Dominance Never Dies (Masters and Mercenaries #11)


by Lexi Blake

PROLOGUE

Dallas, TX

Seven months ago

Mia stepped out into the club, her eyes wide with curiosity. Sanctum. She’d seen it when she was taking her class, but this was something completely different. During the training classes, the place looked neat and clean, with crisp white walls on some levels and rich paneling on others. The lounge area was done up like a swanky living area. The locker room was better than anything she’d been in at expensive gyms.

But on play nights with the lights on and the thrum of industrial music, Sanctum became a decadent adult playground.

She’d expected a sex club to be nasty, to make her feel dirty.

She hadn’t expected it to make her feel free.

“Hey, don’t wander off.” Kori walked up behind her, her best friend, Sarah, following after. “I got a special permission slip from the big guy himself in order for you to come out here without Javier tonight. You’re not allowed free-range rights until after your training class is over.”

She glanced up at her new friends. Kori and Sarah ran the beginning training classes for submissives at Sanctum. They were funny and kind and had explained all the basics, been open to answering the craziest of questions. Mia had gone into the class expecting to have to endure the entire process. She’d known she had to get through it to achieve her goal, but now she had to force herself to focus on the prize because she’d come to genuinely love this place and these people.

She’d come here with a purpose—to find her friend’s killer. Now she prayed he wasn’t here and she wasn’t going to tear up her new friend’s world. In a week or so Kai Ferguson’s brother was set to show up to begin the process of filming his new movie. The trouble was Mia was almost certain that Kai’s brother was a serial killer. It was the entire reason she’d infiltrated Sanctum in the first place. She’d come in undercover in order to get close to Jared Johns and his entourage.

She hadn’t expected to fall madly in love with a Taggart.

Taggarts, it seemed to Mia, were their own special class of gorgeous, heroic, sexy as hell men.

God, they couldn’t be working with a serial killer. She just didn’t want to believe it. Those stunning men who made her feel so safe and protected couldn’t possibly be covering for their friend’s brother.

“Did you talk to Javier?” Sarah asked, adjusting her scarlet corset. “He knows you’re here, right?”

She nodded as she looked out over the lounge. “He does. I swear Javi and I are nothing more than friends. We made a deal about three minutes after we met that we weren’t a match.”

Kori stared at her like she’d said something miraculous. “Javi is the manwhore of Top. He thinks his dick matches anything with a pussy. And yes, I mean anything. I’ve seen him in sex toy stores.”

Mia had figured her training Dom out about two seconds after meeting him. He was a gorgeous man, but she’d been engaged at the time. Not that she was interested in Javier. “I talked about how much I love weddings and hope to have my own very soon.”

Sarah laughed, her bare shoulders moving with the force of her amusement. “That would do it. So he’s probably comfortable with you talking to other men.”

“He practically shoved me at the first dude to come along.” And that dude had been Case Taggart, with his massive muscular body, sandy blond hair, and that aw-shucks smile that made her heart pound. She’d actually been a little star struck staring up at him.

That was when she’d known she wasn’t getting married. Not to her fiancé. She’d put it off, but she knew she had to break things off with him.

No matter what happened with Case, she wasn’t in love with Jeff and she couldn’t go through with it. She’d said yes mostly because it seemed like the right thing to do.

Fuck. She’d said yes because Jeff was a nice man and he’d asked her in front of like a million people and she hadn’t wanted to hurt him. She’d said yes because it was her nature to please people.

Somehow taking the training class that was supposed to teach her submission had brought out something else. In her job she could be aggressive all day long. She took shit from no one because her work was important.

What she’d learned here at Sanctum was she was important, too. Her personal needs, her sexual needs, they were important.

“Stick with us,” Kori said. She was kind of the mother of the group. Not that she was older. She simply took very good care of her friends.

Sarah leaned over, her voice going low. “I think she’s going to want to stick to someone else.”

Yes, she was because there was her man and he was wearing the sexiest set of leathers she’d ever seen. When she’d first realized she was going to have to go undercover in the leather scene, she’d expected skeevy dudes. Now she wasn’t sure she could ever want a man who didn’t fill out a set of leathers the way this one did. He wore all black, from the vest that covered most of his broad chest, to the pants that clung to his muscular legs, right down to a pair of cowboy boots.

At her brother’s company she was surrounded by geeks who cared nothing about their clothes and metro men who made peacocks look humble. They wore their thousand-dollar suits and made sure their hair was properly dressed and had freaking skin care routines.

So why was it Case’s low-key masculine beauty that called to her?

“You are so in trouble,” Kori whispered her way. “You know what he’s been through, right? I’m a little worried that he’s not in a good place.”

His brother. Case Taggart had recently lost his twin brother. She feared for a world that had two of him in it. And she had seen his pain the minute she’d met him.

She knew what it meant to lose family. It created an aching hole that would never be filled.

Case looked up at that moment and a brilliant smile crossed his face.

“Never mind. I take back everything I just said,” Kori whispered. “You make him smile like that and I say you can break every rule this club has. Now I understand why Big Tag was so eager to let you in.”

“You made his brother smile again.” Sarah sighed as if it was all too romantic.

Her heart was doing that thudding thing again, and suddenly the room felt electric. Case Taggart was walking her way. Walking? The man kind of swaggered in an “I saved the world and didn’t break a sweat doing it” kind of way. He’d been a Navy SEAL, one of the youngest. He’d been decorated during battle, recruited by the CIA, and then he’d dropped it all to work with the brothers he hadn’t known he had according to the work-up Riley had done on him.

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