Authors: Cherise Sinclair
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Bdsm, #erotic romance, #Contemporary
MY LIEGE OF DARK HAVEN
My Liege of Dark Haven
Copyright © August 2012 by Cherise Sinclair
All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the original purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
Editor: G. G. Royale
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Printed in the United States of America
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San Francisco CA 94104-0809
This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language and may be considered offensive to some readers. Loose Id LLC’s e-books are for sale to adults ONLY, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.
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DISCLAIMER: Please do not try any new sexual practice, especially those that might be found in our BDSM/fetish titles without the guidance of an experienced practitioner. Neither Loose Id LLC nor its authors will be responsible for any loss, harm, injury or death resulting from use of the information contained in any of its titles.
I’d like to thank all of you who have put yourselves in my hands, hoping to be taken to a different world for the next few hours. I’m honored by your trust, and I’ll try not to let you down.
To those of you who demanded a book for Master Xavier (you know who you are), thank you! I hope I did him justice.
My Dark Haven characters and I thank my wonderful editor, G.G. Royale, who noticed I’d dressed them in chain-link rather than chain mail. They’re quite relieved not to be wearing fencing material.
A big thank-you to Belinda McBride and Sierra Cartwright, who started the Dark Haven odyssey with me and generously said that I owned Master Xavier. (I explained that to him—it didn’t go over well.)
Welcome to Leagh Christensen, my new personal assistant, who jumped right in and started overhauling my life. You’re amazing!
To Bianca Sommerland, Fiona Archer, and Kathy Holtsclaw, who beta-read this book and made it far better than it would have been without them.
For those of you on my new street team—many, many hugs. Your LOL brattiness lightens my day, and your enthusiasm for new books forces me back to the desk. (Pain and pleasure, right?)
A shout-out to the San Francisco Citadel, especially Phil, August, and crew. Despite all the hardships, you’ve kept alive the dream of a home for lifestylers.
To my two fledglings who are ready to leave the nest—may your wings be strong and your flights long and glorious.
And, as always, my love and appreciation to my Dearheart. You truly do keep me sane.
Bless you all.
To my readers,
This book is fiction, not reality, and as in most romantic fiction, the romance is compressed into a very, very short time period.
You, my darlings, live in the real world, and I want you to take a little more time than the heroines you read about. Good Doms don’t grow on trees, and there are some strange people out there. So while you’re looking for that special Dom, please, be careful.
When you find him, realize he can’t read your mind. Yes, frightening as it might be, you’re going to have to open up and talk to him. And you listen to him in return. Share your hopes and fears, what you want from him, what scares you spitless. Okay, he may try to push your boundaries a little—he’s a Dom, after all—but you have your safe word. You will have a safe word, am I clear? Use protection. Have a backup person. Communicate.
safe, sane, and consensual.
Know that I’m hoping you find that special, loving person who will understand your needs and hold you close. Let me know how you’re doing. I worry, you know.
Meantime, come and hang out with the Doms of Dark Haven.
The thick fog swathed the streetlight, preventing the dim yellow glow from reaching the ground. On the dark San Francisco street, Professor Abigail Bern watched the red taillights of the taxi disappear into the mist. With the enthusiasm of a convict facing a firing squad, she turned toward the infamous Dark Haven BDSM club.
In contrast to the flashing display of the nightclub down the street, this place didn’t exactly set out the welcome mat. To the right of the heavy black door, only a small, discreet sign proclaimed DARK HAVEN. She understood the lack of advertising. The BDSM community was in the same position as the gay population in the past. People weren’t “out.”
They certainly wouldn’t like being studied.
She didn’t plan to tell them.
Covert participant observation
, it was called, in which the subject never knew a sociologist was present.
And it makes me uncomfortable
. But she wouldn’t gather anything that could identify a member. And really, her research on the culture might even help the community—it certainly couldn’t do any harm.
She didn’t have a choice.
Publish or perish
was no longer a cute phrase—not with the proposed cutbacks at her university.
It had been a ghastly week. She might lose her job, and she’d definitely lost Nathan. Although she would drive him to the airport tomorrow, he was already gone from her life. Her breathing hitched at the emptiness in her chest.
She hadn’t been meeting his needs, he’d said. His need to tie her up, call her names, order her around. His need to have his precious BDSM in the bedroom. Hopefully, during her fieldwork, she’d grow to understand the appeal of such things. Maybe she’d even be able to indulge him by the time he returned in August. They could try again.
I don’t want to lose him
. Her attempt to take a deep, calming breath failed, and she realized she’d laced her corset far too tightly. Shaking her head, she looked down at herself, and her spirits lifted.
I look hot
. After researching BDSM styles, she’d bought a calf-length skirt, a fancy corset, and tall vinyl boots. All in black. The corset pushed up her ample breasts and yanked in her thick waist; the skirt hid her wide hips, creating a Barbie figure—well, if Barbie were a size sixteen and a Domme. The don’t-mess-with-me effect was amazing.
Nathan called her a submissive—or maybe he simply hoped she was—but she wasn’t convinced. Given the choice, she’d dress as a Dominant. Besides, going into a BDSM club looking like a…a victim would be stupid.
I might not be gorgeous, but smart? Oh yeah.
She headed for the building, anxiety mingling with determination and…okay, maybe a little excitement as well.
. She pulled the door open and—
A woman barged out, knocking Abby backward.
“Clarissa.” A familiar-looking, gorgeous man followed her. “Are you certain you want to walk out like this?”
“I’m sure.” Clarissa glared as she yanked on a coat over her skimpy bustier and thong. “Very, very sure, Simon.”
Abby took a step back, her stomach unsettled at the woman’s raised voice and open anger.
Don’t yell. Don’t scream. Please, please, please.
“I thought being the receptionist meant I’d get some Xavier time, but nooo.” Clarissa jerked her coat closed. ”Instead he offered to find me someone to play with. Yeah, what the fuck good is that?”
As the woman edged back from uncontrollable rage, Abby relaxed enough to take mental notes.
Was that a technique or a machine or what?
And she’d better go in before she got caught watching. She detoured around the man, entered the club, and faced a bulletin board with a huge calendar in the center. Various events were penciled into the squares with yarn running out to surrounding flyers. A tea for Dommes. A Master/slave event. A
barbecue—which sounded just wrong. What did a party for
involve? The busy calendar reminded her of the equally big one her mother had used to track Abby’s debate-team nights, Grace’s soccer games, and Janae’s beauty-queen contests.
Abby turned at the greeting.
Like an ad for cuteness, a slender young man in bright-red running shorts and a matching red collar stood behind an L-shaped reception desk. He patted a device that resembled a credit card reader. “Ma’am. Swipe your membership card right here, please.”
“I don’t have a card.” Membership? Wasn’t the club a walk-in sort of place?
“That’s okay. Show me your driver’s license, and I’ll find your number in the computer.” He gave the monitor a dubious frown. “I think I can look it up.”
“I mean, I’m not a member.”
“Oh.” He dropped into the wheeled chair, making it squeak in protest. “That’s bad. See, you can’t get in if you’re not a member. Not anymore. You have to have a recommendation or take the classes. There’s a bunch of hurdles to jump since Dark Haven turned all private and
Faint music and the hum of conversation came through the inner door as Abby stared at him in dismay. “Exclusive? But…”
I don’t have time for this
. The club opened only on weekends, and her research had to start right now or she wouldn’t get it done, peer-reviewed, and published in time to save her job. “Can I fill out an application?”
“I used the last one.” He scowled at the computer. “I could print one. Maybe. There’s a form somewhere.”
She craned her neck and pointed to an icon on the desktop screen. “Try the APPLIC.”
He clicked and an application appeared. “
. Do you know how to send it to the printer? Last time I tried, I got awarded the blue screen of death.”
After she guided him through the steps, the printer hummed to life. She grinned. Even after four years of being a professor, she still got a zing from teaching, no matter the subject.
“Here you go.” He proudly handed her the form with several more from a folder. “You might as well fill out the waivers and consents too.”
Off to one side, she started on the paperwork, sighing at the legalese. The usual disclaimers. The place wasn’t responsible for any disaster that might befall her.
. She needed a physical and blood work? Jaw tight, she doggedly continued.
When the room had emptied of incoming people again, she handed the pile back to him. “How soon can you process this?”
“Hell, without Destiny here, probably forever,” he said, turning glum. “Longer than that if my liege asks
to do the paperwork. I’m a lover, not a typist. But I can’t afford the membership fees if I don’t volunteer. Look at what it costs.” He shoved a paper across the desk.
She scanned the monthly fees and winced. Joining would put more than a dent in her savings. Then again, getting laid off would hurt worse. “You lost your receptionist? Clarissa?”
“Man, talk about a diva. She hung on for a couple of weeks. One lady lasted almost a month. Destiny held the place together for years, but Xavier hasn’t found a good replacement.” He stared at the scattered papers.
Her fingers itched to clean up the mess. “It’s not busy now. You could file a little at a time and then—”
He stared at her in horror. “Or not.”
“Are you interested in volunteering?” a dark voice asked from behind her.
She jumped and turned to see the man who’d followed Clarissa out. “Volunteer?” Her hopes lifted. Would that let her skip the application delay? “Looks like you need someone.” He really did seem familiar. She tilted her head. “Have we met?”
“A few months ago at the Harrises’ wedding reception.” He picked up the application she’d filled out, flipped through it, and gave her a keen look. “I believe you’re Nathan’s lady?”
“Well. No. We’re only friends now.”
Since we broke up yesterday
. She pushed the unhappiness away and held out her hand. “Abby Bern.”
“Simon Demakis.” His gaze focused on her paperwork again. “You’re a professor?”
“Correct.” She gave him a slight smile. “And those dues would force me to eat macaroni and cheese for the first time since I graduated. What does the receptionist do?” Would she get adequate time inside the club for her observations?