Siren Enslaved, p.1Part #3 of Texas Sirens series by Sophie Oak
Texas Sirens Book 3
Texas Sirens Book 3
Published by DLZ Entertainment LLC
Copyright 2018 DLZ Entertainment LLC
Edited by Chloe Vale
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or establishments is solely coincidental.
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Table of Contents
Siren Beloved, Coming Soon
Two to Love, Coming Soon
About Lexi Blake
Other Books by Lexi Blake
To the Wednesday night chatters. A better group of righteous perverts doesn’t exist. I’ve grown to appreciate your support and friendship more than you can know.
As always, thanks to my family and friends. And to Kim G and Shayla Black for all the help with nursing me through my “Julian” period.
I’d forgotten how hard this book was for me. Julian was the most closed off character I’d written up to this point in time. But Dani and Finn were truly halves of me. When I wrote this book, I was coming to grips with the fact that my vision of success wasn’t the reality. As many small press and erotic writers found, we weren’t always welcome at the table. We walked into many writers’ groups and RWA chapters with enthusiasm and real book sales, only to be told we weren’t good enough. It didn’t merely happen to me. It was the beginning of the indie and erotic revolution and change is painful. I realize now that this particular book was my reaction to that painful rejection. Fast-forward seven years and the world is a different place. And not. While we’re readily accepted by our romance sisters, the greater publishing world still looks down on us. And yet I am reminded that we have stories that mean something to you—our readers. We have a voice and a unique perspective. So this book is dedicated to all my sisters (and some brothers) who fight every day to have our voices heard, to bring you these stories that are close to our hearts, to show you that you are not alone.
This book is for the writers.
This book is for the fighters.
This book is for you.
Julian Lodge gingerly flicked the four-foot single tail whip and was pleased at the slender line of pink that appeared across Sally’s back. The entire dungeon was silent as was right given the gravity of the ceremony. He quickly laid three more across the skin of his longtime slave’s back and thighs. She never once moved or showed that she even felt the lash. Sally was practically perfect. She never disobeyed or questioned him. She took every punishment he handed out with grace. She was his match, a lovely masochist to match his control freak with a slight streak of sadism. He had been her Master for over two years, the longest he’d ever kept a slave. She’d been his only slave since the incident with Jeremy Walker years before. She’d lived with him, served him, honored him with submission.
He was letting her go.
“Rise, slave.” Julian heard the words come out of his mouth. He pushed them forward, saying all the proper things to keep this ritual moving along. He believed in ritual and routine, was devoted to both, but now he wanted it all over with so he could go back to his penthouse apartment and…he wasn’t sure what came after this.
All around him, he heard the whispers. The Club was like any other social group. There was always gossip, much of it about him.
Sally rose gracefully to her feet. She turned and looked luminous as her eyes met the man beside him. Julian’s heart clenched. She’d never once looked so happy at anything he’d done, but she glowed for Stephen Mann.
The high-powered attorney looked just as happy as he took the whip from Julian’s hand. Julian walked to his former sub and took the collar from her throat.
“Be happy, pet,” he said, meaning every word. He genuinely liked Sally. She’d been a good sub. It wasn’t her fault he wasn’t capable of true commitment. During their years together, he’d never thought of making them exclusive. Their relationship had been comfortable and convenient. He’d known he needed to find her a permanent Dom for the last year. He’d kept up his obligations to her, but his heart wasn’t in it.
Permanent. The word played through his brain like a mystery he had yet to solve.
Nothing in his life seemed permanent.
Sally bowed her blonde head. “Thank you for everything, Sir.”
She wouldn’t call him Master, not ever again. An odd sensation made Julian’s eyes feel strange. His face felt hot. His vision started to cloud. Was he… Oh, hell, no. He ruthlessly tamped down the sentimental feeling that started to overtake him. He wasn’t going to cry. He wasn’t going to think about the fact that he was forty-one years old and had absolutely nothing to look forward to. He had a life most people would kill to live. He was a billionaire, an ultra-powerful financier, and he owned the hottest BDSM club in the south. Unless one considered Sanctum, his security team’s club, but it was only hot because they couldn’t afford an air conditioner.
He had absolutely nothing to feel sad about.
Sally knelt at her new Master’s feet, her head bowed in perfect submission. Stephen Mann’s hand cupped her head, and he offered his thanks as well. Julian moved to the side of the stage as Mann took over. It was only moments before Sally wore a new collar and the couple was accepting congratulations from the members of The Club.
He had a few moments before the crowd broke up. He needed to see if the penthouse was ready for the party that was about to start.
If he could have avoided it, he would have. He felt the odd need to completely pull into himself. But this party was his final obligation to Sally and he intended to honor it.
He stepped up to the private elevator that in twenty minutes would bring everyone to his penthouse where he would fête the happy new couple.
A large man in a dark suit stepped in with him. Ah, his security detail for the evening. He was roughly six foot five and built like a linebacker. And quiet. So not one of the Taggarts or that annoying Miles fellow. He had to admit he liked the broody ones.
“Mr. Lodge,” the man said. He was almost sure the name was Scottish.
McDonald? Nope. This was the other partner. McKay. “Mr. McKay.”
The ex-FBI agent. Yes, he was definitel
“It’s Alex,” he said, his voice low. He stared up at the place where the elevator marked each floor. “Tonight I’m your main contact. Adam is monitoring the building’s CCTV and Sean is backing us up. Everyone in the building right now has been vetted. The doors are locked so it’s smooth sailing from here.”
“Have we had any issues?” There was always something going on, someone angry with him for a decision made. It was precisely why he had a security firm on call.
“We’ve been quiet for days,” McKay explained.
He’d made a good call investing in McKay-Taggart Security Services. “Thank you. Are the caterers prepared?”
“Yes, unless you ask Sean, and then they need to redo their dumplings,” McKay said with a shake of his head. “You’ll have to forgive him. He’s a foodie. I have no idea where he got it from because we grew up on Spam, if you know what I mean.”
He didn’t. He’d never experienced a day of material wanting, though that didn’t mean he’d never wanted.
He rather wanted now. The problem was he wasn’t sure what he wanted.
“Are you married, Alex?”
The man beside him stiffened, and Julian regretted the question. He was about to take it back when Alex replied. “I’m divorced but I wish I wasn’t.”
And that was all he needed to know. Why was he even asking the question? He wasn’t chatty. He didn’t need to know about people’s lives. “What did you get out of being married? That you didn’t get from being single? Please feel free to not answer if I’m intruding. It’s been an odd night. I find myself disconcerted and when I am I tend to ask questions I probably shouldn’t.”
Alex McKay’s lips turned up slightly, a rueful smile. “I’m surprised to see you so human.”
“Oh, I assure you, I’m the very definition of human.” He made more mistakes than most. He was simply excellent at covering them up.
The door opened and McKay held it for him. “I was a better human being when I was married to Eve. I don’t know if she made me that way or if loving her made me strive to be better, but the result was the same. I felt more. I was more.”
“And you divorced why?”
McKay’s face flushed, but he stood tall. “I made some terrible mistakes and she couldn’t forgive me. Love isn’t invincible, it turns out. It’s actually quite fragile if you forget to work on it. I suppose love and marriage is like everything else. It is what you put in it. I forgot and mine died. Is that what happened with you and Sally?”
He brushed that line of inquiry off. “Not at all. Sally was a close companion, but that word never came up. I never once thought it. I will miss her though. My apologies for intruding on something private.”
Alex stepped out behind him. “If you could give her up, it wasn’t love.”
Really? Not that they weren’t in accord, but there was one point he needed to make. “I agree, but I wonder about you. You divorced your wife.”
“She divorced me, and I haven’t given up. I might never. She’s smart. We worked together at the FBI and I put my job before her. It was the biggest mistake of my life.”
He’d studied up on the group. He could only be talking about Eve St. James, the psychologist. “Ah, the blonde. She’s quite beautiful.”
“She’s everything.” There was such longing in the man’s voice. “She’s the smartest woman I’ve ever met, the most loving. She was my sub and I let her down. I should have cared more about her than my job. Fuck. I should have listened to her. That’s where I made my real mistake.”
He’d never once longed for any one specific person, never wanted anyone in that way. Well, maybe once. Maybe once he’d thought about taking on a long-term project. He was sure the man in front of him would balk at the idea of him calling a relationship a long-term project. “Well, I hope you get what you’re looking for.”
McKay nodded his way. “I hope you figure out what you’re looking for.”
Julian stared out at his penthouse. Everything was immaculate. His life was perfect. So why was it also empty?
“So do I.”
Two hours later, Julian wondered when his hosting duties could end. He hadn’t been able to stop thinking about what the security guy had said, hadn’t been able to forget the hollow look in the man’s eyes. He walked out onto his balcony, the sounds of the party fading. The lights of Dallas twinkled around him, but he didn’t really see them.
“It’s a good thing you did.”
He turned to look at Leo Meyer as the younger man walked out onto the balcony, two beers in his hand. The thirty-two-year-old former Navy SEAL was his Dom in residence. He pressed a longneck into Julian’s hand. “It was time.”
He’d been looking forward to some alone time. “I’m glad you think so.”
Leo took a sip of his own beer as he looked out over the city. He stood next to Julian, a smile on his face. “Come on, man. I know beer isn’t your speed, but you gotta drink a little. It’s tradition.”
Chuckling, Leo turned to face him. He’d changed out of his leathers into more comfortable jeans and a T-shirt. Julian despaired of him ever becoming fashionable. Rather like another of his protégés. “You broke up with a girl, man. It’s perfectly traditional to drown your sorrows in cheap beer.”
Julian seriously doubted that the beer in his hand was cheap. He’d had the entire affair catered in, and it had cost him a small fortune. Still, if it was tradition, he didn’t see why not. He took a sip of the cold brew. It wasn’t half bad. “Should I drown my sorrows even when I willingly gave the sub away?”
Leo’s mouth turned down. “It was the best thing for her, boss.”
It had been necessary. Though he knew he would miss Sally, he found himself no longer capable of giving her what she needed. He refused to fail her, so he found her someone else. “Sally deserves to be happy.”
There was a long pause. The cool air prickled along Julian’s skin, reminding him he hadn’t bothered with a jacket. He didn’t even think about getting one now. At least the cold meant he felt something. He hadn’t in a long time, not until earlier this evening.
“Don’t you deserve to be happy, too?”
“I am happy.” It was an automatic response, though he knew it was something of a lie. He wasn’t sure what happiness was. His armor came up around him, and Julian felt his face go cold. He turned to Leo. “I have everything I could possibly need. Who wouldn’t be happy?”
Leo sighed and tipped back his beer. “And I spoke too soon. Well, when you’re ready to talk, I’ll be around.” He shoved off the railing and turned to go.
“And what would I talk about?”
Leo’s hand was on the door. “The fact that you’re frozen. When you’re ready, we’ll talk about the fact that you aren’t moving forward with your life.”
That was the absolute last thing he wanted to talk about. “You’re fired. The next time I hire a Dom in residence, I’ll make sure he doesn’t have a degree in psychology.”
“You do that, boss,” Leo said with a smile that let him know he didn’t take his threat seriously. “One of these days I’m going to put that degree to good use. For now, I’m enjoying spanking pretty subs. I just psychoanalyze you in my spare time.”
“Well, stop, please, or I might make good on my threat.” He didn’t want to be psychoanalyzed. He was certain he wouldn’t be happy with what he would find.
“I doubt it. You like me, Julian. You’ll do amazing things for the people who get past that shell around you. You can actually be quite tolerant when your heart is engaged. That’s what those people in there don’t understand. You have a heart. You simply prefer not to use it.”
The door closed behind Leo, and Julian stared out at the night, the words echoing in his brain. Perhaps Leo didn’t know him as well as he thought. Julian had no idea how to use his heart, or perhaps he would have been able to keep the people he loved close to him. There hadn’t been many, but every one of
Hell, he didn’t know himself. Perhaps the time had come to be alone for a while. For the first time in years, he didn’t have a slave and he didn’t particularly want one.
He thought about the lovely blonde. Eve. What had her husband done? He’d put his job before her. Julian rather thought the man’s true crime was allowing her to leave in the first place. She was smart and competent and submissive. With the right Master she could find heights she’d never thought possible.
That was what he wanted. He wanted to be necessary. To want and give as much as he received, and yet he hadn’t found the right submissive.
Not slave. He was fooling himself about the slaves. He needed more than a slave could give him.
He thought about a phone call he’d taken earlier that day. Jackson Barnes had called. He called at least once a week, reaching out. Each time Jack called, Julian asked what was wrong, and Jack simply responded that he was calling to “shoot the shit.” It was confusing. Why would Jack call if he had nothing important to say? Julian would never have used the phrase himself, and yet he found he looked forward to the weekly calls more and more. He and Jack talked about their lives, and Jack often spoke of the wife he shared with Sam Fleetwood. Abigail was pregnant again and due any day now. Jack and Sam were younger than he was. He’d trained them, helped them along, and they had found their happiness elsewhere. They had a family.
Julian wasn’t sure that was what he wanted. He simply wanted to want something.
I was a better human being when I was married to Eve. I don’t know if she made me that way or if loving her made me strive to be better, but the result was the same. I felt more. I was more.
That was what McKay had said. What would it feel like to be more?
He breathed in the night air. He needed to think about it. Yes, some time alone would do him good.
Siren Enslaved by Sophie Oak / Romance & Love / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes