Page 29

He came back to the mountain house to grab me for opening night, but we'd spent the ride mostly in silence. When I asked him what he expected me to do, he just looked at me out of those eyes that seemed to glow and told me to do whatever felt comfortable. He wanted me on the floor. He wanted me to mingle. He wanted me to make people comfortable and stick around. He wanted the club to be about more than sex, and I think I finally figured out how to do that.
Once we got to the massive building, he guided me inside, looked at me like he wanted to push me up against the wall and ravish me, and then disappeared without another word.
Well, now I had plenty to say to him. I wanted to ask him if I was doing all right, if the club was doing all right. I wanted him to tell me I was doing a good job and I really, really wanted him to kiss me again. The whole hands-to-himself thing was getting old really fast and he showed no sign of bending-let alone breaking-to give me what I wanted.
I pushed the button for the elevator that led to his office and put in the little card that would allow me access to his private space. The only people that could get up to the top floor besides Nassir were me and Chuck. Nassir was lording over his domain from relative security and I loved and hated that I was one of the few allowed inside the gates. I didn't want his keys to the kingdom; I wanted my own set.
When the doors whooshed open I was greeted with the sight of him behind his big desk in the center of the room. On the wall behind him, a collection of monitors with video feeds from the private client rooms blasted some of the most pornographic images I had ever seen in my life, along with shots of the parking lot, the dance floor, and the bar. I blinked in shock as I watched a man get guided around a room on a leash. I couldn't comprehend the image of a woman chained up spread eagle above the ground while two men moved sexually and aggressively in front and behind her. I couldn't look away as another image showed what had to be no less than six people engaged in a tangle of limbs as they took part in an orgy right before my eyes.
Nassir seemed oblivious to it all. He had two laptops open and was focused on something on his phone. He looked up when I started to move across the room toward him, but I couldn't meet his gaze. I was transfixed by what was happening behind him and couldn't look away.
"You have the private rooms wired?" It was a stupid question but it was all I could manage.
"Just the rooms that people pay for. The private rooms like the one you sent the blonde off into are not." He lifted an eyebrow at me. "By the way, that was nice what you did with her. That's exactly why I wanted you on board with this club. You understand human sexuality and the innate fear people have of it better than anyone I have ever met."
I lifted an eyebrow at him. "You do realize that a king without people to lord over is nothing more than a lonely man on a fancy chair, right? You can't have power if there isn't someone to exert it over. People and prestige go hand in hand, Nassir." I ignored the way my words made his face darken, and asked, "Why have cameras only in the rooms people pay for?"
He snorted and waved a hand behind his head. "Because people pay for outrageous stuff they can't get on their own. A little spanking, some light bondage, a submissive to practice basic S&M on, that's stuff any average Joe can usually scare up if they look hard enough ." He hooked a thumb over his shoulder. "The kind of stuff going on in those rooms is easier to pay for."
"How can you work with all of that . . . sex"-I wasn't sure that was the right word for all the crazy I was witnessing behind him but it would have to do- "going on behind you? Isn't it distracting?"
He touched the screen of his phone and the video feed went black. "That is work. The guy on the end of the leash is a federal judge. The woman chained up is a district attorney and the couple that paid for the orgy own one of the biggest import and export companies in the state."
I pushed some of my hair off my face and moved to prop myself up on the edge of his desk. "You set them up. They can't know you are filming them. They would never agree to that."
He leaned back in his chair and his dark eyebrows shot up. He always looked like he was up to no good-probably because he typically was.
"Sometimes people ignore all the risks associated with going after something they want. If I promise to make fantasy a reality, then all bets are off."
I sighed and let my gaze rove over him. He had on a dark gray shirt that was unbuttoned at the collar and his typical suit jacket and neatly pressed slacks. If I could see below the desk, I bet the shoes he had on cost more than mine. My devil dressed to the nines and always looked sharp. That was his disguise, but it never fooled me. I should be used to the impact he had on me but I wasn't, and my pulse jumped when his gaze settled on me.
"Do you even see human beings or just opportunities and dollar signs?" He'd told me that he saw me, but I wondered if I was an anomaly in his world.
"Depends on what I need them for. All of the people in those rooms knew what they were getting into when they plunked their cash down to indulge their proclivities. They know I'll give them anonymity, a place to do their thing, and in return, when I need a favor, they will provide it. It's an even exchange."
I crossed my arms over my chest, which pushed my breasts up and almost over the top of the fabric. Nassir noticed and my body reacted without thought. Being around him always made me feel like I was moving through a fog of sexual tension and repressed desire. He made the air thick and I could feel his eyes on me like a physical touch. It was getting tougher to convince myself that I couldn't do forever with a man like him.
"Nothing with you is an even exchange. They think you'll ask for one favor, but you won't. You'll ask for as many as you need, and if they don't comply, you'll remind them that you can air their dirty laundry anytime you want to. The second they stepped foot into your trap, you owned them."
He laced his fingers together and laid them across his flat stomach. I watched the movement and decided he was too far away. Before he could argue with me or tell me I was right about his tricks of the trade, I walked the rest of the way around his desk and planted myself squarely in his lap. He let out a surprised grunt and lifted his hands like he was going to pull me closer. At the last second he swore and put them on the arms of his chair, curling his fingers around the leather like it was a lifeline.

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