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       The Queen, p.18

         Part #8 of The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz

  “No,” he said. “Because I’m dying.”

  Nora’s eyes widened and Thorny laughed.

  “Don’t worry. I’m not going to drop dead here and now, right this second. Wait. I might actually. I have a brain aneurysm. It could burst today. It could burst ten years from now. It could never burst. But I don’t know when it will, and when you live with the fear you can go any minute, the last thing you want to do is drag someone else into that nightmare. Not a wife. Definitely not kids.”

  “I’m... I’m very sorry.”

  “Don’t be. I’m at peace about it. Getting the shit beat out of me regularly helps keep things in perspective.”

  “Is this why you and Milady were...close?”

  “I was her sub for a while. Until you came along I thought all dominatrixes were like her.”

  “Like her how?”

  “Like they did what they wanted to do to you without taking your feelings into consideration.”

  “Bad dominatrixes do that. The good ones are there for the client’s needs, not their own.”

  “I get that now. Before I thought it was just the way it was, but I kept going back to her, because she was so good at giving me pain and getting me into subspace. Pain takes me out of myself, helps me forget for a while.”

  “Subspace is good for that. I understand.”

  “Choosing to be in pain helped me get to stage five of the grieving process.”

  “Stage five is acceptance, right?”

  “Right. Acceptance and tattooing.”

  Nora laughed. “Getting tattoos is part of your grieving process?”

  “When one part of your body is out of your control, it feels good to take control of another part. I can’t do anything about my brain, but I could master my skin. With ink and kink.”

  “The tattoos are beautiful. I thought so the night I met you. All thorns, no roses.”

  He held out his arm so she could see them close up. With her fingers she traced the winding thorny vine tattoos from his shoulder to his wrist.

  “‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may / Old Time is still a-flying / And this same flower that smiles today / Tomorrow will be dying.’” Nora recited the famous Robert Herrick poem.

  “Exactly,” Thorny said. “I want to live my life so that when I die, there’s not a single rosebud left on the bush. I will have picked them all and there’s nothing left on the ground but stems and thorns. Gathering rosebuds sounds much more romantic than notching the bedpost, right? And it’s better for the bed, too. Seriously, I notched my bedpost so much it broke off.”

  “Hence the lumber heiress,” she said.

  He pointed at her. “Precisely. Speaking of, I’m late for a very important date.”

  “Here’s your card back.”

  “Keep it,” Thorny said. “Who knows? You might need the Boyfriend Experience someday.”

  Nora walked over to him and kissed him on the cheek.

  “I just might. I’ve never had a real boyfriend before. Go have fun with your wood.”

  “I always do.” In her doorway he stopped and turned back. “Oh, one more piece of advice, Mistress. You know, from one flesh peddler to another.”

  “I’ll take all the advice I can get.”

  “I like my clients. I love my work. But never forget, you’re not there to make friends. You’re there to do a job. Don’t get personally involved with your clients. And whatever you do, always get your money up front.”

  With that he gave her a wink and walked out of her dungeon.

  And then it hit her like a slap to the face—a really sexy slap that’s the precursor to hair pulling and rough and dirty sex. That kind of slap. The best kind of slap.

  Always get your money up front.

  Nora fished in her bag for her cell phone Kingsley had bought for her. She dialed his number and when Juliette answered, she asked for Kingsley.

  “Oui, Maîtresse?” Kingsley said.

  “Come to my dungeon tonight at nine.”


  “Because I have good news,” she said. “I know how to pass your test.”


  A Wicked Game

  NORA TOOK A shower in her new dungeon bathroom and dressed in clothes from her new wardrobe—red skirt (leather), red-and-black-striped corset (silk), black boots (leather with red laces) and since Kingsley was the client tonight and no rule stayed unbroken for long around Kingsley, she put nothing on under the skirt except for one dot of perfume at the top of her thighs.

  Two hours before the scene was to begin, she still didn’t know exactly what to do with Kingsley. She knew how to pass his test, yes. But after that? Her first session with her first client, it had to be good. No, not good. It had to be bad. Wicked. She wanted to ruin Kingsley so that he never looked at another dominatrix again. Fuck that. She wanted him to look at Søren and think him an amateur compared to her. Funny...she almost wanted to knock on Søren’s door and ask him for advice. Hey, she’d say, I’m about to top Kingsley, and I want it to be evil. Any suggestions? Oh, yes, that conversation would go over well, wouldn’t it? Nora laughed at the very thought of it.


  Maybe she didn’t need to call Søren. She already knew what he would do to Kingsley.

  He would strip me naked and drop all my clothes onto the floor. Then he’d walk on them. With shoes on.

  I worshipped him for it.

  He would sometimes pretend I wasn’t there even when I spoke to him...

  I worshipped him for it.

  He would tell me he didn’t want me anymore and then as I was ready to kill myself in agony, he’d smile to show it was all a joke...

  And I worshipped him for it.

  I mocked him once for what happened between him and his sister and you know what he did...

  Then Nora knew what she would do to him.

  He’d either love her for it or hate her for it, but the man would get his money’s worth.

  When nine o’clock arrived, Nora was ready. She heard a rapping on the door and opened it.

  Kingsley waited outside her door looking every inch the gentleman he wasn’t in his dark suit with his French cuffs and silk tie.

  “Bonne nuit, Maîtresse,” he said. “You summoned me?”

  “I did,” Nora said, putting her hands on his chest and kissing him on both cheeks before giving him a long deep kiss on the mouth. A special kiss. The kind of kiss to drive a man to distraction. “Come in.”

  He slipped past her into her new dungeon and she locked the door for privacy. Kingsley kept his submissive and masochistic side a secret from the rest of the Underground—only she, Søren and Juliette knew about it.

  “Excellent work,” he said, taking a stroll of the bedroom and the dungeon, casual as an English lord taking his morning constitutional through Hyde Park. “I like the cross. Nice selection of toys. A dungeon worthy of a queen.”

  “And you’re my first prisoner,” she said.

  “Not yet.” He wagged his finger at her. “You said you know how to pass my test and you haven’t passed it yet. Until you do, you can’t have me. Although I don’t blame you for trying.”

  “I know how to pass your test. I figured it out with a little help from a friend.”

  “Well, you do look the part.” He raked his eyes up and down her body. “You have the attitude.” He tapped her under her chin and she raised it a millimeter higher. “But something’s still missing...”

  “Something is missing. Your wallet.”

  Kingsley slapped his hand over his breast pocket.

  “You don’t think I kissed you just for the fun of it?” she asked. Kingsley cocked his eyebrow at her. “Okay, it was fun. But it also distracted you while I was going through your pockets.”

  “I will kill Søren for teaching you how to pick pockets.”

  “It’s a good trick,” she said, opening his wallet and extracting two thousand dollars in cash. “This should more than cover tonight’s session.”

nbsp; And even better, it would pay for her new laptop.

  She tossed his wallet back to him, and tucked the wad of money into her corset between her breasts.

  “King or commoner, everybody pays up front. Right?” she asked.

  Kingsley bowed gallantly. “Maîtresse, I am yours.”

  “’s about fucking time.”

  “I’ve been looking forward to this.”

  “So have I,” she admitted. “You want to know how much I’ve wanted this?”

  “How much?”

  Nora slapped him.


  Kingsley clearly hadn’t been expecting the slap. The look on his face was so stunned by it she laughed.

  “That much,” she said.

  “Fuck.” He already sounded breathless. The King of the Underground did not get slapped.

  “Good. Because it’s the first and last time I’m going to hit you tonight.”

  “If you aren’t going to hurt me, then I want my money back.”

  “Oh, I’ll hurt you. I’ll even break you. By the time I’m done with you, you’ll be begging to be inside me.”

  “If you can accomplish that without hitting me, I’ll give you a thousand-dollar tip.”

  “Deal,” she said, grabbing his tie. Using it like a leash, she drew him into the dungeon portion of her suite. She stood him in the center of the room, a room she’d had painted red, red as passion, red as blood.

  “Stand here, and don’t move.” She pointed to a spot on the floor, a spot marked by a painted black X. Kingsley put his feet where she’d indicated and Nora began to undress him.

  She pulled off his jacket and hung it on a hook on the wall, untied his tie and unbuttoned his shirt. Methodically and efficiently she removed his clothes, every stitch, right down to his boots.

  “I know you said you liked it when Our Mutual Friend threw your clothes on the floor and stepped on them. But I’m not him. I may do such things to my other clients, but not to you. You’re my king and I will accord you all due respect even as I’m beating you into the hospital.”

  “But not tonight?”

  “No...tonight is special,” she said running her hands over his naked chest. She pushed her fingers against one of the old scars on his chest. “So many wounds. So many scars. Outside and in. Do they hurt?”

  “Only the ones on the inside, Maîtresse.”

  “Those are the ones I’m interested in tonight.” She touched his face, his lips, his eyelashes. Gentle touches, designed to soothe, not scare. “I’m going to blindfold you now. Do you have a safe word?”


  “Do you want one?”


  “I think, my King, you will regret that.”

  With that, she wrapped his own tie around his eyes and knotted it in the back. She picked up a lighter and flicked it in front of his covered eyes. He didn’t flinch. Good. She needed total blindness for what she planned on doing to him. Once he was blindfolded completely she strapped leather cuffs to his wrists. From the ceiling she pulled down a hook and rope and secured Kingsley’s wrists to the hook. She pulled the cord and hoisted his hands in the air over his head and knotted the rope. He stood naked and bound, completely and utterly vulnerable. He couldn’t run, he couldn’t see, he couldn’t leave. Perfect.

  “I have to get something in the other room,” Nora said. “I’ll be right back.”

  She walked to the bedroom and shut the door behind her. From under the bed she pulled out a cheap glass jar and a baseball bat.


  “Who the fuck are you?” Nora yelled. “How did you get in here?”

  Nora turned and threw the jar against the door so that it shattered, making a sound like a lamp breaking. She hit the door frame with the baseball bat. She screamed as if she’d been hit.


  “Nora?” Kingsley’s voice called out through the door. He sounded terrified for her.

  She smiled.

  She counted to thirty. She heard Kingsley’s voice again calling her name. She didn’t answer him.

  “Nora? Mistress?” Kingsley asked. “This isn’t funny.”

  She reached into her corset for the tiny bottle of perfume she’d bought an hour ago.

  Chanel No. 5.

  She walked over to the CD player hidden under a shelf and hit Play.

  The familiar strains of Swan Lake permeated the air.

  Nora walked up behind Kingsley and put her mouth to his ear.

  “Bonsoir, petit frère,” Nora whispered. Good evening, little brother.

  “Stop it, Nora. This isn’t funny,” he said.

  “Did you miss me?” Nora asked, still speaking in her very best French accent.

  “I know what you’re doing.”

  Nora spritzed one spray of the perfume into the air over Kingsley’s head. It settled around him like radioactive fallout.

  He inhaled it deeply.

  “I want this to stop,” he said.

  “But I just arrived...” Nora purred in her best faux French accent, the one Kingsley said made her sound exactly like his dead sister. “And I have missed you, petit frère, even if you haven’t missed me at all.”

  Kingsley yanked on his bonds above his head.

  “Let me out, Nora. Right now.”

  “Nora? Was that her name? She’s sound asleep in the other room. I think she’ll wake. Peut-être. Or not...”

  “You’re dead. Nora isn’t.”

  “I’m not dead,” Nora said. “You can’t really die until you’ve finished all your business on earth. And you and I, mon frère, we have unfinished business, don’t we? Oui? Non?”

  Kingsley didn’t answer at first. Nora held her breath. She knew he was close, almost close to giving in...he didn’t want to...but he did...

  “Oui,” he said at last.

  “I thought so. Now answer my question—have you missed me?”

  “Je ne sais pas.”

  “You don’t know if you missed me or not? How could you not know?”

  “I was angry with you.”

  “Pourquoi? What did I ever do to you?”

  “You married Søren.”

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