Evanne Lorraine
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Welcome to La Ceinture Noire

 
 

Belinda joined the incoming throng, letting the posh surrounding welcome her home. She spent more time at the popular fetish club than she ever did at her apartment. Nine Inch Nails blasted Discipline over the sound system. The pungent scent of fresh mums wafted from the reception area.

Friday night kicked off the weekend and a new month. Reason enough for a fresh round of the popular classes and demonstrations that brought most of the kinky membership to La Ceinture Noire, LCN to the staff of the exclusive club.

She was eager to do her part to keep things lively by introducing a new sub or two to the joys of slavery. Sub training made a great distraction from her lack of personal progress. She’d dealt with her past, mostly. But she still hadn’t moved on. A stupid crush kept her locked on an impossible fantasy. She needed to get over it, find an alpha who happened to be a sexual submissive, and convince him to be hers. At least then, she’d have a shot at closing the gap between her and sexual fulfillment. A great first step would be for her to accept that a romantic relationship with Duec would never happen.

The impossibility of her and Duec—her and anybody actually—was so blatant that acceptance shouldn’t require a struggle. But somehow, she couldn’t let go of her longing. So she felt guilty and ashamed on top of her delusional crush.

She owed him her life and everything in it worth a damn. Thanks to his generosity, she served as the commercial witch under contract to his secret cadre of demon hunters. Since he owned LCN, one the perks that came with her job was membership in fetish central. Good thing too, considering the annual dues would’ve put a serious crimp in her shoe addiction.

“Good Evening, Ma’am.” Julie bobbed her head from her cloakroom post.

“Evening, Julie. How’s it going?” Belinda handed over her red wool coat, stripped her gloves and tucked them into her goodie bag. The carryall stayed with her.

“Busy, Ma’am.” Julie’s attention wandered, probably to an attractive civilian male waiting his turn.

Belinda craned her neck to admire whatever hunk had put the dreamy in the Julie’s gaze.

Duncan Blackstone’s eyes met hers for a half a second. He dipped his chin then refocused on the gorgeous attendant.

A few snowflakes glistened on thick black waves of his hair. Lashes she would’ve killed for framed midnight eyes. A strong nose, sensual lips, and square chin filled in the rest of his face. Tall, dark, and smoldering—the earth demon had it all. Too bad he was a Dom.

Belinda moved on to Harry, the club’s gatekeeper.

“What brings you in tonight, business or pleasure, Ma’am?” His craggy features managed to convey a dignified welcome without actually smiling.

“The business of pleasure, what else?” She teased LCN’s long time doorman and sometimes bouncer. “Any freshies?”

“Six free agents, three of each gender, would you like to review their files, Ma’am?” Harry asked as if he didn’t know her preferences as well or better than she did.

“Just the boys, thanks.”

Harry handed over the paperwork and picked up the ringing phone.”La Ceinture Noire, hold please.” He rotated toward Duncan. “How may I help you, Sir?”

Tuning out his conversation, she slid the stack of files to the end of the counter, set down her carrier, and opened the first folder. A copy of the man’s driver’s license with a typical unflattering photo, basic information, referring members’ names, credit check, interview, and consent forms were all there and in order. She continued to the other files, reading for several minutes without making a decision. She’d seen two of the three males at the club before, an eager inexperienced sub and a more challenging sub, perhaps a switch. The third didn’t jog her memory, but he didn’t appeal either. Though there was nothing concrete in his profile to eliminate him. She tucked his file on the bottom, trusting her instincts.

Harry ended his call and asked, “Will there be anything else, Ma’am?”

“Put me down for private room. What’s available?”

Rooms ten, eleven and twelve are unreserved, Ma’am.”

The luxury of choice, thanks to her early arrival. “Reserve twelve from eight to nine, please.”

He entered the reservation into his ubiquitous laptop, waited a few seconds for the machinery to burp discreetly then offered her the key card. “You’re set, Ma’am.”

“Thank you, you’ve been helpful as always.” She stacked the files and exchanged them for the still warm piece of plastic.

A ding from behind her announced an elevator load of arrivals.

A man whispered, “There’s the control queen.”

“The leggy brunette?” A tenor voice questioned.

“Yeah.”

“I’d let her control my joystick.” The tenor snickered softly.

Harry cleared his throat.

“Don’t bother.” She winked at the doorman and dipped at the knees to avoid flashing her lacy thong as she retrieved her bag.

Control queen had been her nickname in the club for a while. It suited her fine. She headed toward the bar without bothering to teach the humans a lesson in manners. The men had no way of knowing she’d overhear their quiet conversation.

“Want me to teach them about respect?” Duncan offered in a low growl that said he’d enjoy delivering the lesson.

“No,” she whispered back. “Buy me a drink and tell me who you’re torturing tonight.”

“The Lady’s wish is my command.” He sketched a bow.

“Don’t you wish.” She said tartly.

He laughed. “I may have exaggerated.”

Belinda snorted quietly. “Lead on, Sir.”

Duncan sent her a smoldering look over his shoulder. “Any chance—”

“Not in your lifetime.”

He sighed flatteringly and made a path through the crush.

She followed his wide shoulders, wishing he appealed to her. Even if the handsome civilian had been a submissive, they still wouldn’t have worked. Not once had she burned with sweet desire for the big hunk.

She halted in her quest for a drink mid-stride, sensing Duec’s approach before he entered the main room. Awareness of his location was one of her weird elf gifts. Not quite as useful as extra strength, a killer immune system, and preternatural speed, but still a good thing. The few seconds warning gave her enough time to draw a deep breath.
Her self-appointed protector strode toward her.

Duncan might have moved to another planet. She literally couldn’t see anyone but Duec. Her knees wobbled. Oh goody. Hard as she tried to stay cool, she failed. Again.

The pounding music and the crowd noises blurred to meaningless background. Her heart accelerated, her mouth dried, and she froze—stunned stupid by his presence. Along with the instant trance came a surge of something else she recognized, but didn’t want to examine.

How freakin’ great. The control queen melts for Duec every damn time they meet.

Worse, he knew.

She dropped her lashes so she wouldn’t have to see his pity.

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