Vienna Betrayal - Lila Dubois

Chapter 1

She watched the quiet man from the shadows of her hooded, enveloping cloak.

She stood out from the crowd, as she intended, her body concealed while around her, flesh was on display. Some bodies were already pink or red as a result of sadistic, masochistic, and taboo recreation.

The quiet man hadn’t partaken. She knew because she’d been watching him watch everyone else.

He was the reason she was here. The reason she was willing to play the submissive once more.

And now he was watching her. She’d known the exact moment his gaze landed on her. Felt it the way prey felt the presence of a predator staring at them from the shadows.

Hidden under the cloak, Magdelena Moreau’s fingers curled into her palms when he rose from his seat. If she’d done this right he was going to approach her, ask her to submit to him for the night.

As much as she longed to make the first move, she couldn’t. Not here. He had to come to her. It was the only way.

The quiet man started towards her.

Her fingers relaxed as satisfaction and relief, with a thin note of panic interwoven, slid through her.

He walked with purpose and confidence, not the lazy grace she’d expected from the quiet man.

Two meters away.

There’s still time to run.

She wouldn’t run. He was a piece in the game. A knight, she decided. The black knight. She needed to take the knight, even if it meant sacrificing a pawn.

One meter.

She had to play multiple roles in this particular game…including that of the pawn the black knight would take.

When he stopped, he was close enough that she could smell him—liquor, a smoky cologne, expensive linen, and below it all the warm smell of skin.

She didn’t look down, but she didn’t look up either. He was taller than her, so she was looking at his throat, the inverted triangle of flesh exposed by the undone top buttons of his dress shirt. The shirt was crisp white in contrast with the black bowtie draped around his neck. There were no creases in the bowtie—it hadn’t been tied. No, he’d looped it around his neck and tucked it under the collar of his shirt to cultivate an end of the evening, relaxed look.

Time stretched, disproportionate to reality. She bit the tip of her tongue to keep herself quiet.

“May I?” His voice was low, but precise. It was the first time she’d heard him speak in person, and it fit with the moniker she’d picked for him—the quiet man.

“Please do.”

He cocked his head to the side in response to her reply. Surprise. He’d spoken German, and she’d replied in the same language, but despite her best efforts, her American accent was present no matter what language she spoke.

Rather than comment, he raised his hand. She caught her breath as he toyed with the cloak’s hood, which hid her hair and cast her face in shadow. After a long moment, during which he seemed to be considering her, he pushed the hood back.

Magdalena—Alena—looked straight ahead, holding perfectly still as he examined her.

“No collar,” he murmured.

Succinct but blunt, while also making his intentions clear.

Relief mingled with new, but not unexpected, anxiety. “No, Sir.”

The quiet man held out his hand.

Alena accepted the silent offer, his fingers warm as they closed around hers.

Then the quiet man led her through the crowd, past women and men bound to appliances and structures of wood and chain. He led her past a whipping post, the stocks. Past a woman on her knees, panting in pain as her Dom added another magnetic weight to the nipple clamps dangling from her breasts.

The quiet man led her out of the medieval-style dungeon that was, under normal circumstances, a hotel ballroom. The contrast between it and the elegant hallway was sharp, but easy to ignore as she focused on walking beside him, her thoughts on what was about to happen.

The room he brought her to was done in an odd mix of Japanese and Moroccan styles, the floor scattered with massive meters-square floor pillows and soft rugs. The furnishings were low chairs and tables with bowed legs, footstools, and banded trunks.

The theme of the event lacked focus, in Alena’s opinion—a medieval dungeon and a Moroccan lounge were hardly copacetic—but she wasn’t the hostess of this month’s Orchid Club gathering.

The quiet man dropped her hand, then gestured, inviting her, without words, to take a seat.

She hesitated for only a moment, quickly considering and dismissing various options, weighing and calculating what to do.

How she should present