Special Note: I’m a little tough on the BDSM club here, but I’m making a comparison between one run responsibly and one not. This is the irresponsible one.

No neck leather man’s eyes are taking us in, stopping on Allie, but his words are for Jack, “Who are they?”

“Nobody you need to worry about.” Jack answers, stepping in front of Allie and at the same time pushing Christy behind him. Reckon he figures Lena and I can take care of ourselves. True. So can Christy for that matter. Allie can handle her own one on one. Problem is, they come at her in multiples.

Rand is already opening the club doors with a terse, “They’re with us.” Then turning a grin on me, “Brace yourself.”

The first thing I notice are the sounds, moans and grunts and slaps of flesh.

“Oh dear Goddess, strike me deaf and blind.” Lena mutters behind me.

“Me first.” It’s dark, but not dark enough. There’s a long bar running half way down one side of the room Where it ends booths take over running the rest of the long space. It would look pretty normal if not for the people in every kind of leather you can think of and some you’d never imagine. Including nothing but collars and thongs. Or collars and nothing.  I look away and wish I hadn’t. On the other side, well let’s put it this way, I’m wishing I were back with Totem Pole.  Pagan naked may be nausea inducing, but leather naked crosses over into projectile-vomitous bad.  Whips are flying, paddles are pounding. There are cries of Please Mistress and Thank-You Master and naked pieces and parts and bits and…  “Oh hell’s nine bells, somebody just fucking shoot me.”

“Oh dear.” Allie blinks then turns away and plants her eyes at a fixed point over the bar. A little trick she learned years ago. She’s very good at blocking out what she doesn’t want to see, a useful tactic since she can’t forget it once it’s in there.

Christy meanwhile has already started with the pointing, “Oh oh Goddess, what is that thing?” She’s looking at a contraption with a person attached to it. He’s upside down and his anatomy is being attended by numerous willing women and a couple of men, “Oh that’s just nasty.” Her nose is so wrinkled it might never straighten out again.

“To each their own, darling.” Jack whispers but he stands between her and the scene.

It takes a few seconds, but sure enough things around us start to go quiet. I look around and see what’s come to be known as the Allie effect. Men are sobering and staring and the silence begins to spread like a wave. This is only the beginning.

“Shit, you weren’t kidding.” Rand is sending death stares to all and assundry. It won’t be enough.

“Get her out of here. Both of you. Go. Now.”

Rand Grabs Allie, pulling her to his side and makes for the back of the club.

“Shit, it would be in the back.” Lena said, falling in behind him. Jack slides around them to the front dragging Christy with him. She’s still waving and pointing and saying “ews” of varying levels pitches and lengths. I go to fall in behind when a hand grabs my arm. I spin back and look up into another leather wearing muscle bound idiot. I close my eyes in weary fed up defeat. No. Oh-hell-to-the-goddess-be-damned-no. This can not be happening.

“Where do you think you’re going, Red?”

Yep, happening.

I finger the dagger under my wrist and wish like hell I had some kind of faith in the Goddess I swear by constantly, cause I’d be praying right now for a miraculous non-violent end to this situation, “Remove your hand.” I give him a fair warning. A smaller woman pushes in beside him. Fully clothed in leather and holding a crop.

“No one gave you permission to speak.” She snarled, raising the crop.

So much for that non-violent thing. I look her straight in the eye, “You need to stop now, before you do something I won’t be able to forgive.” She pauses for a bare second.

With a foreboding sense of the inevitable, I allow the dagger to slip into my hand. The smooth ivory handle fits into my palm like the handshake of an old friend. I meet the eyes of the man who is still holding me, “You have me confused with someone who won’t kill you for touching them.”

No, I don’t.”

And right before I slash is wrist, the significance of his words matches the look hidden in his eyes. I go through every single curse word I can think of and make up several on the spot. They hit my brain in violent burst of “Oh what the fuck now?” At the exact moment a stubby copper ponytail almost pokes my eye out.

“Let my sister go, you giant pile of slug-dung.” I see a thin arm roll up in front of the giant man’s head,  a tiny hand holding a tiny spray bottle, and a thin stream hits the man’s eyes.

Well, damn, we should have brought the acid.

Knowing Christy will want a work-up, I count the seconds in my head. The guy’s face freezes between two one-thousand and three in a panicked stare I’ve seen many times. “Get back!” I try to push the weekend dominatrix out of the way, but the guy’s gone rigid. I can’t break his hold on my arm fast enough. Pulling me with him, His stiff body slams into the ground with the force of a California Redwood, buckling the floor under us. Sprawled on top of him. I use the confusion as cover, whispering in his ear, “Sorry, it will wear off in a couple minutes.”

Then Christy’s ponytail is in my face again as she helps me break the man’s grip, “Sorry sis. I pulled out the wrong one.”

“It’s okay, shrimp.”  So she’s packing more than one poison tonight. This is why my wild card loves those cargo pants, lots of pockets for the various poisons, sedatives, and whatever other science project she’s currently working on.

“What the hell did you do to him?” A smaller man sporting a thong and a collar, who’d been hidden behind the Redwood’s bulk, is looking at us like we’re circus freaks.

Well, that’s just pot and kettle shit.

“It’s a mild neuro-toxin.” Christy pushes her glasses up her nose, “Voluntary muscles only. He’ll be alright in about ten minutes or so.”

“What the fuck, bitch?” The dominatrix charges Christy, but a bolt lightning in black leaps into the fray and between one second and the next the woman is shoved into some kind of leather contraption, her face shoved down into what I think normally houses the other end, and okay that deserves an “Ew.” Lena’s shoved her knee in the small of the woman’s back and jerked her arm  up behind her, wrist poised to break, snarling like the half-crazed enraged beast she is, “What the fuck did you just call my sister, bitch?”

“Uh, Lena” Christy takes a tentative step forward, “I think she called me a bitch.”

Lena’s not getting the irony. See, this is what happens when a poser meets the real thing. Lena is a bad ass bitch. The other girl just plays one on Saturday nights, and I’m still hoping to get home before dawn,“Don’t break anything.”

“What the fuck, Mac?” Lena throws an outraged look over her shoulder, “She went for Christy.”

Yeah, but she didn’t actually touch her, so I’m willing to let it go, “We have a job to do.”

Lena releases her with a snarl, “Count yourself lucky. If you’d touched her you wouldn’t be using that hand again for at least a year.”

Lena was an artist when it came to breaking bones. She could pinpoint to within a week how long you’d be incapacitated. And wrists were one of her favorites. Fragile, easy to splinter, delicate to heal.

“What is going on here?” Incognito just got shot to hell. The entire place has gone still as stone, every eye on us and standing in front of me is none other than Madame X.

Jack steps up, pulls Christy to his side, and flashes his badge.

“I’m with Maryland PD. This is official business. Everybody just calm the hell down.” Then to my shock he turns on X, “Just what the fuck kind of place are you running, Rach?”

Goddess be damned. Knowing I have but seconds, “Lena…..”

“I’ve got the Bar. Christy watch the tables.”

My eyes are sweeping the torture chamber side of the room, looking for anyone moving towards the exits. Every eye is glued on us, so nothing there.

“Nothing.” Lena.

“I don’t see anything.” Christy.

Dammit, this is not my night, but then I notice the dominatrix Lena took to the ground. She takes one step back, looking around. Her eyes searching, “Grab her.”

“Hell, yes.” Lena gleefully jerks the poser by her hair and forces her to her knees, “Where the fuck is May Rose Thorne, bitch?”

Oh yeah, this has just made her night.

“Uh,” Jack taps Lena on the shoulder, “I’d appreciate it if you could restrain from any permanent injuries. I’m the police, you know.”

Lena shoots him a disgusted glance, “I’m not.”

It’s not yet midnight. We still have a chance to see the sunrise in Richmond tomorrow, “We’re taking this somewhere private, Lena.”

“Goody,” Lena’s glee has gone over into serial killer creepy. The poser cringes. She won’t be the same after this, but that’s probably a good thing.

“What about him?” Jack is looking down at the guy who grabbed me like he’s something you find under the dumpster.

Shit, this is going to be tricky.

“Yes, he should come, too.” I look over at Chrsity who’s busy scribbling on a small notepad, “How much longer?”

“I’m not sure. He’s so big.”

“Will another dose kill him?”

“Um, fifty/fifty.”


A groan comes from the floor. It’s wearing off. I look around for Gerald. He’s just now coming through the door, “Jack, get Gerald to stay with him and bring him back when he comes to.” Jack nods and runs off to fill Gerald in.

“Christy wait with him. If he has any ill effects give him the antidote.”

That distracts Lena from dragging the poser down the aisle, “What the fuck for?”

Christy looks up from her scribbling, “Huh?”

“Christy, I do not want you to get into any trouble. There are lots of witnesses. Understand.” I give them all my  ‘don’t argue with the freak of nature’ look.


“Oaky, he should be okay though, um I think.” Christy’s scribbling again.

“You think, what the hell girl?” The words come from the floor.

Oh good, the redwood’s bouncing back.

“Four minutes 13.6 seconds,” Christy’s scribbling again. Then looks down at the guy who’s pushing himself into a sitting position, “How much do you weigh?”

“What?” He’s looking at her like she’s insane.

Well, yes, she’s a McGovern.

Fucking A. Can we all just get to the office so I can convince Little Miss Wannabe-a bad-ass to tell us where May is?

“Good plan Lena, let’s adjourn.” I turn to Madame X, “Lead the way, Mistress.”

The sarcasm goes right over her head. So I lean down to make sure she gets my next words, “If I find out that you’re complicit to women being abused in this club, I’ll give you twenty-four hours.”

She casts a disdainful glance over her shoulder, “For what?”

“To say good-bye.”