Martha McLeod, Head Mistress of Rowan House, Skye’s most exclusive pleasure house, is heartbroken.
Frustrated and lonely after a bitter split with her lover, she departs Rowan House for Lake Como, Italy to seek solace at the feet of Madam Givernay, keeper of Martha’s deepest secret. Lake Como and Madam’s attention is the perfect balm for Martha’s broken heart, until she meets Mistress Lucia Coruso.
Captivated by Lucia’s regal elegance and cool demeanor, Martha is torn between her desire for Lucia and the fear her secret will be revealed. When an extortionist threatens to destroy Rowan House, Martha and Lucia must join forces to save it.
Brenda Murphy © 2018
All Rights Reserved
“Black suit? Wedding, or funeral?” Elaine shifted her weight on the bed and plumped the pillow with her fist.
Martha tilted her head and looked at her sister. “Madam has a thing for suits.” She folded her shirt and placed it in her packing cube. “I miss the way Sarah ironed my shirts. So meticulous.”
Elaine snorted. “Another one that left us. Are you going to see Vivian? I wonder how things are going with Bridget. What a succulent little brat.” She sucked her teeth.
“Do you miss Octavia?” Elaine smiled a sick smile, the one guaranteed to start a fist fight when they were children.
Martha frowned at Elaine. “Let’s drop this. I’m not going to see Vivian. She messaged me last week. Something’s come up. She won’t be attending.”
Elaine raised her eyebrows. “Something? She’s never missed one. Even the year she lost Miriam.”
Martha sighed. “She said the three of them were—involved, and she was not attending.”
Elaine’s expression changed, the teasing look on her face gone. “I’m sorry. Are you okay?”
Martha pursed her lips. “I will be. I love Vivian. I want her to be happy. I can’t believe Bridget is okay with it. She’s such a tight-ass.”
Elaine left the bed. She moved behind Martha and hugged her hard before she released her. “I’ll get out of your hair and let you finish packing. Anything special you want for lunch?”
“Is Myfanwy busy?” Martha chewed her lower lip, longing for the comfort of Myfanwy’s sweet submission.
“She’s scheduled with a client until tomorrow night.” Elaine rested her hand on her sister’s forearm. “Should I have Robin bring it to you? You haven’t even looked at her since I hired her.”
Maybe something new. Who knows? It might fill this empty place inside of me. Martha patted her sister’s hand. “That sounds delightful. Is there any of the soup we had last night?”
Elaine squeezed her arm. “Yes. I’ll send her up in an hour.”
I hope this letter finds you well. I expect you will attend me for what will be my last occasion. I will explain more when you arrive. G.
Martha folded the scented notepaper and placed it in her journal. The last? She swallowed on a dry throat. The rumors must be true. What will become of the Onyx? She sat back and looked out of the window. The last of the sun highlighted the drive and reflected off the white stones surrounding the center fountain. Her thoughts folded back in on themselves. So many years. No decisions. No worries. Submission. Obedience. Pain. And love. Madam’s love. What will I do?
A tap at the door interrupted her melancholy thoughts. She slid her journal into her desk drawer and sat back in her chair. “Enter.”
The door opened, and a small woman in a short black skirt and simple white blouse pushed a meal cart into the room. She was thin, her face defined by sharp angles. Her makeup was professionally applied, the cherry-red lipstick contrasting with her pale skin and overbright blue eyes. A cap of bleached blonde curls covered her head.
“Your soup, Mistress.” She met Martha’s gaze briefly and looked down. Her voice was soft. “Where would you like me to serve you?”
Elaine did well. Tasty indeed. “My bed.”
Martha stood up and crossed the room to stand over to the small woman. She hooked her fingers under her collar. “Robin, isn’t it?” She leaned down, watching her response, and cupped the back of her neck. “My bed.”
Robin stilled in her arms. Desire coiled in Martha’s gut.
“Me, Mistress?” Robin’s voice was tremulous.
“Look at me.” Martha pinned her with her gaze, assessing her true feelings. She ran her thumb over Robin’s plump bottom lip, smearing her lipstick. No fear. Acting. Enticing but not real. “You can refuse. I won’t hold it against you.”
“Oh no, I’m not refusing, Mistress. I didn’t expect you would want me.” She spoke in a well-practiced voice, the facade of innocence mildly annoying to Martha as they moved through the dance of permissions. Robin lifted her chin and held Martha’s gaze.
Martha studied Robin’s face. Her self-deprecating words didn’t match the hard edge reflected in her eyes. Practiced. Not innocent. But she plays it well. “I won’t ask for your permission again. You’re free to refuse me as is anyone who works here.”
Robin pushed into Martha’s arms. “Oh no, Mistress. Please.” The breathy quality of her voice and the way she pressed her body into Martha’s embrace signaled her willingness to serve. “Don’t send me away. Let me serve you.”
Willing. Truth. Not innocent but willing. Martha kissed her, letting herself get lost in Robin’s well-acted surrender. She broke their kiss, and Robin lowered herself to her knees. “Bed. Now. Face up.”
Robin crawled across the floor. She stood up and toed her shoes off before she climbed up. She lay in the middle of the large bed, dwarfed by the king-size mattress.
“Hands over your head.” Martha stood next to the bed, her thighs slick with want in spite of her depressed mood. Or maybe because of it. “Spread your legs.”
She kicked off her shoes and shed her pants and underwear before she mounted the bed. Martha kneeled between her legs and shoved Robin’s skirt up; then she grabbed the waistband of her panties. She stripped her sheer underwear off and tossed them over the edge of the bed. The scent of Robin’s excitement made saliva pool in her mouth. She slid one finger over her clit. The small gasp from Robin made Martha press her legs together to relieve the ache. She thrust her thumb into the liquid evidence of her desire. Can’t fake being wet. At least she’s into it. She gathered Robin’s wetness before she leaned over her and pushed her thumb into her mouth. Robin opened to her and sucked hard. She moaned on cue, and the mechanical sound of her response threatened to derail Martha’s plans.
“You like that, don’t you? You look like sugar wouldn’t melt in your mouth, but I see the slut in you.” She pulled her thumb free and slapped her face. “You want to suck my clit, don’t you?”
Robin’s eyes were bright. “Oh yes please, Mistress. Let me. Let me please you. Please.”
Martha moved her hand down and entered her, fucking her slowly. Robin arched up to meet her thrusts. “Do you want to be my little fuck-toy?” She ground the heel of her hand against Robin’s clit, watching pleasure play across her face.
“Oh. Oh please, Mistress. I. Oh please. Just for you. Please, Mistress.” Robin twisted her hands in the sheets above her head.
“Do you want to come for me?” Well trained. Knows what I like. Hot need wound through Martha’s body. She thrust harder.
“Please, Mistress. Let me come for you. Just you.” Robin thrashed her hips, welcoming Martha’s deep thrusts. “Please.”
“Give it to me. All of it. Now.” Martha pushed hard and deep, sweeping her fingers over Robin’s sweet spot.
Robin arched off the bed and groaned as she spilled her pleasure, soaking the duvet beneath her. Martha pulled her hand away and rose to kneel over Robin’s face. She pinned her arms with her knees.
“Lick me.” She settled on Robin’s face, rocking herself on her tongue, rolling her hips. Robin lapped at her and thrust her tongue deep before she sucked hard on Martha’s clit. Sharp spikes of pleasure shot through Martha and she came with a deep groan. She raised her hips and lay next to her.
Robin rolled to her side to face Martha. Her lipstick was smeared, and Martha touched her cheek and looked into her eyes. “That was lovely.”
Robin smiled at her. “The pleasure was mine, Mistress.” She reached out and rested her hand on the front of Martha’s shirt, toying with the buttons. “Is there anything else, Mistress?”
Yes. No. Good, and yet not what… No. Who I want. Will I ever stop missing her? Martha caught her hand and squeezed it hard. “No. Thank you. You may return to your duties.”
A flash of anger passed over Robin’s face before she smoothed her features. “Your soup will be cold. Should I bring you another bowl?”
Angry. At me. Interesting. “No. I’m not hungry.” Martha shifted off the bed and picked up her clothes. She turned her back to the bed. She heard the bedsprings squeak, the rustle of Robin’s clothes as she put her uniform to rights. She kept her back turned and listened to the cart wheels rattle as Robin left and pulled the door closed with a hard click. Martha let out the breath she had been holding.
She went to the bathroom and washed her hands in the sink, anxious to be rid of the reminder that what she had was not what she wanted.
Meet the Author
Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows, and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not swilling gallons of hot tea and writing, she wrangles two kids, two dogs, and one unrepentant parrot. She writes about life, books, and writing on her blog Writing While Distracted.
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