“Why do I have to be Cinderella?” Jaimie Newberry stared at herself in the mirror. Her dress was a plain white button-up top with sleeves that ended at the elbows in ragged points and an attached muddy-brown skirt. She swished her hips, pleased at least with the feminine layers of handkerchief ruffles that cleverly gave the appearance of rags hanging in tatters.
“’Cause you’re blond, blue-eyed, and innocent.”
Jaimie wrinkled her nose at her best friend. “Innocent? I don’t think so.”
Sitting on the bed, legs crossed and showing lots of thigh, Lucy leaned back on her hands and grinned. “Come on, Jaimie, you know you are.”
“Just because I’m not into whips and bondage doesn’t mean I don’t know what goes on. I’ve had my share of boyfriends.”
Lucy rolled her eyes. “You, my dear friend, are as vanilla as they come.”
“Which is your way of saying I’m boring.” Unlike Lucy, with her jet-black hair, laughing brown eyes that tipped up just a bit at the corners, and smooth, honey complexion. The woman reminded her of an exotic princess.
“Not you, but the guys you end up with? Borrrring! Like Mike.”
“Let’s not talk about The Jerk.” Jaimie mentally sighed. Lucy had a point. Mike had been a total bore, especially in the bedroom, caring only about his own needs. She couldn’t count the number of times he’d finished his rutting—and there was no other way to put it—then fallen off her and gone to sleep, leaving her totally unsatisfied. Hell, the jerk never got her even close to an orgasm. He’d left her cold, cold, cold.
Jaimie frowned at the contents of her travel bag, which held one casual outfit to wear home on Sunday. Her cheeks flamed as she stared at her pile of sexy underwear. Lucy insisted she needed new and sexy. Jaimie had enjoyed picking out the bits of silk and lace that were totally impractical.
She shouldn’t have splurged though, not without a job and no prospects in sight. Sighing, she consulted her list of what to bring. It was very specific and included instructions not to bring any toiletries, that everything would be provided. She shook her head and glanced at Lucy. “Are you sure this is all I need to pack?”
“Yep, your clothes are included in the package. Most people there don’t want scented lotions—the emphasis is on natural.” She wagged her brows. “You know the primitive scent of hot sex.”
“Great. I’m going to be around people who smell of sweat and sex.” That didn’t sound at all romantic.
Lucy leaned over and peeked into Jaimie’s bag and shook her head. “Bet you won’t need those…”
“Those what?” She frowned when Lucy held up one of her new thongs. “Geez, Luc, not going to be on my back the entire time!” Her cheeks flamed.
Laughing wickedly, Lucy stood. “No. On your knees, standing, and who knows what other positions.” She flounced her skirt up and checked out her bare ass in the full-length mirror. “My partner sent a note. No panties.”
Jaimie lifted a brow. “Lucy!”
Lucy sank back on the bed. “God, three days of sex with my wolf.”
“I really don’t know if this is going to work for me.”
Giggling, Lucy shook her head. “You’re going to have a wonderful time. You’ll meet the prince of your heart, and he’ll swoop you off your feet and carry you away on his big, white horse.”
“Ha! The way my luck’s running, I’ll be paired with some old, balding guy with a beer belly.” Jaimie tossed her pillow at her best friend who’d left the bed and was hogging the full-length mirror as she preened and adjust her cherry-red cloak. “At least you get to be Little Red Riding Hood.”
“Yeah, and I get to spend the weekend with a big, bad wolf.”
Jaimie grinned. “Maybe you’ll get stuck with Granny.”
The pillow flew right back at Jaimie. “Nope. Remember those questionnaires we filled out?”
“No. I didn’t fill one out. You filled out mine. You never told me what kind of questions they asked.”
Lucy shrugged. “Don’t remember.”
“Hey, this is going to be the best birthday present you’ve ever gotten. A weekend in a castle! Well, it’s a huge mansion, but while we are there, it’s our castle.”
Jaimie picked up her invitation, once again marveling over the thick, creamy parchment with glittering gold lettering. She ran her finger over the logo, an embossed castle in metallic blue. Beneath the castle were the words Kingdom of Dom.
“Lucy, I know you get paid big bucks, but this trip must have cost a ton.”
Grinning, her friend just shrugged. “I really didn’t have to pay anything. I just submitted your name.”
“But who paid for our costumes.” Her dress might look like an old pile of rags sewn together, but she recognized quality fabric and the design skill that went into her dress.
“The man you’re going to be with. All the Do—er, men pay for their partners.”
“He must be rich.”
“They all are, sweetie.” Lucy peered out the window. “Wish that limo would hurry up and get here.”
“I don’t know about this, Lucy.” Jaimie had misgivings about the forthcoming weekend—lots of them.
“Come on, Jaimie. Relax. When is the last time you’ve been waited on, eaten gourmet meals, and had mind-blowing sex for an entire weekend?”
Never. Jaimie sighed. “Considering I’m living on hot dogs and Top Ramen at the moment, the food sounds good.”
“Don’t forget the sex.”
“With a stranger.” She was horribly nervous about that, though Lucy assured her that she would have one partner for the weekend of role-playing, not an orgy. Maybe having someone treating her like a princess wouldn’t be too bad. Hell, her life at the moment mirrored Cinderella’s, sans the ugly stepsisters and stepmother. She had no job, was poor as a pauper, especially after buying enough sexy underwear for an entire week, and had certainly been trodden upon. Damn, if she didn’t find a job soon, she’d be out on the street.
Her gaze fell on the cat scratching post in the corner. At least if she were homeless, she wouldn’t have to worry about Snowball. At sixteen, her companion since childhood had died two weeks ago. She sighed again. What else could go wrong? “I should be looking for a job. If I don’t find something fast, I’m going to show up on your doorstep.”
“Don’t worry. It’ll work out. And hey, you don’t have any interviews lined up for today or tomorrow so treat yourself to a fun weekend.
“Maybe you’re right. I need a nice relaxing weekend. Who knows, maybe I’ll meet my fairy godmother.” She shoved her invitation into the cavernous pocket of Lucy’s cast-off Louis Vuitton handbag then paced. The skirt fluttered around her thighs. She was ready for whatever the weekend had in store for her.
“You’re going to have the best time. The owner hosts different role-playing parties. The fairy tale theme is one of the most popular.” She giggled. “I’m always Little Red Riding Hood.”
Jaimie shut off the lights. Lucy was a lot more adventurous in her sex life. “So who is Dom? I assumed from the logo that it’s his mansion or rather kingdom we’re going to.”
Lucy, taking a sip from her water bottle, choked. Her eyes watered, and she burst into uncontrollable laughter.
“You all right?” Jaimie frowned.
“God, Jaimie. You’re too much. Come on, let’s go downstairs to wait. The limo is going to be here any minute. Can’t keep Dom waiting.”
Three hours later, the limo pulled up in front of a huge mansion. The driver opened Jaimie’s door, and she stepped out and admired the way the honey colored bricks gave the building an old-world look. The windows reflected the afternoon light, making the mansion sparkle and shine. Her gaze traveled up, and she gasped. “Turrets,” she whispered. Each with a blue and gold pennant-shaped flag flying from a pole at the top. “Wow.”
“Come on.” Lucy hooked her arm in Jaimie’s.
“What about our bags?”
“They’ll be delivered, miss.” The chauffeur bowed and motioned for them toward the steps that led to wide, double doors.
When she reached the door, Jaimie noted a small plaque. Pleasure Manor. Again, she felt butterflies flutter in her stomach as the door was opened by a butler. She turned, but the limo was heading back up the driveway. Taking a deep breath, she followed Lucy inside the mansion.
“Miss Sanchez, nice to see you again.”
“Hastings. Always nice to see you.”
The butler turned to Jaimie. “This must be Miss Newberry. Welcome to Pleasure Manor.”
“Your paperwork?” He held out his hand.
Jaimie dug her envelope out of her bag and handed it over. She’d found it both strange yet comforting knowing that all participants were required to get blood work done to be sure no one had any communal diseases. She’d also been required to sign a nondisclosure form. She shrugged mentally, remembering how she’d told Lucy they should have T-shirts that read What happened at the castle, stayed at the castle.
The butler took their sealed envelopes, then motioned to a woman in a maid’s uniform. She shuffled forward with a silver platter of masks artfully arranged in neat rows. Hastings picked up a red and black mask and handed it to Lucy, then gave Jaimie a blue mask, covered in silver and blue sequins.
Lucy smiled at Jaimie. “When we gather as a group, we are required to wear a mask.”
Hastings nodded, then gestured for them to follow a second maid. “Stella will show you to the receiving parlor.”
Jaimie adjusted her mask. It covered only her eyes and was surprisingly lightweight and comfortable.
Lucy squeezed her hand. “Ready?”
“Yes, yes, I am.” And to her surprise, she was eager to meet her prince and embark on a weekend of sex in a mansion-turned-castle.
Standing in a hidden room at the top of the narrow galley that lined three sides of the room below, Bryce Langston studied the gathered fairy tale characters. Everyone wore a mask, a requirement to hide identities. There were four billionaires, not including him, half dozen men and women worth millions, one senator, and several high-powered CEO’s in attendance. Anonymity was the key to the success of his exclusive club.
The whisper of silk behind him made him smile. “You’re late, Glorie.”
“That’s Your Highness, to you, my friend.”
Glorie, one of his oldest and dearest friends, joined him at the two-way mirror. He glanced at her, taking in her costume. The leather and lace corset pushed her breasts up and out, revealing lots of rounded flesh, and the sheer, attached skirt barely covered her crotch in front but trailed the floor behind her. Her dark hair was piled high, and a black choker dotted with glittering gems accented her long, slender neck. Tall, spiky heels brought her to eye level. She made an imposing Domme. “Nice costume, My Queen.”
Glorie looked him up and down then fingered the buttery-soft leather of his costume. “Not too bad yourself, My Prince. You really do look like a prince, Bry. It’s a shame you’re a Dom. I wouldn’t mind whipping that ass of yours.” She patted him affectionately.
He rolled his eyes. “Behave. You have your huntsmen to play with.”
She licked her lips and swished the whip in her hand. “I do, don’t I.” She laughed low in her throat then turned serious as she slid one gloved hand up to cup the side of his face. “Are you sure you’re ready?”
Bryce covered her hand with his. Glorie had been his wife’s best friend since collage. She was the one who’d introduced him to Annie, and together, the three of them had formed the club. He wasn’t sure he’d have survived losing Annie to cancer without this strong woman. “I need to know the truth.”
Was Jaimie Newberry a clever manipulator who got away with embezzling, or was she innocent of any wrongdoing? So far, she refused to come to his office to speak to him, saying she wanted nothing more to do with his firm. In his mind, that spoke of guilt. An innocent man or woman would not hesitate to do whatever it took to clear their name.
Glorie sauntered to the window. “Ah, there’s our newest playmate. Lucy believes she’s innocent.”
Bryce spotted his Cinderella entering the parlor below. The ruffles of her skirt swirled playfully around slender thighs, and the low cut of her simple top revealed a nice swell of breasts. Deep inside, anticipation hummed, and not just for learning the truth. Annie had been gone five years now, and while he hadn’t been celibate during those long years, he hadn’t participated in the games he hosted either. This would be his first.
And only because he needed to know the truth.
Jaimie had uncovered an embezzling ring in one of his accounting firms. Her boss implicated her, her files backed the man up, but as he’d found out, the man himself had proved to be a liar, and the leader in the group of employees caught.
Lucy, his personal assistant, swore Jaimie was innocent, that she was the one who’d discovered the theft, then been fired because of it. The fact Jaimie had blown the whistle lent her story credence, as did the files she gave Lucy to give to him, all dated before she’d been fired. He’d hired auditors, and they thought she was innocent. But he wouldn’t know until he spoke to her. A study of her employment files indicated the woman was smart. She could easily have done what she did to make herself look innocent and then gotten out before being caught.
“Does it matter if she is as guilty as the others?”
Bryce nodded. “Yes. If she was part of it, I’ll press charges. No one steals from me.” He’d already gotten confessions out of the rest of his employees and fired those who were supposed to oversee that department. Fools were more concerned with their ladder climbing and brown-nosing instead of doing their job.
Determining Jaimie’s level of involvement was unfinished business. Was his Cinderella truly innocent, or had she been framed? He couldn’t find any money trails leading to her bank accounts, but that didn’t mean she didn’t have money squirreled away elsewhere, under another name. No, he needed to know for sure.
Glorie laughed low in her throat. “My, your little playmate looks ready to bolt, and it’s not even midnight.”
Bryce narrowed his eyes. Glorie was right. Jaimie was staring at some of the costumes with mouth agape. He couldn’t see her eyes but imagined they were wide with shock. Even from where he stood, he could see her face was flushed with embarrassment. She took a big gulp of her champagne then grabbed Lucy by the arm. Though he couldn’t hear the conversation, it was clear his sub was having serious doubts.
Rocking back on his heels, he grinned. From the questionnaire, he knew Jaimie was new to this world, and he was looking looked forward to introducing her to some light BDSM.
“You ready?” Glorie, as usual, was hostess.
“Let’s get this show on the road.” He donned his mask and headed for the door, anticipation humming through him.
Jaime sipped champagne and told herself to relax, that it was only no-strings sex. How bad could it be? Anything was an improvement on her current, pitiful sex life. Her gaze scanned the richly appointed parlor filled with antiques, gilt frames, a baby grand in the corner, and tall windows along one side of the room. The French doors were open to allow a cool breath of air to enter. Everything sparkled or glittered, and she felt totally out of her element.
Holy cow, I’m in a huge mansion with turrets called Pleasure Manor!
And there were the men lining one wall, each wearing masks. She followed Lucy to where the women were gathered opposite the men. Scanning what she thought of as the offerings for the weekend, she had to admit there were no men with beer guts overhanging their belts. Her stomach tightened. Sex with a stranger. God, she hoped she wasn’t in for a long weekend of disappointment.
Soft strains of music provided a backdrop as the sexes eyed one another. “Which one is yours?”
Lucy smiled and licked her lips. “The one in black, of course. He looks like a wolf.”
“Most of them are wearing black.” Then she spotted the one Lucy was staring at. Not only was he in black, but he had a definite wolfish appearance, wearing a leather mask that covered most of his face, leaving his mouth visible.
Her gaze traveled down his long, lean length. “OMG, Luc!”
Lucy’s hopeful was the cliché of tall, dark, and brooding, but it was his pants that sent lust zinging through Jaimie. His tight leather costume was one piece and clung to his body like a second skin. Except his pants had no crotch. A black glove cupped his impressive bulge. Even his hands were gloved in black. His eyes glittered as he stared at Lucy as though he were a hungry wolf.
“He looks dangerous.”
Lucy’s eyebrow rose and her smile turned sly. “Deliciously dangerous.”
Jaimie studied the rest of the men. Several wore velveteen tunics and pants regal enough to be her prince, but she had no way of knowing for sure. God, don’t let it be the one wearing a thong and black leather harness. “Which one do you think is my prince?”
Lucy frowned. “I don’t know. Could be any of them. Well, those who look princely anyway.” She sighed. “Have you ever seen so many good-looking men in one place? All those strong, muscular bodies. I’m getting wet just thinking about fucking my wolf.”
“Luc!” Her face flamed. The room hummed with sexual energy. “If lust could be bottled, this room would be worth a fortune,” she muttered, glancing down the line of women. She spotted Snow White, a woman she thought might be Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel, with her long, blond hair.
Grinning, Lucy nudged Jaimie and chuckled. “Look, there’s Little Bo Peep and Mary who lost her lamb.”
Jamie studied the two women who’d just entered. Both were short and cute. Mary looked like a schoolgirl in her pink dress with Peter Pan collar while Bo’s costume consisted of a white blouse and red checked skirt that bounced with every step, revealing a red garter holding up her stockings. She carried a hooked staff.
Bo grinned as she bounced up to them. “I’m little Bo Peep, and I’m looking for my sheep.” She turned her head and looked at the men.
“Ah, I see them. “ She skipped over to two men who immediately fell to their hands and knees.
Jaimie’s jaw dropped, and her eyes nearly boggled right out their sockets. Bo’s skirt had been cut away in the back, revealing the woman’s very nice backside and the fact she wore a red thong, leaving the rest of her bare. She reached the two men wearing furry hats and collars—and little else—and hooked the end of her staff around the neck of one man and clipped a rope leash to the collar of the second man, then led them to the other end of the room. Jaimie couldn’t take her eyes off the men’s nicely rounded asses.
“Ah, Little Bo Beep’s found her sheep,” Lucy said with a giggle.
“Lucy!” Her voice hitched to a squeak. What the hell had she gotten herself into? “I can’t do this. I’m not into whips and bondage and whatever else goes on here.” Panic rose and closed off her throat. She glanced at the door, ready to bolt, but Lucy grabbed her arm.
“Relax, Jaimie. Give yourself a chance.” She leaned close. “I promise you’re going to have the best sex this side of the Rockies.”
Before she could respond, the double doors swept open and a tall, incredibly and impossibly handsome man entered. Though his eyes were masked, the rest of his features promised strength from his square jaw, firm yet plump lips, and aquiline nose. He wore royal purple leather with gold accents and a purple cape of velvet edged in white. The metallic thread throughout his cape glittered and sparked in the bright lights.
“I bet he’s your prince.” Lucy elbowed Jaimie.
All thoughts of leaving vanished as Jaimie stared at newcomer. Oh man, let that be my prince! The tunic hugged his body, showing off wide shoulders, a nice broad chest, flat belly, and narrow hips. Her gaze lowered.
Oh my! The leather of his pants was skintight and left little to the imagination. He was huge. She wanted more than anything for him to stop and let her run her fingers along the outline of his cock. The gasps from the women closest to her said that they all wanted that prince to be their partner.
He walked past without acknowledging her, and she had to work to stifle her moan. His beautifully rounded ass begged to be caressed. Okay, she was getting wet just thinking of sex with that man. Let him be mine!
“If that’s my prince, I’m in heaven,” she whispered to Lucy.
He took his place at the end of the line of men. When he turned and surveyed the room, she stared, lust in her ears and in her blood. She throbbed with need. Yep, wet with lust.
Her attention was drawn back to the door when Hastings stepped in and announced, “Queen Grimhilde.”
Jaimie gaped at the tall woman in leather and lace and the four men who followed, two to the right, two to the left, each a step behind their queen. The men wore shiny black boots, full masks, and sling-style fishnet bodysuits that did little to hide their cocks.
The woman pulled a short whip from her belt and snapped it. The room went quiet, and the music faded away. “Good afternoon, my lovely subjects. I’m Queen Grimhilde, Snow White’s evil stepmother, and as I survey all of you gathered in this room, I declare I am still the fairest in all the land.”
Jaimie laughed with everyone else, though hers was edged with nerves.
“Your host, as usual, is otherwise engaged, but has made available his castle and grounds. Most of you know the rules. Those who are new, your partner will explain what you need to know. You will each be shown to your quarters for the weekend. We’ll meet in the ballroom Saturday evening for the ball. Until then, remember—safe, sane, and consensual.” She began calling couples and sending them on her way. Bo Peep wasted no time shooing her sheep out the door at the back of the room.
“Red Riding Hood. Your wolf awaits.”
Lucy gave Jaimie a wide grin and stepped forward. To Jaimie’s surprise, her friend knelt before her partner while he walked around her several times then snapped his fingers. Lucy stood, head bowed, and followed her playmate out.
Jaimie hesitated, then stepped forward. She glanced at the other end of the room, but the prince she hoped was hers wasn’t there.
“You will be taken to your carriage.” The queen snapped her fingers, and one of the men in black stepped forward.
“If you will follow me?” He bowed low.
Jaimie followed her guide back through the mansion and out the front door, then gasped. The queen hadn’t been joking. There, waiting for her, was a white horse-drawn carriage with a footman standing beside the open door. The inside was a deep, rich burgundy. She got in, and as the team of horses set out, she felt as though she’d stepped into another time and place.
The estate was large and beautiful from the wide expanse of lawn, formal gardens, and trees lining the gravel road. The horses finally stopped in front of a tiny white cottage surrounded by a wild array of wildflowers. Afternoon sun lit the entire house. The scene reminded her of a brilliant painting.
The footman opened the door of the carriage. In a bit of a daze, she stepped out.
“There you go, miss.”
Jaimie watched the carriage continue down the path, then walked to the door. Did she knock or just go in? Figuring this was like a hotel and this was her room for the weekend, she entered. And there, standing near the fireplace, stood her prince.