Dante’s Purgatory, Book One
After the death of her Master, Caitlin Bennett discovers years of sadistic cruelty at his hands have made her a slave to pain.
Offering nearly everything she craves, Paul’s perfect—except for his aversion to the whip.
Waiting in the wings is a newbie Dom determined to have Caitlin for his own…who’s learning the whip just for her.
She’ll soon have to choose—the man who can give her what she wants? Or the man who can give her what she needs?
Inside Scoop: Caitlin recalls scenes of abuse that could disturb the more tenderhearted.
Master was angry.
And Master never got angry.
In all the years Caitlin had spent with him, she had never seen him this way. Even with a bullwhip in his hand, when he was whipping her, punishing her, hurting her, he was always calm—eerily calm in fact.
Those cold, flat, silver-gray eyes, always probing and assessing, delving into her soul to uncover all her fears, all her weaknesses. His almost monotone voice, giving definite but quiet commands. His thin lips, ever so slightly quirked up at one corner as she followed his every instruction to the letter.
Already kneeling on the floor, Caitlin sat back on her heels. The contact of her feet with the welts on her behind stung and burned. She hunched over, naked and shivering as she tried to shrink into herself. Maybe she should just get out of his way? The thought was ridiculous. She never moved unless she was given permission.
Master threw his whip to the ground in disgust. He grabbed her chin and roughly pulled her head up, forcing her to look into his eyes.
“Are you listening to me, girl? Are you hearing what I’m saying to you?” He pulled her head up when she automatically tried to lower it again, forcing her to focus on his words.
“You don’t look at me like that—with your heart in your eyes like I’m your fucking hero. I hurt you and I fuck you.
“I. Use. You.”
He moved his face so it was only inches away from hers. “You will not look at me like I’m your fucking savior—or the love of your goddamn life.” His lips twisted with distaste.
Caitlin couldn’t stop the tears that started leaking out of the corners of her eyes, and with her hands tied behind her back she had no way to brush them away. They ran down the sides of her nose, into the corners of her mouth and dripped off her chin.
Master sighed, and for the first time since their relationship began, she saw his eyes soften and he looked at her with something different.
Ivan stared at the frightened girl in front of him. She was twenty-five—definitely a woman, but to him she had always looked like a girl. Still did.
She was beautiful. Jesus, she was beautiful, so petite and fragile-looking. With her heart-shaped face, porcelain skin and those huge brown eyes fringed with impossibly long, sooty lashes. Her full lips rosy, even with her face scrubbed clean of makeup, and that fall of thick, lustrous chocolate-brown hair that tumbled down to the middle of her back. She looked like a doll. An exquisitely formed, perfect china doll.
He had always watched her so carefully during their sessions, attuned to everything she was thinking and feeling. He asked her questions, sure. But they were all about how much she was hurting, how afraid she was, how much she wanted to come. He never asked about other emotions—the ones he had no interest in. As though, if he didn’t care about her deeper feelings, they didn’t exist.
Stupid, arrogant fool.
Maybe if he’d actually spent some time observing her afterward he would have figured it out. But every time, immediately after it was all over, she would end up on her stomach on the bed while he rubbed lotion into her welts to help stop inflammation and scarring. Not because he was a nice, caring sort of a guy. No, definitely not that. He looked after everything he owned with extreme care. Just as he cleaned and maintained his whips and other toys, he looked after her.
Maintenance—that’s all it was.
And when he was done, he sent her away.
Today when they had finished, he caught her looking at him. She had been trained to keep her eyes down, but before she could look away, he saw it. That look of pure adoration and something else. He couldn’t be sure since no one had ever looked at him that way, but could it be—love? God, that word that left a bad taste in his mouth.
It fucking terrified him.
“Caitlin,” he said quietly. A beautiful name but he hadn’t called her that in a long, long time. He had other names for her, ones that weren’t even remotely beautiful.
She stared up at him with those huge, innocent eyes of hers. Jesus, how could she still look so innocent after all the things he’d done to her? He’d come to terms with himself and what he was a long time ago. But when she looked at him like the naïve girl she’d been when she’d first came to him…he hated her. Hated her for making him feel something, for making him despise himself. And that made him want to hurt her even more.
God, he had to get her away from him.
“Caitlin, you deserve more than this. You’re a young woman, and compared to you, I’m an old man.” He could see she disagreed with him but she dared not argue.
“I’m fifty-six. You should have a chance to find a husband you can look at with your adoring eyes. A man who will go to sleep with you in your bed every night and wake up with you in the morning. A man who will take you out, show you the world. You should have babies—lots of babies. A family. A dog. A goddamn white picket fence if you want it.”
He took a deep breath. “I want you to leave.” His voice cracked. Jesus, saying it was more difficult than he’d thought.
“Should I…come back tomorrow?” she asked in a small voice.
She wasn’t getting it. “No, little girl. I don’t want you anymore. It’s over. We’re done.”
Her mouth opened in shock and she let out a sob, a high-pitched burst of air.
She looked like a puppy that had been kicked too many times.
God, that look drove him crazy.
He could take it back. Tell her he was just messing with her. He could get out the cane and beat her for having feelings for him, for looking at him when she wasn’t supposed to. He could make some shit up—anything. He could punish her. He could punish her mercilessly and she would take it.
And then he would free his rock-hard cock from his pants and feed it into her beautiful, hot, wet, waiting mouth. He could look down and see those perfect rosy lips wrapped around him as she licked and suckled greedily. Wordlessly begging his forgiveness with her mouth and tongue. And then he would grab her by the hair, tip her head back and drive into her, over and over, harder and deeper, until tears streamed down her face, until she gasped for air, until she choked, until she sobbed, until she cried.
And she swallowed everything he gave her.
Fuck, he would never get enough of her. And if he wasn’t very careful, he would end up fucking enslaved to her. And wasn’t that an interesting question? Who was enslaved to whom? He didn’t want to examine that too closely; afraid he might not like the answer.
He pulled her to her feet and untied the bindings from her wrists. He turned her gently and stroked her face, cupped her cheek in his palm.
When was the last time he’d done that? Maybe the first day she came to him, so lost, alone and confused. Yes, he was kind to her that day, but never since then.
She was sobbing now, uncontrollably. It was obvious just how out of control she was, since she actually grabbed his hand and held it against her cheek. Under normal circumstances, such unheard of behavior would have resulted in a reprimand—No touching, you greedy little slut. No touching without my permission—along with a deliciously creative punishment. But oh, her skin, her perfect tear-streaked skin, was so soft and smooth. It was the last time he would touch her like this. His chest felt tight.
Suddenly he wanted to take her in his arms and comfort her, his poor little girl. Hold her naked, trembling body in his lap as if she were a child, stroking her hair, brushing away her tears. Murmuring in her ear, telling her that everything would be all right.
She continually threatened to break his control. If he let her, she would smash it until it was lying shattered around his feet like jagged shards of broken glass. And what would happen to him then?
He used his Dom voice. The voice he used only with her. Always with her. “Turn around. Pick up your clothes. Leave. Now.”
And good girl that she was, she did exactly what she was told. But she turned back just before she closed the door and looked at him. It was as if all the light had been extinguished from her gorgeous, expressive eyes. Christ, she looked—broken. After everything that had happened to her, after all the pain and misery he had inflicted, finally he had broken her.
And for some reason, it was nothing he could savor.
Ivan walked over to the bed on shaky legs, suddenly feeling weak. The tight feeling in his chest was like a fist squeezing his heart. He sat down heavily on the edge of the bed. Right where she’d been not long ago, facedown, ass up in the air, hands tied behind her as he fucked her—hard—until he came like a fucking freight train. And she didn’t.
God, how long had it been since he let her come? Three weeks? Four? Yes, four weeks.
He loved keeping her like that, squirming and desperate. Teasing her, bringing her to the brink and denying her—over and over and over. And she, his strong, brave girl, would beg. That was the one thing she would beg for. Beg and cry for his permission to come.
And he wouldn’t let her.
It was a beautiful thing.
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Image courtesy of Sayara St Clair
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