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Show Me, Baby: A Masters of the Shadowlands Novella (1001 Dark Nights)
Show Me Baby A Masters of the Shadowlands Novella 1001 Dark Nights 1
Show Me, Baby
A Masters of the Shadowlands Novella
By Cherise Sinclair
1001 Dark Nights
Show Me, Baby
A Master of the Shadowlands Novella
By Cherise Sinclair
1001 Dark Nights
Copyright 2014 Cherise Sinclair
Forward: Copyright 2014 M. J. Rose
Published by Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated
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.
When Rainie rushes an injured dog to a clinic, she’s appalled to recognize the veterinarian, Jake Sheffield. So not fair. His memory has haunted her for over a decade. And then he showed up at her Shadowlands BDSM club. And now, he owns the veterinary clinic? The Gods of Cruelty must be laughing at her.
Master Jake is sophisticated, wealthy, and gorgeous. Rainie’s a fluffy, ex-slum-rat. He’d never be with a woman like her. Besides, she’s been burned enough times that she won’t get serious about any man. Sure, the BDSM club trainees are supposed to be seeking a permanent Dom, but no harm, no foul—the Masters don’t need to know the truth.
As a Shadowlands Master, Jake watches out for all the trainees. But one is special. Lush body, a gift for living life to the fullest, always laughing or smiling. Now he’s learned she also has a big heart. Although Rainie trips all his switches, she’s avoided him since the moment she arrived…and he let her have that play. But when she lies to him about her goals, he knows the time has come for a Master to take an active part in her training.
To my readers,
The books I write are fiction, not reality, and as in most romantic fiction, the romance is compressed into a very, very short time period.
You, my darlings, live in the real world, and I want you to take a little more time in your relationships. Good Doms don’t grow on trees, and there are some strange people out there. So while you’re looking for that special Dom, please, be careful.
When you find him, realize he can’t read your mind. Yes, frightening as it might be, you’re going to have to open up and talk to him. And you listen to him in return. Share your hopes and fears, what you want from him, what scares you spitless. Okay, he may try to push your boundaries a little—he’s a Dom, after all—but you will have your safe word. You will have a safe word, am I clear? Use protection. Have a backup person. Communicate.
Remember: safe, sane, and consensual.
Know that I’m hoping you find that special, loving person who will understand your needs and hold you close.
And while you’re looking or even if you’ve already found your dearheart, come and hang out with the Masters of the Shadowlands.
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1001 Dark Nights story on 1/1/15.
The First Night
by Shayla Black, Lexi Blake & M.J. Rose
Table of Contents
Also From 1001 Dark Nights
About Cherise Sinclair
An excerpt from Club Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair
Also by Cherise Sinclair
One Thousand and One Dark Nights
Once upon a time, in the future…
I was a student fascinated with stories and learning.
I studied philosophy, poetry, history, the occult, and
the art and science of love and magic. I had a vast
library at my father’s home and collected thousands
of volumes of fantastic tales.
I learned all about ancient races and bygone
times. About myths and legends and dreams of all
people through the millennium. And the more I read
the stronger my imagination grew until I discovered
that I was able to travel into the stories... to actually
become part of them.
I wish I could say that I listened to my teacher
and respected my gift, as I ought to have. If I had, I
would not be telling you this tale now.
But I was foolhardy and confused, showing off
One afternoon, curious about the myth of the
Arabian Nights, I traveled back to ancient Persia to
see for myself if it was true that every day Shahryar
(Persian: شهریار, “king”) married a new virgin, and then
sent yesterday's wife to be beheaded. It was written
and I had read, that by the time he met Scheherazade,
the vizier's daughter, he’d killed one thousand
Something went wrong with my efforts. I arrived
in the midst of the story and somehow exchanged
places with Scheherazade – a phenomena that had
never occurred before and that still to this day, I
Now I am trapped in that ancient past. I have
taken on Scheherazade’s life and the only way I can
protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to
protect herself and stay alive.
Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.
And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a
point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.
And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that
he might hear the rest of my dark tale.
As soon as I finish a story... I begin a new
one... like the one that you, dear reader, have before
“He’s going to fire me,” Rainie Kuras muttered. The noise of hammering rain on the car roof drowned out her voice as she peered through her streaked windshield. The streets were filled with standing water in a special Florida trap for the unwary. She glanced up at the heavens where indubitably lived a whole slew of annoying gods. “Do you think I have extra time to waste? Really?”
Her grip on the steering wheel dented the faded blue padding. She mustn’t be late to her job at the towing company. Not now, thanks to dear Cory, the owner’s jerk of a son who’d taken over the business last week. What an excruciating beginning to the new year.
Since then, each day had been a misery. Rainie’s sigh sounded bitter, even to her own ears.
/> But she couldn’t afford to quit. Not after wiping out the last of her savings. She didn’t regret spending the money. Miss Lily had been as comfortable as possible before she’d “gone home”—as the fragile old woman termed death.
Rainie blinked back tears. Why did it seem as if it had been raining every day since her passing, as if the world itself mourned?
A horn blared behind the Civic, startling Rainie into the present. After a glance in the rearview mirror, she veered toward the curb to let the let-me-drive-up-your-ass BMW with Boston plates zip past. Cell phone in one hand, the driver used his other to hit the horn again.
“Idiotic, irritating ignoramus.” Rainie rolled her eyes. Better slow down, dude.
The speeding car reached the flooded intersection. Alas, no passage miraculously opened for Moses. As water sprayed outward, the vehicle hydroplaned, fishtailing violently.
“Foot off the gas, don’t panic,” Rainie whispered, cringing inwardly.
As the Boston car’s tires caught traction, the rear pendulumed to the other side. A high yelp sounded. A brown animal was flung to the curb. The BMW kept going.
Oh no, no, no. Rainie’s already clammy hands slid on the steering wheel. She didn’t know how to fix injuries, especially non-people ones. Move, dog. Move. The little body lay motionless.
God, please let the dog be okay. Carefully, she drove across the flooded intersection, turned on the hazard flashers, and jumped out. The heavy rain flattened her hair and soaked her suit.
Blinking through damp eyelashes, she saw the dog was breathing. “God, you poor thing.” With its fur matted down, the dog wasn’t much bigger than a cat. Terrified. Panting. Trembling.
“I’m so not good with animals.” How could she be? She’d lived in apartments. Never had a pet. She squatted awkwardly, trying to check for bleeding and broken bones.
Brushing aside the fur, she scowled at the blood oozing from a scraped shoulder, but kept her voice smooth and easy. “Jessica’s cat likes me. Does that help? Is there an animal letter of recommendation I should get?”
The dog’s tail beat once against the pavement.
“I need to take you to a vet.” She couldn’t really determine if anything was wrong—not in the rain. “Okay, baby, if you don’t want a doctor exam, you have to tell me you’re all right. Can you—can’t you get up?” Tears blurred her vision. Don’t die, little dog. Please.
It whined, looked up at her with pain-filled, dark brown eyes, and sealed her doom.
* * * *
Exhaustion sat heavy on Jake Sheffield’s shoulders as he stared at the impossible schedule…and considered the merits of murder. He’d start with his partner, Saxon, for taking a scuba diving vacation in Cozumel.
After disposing of his best friend’s body, he’d execute the so-called office manager of their veterinary clinic. Yes, most definitely—Lynette had to die. He studied the schedule a second longer.
Or maybe he’d kill himself instead.
“You knew a month ago that Sax would be gone, and you still scheduled surgeries for him?” Jake asked in a low tone. He was thirty-one, a veteran, a veterinarian, and a sexual Dominant since his first year in vet school; he’d had ample practice throttling back anger. “I have a full load of exams. Sax isn’t here. Who exactly is going to perform those surgeries, Lynette?” The first appointments would start arriving in a few minutes.
“I…guess I messed up, huh?” Lynette’s blue eyes shimmered with tears.
Amateur hour in the damp eyes arena wouldn’t cut it with him. In the dungeon, women were always crying. He’d caused more than a few appealing sobbing fits himself. Deliberately.
Lynette could save herself the trouble of squeezing out some salt water.
And now he knew why Saxon had been pressured to give Lynette a job—and why her sole job reference had been so noncommittal. Because she couldn’t spell, forgot assignments, and took garbled messages. Even basic receptionist tasks were beyond her. The slender blonde was about as useful as dewclaws on a Chihuahua.
It’d be the last time he let Saxon hire anyone.
“Yes. You messed up,” Jake said evenly. “Now call and shift some appointments to later in the week.” They had a substitute vet who might be willing to pitch in on such short notice. Or maybe he could—
The clinic’s entrance door hissed open.
Jake looked up, and his mood lightened. The woman in the doorway was Rainie, a submissive in his and Saxon’s favorite BDSM club, the Shadowlands. “Come on in.”
When he and Saxon opened the clinic over two years ago, they’d been surprised and delighted when the owner of the club had trusted them with his cat. Since then, many of the Shadowlands members had brought their pets to the clinic.
Considering how the trainee avoided him at the club, her presence here was a surprise.
And he’d never seen her in street clothing, let alone a tailored suit. Her streaky brown hair was in an intricate coil at her nape. Even drenched and mud-streaked, she looked amazing. Saxon had once commented she could be a model for a BBW—big, beautiful woman. And that was only the beginning of her appeal.
“I don’t know what to do.” Her carefully even voice couldn’t conceal the underlying panic. The blanket wrapped around the animal showed a growing bloodstain.
Ignoring the office manager’s hissed, “She doesn’t have an appointment,” he motioned to an exam room. “Let’s have a look.”
After Rainie set the animal on the stainless steel table, Jake carefully unwrapped the bundle.
Dark brown eyes, wavy filthy fur. A small dog with an equally small growl.
“He bite?” Jake asked.
“Never mind.” She might not know, especially if her pet hadn’t been seriously injured before. Jake would simply be careful, as always. Nothing obviously broken. Alert, eyes slightly glazed—probably with pain. Breathing fast. Where was the blood coming from? “What happened?”
“A car. Off Highway 19.” Her wide-set, hazel eyes sparked with anger. “The driver didn’t even stop.”
“Happens more often than you’d think.” Jake moved slowly, letting the dog smell him. A quick glance ascertained gender. “Easy, boy. I see you’re battered and sore, so I’m going to go nice and slow. You’re being a good dog. Your mama will be proud of you.”
Under the measured rhythm of the words, Rainie relaxed. Dr. Jake Sheffield’s smooth baritone projected utter confidence. That he was there to help. That he could help.
She studied him for a moment. Some of the Shadowlands Masters had the bulky musculature of powerlifters. Not Master Jake. He was a couple of inches over six feet with a lean, muscular build. Not too lean, though. The shoulders under his white polo shirt were broad, and the sleeves strained to fit around rock-hard biceps. The man was drop-dead gorgeous, with the chiseled features of a model. Shadowy designer stubble added a dangerous cast to a hard jawline.
Every instinct told her to flee.
A sizzling hot guy she could handle. But not this one. The first time she’d seen Jake had been over a decade ago, and she’d turned so starry-eyed her high school classmates had made fun of her. And…her entire life had been flushed down the toilet that day because of him.
Not his fault, certainly. He’d never even known she existed.
He sure wouldn’t have been her choice of a veterinarian today. But on the phone, Linda had insisted Jake was the best vet in the area. Master Sam, Marcus, and Master Z took their pets to his clinic.
Maybe Linda was right. Dr. Sheffield seemed very competent, carefully checking every inch of the little dog while murmuring reassurances. The ball of fur was shaking less.
Then Jake touched something painful, and the dog yelped.
“Dammit.” Rainie glared at him. “If you hurt him again, I’m going to hit you.”
The sun lines at the corners of his eyes deepened. His warm hand closed on hers. “Let me look under there. Just for a minute.”
ized her fingers lay on the dog’s neck. She’d been trying to comfort the poor thing, even if she hadn’t a clue what she was doing. “Right. Sorry.” She stepped away.
The dog on the metal table scrabbled in an attempt to stand.
“Get back here.” Iron edged Jake’s quiet order. His voice gentled as he said, “Easy, boy. She’s not going anywhere. See?”
Mouth open in surprise, Rainie resumed her place. When Jake set her hand on the dog’s shoulder, the small body relaxed. Eyes the color of dark chocolate watched her anxiously. Was the tiny dog fearful she’d move away again?
She could feel the tug, as if a string had been tied to her heart.
“There you go, little guy. She loves you, see?” As Jake palpated the dog’s stomach, his brows drew together. “Has he been off his feed? He’s way underweight. And full of burrs. Do you live in the country?”
“What?” She massaged the wet fur lightly and felt gritty dirt. “He’s not mine—I mean I picked him up when the Boston butt-head hit him.”
“Boston’s your boyfriend?”
“No. A car in front of me with Boston plates. I just got stuck with damage control.” And speaking of damage, she was totally screwed. “Oh Go—goodness, I have to get to work.”
When she looked at her watch, her heart sank. She was horrendously late. And her suit was wet and muddy and covered with dog fur. “I need to leave. Or I’ll be fired.”
“I see.” Jake’s dark brown hair fell over his forehead as he watched her with green eyes the color of leaves in midsummer. “I don’t think any bones are broken, but I’d like to take some X-rays and check for internal damage. You can pick him up tonight on your way home.”
“Pick him up? But he’s not my dog.”
“Maybe. Maybe not. Our tech will check if anyone’s looking for him.” He stroked his hand down the dog’s side, flattening the curly fur. Rainie could see the hollowing below the ribs. “I’d say he’s been living on the streets. Might’ve been dumped.”