant. So much so that Indy was grinning as she stepped forward, about to climb off the stage when the clapping started.
“What was that, Sir? Did you say two thousand?”
The noise of the audience combined with the auctioneer’s deep voice, stunned her for a moment as she tried to find her footing.
What? Who said two thousand? Were they fucking crazy?
From the back of the club, to the left if Indy wasn’t mistaken, came a shout. She didn’t recognize the voice, but then again why would she? As the crowd parted, Master Trey emerged, moving with the majestic grace of someone who knew exactly what, or more disturbingly, who they wanted.
Indy glanced around, avoiding the two men who now stood facing each other as she searched out her friend. PJ, still firmly wrapped in the arms of her Dom, looked shocked, but it didn’t last. With the seductive little smile that had no doubt captured the attention of Master Luke, the uber Dom currently whispering in her ear, PJ glanced back toward the stage.
The two of them had spent hours getting ready for the auction, and they’d talked about every possible outcome. This one, however, was not, repeat, not one of them. Master Trey, the massive intimidating Dom presently eyeing up her Irish heartthrob, had made it extremely clear with actions alone, that he despised India on sight.
Why? She didn’t know. They’d never exchanged a word, never played. He’d never offered to help her at any of the intro nights. He’d just sat back, watching her as she fumbled her way through the basics. The situation was uncomfortable to say the least, especially as his animosity was not reciprocated. Indy had tried, she really had, even going so far as to play with another Dom. But every time she closed her eyes, Master Trey’s piercing black gaze was right there, in the darkness waiting for her, just as it was now.
“Well, well. That’ll be the one to beat. Master Connor, do you care to match Master Trey’s bid?”
Indy, somewhat mortified by the rejection she knew was coming, completely understood why the gorgeous stranger she’d bumped into in the foyer—literally, wasn’t going to offer up three weeks wages to spend the night with her. She was after all, just a sub from London in a sexy dress with killer heels and great boobs, real boobs admittedly, but she was no better than any other woman up for grabs tonight.
“I wish, but that’s a fine offer.”
The auction was called, hands were shaken, people shifted, then Indy was led off the stage to stand alone at the side.Five more subs went through the same process as she waited, her nerves racing, heart also. Each one was claimed immediately, and taken away by their Master. After another two subs who were officially the last, Indy’s patience had vanished.
“Fuck this.” She was seconds away from leaving the staging area when someone moved up behind her. The heat of him registered a split second before his scent. Master Trey smelled like pine trees and wildfire, that elusive combination of beautiful danger. Indy was tempted to lean back, just to breathe him in, or at least to feel the smooth black silk of his shirt, the one clinging to every contoured muscle in the arm which had just appeared around her waist.
At twenty-eight, she was no stranger to men. God knew there’d been a few, but never anyone as dark as Trey. The contrast between his skin and hers was breathtaking.
He wasn’t rough as he took her arm, his hand wrapping easily around it, and he wasn’t rushed as he stepped in front of her, turned and then tugged her forward. He was silent, yet again, and their eye contact was nothing more than a fleeting glance. Slowly, Trey headed for the seating area in the corner, which to India’s relief was occupied by the one person she desperately wanted to talk to.
Shit, did he just say that, or had Indy imagined it? There was just too much going on as the excited buzz of club members echoed around her. Either way, when Trey let go of her hand she dropped to her knees, just like Master Dane had taught her.
Beside her, PJ looked pale, and not half as confident as she had ten minutes ago. Indy risked a quick look over her shoulder, noting Trey heading back through the crowd.
“You okay, Babe?”
PJ smiled, kind of. “I’m fine, Indy, and I’m allowed to talk to you. Are you okay?”
Was she? Indy had no fucking idea. As she conversed with her friend, her anger flared bright one second, only to disappear the next. She tried to get a rein on her emotions, yet when a shadow fell over her several minutes later, Indy was no better off. If anything, PJ’s words of encouragement had left her even more confused.
What if PJ was right? What if Trey didn’t hate her? Maybe he wanted her just as much as she wanted him? Or maybe, she was fucking delusional trying to dream up a connection that simply wasn’t there.
Indy didn’t wait for the command she instinctively knew wouldn’t come. Instead, she rose as gracefully as she could, gazing at Master Trey’s chest when he once again took hold of her wrists, and tugged.
As they moved through the crowd toward the roulette wheels, she took in the expanse of his shoulders, his waist—his ass. He had to be six-five, in excess of a hundred and thirty pounds; by far the biggest man in the room.
They joined the queue, only having to wait for a moment before it was Indy’s turn to spin. Master Gabriel’s instructions had been clear: spin the wheel, get some cards, fight it out, test some limits, lose a sense or two, vision, hearing, blah, blah, blah, find a room, get a manicure—no, that was tomorrow. She’d gotten the gist, and was about to give it a go when Trey grabbed two envelopes, ripped them open, glanced at the contents before crushing them in his hand, and then he just threw them away.
“What?!” Indy’s pathetic protest was lost as the banter around them intensified; Masters and their respective subs laughing and bickering as negotiations took place. Not for her, though. The second wheel played out exactly the same as the first, then the third, and the fourth. By the end of it, Trey held nothing but Indy’s cuffed wrists, while Indy held nothing at all.
This bullshit had to stop. How were they meant to discuss her limits if he wouldn’t talk to her? How would he know that she had a completely irrational fear of blindfolds? And what if he touched that little place behind her knee that made her lower body go into spasms? That was embarrassing shit to deal with on a first date, not that this was a date, or even a first, or even …Oh, God.
Her hands were trembling noticeably as he led her across the room, out the door, and into the hallway. It wasn’t the quiet space Indy had anticipated, and the idea of having a confrontation in front of the numerous members loitering nearby made her feel physically sick. Still, as they headed further away from the main club, she knew she had to stop him.
Master Trey hadn’t earned an ounce of her trust, but with his reckless actions tonight, he was asking for it all the same. Could she give it to him? Would he even answer her if she spoke? Or was it one of the senses she’d inadvertently lost, and he just hadn’t told her yet?
Her heart felt like it was about to implode, but just as the ungodly sensation stormed up her body, catching in her throat along with her voice, he stopped in front of a very nondescript looking door. With his back to her, he too seemed to be struggling, his shoulders heaving as he sucked in a breath then hissed it back out.
Time slowed as both of them remained frozen to the spot, until finally he stepped aside to reveal an interrogation chamber, if Indy wasn’t mistaken, her least favourite of all the theme rooms.
Her hands were gently released before Trey stepped through the door. Then for the first time ever, he actually looked at her. Hatred was an extremely powerful emotion, soul deep and raw. But what she saw in Master Trey’s eyes was not hatred, wasn’t even close. It was, however, intense enough to have her stumbling back, just a step before he caught her hand again.
His lips parted, a wordright there, but it never came. It didn’t have to. Despite all her reservations, Indy simply couldn’t fight the pull toward him, so she didn’t. God help her.