“Club Sin is no longer safe.”
Six words Dmitri Pratt had never imagined saying rushed from his mouth, and having said them out loud made them real. Sitting behind the cherrywood desk in his home office, Dmitri faced the men he’d appointed to oversee his exclusive BDSM dungeon, Club Sin, located in the basement.
Nestled by the bay window in the corner of the room, Club Sin Masters Kyler Morgan and Aidan McKnight sat on the black leather couch, frowns creasing their brows. Next to them on the wingback chairs, the other Club Sin Masters, Miles Sanchez and Porter Marshall, stared straight ahead in evident confusion.
Gutted by the realization of what lay before him, Dmitri shifted his focus to the Club Sin submissive standing near the doorway, awaiting his direction. “Please explain our situation, Sarah.”
Sarah’s head was bowed. Her long black hair curtained her face, yet it couldn’t shield the quick intake of breath passing through her cherry-red lips. “I’m not sure if you all know this, but I work for ”
Porter, a private investigator—who was physically suited for his job, being tall and solidly built—asked, “The tabloid?”
“Yep, that one.” Sarah’s head lifted, and she gazed at the men through her thick lashes, revealing shy brown eyes. “Earlier tonight my boss delivered an envelope of pictures to my house.”
Dmitri tightened his fists on his desk, preparing himself.
Sarah continued, “The pictures show some of the Club Sin members. Their names are on the photos.”
The police officer, Kyler, shot to his feet. His light brown hair was disheveled from his sudden movement, and his fists were clenched at his sides. “Someone has been talking pictures of us . . . here?”
Sarah shifted on her feet, giving a quick nod. “I’ve asked my boss for a few days to investigate the pictures. I thought that might buy you some time.”
“That was smart of you, Sarah,” said Aidan, a defense attorney and the most serious of the men.
Dmitri noted Sarah’s small smile at the compliment before she added, “You have to act fast to find the leak. I’ve got a week to investigate before she prints the story.”
Dmitri considered suing the tabloid. They could intervene before the story broke. The photographer could be resentful, though, and simply post the photos on the Internet. Frustrated by the thought, he scanned the faces of his close friends, knowing the decision also belonged to them. “Thank you for relaying what you’ve learned, Sarah. I’d ask that you excuse yourself now.” She turned to exit the room. Before she left, Dmitri added, “Please keep this information to yourself until I can talk to the members.”
“I understand.” She shut the door behind her.
Silence remained in her absence.
Sarah had told him about the pictures a half hour ago, and Dmitri had yet to accept it. Conflicted by his personal feelings and his responsibility to Club Sin members, he examined the twelve pictures on his desk. The faces staring back were of himself and his submissive, Presley, plus the Club Sin Masters and their submissives, along with the lone bachelor, Miles.
The only Master not pictured was Sawyer Quinn, which told Dmitri that the pictures had been taken sometime in the last year. Sawyer had left behind Club Sin and the BDSM lifestyle before marrying Chloe Nash five months ago. A frown pulled on Dmitri’s mouth as he also noted images of a well-known heart surgeon who was a Dominant and a couple of submissives who had high-powered jobs.
While the pictures didn’t show anyone inside the dungeon, all of them showed women in a vulnerable moment, with wind catching coats or skirts and revealing a garter belt or lacy panties beneath. Dmitri didn’t doubt that someone had spent a lot of time staking out his house, waiting for the perfect moment to capture the damning pictures.
Aidan rose from his place on the couch and approached Dmitri’s desk. Brows drawn together over his gray eyes, he picked up a picture of himself and his wife. In bold writing it was captioned “What the fuck is this?” he growled.
“Believe me, I wish I knew.” Dmitri gripped the arms of his chair, staying put as the other Masters positioned themselves around Aidan to see the pictures. Waves of anger ignited in the room, making the air thick.
Porter’s hazel eyes blazed when he saw the photo of his wife, Kenzie. “Does Sarah have any suspicions of who’s behind this?”
Dmitri shook his head. “Her boss is keeping the person’s identity a secret.”
Miles grabbed one of the photos. “Is Sarah in any of these pictures?”
“No.” Dmitri understood the implication. “But she brought the information forward. I doubt she’s involved.” He drew in a long breath, settling his rage, not wanting to accuse anyone who didn’t deserve it. “In fact, I can’t imagine anyone in Club Sin doing this to the members.”
Porter cursed at the photo in his hand and then dropped it on the desk. “What about enemies? Anyone piss off someone lately?”
Of course the private investigator went straight to the motive of vengeance, Dmitri thought. As Dmitri watched each Master shake his head, even he couldn’t come up with a suspect. “The casino brings some heated conversations with my competitors”—that went hand in hand with being the president of one of Vegas’s top casinos—“but that said, I don’t imagine anyone would feel threatened enough by me to do this.”
Aidan brushed a hand across the stubble on his jaw and nodded in agreement. “I can make enemies in my line of work. But nothing that warrants this defamation.”
Kyler crumpled the picture of himself and his wife, Ella, before tossing it in the garbage can. “We all piss off someone in some way every day.” His lips thinned. “Christ, this could ruin us all.”
Aidan returned to the couch and dropped down on it. “If this gets out, Cora’s employer will fire her.”
That weight landed on Dmitri’s shoulders. He scraped a hand across his eyes, trying to ease the helpless feeling. He was well aware that Cora’s employer wouldn’t understand her BDSM lifestyle—she was a social worker and worked with teens. He was certain that many of the parents of those kids would object to Cora continuing to counsel them. Many in the vanilla world didn’t understand the BDSM lifestyle. Perhaps some people turned a blind eye, but others passed judgment. Hence the reason Club Sin members kept their lifestyle a secret.
No one needed a scandal.
“This will hurt us all,” Dmitri said. Including his submissive, Presley. Her parents didn’t need to know about her sexual preferences. “But it will also complicate my professional life.”
Miles frowned at Dmitri before he returned to his chair. “This won’t affect me on a personal level or a professional one.” Dmitri knew Miles had no ties. He’d recently sold his construction company to free up time for a personal life. Both of his parents had passed away many years before, and he didn’t have a submissive to protect. Miles crossed an ankle over a knee, his stern eyes focused on Dmitri. “If there’s a way to place this on my head, go for it.”
“I appreciate that.” Dmitri rested his elbows on the desk. “But I hope this doesn’t land on anyone’s head.” He steepled his fingers under his chin, considering his options. His members put their trust in him to keep Club Sin a secret and to maintain the club as a safe place to play.
Porter let out another curse and returned to his chair beside Miles. “We’re lucky that Sarah managed to get us some time.”
Dmitri nodded. “Let’s come up with some ideas about how to handle this mess. How about we meet tomorrow at the casino? Let’s say nine o’clock.” Once he received nods of agreement, he added, “At the moment, the safety of our members must be our priority.”
Kyler cocked his head, his eyes searching Dmitri’s. “What are you suggesting we do?”
“The only thing I can, to ensure that no other photos are taken.” Burning with anger, Dmitri pushed away from his desk and rose, facing the men he respected above all others. “Club Sin must close.”