"How well do you know her?"
"I know she is a stern, but loving Mistress."
His guide turned left down the hall and opened a door into a room lit only by red candles. In the center of the room, suspended by ceiling hooks and a heavy chain, hung a black steel bar with eyebolts on each end, top and bottom. He stopped a few feet from the device. A metal horseshoe bolt joined the two chains together at the top. Leather wrist cuffs connected to each end of the bar by boat hooks. It looked sturdy enough to hold his weight ... if that was her game. His cock started to harden.
"You must undress and give me your clothes."
"Look, all this is tempting, but I only want to talk to your mistress." Liar. His inner voice snickered.
"She will not see you if you are clothed."
"Fine." He untied his shoes and slid them off his feet, then looked around for somewhere to sit.
No chairs, no bed, not even a bench. Just bare hardwood floor. He toed at his socks until they too were off, then unzipped his slacks and stepped away. Before he could grab them off the floor, the servant bent to take them.
"What pleases her?"
"You will find out, or you will be punished."
A shiver slid across his shoulders and down his spine.
"Are you her personal servant?" He unbuttoned the shirt and handed it to the man.
"No ... I..." The man paused, rethinking his reply.
"I had hoped in time, if I served well enough, she might claim me as her own. But now it is too late."
"And why would that be?" Evan noticed a movement out of the corner of his eye.
"Mistress Renata! Forgive me. I only--" the man begged, dropping the clothes in his arms and stumbling to his knees.
"You may go."
Evan watched the man gather everything in his arms once more, look over at him with envy, before standing and backing away.
"Hey! My clothes!"
The servant hurried out the door, taking the clothes with him.
Long, red-tipped fingers grabbed his chin, and forced his gaze forward, to the woman holding him still.
"You were supposed to be naked for my pleasure. Tell me, who should I punish?"
Her face mere inches away, he felt the warmth of her breath across his lips, the scent of vanilla and jasmine behind her delicate, pierced ears. Surprise held his tongue. She was only a fraction shorter than he. He looked into the dark, mysterious, feminine eyes, and knew in that instant he would never regret this moment or his decision. His questions about his sister's fiancÚ could wait a little longer.
"Me. Punish me," he whispered the words as if they were a benediction ... and perhaps they were.