Branded sanctuary, p.20
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       Branded Sanctuary, p.20

         Part #7 of Nature of Desire series by Joey W. Hill
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Page 20


  The dress was definitely feminine and yet sexy at once, the thin fabric giving glimpses of the outline of her body, the diamond neckline generous with the curves of her breasts and cleavage for anyone who cared to look. Though it was one person in particular she cared about, if he wasnt too busy serving some other woman.

  Curling her lip, she gave her chosen outfit another tug. On the bright side, she certainly hadnt had any time to have nightmares these past few days. Though she still felt like bolting, it was for entirely different reasons now.

  * * * * *

  The view of the side and back lawns was breathtaking. Shed been part of the set up, but the final result was like an array of fairies had come and sprinkled the whole Carnival with glittering magic dust to give it that finishing touch, an enchanted look. Everything had lights. The Ferris wheel, the tents, and even the lawn had strands of tiny lights crisscrossed and stretched between poles. A breeze was coming off the water. The stage area was down by the oaks, framed by their long, gnarled branches, the wispy strands of Spanish moss. It was impossible not to be affected by the fantasy of her surroundings, allow it to transport her mind to a place where many things were still possible. A s she came down the hill, a tendril of the joie de vivre that shed once spun into her own unique form of magic flickered to tentative life.

  Chloe had never worried about class status before, and she was determined not to start tonight when she had enough worries on her plate.

  Besides which, the few faces that turned toward her as she approached the back tables were curious, but not unfriendly. Of course, she couldnt imagine Tyler and Marguerite tolerating a guest who was anything less than classy.

  Her stomach tightened as she saw the opening remarks were just concluding, Tyler turning over the microphone to another man. She was sorry shed missed that, fussing with her appearance, but she knew her increased tension was because the auction was the first event scheduled for the evening. Shed arrived just in time to see what role Brendan would be playing tonight.

  Shed have expected the auctioneer to be Tyler, since the main purpose was to raise money for the battered womens shelter. Chloe could well imagine the bids Tylers combination of Southern charm and commanding presence would elicit from his audience. But he and Marguerite were seated at one of the candlelit tables near the front, Tylers chair pushed back so he could comfortably speak to friends at an adjacent table.

  Marguerites fingertips barely touched his where both their hands rested on the cream tablecloth, though Chloe could almost see the arc of kinetic energy that flowed through the small space.

  She slid into an empty chair, choosing to stay in the back. She gave a courteous nod to the two closest tables when the occupants glanced her way. One table held three people. A woman with hair like the spun gold that Chloe thought only existed in books wore a white full length beaded sheath and silver heels. The man next to her was in a tuxedo. In contrast, the third man wore jeans and a dress shirt with cowboy boots. He looked as if he played professional football. Since his face seemed familiar, she thought it was possible.

  The table to her right was occupied by two men, obviously lovers. One mans hand rested on the others thigh, tracing a path up and down it.

  While they werent in black tux, their clothes were dress shirts and slacks, expensive-looking shoes. Looking back at the three at the other table, she thought they were more sexual playmates, rather than ongoing lovers. There was an easy banter between them, and a lot of smoldering glances, but not the casual intimacy of the two men.

  A s her gaze swept the crowd, she saw different versions of the same, as well as her first examples of blatant submission. People kneeling at the feet of their Masters or Mistresses, or standing behind them, positioned so they wouldnt block the view of others. One pair in particular intrigued her, because the woman wore a short cocktail dress, stockings and ice pick heels, yet she knelt on the grass next to her male companion, or Master, Chloe corrected herself, though she assumed both terms were true.

  He wore a more casual outfit of jeans and T-shirt. A s he fondled her auburn curls, he ran his fingers along the edge of a thick diamond choker to which a tether was attached. What caught Chloes attention, though, was that the girl wasnt kneeling on the grass, but his jacket, which hed spread beneath her.

  It was a harsh contrast to what she saw to the left of them, a man completely naked and kneeling at his Masters feet. He wore a harness that caged his genitals. When he shifted, she noted the plug in the rear ring of the harness, explaining the gingerly way he knelt. He also wore nipple clamps with a chain running from them to a metal band around the head of his cock. It was obvious that the heavier and more erect his cock became, the more excruciating the pull on the clamps might be. Since his cock was hard and thick, begging for attention, apparently the pain was a stimulant. His Master seemed oblivious, chatting with friends. However, watching their body language, Chloe could tell the clad man was anything but indifferent to the pleasurable torment he was causing.

  She looked away from that, a little overwhelmed. Varying versions of the same were displayed across the over one hundred small round tables.

  Though she found it hard to look at the more extreme examples, she picked up on a couple consistent themes. There was a strong sense ofconnection between the groupings. Pleasurable cruelty existed here, and pain, but also care, trust. Love. Her gaze passed back over the woman kneeling on the suit jacket, then drifted from there to Marguerite and Tyler. She suspected that had to do with them, the tone they set. Charity or no charity, it was obvious the exclusive guest list had considerations beyond money.

  The murmur of the crowd fell to a hush, the waitstaff moving with smooth precision to stay out of the direct line of the lit stage as the auctioneer stepped up to the podium.

  A s irresistible as Tyler was, Chloe couldnt fault his choice of emcee. He was a Viking, tall and broad, with blond hair loose around a face strong enough to give Fabio in his prime a run for his money. His blue-gray eyes were warm but assessing, giving a dual impression of kindness and command of any situation. The latter made her wonder if he might be a friend of Tylers from his time with whatever government agency hed served. Of course, the Vikings looks suggested a film industry contact. His voice rolled over the crowd like a radio professional, but she thought he might be more at home inside a Roman arena, announcing gladiator games. Or participating in them.

  Welcome, Masters and Mistresses. We are glad to have your presenceand your walletsfor the most important event tonight. He paused for the murmur of appreciative laughter, eyes glinting at a smattering of suggestive comments, some of which made Chloes eyes widen. I have to tell you, its a drug, inhaling the sweet nervousness of the slaves behind this curtain. Theyre anxious and aroused, wondering who will take them in hand for the next three days. Who will give them the discipline they crave, the punishments they need. Which of you will earn their surrender, and all the pleasure that comes with that.

  Like Brendan, he had the voice training of a stage performer, his change in tone from amusement to seductive promise igniting the atmosphere with anticipation. Chloe tried to focus on that, rather than the sinking feeling in her stomach. A s her gaze passed again over the tables, she noted many occupants had picked up thick, glossy program booklets, and were turning to already marked pages.

  Our gracious hosts, Master Tyler and Mistress Marguerite, mailed you your auction programs last month, so you should have had ample time to peruse the choices and make your selections. A s you can imagine, having any one of these beautiful slaves as your own for two whole nights is a gift without price. A lmost. He quirked a brow to another wave of chuckles. Master Tyler advises you to show your appreciation generously. Looking out at this assembly, most of you would have to pay dearly to get the chance at slaves as pretty as these are. Im of course referring to you Masters, not our assembly of lovely Mistresses.

  Nice way to save your ass, K
ale, a call came from the crowd. The emcee grinned to the ripple of laughter.

  Well start with Slave Number One. Ill run down the highlights to jog your memory. Slave Number One is a pain and punishment junkie, a real handful who requires the most extreme Master or Mistress. A s you can see, we already had to take him well in hand.

  Chloe froze in her chair as two men, almost larger than Kale, brought a struggling male slave out from behind the large curtained area adjacent to the stage. His cock was in a similar harness to ones shed seen in the crowd, only this one appeared to have prongs that jabbed his sizeable erection. She could see the pressure of the points digging into the tender base and scrotum. He also had some sort of bridle on his head, and a blindfold.

  Slave Number One is wearing a scold harness. For those of you not familiar with this lovely item, theres a flat metal piece holding down his tongue until a Master or Mistress is ready to put his mouth to more creative use. A t a nod, they turned him. When he resisted, Chloe gasped as one of the handlers zapped him with an electric charge from a prod. The sparks were blue. The slave bellowed but turned, displaying a muscular backside and broad shoulders, already reddened with stripes.

  He needed a good caning to settle him down, at least enough to get him up here. Ladies and gentleman, he needs a great deal of your attention. Who wants the challenge of taming the beast? Who can make him serve as a proper slave should?

  Three thousand, came from the table next to her, the threesome. The woman in the white sheath made the bid as the other two males nodded.

  The football player leaned forward, his expression wreathed in determined anticipation.

  Chloes pulse fluttered, and she realized she had her fingers clutched in her lap. She wasnt sure what to think. Was it the elegant-coated brutality, or something she didnt consciously understand, that made her shamefully fascinated? The slave roared in protest around the metal piece in his mouth. The two men used strength and the prod to drive him to his knees. They shoved him to his elbows, making him face the back of the stage so they could knock the knees out wider and show the assembled the large testicle sac, cinched by the sharp prongs. With his ass high in the air, the anal region was clearly displayed. A plug was in it, held with another form of clamp that had more prongs, digging into the buttocks like fingers.