Rune Stamford, District Attorney and Resident Dom for Crimson Heat, is being blackmailed. When notes and pictures of him and Eliza show up on his desk he is thrust into a situation that makes no sense.
Eliza Simmons is not only a court reporter who's had a thing for The DA, but she's also falling for The Shadow in a big way. When secrets are exposed and people are threatened, Rune and the men of Crimson Heat set a trap and when they're done, they'll have their Rat.
“Miss Lenox, explain to the jury, in your own words, what happened to you the day of July sixteenth, two-thousand and thirteen.” Rune stood against the railing behind which the jury sat. His body was relaxed, while his hand was in his pocket. For the last three weeks, he’d gone back and forth with the slimy bastard representing Clive Bennett. Three times the man had tried to get the charges against Clive thrown out, and three times the judge had denied him. Finally they’d gotten to Taryn’s testimony. Rune was sure, ‘Mr. I Object,’ would balk at everything she said.
“I-I don’t remember it all, still. I have some blank spots,” Taryn said, swallowing roughly. “Pam picked me up around nine. We were going out for lunch and shopping. I think we ate…but...” She shook her head.
“It’s okay, Miss Lenox. Take your time,” Rune assured her. His voice was soft and calming. “What happened next?”
“Pam said, I want to try this on, I’ll be…”
“Objection, Your Honor.” The rat sitting next to Clive stood up.
“On what grounds, counselor?” Rune asked. Standing up straight, his body tightened for the impending fight. The air of nonchalance disappeared.
“On the grounds you’re leading the witness.” He smiled smugly at Rune.
Rune shook his head and chuckled. The dumbass just didn’t get it, did he? He was delaying the inevitable for his client, sure, but in all actuality, he was making himself look like a giant, incompetent, jackass.
“Overruled. Miss Lenox, please continue,” the judge prompted, and Rune nodded reassuringly at her.
“All I remember is this horrible smell and a cloth covering my mouth and nose. I panicked. I-I couldn’t get away,” Taryn sobbed.
“What happened next, Miss Lenox?” Rune crooned. He returned to his gentle demeanor after his spat with the defense attorney.
“I don’t know. I passed out and when I woke up, I was shackled to a cross on a stage.” Taryn’s voice was just above a whisper as one fat tear rolled down her cheek.
“Objection, Your Honor.” The defense attorney stood up, slamming his hand down on the table.
Taryn jumped at the loud noise, and out of the corner of his eye, Rune watched as Dallas, a detective for the Chicago PD and Taryn’s fiancé, inched forward. With a slight shake of his head, Rune chuckled. “What is it this time, Mr. Bilbo?”
“How does the witness know it was my client who took her? She can’t even remember the whole day, let alone what some mystery man did to her if, in fact, anything was done to her.” Next to the attorney, Clive smirked at Rune.
“Are you really that stupid, Bilbo?” Rune asked incredulously.
The judge slammed his gavel against the podium where he sat. “Counsel, approach the bench.” Both men moved over to where the judge waited for them. His hand covered the mic as he narrowed his eyes and pinned each of them with a glare. “I don’t know what game you are playing, Mr. Bilbo, but you have wasted enough of this county and this court’s time. From now on, every time you interrupt the witness, you will be fined fifty dollars.” The defense attorney stammered for a moment and the judge cut him off. “Would you like to go for thirty days in lock up instead?” Mr. Bilbo shook his head. “I didn’t think so. Mr. Stamford, I’ve cut you some slack with this witness, but if I catch you even attempting to lead her through her testimony, I will also find you in contempt and throw you in jail. Do I make myself clear?”
Rune nodded, “I understand, Your Honor. It won’t happen.”
“Very good.” The judge removed his hands from his mic. “Mr. Bilbo, your objection is overruled. Mr. Stamford, please continue.”
“Miss Lenox, what happened next?”
Rune and Taryn fell into an easy rhythm. Rune didn’t let up on her. He wouldn’t allow Bilbo to accuse him of being too easy on her or leading her to the answers Rune wanted—even if the answers were the truth.
By the time Rune sat down, the sun was lowering in the sky. The judge knocked his gavel against its stand and called the courtroom to order. “We’ll continue with the defense’s cross examination of the witness Monday morning, nine am sharp.” With another smack of his gavel, court was dismissed.
Dallas was waiting for Taryn as she stepped down off the stand and walked over to him. Rune hated that she had to relive everything that happened to her that past summer. Of all of Clive’s victims, she’d been the only one to live. That didn’t mean she didn’t carry her own scars, both internal and external. She had a six inch scar on her abdomen, courtesy of Clive’s knife when he sliced her flesh in a fit of rage. Nodding to her as she passed, Rune headed for his office to he could finish up some notes, before heading out for the evening. At ten, he was supposed to be at Crimson and on stage with the evening’s sub.
Crimson sat in the middle of the warehouse district and butted up to the waterfront. Rune had been a Dom there for almost five years, but what no one knew was that he was also partners with Oz. The English bastard was his best friend. Over the years, they had played side by side, so it only seemed fitting that they had ended up in business together. He liked being the silent partner. He also liked keeping the fact that he was a Dom on the down low. Being the District Attorney for Cook County came with responsibilities and duties that meant he needed to appear above reproach. The respect Rune had for his position made it prudent on his part that his personal life and his professional life never crossed.
The women seemed to get off on the fact that he never showed them his face. Everything for him was done with backlighting. The bright lights of the stage washed him out while he was up there. It gave him the anonymity he craved, and also got the women off like no one’s business. The women he serviced always left with smiles on their faces and came back repeatedly.
Jenny was one of those women. At just about six-foot herself, she was curvy and luscious. She had a penchant for pain and loved his dirty talk. Just thinking about the fun he’d have with her that night made his dick stir in his slacks. She was also his screamer. He loved it when they screamed for his cock. The natural rush was indescribable. It was the best high a Dom could experience.
With his briefcase in hand, he pushed through the heavy wood doors of the courthouse, then descended the stairs while loosening his tie. Heading for his car parked in the garage just across from the courthouse, Rune stopped short at the sound of his name. When he heard it being shouted above the din of the city for the second time, he turned.
“Mr. Stamford! Sir!” The voice implored. “Please, wait.”
He watched as the court reporter from Clive’s trial made her way to him, frantically waving papers in the air. Her full breasts bounced deliciously, testing the resolve of her blouse, as she closed the distance between them. Letting his eyes trace over the lush curve of her hips, then down her long legs, he bit back a groan. Her skin was creamy ivory, flawless except for the light smattering of freckles dotting her nose and cheeks. Thick auburn locks tumbled over her shoulders in waves, bobbing with each step she took. Eliza was beautiful, in that awkward…shy kind of way.
Stopping in front of him, the little redhead pushed her black-rimmed glasses up her nose, and offered him the papers, slightly out of breath. “Here are your copies of the transcript, Sir. I’m sorry I didn’t catch you inside. I was transferring the dictation to Word for you.”
Deliberately brushing her fingers as he took the papers, he smirked at the slight blush that colored her cheeks.
“Thank you, Miss Simmons. You could have just emailed them to me. There was no need to rush out here,” he remarked, flipping through the thick packet nonchalantly.
“I-I figured it was easier this way,” she stammered, shifting nervously. Her big blue eyes focused on the ground in front of her. “Email can be such a fickle thing when it wants to be, and I know you could use these come Monday morning.”
He had to hold back the chuckle that bubbled up in his chest. A twisted part of him always got off on getting the ladies hot and bothered, but Eliza was different. In a lot of ways, she reminded him of an old school Hollywood actress. She was proper to a fault, and didn’t believe in a lot of modern technology, including email. But she was a wiz at dictation. She even caught things he’d missed, allowing him to use those points in cross examination. If he was honest with himself, she had a helping hand in more than a few of his convictions.
Flashing her a broad smile that made that pretty red color stain her freckled little face again, he pulled open the door to his sedan. “Thank you, Miss Simmons.”
With a wink, he slid into his car. “I’ll see you Monday morning.” Other people fell for Eliza’s innocent, blushing act…Rune knew her secrets.
Every weekend she showed up at Crimson, watched the different stage shows, then went on her merry way, never once subbing for a Dom. Usually she was accompanied by two or three girls, and even though they tried to get her to open up and experience the delicious pleasure that could be had at the club, she held back. More than a few times Rune wondered if perhaps she wasn’t a sub, but more of a switch. However, the more he watched her in the courtroom and also in the club, he knew she was a true submissive. She just didn’t know it…yet.
By nine, Rune was relaxed and ready for his evening. Sitting on one of the couches surrounded by his friends, he took another sip of his drink. Taryn and Dallas were notably absent. It had taken him a good two hours to get the image out of his head of her frail form sitting on the stand as she went over what happened to her the day Clive kidnapped her. He couldn’t imagine how Dallas was feeling, especially since he’d been the one Clive taunted as she hung shackled from the cross. Sinking lower into the plush leather chair, his hat low over his face, he blew out a frustrated breath. When he got back into the courthouse, he was going to turn the heat up, and push the defendant a little bit harder.
“Why such the long face?” Dante shouldered him as he sat down in the wingback chair next to the couch. Dante’s English wasn’t perfect, but he got his point across.
“Long fucking day,” he answered swirling his glass. The dark syrupy liquid clung to the sides of the tumbler.
“Kurwa. Taryn testified today, didn’t she?” Dante blew out a breath and ran his free hand over his head.
“Yep.” Rune took another swallow of his drink.
“How did our girl hold up?” And she was their girl. Most of the Doms in the club had known her since the place opened.
“You’d have been proud of her, Dante. But…” He let his words trail off. He didn’t have to explain to the man what they already knew.
Dante had been there. He took the shot that winged Clive, giving Dallas and Cooper, Dallas’s partner and best friend, enough time to free Taryn. “Fuck,” Dante cursed. “I wish I would have killed the bastard. She wouldn’t be going through any of this right now, had I.”
Rune shrugged. “You played it safe. I can’t fault you for that. The risk was too great to play it any other way.”
“Yeah,” Dante snorted, before his attention was drawn across the room. “Well, would you look at that?”
Rune’s gaze snapped to attention as he watched Eliza walk onto the main floor of the club. Like always, she was accompanied by two friends, both of them dressed to the nines in fetish wear, while she wore a simple skirt and bustier. Her auburn hair fell in loose curls around her face and shoulders. Noticeably missing were her black-framed glasses. A rumble of pleasure built in his chest. The mousy court reporter had come to watch tonight and damn if that didn’t make his whole body come alive.
Rune’s dick pressed against the front of his jeans and throbbed as she licked her full lips. Eliza looked around the open floor of the club, before nodding at something her friends said. He watched as she walked off toward one of the bars, and sat down. From her perch at the bar, she was front and center for his show. Shit. “I’ve got to get ready.” Rune practically growled, while fist bumping the SWAT officer and heading out.
“Have fun, stud,” Dante teased, causing Rune to flip him off as he walked away.
Opening the door to his locker, Rune took off his ball cap for a moment, then pulled out the green coveralls he had brought with him that night, together with the white wife-beater tee. Taking off his street clothes, he dressed, then walked over to the mirror. Pulling his hat down over his eyes just a bit more, he stared at his reflection and smirked. The ladies were going to love him.
I wonder what Eliza will think?
The thought made him pause.
In all honesty, he was curious about her. She was a hard nut to crack, and perhaps that was the reason he wanted to see her reaction. Yeah, that’s it, he thought, then snorted. If he believed for one second that all he wanted was to see her reaction, then he was more delusional than he’d previously thought.
Rune made his way to the stage, pushing away thoughts of Eliza. He had a job to do. Climbing the stairs two at a time, he walked out until he stood in the middle of the stage. His hands were clasped behind his back, his head bent just perfectly to hold the shadow of the low light. Slowly, one by one, the small lights placed strategically around the area where he’d play with his sub came to life. Each one lit a different part of his body. Cat calls and wolf whistles filled the club as the final light hit him, illuminating his chest, and effectively hiding his face.
“Bring me my submissive,” he bellowed.
A small device in the mic he wore distorted his deep resonating voice, completing the disguise. Chancing a glance out into the club, his gaze locked with Eliza’s. Her lips were parted, her chest rising and falling with heavy pants. With each second that passed, she seemed to inch forward just a little more, as he waited for Jenny to join him on stage. Never taking his eyes off her, Rune bit his lip and gave her a smoldering wink, before turning his attention back to the task at hand.
The clip of heels hitting the wooden stage floor had him turning his head. Jenny was naked except for a pair of kitten heeled peep-toed shoes. He watched as her lithe body lowered to the floor and, with a catlike gracefulness, she stretched her form out. Her ass was high in the air, while her cheek touched the floor and her arms stretched out in front of her. Her legs were spread perfectly for his perusal and, as he walked around her, he could see her sweet cream coating her bare pussy.
“Perfect, pet,” he purred. Pulling his pants up slightly, he knelt at her hip and ran his hand up and down her side, leisurely caressing her flesh, getting her used to his touch. Jenny pushed back into his hand, earning her a quick stinging slap. “None of that, pet. I’m in charge here. I tell you when to ask for more.”
Jenny whimpered and murmured a soft, “Yes, Sir.”
“Much better.” Running his fingers through her slit, his middle finger stroked her clit in lazy circles.
Jenny’s breath hitched and she shivered as he played with her. Rune was teasing her, priming her for a night she wouldn’t forget. “You remember your safe word with me, pet?” Jenny nodded and repeated it for him. “Good girl,” he crooned, adding more pressure to her clit.
Rune watched as her body went rigid under his ministrations. She was so responsive to his touch, almost too responsive. There wasn’t anything spontaneous about his sessions with her anymore. He knew how far he could take her before she’d beg for relief and she knew just how far to push him before he punished her.
With another sharp spank, he pulled his fingers free of her wet pussy and licked them. “Mmm, sweeter than honey. Stand up, pet, and get up on the bench.”
Without hesitation, she did as he asked. Jenny bounced over to the bench; a smile of pure excitement lighting her face as he locked her into place, and made sure the restraints weren’t too tight. Rune sighed. What was with him tonight? It was like he was on autopilot, watching himself from across the stage as he pulled the black studded glove from his back pocket. Placing it on his hand, he brushed the blunt edges of the brads across her ass.
Bringing his hand down, Rune set her ass on fire. Slap after slap of his hand came down on her creamy flesh. A nice red blush covered the cheeks as he worked her higher and higher. Pretty soon the club disappeared around him and it was just the two of them, together on that stage. But, in a small dark corner of his mind, he also saw Eliza.
A merciless grin of satisfaction tugged at Rune’s lips as he brought his hand down one more time. Tiny poke marks marred her flesh as he pulled the glove off and threw it onto the stage. Grabbing the butter-soft leather glove out of his right pocket, he placed it onto his hand, and caressed her flesh. Jenny trembled against the bonds, as he squeezed and distributed the heat just a little more. “Tell me what you want, pet,” he whispered.