Mistress JuliAnn Clayton owns one of the most renowned bars and alternative restaurants in the area. But when she allows her staff to talk her into listing herself in the “Flog-a-Dom” auction to benefit the LGBTQ Pride Clinic, she's sure something will go wrong. With an audience watching and the Dungeon Monitor officiating, how bad could it get? And Dr. Shelley is always ready to alleviate any injury, real or imagined.
With a starting bid at five thousand dollars, it will definitely raise money for the Clinic. But when the bidding gets out of hand, will it open all those doors JuliAnn has spent fifteen years trying the lock closed? Will the memories sink her back into those dreaded days that even millions of dollars haven't erased?
When the mystery bidder turns out to be the Mistress who abandoned her fifteen years earlier; the one JuliAnn swore she'd never go back to, her memories come crashing down. Can she fulfill her promise to help the Clinic, or will the past throw her bar, her restaurant, and her reputation into chaos?
“And now, the last and most highly awaited offering tonight: Flogging Mistress JuliAnn Clayton. JuliAnn is known throughout the country, and probably the world. If I told you everything she's done for the Leather world, we'd be here until next week.” There were low comments throughout the room. “JuliAnn is the President and CEO of Clayton Industries, which owns and runs The Shaded Parlor, The Stone Cold Cellar, and The Flaming Table. Not only has she helped raise funds for a great many worthy causes, but many LGBTQ charities have been the recipients of her own generosity.”
I didn't need all these accolades. Just get on with the bidding.
“Her classes and exhibitions of the BDSM lifestyle are always a highlight of both regional and national conferences and meetings. She swears she's been in this lifestyle for twenty years but I'm not sure anyone will admit to having included a minor in their play scenes.”
He turned to look at me and I gave him a smile with a whatever shrug.
“All right, who'll bid five thousand for a flogging with aftercare?”
I couldn't watch the bidding. I was too nervous. I stood with my hands on a table behind me. I leaned back against it so no one could see my knees shaking. I know who I wanted to win, but wasn't sure she had the money to compete. Some women were shouting their bids before Jeff even finished accepting the one before.
I think the excitement and bidding flew on but was beginning to lag at eleven-two whenit happened.
A young woman suddenly stood up and announced loudly, “Twenty-five thousand dollars!”
What? You could hear a collective gasp as everyone turned to look to see who that was. Holy Shit! Who the fuck was that? I wasn't expecting that. There was mumbling throughout the hall. I was completely dumbstruck.
She stood there in a steel gray, double-breasted women's business suit with black lace showing where a shirt would be. If I wasn't mistaken, it was an Alexander McQueen suit like the one I had almost bought last month, before I choked on the thirty-three hundred dollar price tag. She had a solid gold necklace around her throat.
“Did we hear you correctly?” Jeff asked.
“I been authorized ... by my Mistress ... to bid twenty-five thousand dollars for aprivate ... forty-eight hour session with Mistress JuliAnn if she's brave enough.”
Everyone in the hall drew a quick breath and turned to look at me. I was wide-eyed in surprise. Everyone else was frozen in silence. If I'm brave enough? My eyes closed to angry slits. Someone was calling me out in front of this entire audience? Do that again and I'll be on the other end of that flogger. No, make that a whip... or, better yet, a baseball bat.
The young woman, who appeared to be in her mid to late thirties, continued, “Also, there'll be an additional five thousand dollars added if it can start tonight at midnight.”
“Impossible,” the auctioneer said. “That's not enough time for the check to clear. Even with a credit card, there would have to be a signed affidavit that it is authentic and will not be disputed as fraudulent.”
The young woman surprised everyone again with, “I have it on a debit card. It can be transferred immediately.”
“Who is this bidder?” I asked. Who the fuck put me up for this? Who the hell had that much money to throw around? And who was this shithead that dared disparage my bravery in front of everyone?
“I've been told not to reveal her name in public.”
“And she's questioning my bravery?” I replied. I almost spat it. There were murmurs throughout the room.
“Once the bid is accepted and wins, I have a letter to give to you, Mistress JuliAnn, in private, that will explain this.”
I was livid but I couldn't let anyone see it. “Give me a minute,” I said and turned away, moving next to Allen.
“What should I do?” I whispered. I was on the verge of a massive migraine.
He turned his back to the audience, too, so no one could see what we were saying. “Honey, it's up to you. At least you know it's a woman, and it will be in private.” He looked around the room. “It's an awful lot of money ... even for forty-eight hours.”
“Two days? That could be a very, very long time.” I closed my eyes. Could I do this? What if I couldn't? Or I hated whoever it was? Did I dare put my body at that risk? Did I even want to do it?
“Want me to bid twenty-six?” he asked. Do I dare lose the twenty-five for the clinic?
“Try it.” Yes, I'd replace it if need be. He turned to his secretary, Gwen, and gave her the raise it sign.
Gwen signaled to Jeff. “I bid twenty-six.”
“Twenty-seven plus the five extra,” Ms. McQueen suit shot back.
“Another?” Allen whispered. I nodded. He signaled Gwen.
“Thirty,” Gwen bid.
I nodded. Gwen bid, “Thirty-five.”
“This is getting crazy,” the woman said, more softly. “Forty thousand!”