The Prince(5)

By: Tiffany Reisz


The Present

The fear had been his favorite part. The fear that followed him like the footsteps through the woods where he’d fled for sanctuary and found something better than safety. The footsteps…how his heart had raced as they grew louder, drew nearer. He’d been too afraid to run anymore, afraid that if he ran he would get away. He ran to be caught. That was the only reason.

Kingsley remembered his sudden intake of air as a viciously strong hand clamped down onto his neck…the bark of the tree trunk burning his back…the smell of the evergreens around him, so potent that even thirty years later he still grew aroused whenever he inhaled the scent of pine. And after, when he woke up on the forest floor, a new scent graced his skin—blood, his own…and winter.

Three decades later he could never uncouple sex from fear. The two were linked inextricably, eternally and unrepentantly in his heart. He’d learned the potency of fear that day, the power of it, even the pleasure, and now thirty years later, fear had become Kingsley’s forte.

Unfortunately, at this moment his Juliette was not afraid.

He could change that.

Kingsley watched her out of the corner of his eye while he sipped his wine. Standing next to Griffin and young Michael, she smiled in turns at each of them while they bent her exquisite ears with the tale of how Nora Sutherlin had brought them together. For one single solitary day without hearing about the amazing Nora Sutherlin, he would cash out half his fortune, lay it on a pyre in the middle of Fifth Avenue, set it afire and watch it turn to ashes. If only it were that easy to kill the monster he’d created.

No, he corrected himself. The monster they had created.

Juliette glanced his way and gave him a secret smile, a smile that needed no translation. But he would wait, bide his time, let her think he wasn’t in the mood tonight. He’d let her anticipation build first before replacing it with fear. How beautifully Juliette wore fear, how it shimmered in her bistre eyes, how it shivered across her ebony skin, how it caught in her throat like the scream he’d hold inside her mouth with his hand...

Kingsley’s groin tightened; his heart began to race. Setting his wineglass down, he strode from the bar through the back room and into the hallways of The 8th Circle. Right outside the door to the bar, his foot connected with something lying on the floor. Curious, he bent down. Shoes. A pair of shoes. He picked them up. White patent-leather stilettos…size six.

Shoes last seen on the feet of Nora Sutherlin.

Staring at the shoes, Kingsley pondered how and why they’d ended up in the hallway outside the bar. Nora could do almost anything in her high heels. He’d seen her top some of the most hardened masochists in them. She’d beaten them, whipped them, flogged them, kicked them... She could stand on a man’s neck in high heels, walk on his bruised back, balance on one leg while her other foot was being worshipped. He knew of only one activity she couldn’t do in her towering high heels—run.

He carried the shoes down to the bottommost floor, where he and a few of the other VIPs kept their own private dungeons. At the last door on the left, he paused, but didn’t knock, before entering.

A man, blond and tall and deep in thought, stood by the bed, his arms crossed, his brow furrowed.

“Have you ever heard of knocking?” Søren uncrossed his arms and leaned his shoulder against the bedpost. Kingsley clenched his jaw.

“I’ve heard rumors of knocking. I never believed them.” Kingsley stepped into the room. No one’s dungeon at the Circle exemplified the concept of minimalism better than Søren’s. It held nothing more than a four-poster wrought-iron bed tucked into an alcove, a Saint Andrew’s cross front and center, and a single trunk filled with various implements of torture. Søren’s sadistic side was the stuff of legend at The 8th Circle and throughout the Underground. He didn’t need a thousand types of floggers and single-tails and dozens of canes and tawse and toys. Such a piece of work was Søren—he could break a submissive with a word, a look, with his penetrating insight, his calm, cold dominance that left even the strongest quaking at his feet. He cowed them with the beauty of his exterior first, and second, with the beast that was his heart.

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