Teagan walked through the open grand entrance of the Castle. She passed one of the largest men she’d ever met—one of the Blackmoor brothers, a Drakonae dragon-shifter—and into a spacious marble-floored foyer. Two grand staircases with wrought iron bannisters curled up to the second floor on either side of the space. That level of the fortress was the Blackmoor family’s personal living space.
The majority of club activities took place on the lower level. There was a giant main hall with large cubicle spaces for scenes. Sitting areas for conversations and aftercare. Then there was the dungeon and the private playrooms, all named by color and each with its own personality to match.
A petite, pink-haired pixie greeted her. “Welcome to Luck of the Draw Night at the Castle, Teagan. I’m so glad you decided to give it a whirl.”
Teagan smiled at Seely, the pixie who ran the Castle club and was second-in-command only to the twin Drakonae brothers, Miles and Eli, both dragon shifters.
“Seemed like a good change of pace. I don’t like to get too attached.”
Seely’s eyebrow rose, a question tugging at her lips, but she didn’t speak again. She merely gestured her forward, through the main hallway.
The Sisters, a group of special women with prophetic powers who lived in the castle with the Blackmoor dragons, usually mingled with out-of-town visitors, but tonight it was locals only and no Sisters allowed. It was a little strange, but everything about the town was different from the norm.
Luck of the Draw Night was supposed to be the best way to get matched up with a new Dom. Rumors that Fae dust played a role in the matching circulated through the town’s gossip mill. She wasn’t looking for any type of long-term commitment, but curiosity had won out over her normal antisocial behavior.
Teagan walked past several men from the pack in town. They ignored her, continuing to go on among themselves about the latest military news from the border. She didn’t expect attention from them. She kept to herself in town and preferred to do the same in the club. The last thing she needed was some male thinking he could fix her. Or claim her.
All she needed was a Dom with a nice sadistic streak. Pain was her game. It had been since she’d lost everything she held dear in her life. If it weren’t for the efforts of the Lycan Underground, she wouldn’t even be alive. Sometimes she wondered if it would’ve been better that way.
She followed a couple of leather-clad women out into the garden courtyard.
“Welcome, friends. Please put your name in the hat. We will draw matches in ten minutes. Remember that just because you put your name in the hat doesn’t mean you will be matched.” A beautiful pixie with long, snow-white hair sat on a stool in the center of the courtyard. She held a black satin top hat and was clothed in a lacy merlot-colored dress that didn’t leave anything to the viewer’s imagination. She practically shimmered with magick, from her sparkling eyes to the ethereal glow of her skin beneath the red of the lace.
It wasn’t a secret that Teagan frequented the Castle. Or that she chose to play with sadists who would make sure the only thing she focused on was the pain they inflicted instead of the pain she kept locked away in her mind.
She glanced around the courtyard, looking for her usual Dom, but Javier was nowhere to be found. The vampire was one of her favorite partners. He was willing to give her what she asked for. Lately though, he’d been avoiding her. So here she was, trying to find a replacement. She needed a Dom… a Master. The security of having someone else telling her what was going to happen, taking all those choices off her plate, was the only thing that kept her going right now.
Walking forward, she took a slip of paper and a pencil from the pixie. After writing her name on the paper, she folded it in half and dropped it into the hat.
The pixie smiled and took the pencil back from her. “Good luck tonight, Teagan.”
Teagan smiled and stepped back from the center of the courtyard. Several tough-looking Doms were standing to her left. One of the particularly handsome ones smiled at her. His scent filtered across the open space—Lycan.
She moved away quickly, trying to put some distance between herself and the interested male. Lycans were bossy and territorial—she should know. An exclusive relationship was the last thing she needed right now. That pixie better not match me with a wolf. She hadn’t met a Lycan Dom yet that liked to keep things un-exclusive.
She scanned the courtyard again.
They were all wolves.
No. This wasn’t going to work. She shouldn’t be here.
Teagan walked up to Kylie. “I’m sorry. I think I made a mistake coming tonight.”
“You didn’t. I promise.” She laid a hand softly on Teagan’s forearm. “If you decide you don’t want the match, you can always say no before anything happens.”
And she really needed to let out some stress tonight.
Teagan took a deep breath and backed away. It was only one night. Anything could be survived for a night. It’s not like she had to scene with whomever she was matched with. The pixie was right. She could always say no. The beautiful thing about BDSM clubs was the power she held over what happened each and every time she visited. Nothing would happen tonight unless she let it.
Unlike life, everything in the Castle was a choice. Nothing was forced.
This messed-up world had taken everything from her—friends, parents, her daughter, and her mate. The physical pain she sought was the only way she could release the torment she held inside her.
* * *
Finn watched the skittery Lycan female try to back out of the hat drawing. He inhaled deeply, but she was downwind and he couldn’t catch her scent. He’d heard her tell the pixie she’d made a mistake. But when Kylie told her she hadn’t, his curiosity had been very piqued. That meant there was a good match for her here tonight.
He was here every Luck of the Draw Night Kylie hosted. He’d wanted a mate for years, but he wanted what his parents had. A fated match. He didn’t want to settle for someone he couldn’t have kids with. A lot of Lycans did, but he just couldn’t bring himself to give up on that dream. If he could find her here at the Castle, all the better.
Ever since his cousin, Brogan, had introduced him to the lifestyle of D/s, he’d felt as though he’d found a piece of his soul that had been missing. He’d fallen into the scene at the club with ease and never had trouble finding a partner for an evening, but that wasn’t what kept him coming back.
His goal was to find a woman his magick connected with. A Lycan female that needed to be cared for as much as he needed to care for her. The idea that a woman, his mate one day, would trust him so completely was what drove him forward.
She would appear.
Kylie was very particular about Luck of the Draw Night. The regular members of Castle knew this was the night you came to find a partner who complemented you perfectly. Fae dust was unlike any other magickal substance in the world. It could fulfill almost any wish of the pixie using it.
Kylie, the pixie holding the hat in the center of the courtyard, was one of the dungeon monitors who helped run the club for the Sisters and for the Blackmoor brothers. She was a sub, but a bratty one that required a Dom who enjoyed a little sass with his submission. It wasn’t anything Finn was interested in right now.
The pixies oversaw and took care of the day-to-day activities and contracts between the Sisters and visitors so the Blackmoors could focus on their family and the protection of the town.
Kylie was also a fiercely strong sub whom he’d never had the pleasure to scene with, but he’d watched her with Miles and Eli in years past—long before Diana had returned. And even though he’d seen the dragons with other partners, they’d always kept things platonic. It was about the dominance for them. Not the sex. At least until their mate returned.
Kylie would make the right Dom one hell of a partner.
Right now he wanted to know more about one of the newer residents of Sanctuary. The Lycan female, Teagan, had been in Sanctuary a while but kept to herself. She was a frequent visitor to the Castle, usually with the vampire Protector Javier or a few of the other sadist regulars. He’d observed her scening with the vampire before and wasn’t sold that she was really a masochist, but he wasn’t her Dom and tried not to stick his nose where it hadn’t been invited.
But tonight she looked available, and he was hungry. There was something about her. He just couldn’t tear his eyes from her.
He’d asked around the neighborhood, but even the gossip queens didn’t have much to tell him. Just that she kept to herself and hadn’t shared her story with anyone since arriving in town.
Finn walked up to Kylie and dropped his name into the top hat.
The pixie smiled. “Glad you decided to put your lot in this evening.”
“You know something I don’t, sugar?”
Kylie raised an eyebrow teasingly. “You know I don’t control the dust. We won’t know until we know.”
“Sure we won’t. You feel matches before your dust picks them, and we all know it,” he said, whispering the last part.
She laid her hand on his arm and then looked up, meeting his gaze. Her blue irises sparkled with white flecks of magick, and he felt a chill rush along the skin of his arm, starting from where her fingertips touched.
“It’s good you are in the drawing tonight, Finn. Though I’m surprised your own magick hasn’t picked up on her yet.” Her voice was matter-of-fact and gave nothing away. She was a hell of a poker player, and he hated that he couldn’t get any kind of read from her response.
He grinned and nodded to her before walking back to his buddies standing to the side. Only one other of them had put his name in the hat tonight. Most of them were just going to wait around and pick up a sub that didn’t get matched off… if there were any left.
Only five subs had shown up tonight. But if a perfect partner wasn’t there that night, Kylie’s dust wouldn’t match them. Interestingly enough, he’d seen the dust not match certain people one night and then months later it would—like it knew exactly what those people needed at the time of the lot casting.
“Hey, man.” Brogan jabbed him in the ribs and chuckled. “Which sub you got your eye on? Don’t tell me it’s the female who likes that vampire sadist. I saw you watching her.”
He shot the male an angry glare. His wolf was pissed that Brogan was speaking disrespectfully about the little sub. It wasn’t just his wolf that was pissed either.
“Shut it,” he snapped, his fangs descending for a split second. Damn. His wolf was more upset than he’d thought. Surely Kylie couldn’t feel a Lycan match before he did. His eyes searched the room again for a sign or scent of Teagan. Gods, he wanted it to be her.
Brogan threw up his hands in mock surrender. “Chill, bro. Didn’t mean it that way. Masochists just aren’t usually your drink of choice.”
“We’ll see soon enough,” Liam added in, tipping his head toward Kylie.
Finn turned around, his eyes glued to the pixie’s face.
Kylie placed her hand to the mouth of the top hat, and iridescent dust fell from her palm and into the hat with a soft white glow. She reached into the hat and pulled a piece of paper from inside. The dust had fused two names together.
“First match tonight is Lori and Cole.”
A curvy brunette Lycan female near the main courtyard entrance beamed as the Lycan male he’d known several years crossed the space to escort her away. They disappeared down a long hallway, and Finn turned his attention back to Kylie’s hand.
She reached into the hat again and brought out another match. The two fused pieces of paper glowed brightly in the moonlight shining down into the courtyard.
“There is only one other match for tonight.” She took a breath and then read the names. “Teagan and Finn.” Her voice was sure and unwavering.
He caught her bright gaze and she smiled broadly at him. The little twit had known the whole time. Sneaky little pixie.
Turning his head, he met Teagan’s gaze and his stomach knotted. Her face read straight disappointment. Hold the doubt. She’d jumped straight to fear.
Why? She played with sadists. Why would a typical Dom make her look like she was ready to flee to the hills?