Home > Savage Chains: Scarred (Men in Chains #1.6)(15)

Savage Chains: Scarred (Men in Chains #1.6)(15)
Author: Caris Roane

He frowned. What do you mean?

I know what this is costing you.

He seemed so surprised. “Lower your gaze,” he commanded sharply.

Angelica obeyed. She’d taken a risk confronting him like that, with so many people watching them. But she wanted him to know that she understood.

Stop making me like you so damn much. You’re driving me crazy.

Angelica refrained from smiling, but her heart soared. She knew she was being ridiculous, that what she was experiencing with Reyes couldn’t possibly lead to something permanent, but she never thought she’d hear him say she was driving him crazy. It pleased her feminine soul.

He led her straight through the lobby, past the check-in desks to either side of the foyer. Two costumed vampires, both extremely tall and wearing feather-trimmed dominance gear, made the ballroom easy to find.

Music poured from the space, enlivening the foyer.

As usual, Angelica had never seen so many na**d people before, and not just women but men with erect penises. She tried to look elsewhere, but because she had to keep her head lowered certain things were hard to miss.

Once she and Reyes were inside, the main ballroom area was in a sunken space surrounded by dozens of small tables and chairs, all at different elevations. A series of at least ten steps led to a dance floor alive with couples gyrating.

So what do we do now?

We work the room and wait until Scorpion calls for us.

###

Reyes made the rounds and let any number of prominent Starlin members stare at Angelica but postured to make sure no one else touched her.

He saw Engles once, but the bastard merely nodded, his eyes cold. Reyes knew he’d destroyed a lot of goodwill in that direction, but he wouldn’t undo his actions even if he could. Engles had been determined to insinuate himself into the sex performance, and only a hard body slam like the one Reyes had delivered could have stopped Engles.

So Reyes ignored Scorpion’s right hand, especially since the invitation still stood and he’d be meeting with Scorpion for the first time. More than once, however, Reyes wondered why Scorpion was taking such an interest in him when so many other vampires, having served on the board for decades, should have had priority.

He would soon find out.

He’d just finished his second tumbler of scotch when Engles finally approached him, looking none too happy. But Reyes met him stare for stare. Reyes supposed one day he’d have to battle the ass**le for good, but not tonight.

“Scorpion is ready for you. Follow me.”

He turned on his heel and moved quickly, but he looked mad as fire. Reyes caught Angelica against his side, then levitated swiftly after him.

Engles glanced at Reyes, then switched to altered flight as well.

Reyes tracked with him, passing through solid stone.

The trip didn’t last long and Reyes’s internal signal told him they were still within the beachside resort.

The suite was empty and nicely appointed with light-blue silk drapes and matching comforter, dark wood dresser and nightstands. Off to one side, an arched, darkened doorway led to a long corridor that sloped at a downward angle.

Engles gestured toward the bed. “Your instructions are there.” With those words he shifted to altered flight and was gone.

On the bed was a box.

“What do you think this means?” Angelica asked.

“I don’t know.” Reyes drew close to the box and flipped the lid. Inside, a note rested on top of several folds of black leather as well as a flogger.

The flogger had a familiar style with a snake-head topper. Sweet Dove had owned an implement just like this one. His chest tightened. Was it a coincidence?

He unfolded the single sheet of paper and read: “Your slave must wear the costume, though you may keep on whatever you wore to the ball. Through the arched hall, you’ll find a lovely trip down memory lane waiting for you.”

A seal bearing a large S was stamped at the bottom.

Setting the paper aside, he lifted the leather costume, then glanced at Angelica. The chains vibrated against his neck as she looked at it. Her heart rate had jumped.

“You’re to wear this,” he said.

She took the jumbled leather in her hands and lifted it up. “This reminds me a little of what your friend Eve wore during her theatrical performance, only she was dressed in red.”

“You are being too familiar with me,” he said curtly, then slipped into telepathy. Remember that we might be watched.

Right. She lowered her head. “I’m sorry, master.”

As for the outfit, that would follow. The costume is essentially a dominatrix outfit.

Her brows rose. Really? Scorpion wants me to be in the dominant position?

I don’t know. I still have no idea what’s going on here.

Should I put it on?

Reyes nodded. If we’re going to move forward with this you’ll have to. Just remember, you can stop at any time.

Angelica took the costume in hand. I might need your help with this.

In other circumstances, the process of helping Angelica get into any kind of fantasy wear would probably have landed him in bed with her. As it was, despite the fact that he pulled the bustier tight and zipped her up and that her firm br**sts mounded so beautifully in the snug, too-small cups, his nerves kept him from enjoying the moment.

He had a bad feeling about this situation. Why was the flogger like the one that Sweet Dove had used on him and why was Angelica supposed to wear the dominant outfit?

The leather pants were an intricate combination of strips of leather, so that it took more than one try to get each leg through. Once the job was done and she wore the six-inch black stilettos he stood back. I won’t forget this image very soon.

“She’s like a wet dream, isn’t she?”

Reyes turned, the sound of the woman’s voice like broken glass slicing into his skin. She had frizzy red hair and deep cornflower-blue eyes, a small bow of a mouth, and cruelty emanating from every cell of her body.

Sweet Dove.

She turned in a slow circle. “How do I look, lover?”

She wore a cream silk skirt to midcalf, a sheer blouse with sleeves that ran to the wrists, ending in three-inch ruffles, and a gold metallic bra visible beneath.

Her hair was in a cloud around her head, gathered once behind with a gold clip, then flaring in more clouds and streamers down her back.

He hadn’t seen her in decades, and now here she was somehow intimately connected to Starlin and even to Scorpion, the alliteration sinking deep suddenly, like a snake hissing. He wanted to say something to her, to rail at her for all the pain she’d caused him, but nothing would come.

He’d dreamed of this moment, of finally confronting his abuser, yet he stood immobile as though, even after all this time, she could still control him.

But it was Angelica who spoke first. “You’re the bitch who hurt me.”

She pivoted toward Angelica. Though Sweet Dove continued to stare at her, she addressed Reyes. “Your slave needs a lesson in manners. Would you like to teach her, or shall I?”

She extended her hand toward Angelica, but the threat against her moved Reyes out of his stupor. He caught his captor’s wrist and turned her toward him. “What the f**k is this all about, Sweet Dove? I was told I’d be meeting Scorpion.”

Sweet Dove smiled. “And you will. As for Scorpion, he and I are old friends, much older than even Engles and I, or did you not know that?”

Reyes made a decision not to tip his hand. There was no reason why Sweet Dove needed to know that Angelica had a revisiting vision capability. “I didn’t know.”

“I’m a little surprised. Somehow I thought you did. But before we get any further, I really must know how you got free of me all those years ago.”

Reyes recalled the process and how it had taken two decades of slow, determined effort. He gave her the short version. “It was simple. Though it required time and patience, I seduced two of the men you brought in on a regular basis to join in our fun, that’s how.”

She held his gaze. “Actually, I’d already figured it out. But what distresses me to this day is that I never suspected. I thought you liked being with me. I made sure you had pleasure.”

Reyes stared at her for a long, hard moment. Something that had never quite made sense to him now came into sharp focus. He’d always known Sweet Dove to be a pure narcissist, but until now he hadn’t truly understood that she was actually surprised that he’d ever wanted to leave her. She believed what she said, that she’d thought he’d been fulfilled and content serving as her slave.

The woman bought her own propaganda.

But he refused to get distracted by her sense of ill-usage. “I looked for each of those men later, but they seemed to have disappeared.”

She checked her manicure. She had long, sharp nails. “I had to know the truth, so I tortured them. I was never so disappointed in all my life, because as much as they enjoyed inflicting pain on you in my presence, neither lasted very long when put under the cat’s claw.”

Reyes let these words slide off him. He didn’t really care very much about the past, not anymore, especially with Angelica in the room and extremely vulnerable as a human. No matter what Sweet Dove’s game was, he had to protect Angelica and because of Sweet Dove’s Ancestral status she had complete power in the situation.

“And how are you connected to Scorpion and Starlin?”

She moved in his direction, reaching out with her right hand to touch his bare arm. But suddenly Angelica was right there, standing between them. In her stilettos she was taller than Sweet Dove. “Keep your hands off him. He’s my master.”

Sweet Dove’s lips curled, her fangs showing. Then she laughed, a long trill of laughter. “What a stupid human you are, or do you not understand that I could rip you away from Reyes right now? I could have your blood-chains removed and throw you to the dogs or give you to Engles, though I suspect you would prefer the former.”

Reyes felt Angelica ready to respond, but he took her quickly by the arm and pulled her behind him. Aloud he said, “Stand down, slave. You’re out of line.” Privately he added, She can kill you with a single blow. Let me handle this.

“How endearing that your slave has become protective of you, but we will get rid of her once you return to me.”

He wanted Sweet Dove’s focus off Angelica. “I belong to no one, Sweet Dove, or are you called something else now?”

“I am, as it happens. But I can see that you haven’t guessed, which surprises me. You never lacked for intelligence and you were always studying, which I thought endearing in its way.”

He refused to get sidetracked. He had to get a clear picture of what he was dealing with. “What’s your new name?”

She laughed once more. “I swear you’ve grown positively obtuse since you left me. How can you not know who I am?”

Reyes stared at her and then the pieces of the puzzle fell suddenly into place. It couldn’t be, yet in his gut he knew it was true. He felt dizzy as he stated, “You’re Scorpion.”

She nodded. “I am. Do you like the empire I’ve built all around my favorite pastime? I think it sublime. I’m very proud of what I’ve created. The betting pools have been good fun and a real moneymaker, more than the auctions themselves. I won a small fortune on the little Russian. Of course, it helped to know the owner and to encourage him to increase or decrease his beatings. Power is a wonderful thing.”

Reyes stared at his former captor, the woman who had beaten, raped, and tortured him for a century and whom he’d been unable to locate all this time. But there was one thing he had to know, whether or not she suspected his current ruse.

“After Starlin, you’re my second most favorite achievement, you know.” She drew close. “I’ve watched you especially over the past year, when Engles told me you’d applied for membership. I’m good at disguises, you see, and I watched that little Asian beauty suck you off. You bit her ear. Very nice. But what the hell happened at the theater performance?”

Again, Sweet Dove had taught him so much. Without missing a beat he responded, “I was thinking of you, of course, so I got lost in the memories.” Would she buy it? Or would she suspect he’d almost lost his mind in that moment and blown his cover?

She smiled. “Of course you would have. I take it you telepathically commanded your slave to service you?”

He held Sweet Dove’s gaze firmly. “Yes, that’s exactly what I did. I had complete control of her and she performed for me just as I wanted her to.”

Sweet Dove smoothed a hand over his breastplate. “So you were lost in thoughts of me.”

“I was.” How he hated her. He wanted nothing more than to snap her perverse neck. But she still had physical and preternatural power over him and she wouldn’t hesitate to kill Angelica if it served her purpose.

“Oh, and I did so enjoy that even while in a fully aroused state you attacked Engles. I hadn’t had that much fun in ages. You’re both fit, beautiful men. It was like watching the Greeks of old wrestle.”

He worked hard to process the truth that the woman who had enslaved him now led the organization he intended to bring down. It would never be enough to kill her outright. He had to get hold of the entire structure of her organization, all the players, everyone who got paid off, the names of the clubs, the betting organization, every damn thing.

Right now he felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. If he’d been alone, without Angelica, he could have maneuvered through easily, even setting out to seduce his former captor and gain the information he sought.

But Sweet Dove had been a fiercely jealous master and wouldn’t tolerate Angelica’s presence for longer than she had use for her. He needed to understand Sweet Dove’s purpose right now and to somehow figure out a way to save Angelica.

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