Viviana smiled and trudged her way up the inclined lawn toward the exterior portion of the party. Tiki torches surrounded the perimeter of a carefully orchestrated arena for guests to wander about and mingle. Only the most observant would notice the small cameras strategically placed within the trees, torches, rocks. Every inch of the area was monitored.
And Viviana suspected she knew exactly who was doing the monitoring tonight, much to her annoyance. If she intended to sate her hunger for Stryker, she’d have to draw him out of his inner sanctum. Somehow.
She perched on a knee-high boulder and crossed her legs. A cool breeze swept up her exposed thighs, reminding her she was now exposing more of herself in that one movement than she had in months. Hell, it’d been almost a year since she’d exposed anything to anyone.
Not bothering to wander to the bar she knew served only nonalcoholic beverages for tonight’s festivities, she studied the thickening crowd. She’d arrived earlier than expected and would have a while to kill before Stryker would appear, since she assumed he was in charge of security tonight.
Rhythmic thrums vibrated off the ground from unseen speakers. The music incited a few brave souls to the wooden, circular floor. Soft lighting from an overhead system accentuated their sensuous gyrations. All women wore the same nondescript computerized bracelet as Viviana. Some of the men did as well, but most wore a platinum cuff emblazoned with a symbol of some sort in a triangle. A peace symbol. It resembled a peace symbol but was somehow different.
Had Gabe been wearing one as well? Did that note the members of The Pleasure Brigade?
Curiosity almost surged her into the crowd. Perhaps writhing up against some of his friends would bring Stryker out. Either way, she knew there were plenty of prospects in the dominant pool and she was more than willing to be the bait.
“It’s a shame to see someone so flawlessly dressed adorning the wallflower section.”
The voice startled Viviana. She spun around and lost whatever response she’d thought. A wall of sinewy flesh overwhelmed her gaze. The man’s chest was almost as large as Stryker’s. Not that she’d know since she’d only really seen him from across the room. All other conversations had been by email or instant message.
Obsidian eyes tracked her movement with curiosity as she stood. “It’s early still.”
“Quite true, Viviana.”
“You know my name.” She noted the apprehensive tone to her statement as she glanced around. She’d never met this man before. Black cotton stretched over wide shoulders and biceps big enough for her to hang on to for a rough, long ride.
The thought made her groan softly. Black hair cut short accentuated a strong, firm jaw. Whoever this man was, he exuded the same don’t-fuck-with-me vibe that had drawn her to Stryker.
Silence greeted her statement as he moved slightly and crossed his hands in front of him, drawing her gaze to the biggest thighs she’d ever seen. Straddling them would be a challenge—one she was more than prepared to take on if Stryker didn’t make an appearance. Hell, she’d take them both on if given half a chance.
“I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage.”
“At a disadvantage, Sir.” His voice was husky velvet encased in steel. His perusal swept across her with an intensity that left her more exposed than she had been in a long time. “The security device you were given broadcasts your information to anyone with one of these on.”
Viviana noted the platinum cuff he wore as her mind processed his statement with the inept speed of a 512 kilobyte RAM processor. “You can read my profile.”
“And make notes for others to read.” He retracted a handheld device from one of the many pockets on his black cargo pants. “It helps us know who’s scened with whom and ensure no one is too adventurous. Safety first, and all that.”
Safe, sane, consensual. The Brigade’s embraced mantra had drawn her to it in the first place. Too many night clubs sprang up and never adhered to the code despite their statement to the contrary. For people like Viviana, who abhorred club atmospheres, a resort was an ideal location.
Assuming you had the money to indulge. Which she didn’t.
“I personally think safety’s overrated sometimes. How about you? You ever done anything really wicked or dangerous?” He prowled closer, an almost indiscernible step forward.
Her pulse raced and her mind reeled. “Some would say being here is pretty dangerous.”
Viviana swallowed and moved backward, only to realize she’d pinned herself in. Unless she wanted to climb over boulders with three-inch boots on, she was stuck between a rock and a hard man with questionable intentions.
Not that she’d mind if his intentions were toward the sensual side. Those big hands of his would feel good coming down hard on her ass. Or sliding between her legs until she squirmed and mewled her release.
Okay, time to pause all that thought and find a back door out of this mess. As a glorified hacker she knew better than to work herself into corners. Always have a way out.
She swallowed her concern and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”
“You may call me Sir.”
“And if I don’t want to?”
“Well then, Viviana, I’m afraid you definitely came to the wrong party.”
Her right hand ran over the bracelet secured to her left wrist. Her fingers ran across an oval protrusion along the center. Well, she’d wanted to get Stryker’s attention. Screaming a safe word or pressing the magical red out button would sure as hell accomplish that.
But had the man—whoever the hell he was—really done anything other than intimidate the living shit out of her by his mere presence? It wasn’t his fault he exuded such a… She swallowed the thought and tried to formulate something reasonable to say. Her mind went from wanting to scream her way out of his presence and using his incredibly sexy body as a Slip ’n Slide.
“Maybe I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl. I still like to talk and negotiate things for myself.”
“Always a wise decision and one we require here.” He stepped to the side and sat on a boulder to her right. “So you know Lance?”
“Yeah, we met briefly at an airport.”
“Yeah we didn’t get to…” Viviana hedged the lie, unsure what the hell to say. As far as cover stories went this one was really lame. “I expressed an interest in the lifestyle and he thought this was a good way for me to dip my toe into the proverbial pool.”
“That must’ve been a hell of a conversation.”
“I ramble when I’m nervous or excited and teased him that the best way to shut me up was to gag me. Things sort of went from there.”
“Fair enough.” He crossed his arms and smirked. “You know he and I go way back.”
Of course they did.
“It’s a shame he couldn’t be here.” She sat down with what false bravado she could project and motioned toward the resort. “This is a beautiful location.”
“It’s okay. I wanted something a bit more secluded, but everyone seemed to think we needed to keep a somewhat close proximity to Austin.” He shrugged. “Something about people feeling less intimidated.”
The man turned toward footsteps she hadn’t heard until she’d seen him whirl around in response. He nodded at a blond man making his way toward them. A dark-blue shirt tucked into hip-hugging denim accentuated his lean, athletic build.
“Here for barely five minutes and you’ve snagged the sexiest girl. Nothing ever changes. How ya been, man?” The blond stranger clapped the man on the back and then directed his riveting blue gaze on Viviana. “Hey, Viv. I’m Chase.”
“Pleased to meet you, Sir.”
Chase turned to the man and chuckled. “How the hell…”
“She’s a friend of Lance’s,” he interrupted. “I’m keeping her company.”
“Ah.” Amusement flickered in Chase’s gaze. “Well I’ll happily help you keep her in line.”
“I think I’ve got it handled for now.”
Viviana’s skin heated as the two men discussed her. Even though a portion of her wanted to slink away, her curiosity kept her perched on her makeshift seat.
Chase’s phone vibrated. He glanced over his shoulder and waved at a man across the lawn. “Afraid I came for a reason. We need someone to take over the spanking demonstration. Kade and Autumn are…” he cleared his throat, “running late.”
Spanking demonstration. Viviana’s entire body melted at the thought. She shifted and clutched her thighs, hoping neither of the men noticed her reaction.
“Perhaps I could handle that,” the man commented as he stood. He extended his hand toward her. “Are you ready to dip your toe into that pool yet, Viviana?”
The sexy sub clenching his fingers was one moan away from feeling his cock sheathed inside her. Lance took a deep breath and expended the last shrivel of control he had over the scene. Whoever the hell this woman was, he wouldn’t let her leave until he’d fucked her hard. Repeatedly.
What started off as curiosity had become a battle of wills. He’d intended to teach her a lesson—don’t fuck with The Brigade. He’d arrived moments after her. Stryker suspected she was a reporter digging up dirt on the resort. Again.
There was an unspoken rule within The Brigade—never, ever invite someone without letting Stryker know beforehand. Thanks to the meddling vixen trussed up beneath him, he’d almost had his ass handed to him by the only man at the resort capable of actually doing him some damage. Okay, there were a couple more who Lance was leery of with good reason—but no one fucked with Stryker and his penchant for tight security.
That was suicide.
And how the hell would a reporter have gotten his name? Few members of The Brigade flew under the radar lower than Lance. Lives depended on his anonymity. Nah, something else was going on with this gorgeous bundle of silky flesh and lush curves.
She’d surrendered too easily to be a vanilla masking as a submissive. His cock throbbed with a need he’d not felt in a long time. He’d lost much of his humanity over the years, and the untamed side of him wanted to show her exactly how dangerous it was to pretend to be his sub.
Stryker stepped forward, as if sensing the last strand of moral decency slipping. He was one of the only men who could contain Lance if need be, which was probably why he was standing here. Agreeing to do a scene with her had been a mistake.
He never scened this soon after returning from an assignment—neither of them did. And they sure as hell never did demonstrations with girls who weren’t known to them.
Whoever she was, he’d be crazy to take a phenomenally executed scene and turn it into the primal fuck fest he craved more than the air he breathed. He pulled on her long, black curly hair and relished in her soft gasp. He knew she was barely aware of her surroundings.
A small measure of pride filled him. He’d accomplished what he’d set out to do for the scene. Now he just needed to figure out who the hell she was before he fucked her into oblivion.
Stryker moved closer and stood on her right. His dark gaze scanned her lush curves with a hunger Lance suspected matched his own. She was sin in leather and currently at their mercy. He had none to spare.
The moment her breathing returned to a semblance of normal, Stryker met his gaze. It went against his nature to not provide better aftercare for the little sub strapped so sexily to the bench, but they weren’t close to being ready to end this.
It had only begun.
Stryker’s voice boomed over the hushed whispers. “Let’s give Viviana a round of applause for helping us out with this demonstration.”
Pink stained her cheeks when Lance moved to stand to her left. He wasn’t about to miss her expression when he figured out who he was.
“And of course, we owe Master Lance a debt for filling in this evening.”
A small gasp escaped her lush lips. A widened, dark-blue gaze darted up to meet his. Shock filled her expression. Pink spread across her soft skin.
She tugged against the restraints locking her into place. Stryker motioned for Gabe to close the tent flap as the last of the onlookers exited the area. Silence hung in the tense atmosphere.
“I think we have a problem, Viviana,” Stryker commented as he kicked a crate closer and sat down in front of her. Her belly flopped when she saw the darkened expression on his face. “I’m afraid my friend here doesn’t seem to know you.”