After accepting a job at a rural, private club, Raina Malloy finds herself lured by the amorous though edgy and diverse practices of its manager, Steel Hunter. She soon discovers her predecessor died at the end of a knife, and that Steel's brother, a partner in the BDSM club, is missing.
Somehow, it all appears trite next to the stalking assailant she can't escape. And fairly inconsequential to Hunter's commanding passion, his magnetism or the certainty that she has found something secure and binding in a life that had been shattered and traumatic.
Along the way, Raina discovers a taste for Hunter and his eclectic lifestyle practices. Even as their love unfolds, threatening forces amass around them, and hint at a legacy that neither could have foreseen. A legacy that ends in death.
“Red,” he shouted. “Red!”
Eyes enormous, Raina realized she was somewhere she didn’t wish to be. She understood the scene, a Dominatrix and her slave. Why in the world did her brother steer her to such a place? Why indeed? The answer emerged like a sword from a sheath, desperation. They needed the medical coverage and from Raina’s inquiries, this job supplied it. Her second epiphany was an understanding of where she was. This placed catered to the unusual. Could she separate herself from that reality? Hoping as an artist, she wasn’t expected.... She did not finish her thought.
The woman threw her arm back and the leather straps of the flogger connected with the man’s thighs. Its crack rippled as he cried out, and again screamed. “Red!”
The word red sounded as if it held purpose. Raina suspected this must be his safe word. The woman purposefully ignored him.
Raina took a step forward even though this was none of her concern. Momentarily she rationalized, that he could be a masochist and might not appreciate Raina interrupting. Should she intrude where she wasn’t wanted? Yet it didn’t at all seem like he was enjoying himself. Her compassion moved her feet forward. As if to confirm her suspicion, a whimper of despair seeped past the man’s white-pursed lips, which was followed by the woman’s cruel laugh and harsh words.
“Since when do you have limits, maggot? You are mine and I’ll beat you to a pulp if that’s my pleasure.”
“Red,” he cried, this time in a tattered tone. “Please Mistress, no more.”
Another blow which appeared harder.
Tears bubbled from pale, blue eyes that rolled back in his red-face.
A sharp snap of leather to flesh echoed in the small chamber, its rip insisting.
Raina didn’t have a clue whether there was proper protocol in this situation, or if there was any, but this man was in trouble. She could tell by his sparse breathing and a harsh, choking sound that the man was about to have a seizure. She had seen her brother in this state.
Bursting into the room like an avenging angel, Raina shoved the much larger woman aside with enough force to have her stumble. “Are you out of your mind? He’s in trouble.”
“How dare you!” the woman roared, her brightly painted lips an effigy of fury. She raised her lash to Raina.