The Castle hallway outside Master Marshall’s office was surprisingly void of people. Now and then, the occasional costume-clad guest hurried by on his or her way to whatever kink-themed destination awaited them, but for the five authors sitting in the little reception nook just outside the Master of the Masters’ door, the atmosphere was distinctly less excited and slightly more anxious.
“I thought he liked the boxed set,” Abbie said. Seated at the end of the row of chairs, she leaned out to look at the others in turn. “Didn’t he?”
Chewing on her thumbnail, Maren didn’t meet her eyes. “Well…” she hedged. “The thing about that is, I wasn’t actually going to show it to him.”
Sitting beside her, her eyes growing huge, Tabitha snapped around to look at her. “I thought you said we had permission!”
Having chewed her thumbnail to the quick, Maren started in on the next finger. “Actually, what I think I said was, sometimes it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.”
A slow flush of pink stole up into her cheeks as everyone now turned to look at her with the same measure of shock and appall.
“Maren!” Maggie wailed.
“I’m pretty sure I’d have remembered that if you had,” Darling said dryly.
“Does this mean we’re in trouble?” Abbie asked, but before anyone could answer, the door of Master Marshall’s office opens and a tall, dark-haired woman appeared.
At once both smiling and shaking her head, Kaylee beckoned. “He’s ready to see you now.”
Not quite successful at stifling a curse, Maren got up. Walking to the door, almost afraid to look inside, to Kaylee she whispered, “Is he mad?”
Offering another knowing smile, Kaylee patted her shoulder. “I’ve seen him happier, that’s for sure.” Giving the reluctant woman a gentle push, Kaylee whispered, “Good luck,” and then the door shut, and suddenly Maren found herself standing in Master Marshall’s office, facing down the Master of the Masters by herself.
The room was a comfortable cross between a business man’s office and an Victorian-era study. The couch and loveseat positioned around the hearth where a fire popped and crackled warmly added a rather homey touch, and helped to offset the instant chill that tickled up her spine when she looked down the length of the room to massive desk where the Master in charge sat working on his files. Although his attention seemed wholly fixed on his papers, Maren knew he was very well aware that she was standing there.
“Sit down,” he finally said, making a note on the page before him, still not looking up.
Wiping suddenly sweaty palms against her thighs, Maren crept up to his desk. As she slipped into one of the two waiting chairs on her side, her gaze moved past him to the two canes mounted on the wall just behind his chair. An anxious crawling sensation moved up the backs of her legs and across her bottom. It took everything she had not to squirm where she sat.
“Your name?” he asked.
Maren had to clear her throat twice. “Maren Smith.”
“Yes, I remember your emails. I believe you approached me last fall regarding writing a book detailing some of the things that happen here at the Castle.”
Having gleaned a thing ray of hope she might yet get out of trouble unscathed, Maren sat up straighter. “Yes, I did.”
Looking up at her, Master Marshall pinned her to the seat with an icy stare. “I believe I told you no. Even were anonymity not a major aspect of our standard operating procedures, before I allow just anyone access to the more intimate details of our private little lives, I have to be relatively assured of just who—”
“Oh!” Seeing another thin ray, Maren straightened even higher. “I’m an author. I’m sure I told you that. I-I write books. Lots of books. You know, like ‘Varden’s Lady’ and um, ‘The Mountain Man’ and…oh, and most recently, I’ve done a couple books in the Corbin’s Bend series. My latest was Have Paddle, Will Travel. You might have heard of it?”
“And did they appreciate the way you invaded their privacy as much as we do?”
Blinking twice, Maren deflated a bit. “I didn’t invade you, sir. I mean, yes, I probably should have tried a little harder to get permission, but technically, I did invent you.”
Marshall stared at her across his desk for several long seconds, before the severity of his frown melted into a reluctant smile. Then he laughed, a soft and dangerous sound. Setting his file to one side, he got up from his desk. “You invented us?”
It was a fight not to squirm in her chair as he came towards her. “Um…well, see…it kind of happened like this…”
“I suppose next you’ll say you invented Alan and Tavy, since it’s their personal life you have most recently intruded upon. Complete with rather graphic retellings of their sexual intimacies. They’ve asked me to give you their very special thanks for that, by the way.” The look Master Marshall gave her as he walked past her chair shuddered her all the way to her toes. He continued on to his implement cabinet. “I’ve decided to let Alan thank you for that himself, since he has also requested a few minutes of your time down in the dungeon once I’m done. Which brings to mind, have you ever thought about entering our dungeon program?”
“D-d-dungeon program?” Maren squeaked, her stomach sinking all the way to her shoes. “Wait a minute, Master Marshall, um, sir…”
“You know, I’m curious.” He pulled a strap—thick, wide, the leather black as midnight, doubled over and locked into a wooden handle—from the cabinet. “What is your least favorite implement?”
Sheer energy ripped through her legs. She couldn’t stop staring as he walked back toward her, already rolling up his shirt sleeves, that strap dangling from his right hand. Suddenly unable to hold still, Maren vaulted to her feet. “I…that’s a very dangerous piece of information to give out, and I don’t think I want you to have it.”
Feeling oddly breathless, she faced him. Her legs shook again, but she couldn’t quite bring herself to run. And he just kept on coming, the hypnotic intensity of his pale, pale eyes never once leaving her face.
“You say you invented us,” he drawled. “I have a feeling I might already know. It wouldn’t, perchance, be wooden paddles, would it?”
Another shiver, another need to run aborted before it could do more than sent a tremor through her.
“Our Dungeon Master, Dominick, has a collection of wooden paddles I think you’d benefit from seeing. He has asked to see you after Alan is through.” Having reached her side, his left hand slid across the back of Maren’s neck, gliding up into her hair in what was nearly a caress…until it drew into a sudden fist, bringing her with a startled gasp right up onto her toes. “I think I’m going to allow that too. In fact, I’m going to allow a good many Masters their request to have a ‘word’ with you. Sam. Parker. Jackson. Jackson’s a little irate. I think we’ll let him go last.”
When he pressed, Maren bent, landing folded over the edge of his desk with her face just inches from her own file. Good lord, he had a file on her! He had a file on Abbie too. And Tabitha, Darling, Maggie…good lord…
Another breathless protest sprang to her lips, but Maren forgot what it was the moment she felt him raise the bottom hem of her shirt high up over her back and, reaching under her to unfasten her pants, something he did with ridiculous ease, lowering those all the way to her knees.
“I did read your latest release,” Master Marshall admitted, stepping back into position behind her. “Tell me, I’m curious. How much of yourself do you write into your female characters?”
Her knees threatening to buckle at every passing second, the desk beneath her an unwavering support that promised to hold her no matter what, Maren heard herself say, “That’s another dangerous piece of information I don’t think I want you to have.”
His answering chuckle one of dark amusement, Master Marshall stepped back into position behind and to one side of her. “Don’t worry,” he assured her. “Before I’m through with you, young lady, I have a feeling you’re going to tell me all sorts of things you’d rather I not know.”
To Be Continued…
Good morning, everyone! And welcome to the imminent release announcement of Owning O, the next in the Masters of the Castle series to be released this Saturday in a 5-book box set: When the Gavel Falls.
That’s right, five brand new Masters of the Castle stories by some of your favorite spanking authors and you’re going to get to meet them all right here! Every day this week until Saturday, I’m going to showcase each of the five books in the series. Come and join us this weekend for the release party where we will be giving away free copies of the entire box set, free books donated by each of the authors, a $50 and $25 Amazon or B&N gift cards, and a brand new Kindle Fire! So if you haven’t done it already, friend me on Facebook and join us this weekend for the When the Gavel Falls Masters of the Castle release party!
She’s the most highly-coveted submissive the Castle has ever known. She never says no, never cries her safeword, and never plays with the same Dom twice. For years Alan has watched her, always looking but never allowed to touch until the night the Castle hosts its first ever charity auction. Seizing his chance, Alan bids, but defeating the other Doms in the audience is only the first and easiest step in his bid to own the infamous O. Freeing her from herself quickly proves to be much, much harder…Owning O.
Welcome to the Castle.