Book 1 in the Filthy Rich Billionaires Series
“Here, now, and until I say otherwise… the only thing you have to worry about is doing exactly what I tell you to do.”
Socialite Erika Vanderberg has been planning for this night for months. Years, really. All so she can finally gain entrance to Berlin’s most exclusive sex club. Only Erika is here for one person: Dorian Alexander. Her brother’s best friend and her secret childhood crush. Only now, her childish crush has been replaced by something hungry, raw, and oh-so-wickedly adult. And the moment Erika sees Dorian—his dark eyes intent and focused, that hard body taut with deliberate, sensuous tension—everything comes crashing into place.
Yes, she’s submissive. And yes, she desperately wants to surrender to Dorian over and over again. Oh yes, please.
But Erika has spent her life pretending to be the spoiled little socialite everyone expects, and pushing everyone away. This delicious specimen of man and all his heady power isn’t enough to change who she is—or is he? Not submitting to Dorian’s education is unthinkable. After one taste, there is already a dark hunger between them… one that threatens to unleash who Erika really is.
Now they’ve crossed the boundaries they should never have crossed—where tenderness tempers both desire and discipline. And it’s quickly turning into something that could save them both… if it doesn’t destroy them completely.
She was in.
Erika Vanderburg tried to breathe as elation and anticipation coursed through her in equal measure, as if in time to the deep thump of the music that wound its way around and through the crowd and seemed to rest against her clavicle. Like a heavy hand.
The notion made her warm. Maybe too warm.
Concentrate, she ordered herself.
She’d worked too hard to get in the door to waste her one chance… fluttering.
No one could simply walk into the infamous Walfreiheit Club, though many tried. The line of hopefuls stretched for acres on its once-a-month semi-public exhibition nights, like tonight. Some waited outside every night and never got in. And though Berlin was a city filled with sex clubs to suit any mood or experimental phase—or all of the above, all at once—Walfreiheit was its most exclusive.
Erika had been trying to get in the door for going on six months now. She would fly in the night before, then spend the day treating her jet lag at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, her favorite hotel in the city. She liked to take her time selecting an outfit from the high end shops on Friedrichstrasse before relaxing in the hotel’s five star spa. The routine was familiar now, and got her ready for a long night of waiting in line with the rest of the hopefuls outside the converted old building in East Berlin. All of them trying to look appropriate, whatever that meant when the place in question was an upscale bondage club. And when the opportunity to enter was entirely at the whim of whoever was at the door.
She had been reminding herself—sternly—that there was a point to all this, despite the annoyance of being denied entry month after month, when one of the terrifyingly calm and formidably solid bouncers had pointed straight at her. Erika had frozen solid.
“You,” he said in German, then shook his head at the dark-haired woman next to Erika who surged forward. “The blonde.”
Erika had been certain that he’d shake his head at her when she moved toward the door, but he didn’t. He opened the rope and waved her through. It was on her to somehow… not fall apart with sheer giddiness as she was actually let in.
The Walfreiheit Club specialized in kink. Specifically BDSM, though it was whispered that definitions were kept loose to better serve the imaginations and desires of its exclusive clientele. Members played as they liked within the walls, and membership was never automatic. No amount of money could buy someone a place if the other members didn’t vote them in. Unanimously. There were always stories about this or that celebrity or tycoon trying to buy his way in, only to be summarily denied, because the club did as the club liked. Always.
In the same vein, on exhibition nights, the men on the door made their selections from the vast line outside according to their fancy. Selected hopefuls were brought inside to the large, cavernous foyer where Mistress Olga waited, dressed in full fetish gear—though what was actually terrifying about her was the arch amusement she wore on her distractingly beautiful face.
Erika had not been prepared for Mistress Olga. She wasn’t sure a person could be prepared, especially because the bouncers outside were only collecting a group of potentials for the mistress to sort through. Which she did.
With brutal precision.
The tiny, yet ferocious woman reputed to be the most sought-after Domme in Berlin threw out most of the people who'd waited in that foyer with Erika at a glance. She sauntered down the line, flicking a finger to dismiss each person she didn’t like. She nodded at a stunningly pretty-looking man. She studied a woman with a bowed head, then murmured an assent. By the time she’d reached Erika, she’d gotten rid of most of the people who’d been let in. And she stood there, magnificent in her spike heeled boots that stopped mid thigh, training her very cool, assessing look all over Erika until Erika rather thought she might scream. Or otherwise embarrass herself beyond repair.
She would never know how she managed to just… stand there.
"You will do," Mistress Olga pronounced, in crisp German.
Erika had been ushered into a smaller foyer, this one all in black. She and the other two selected were met by another woman, this one clearly not a Domme. Or so Erika assumed from the way she bowed her head to Mistress Olga. The three of them were made to fill out extensive paperwork, were given bright yellow wristbands that they were warned sternly not to take off, and were then treated to a long list of the club’s rules and regulations.
The truth was, Erika would have agreed to absolutely anything to get inside.
She’d played around with various outfits for months. How did a person broadcast the necessary submissiveness required in a place that took its sexual roles very seriously while also making sure to advertise to one specific person exactly what he’d been missing all these years? She’d fiddled with different attempts to hit that sweet spot every month. Tonight she wore a strappy little top that cupped her breasts and lifted them up, but left most of her shoulders and her midriff bare. And a tiny little skirt that flirted with the bottom curve of her ass. The only other thing she wore was a thong that peeked up over the waistband of her skirt.
It wasn’t her most subtle outfit. But what was subtle about sexual escapades that started with a frank negotiation of terms, needs, expectations, desires and limits? Erika had decided to fully embrace what she was walking into.
Though that had seemed more like a power move before she was actually doing it.
“All right,” she muttered to herself, beneath her breath as the huge doors were opened and the three lucky selections were led through into the wall of noise and simmering dark. “You need to settle down.”
The main floor of the club was big, soaring up from the open space where most of the crowd was gathered to a second floor gallery that offered views of the action down below. And, the club submissives had told them, private play rooms. Not that a person sporting a bright yellow guest wristband would be allowed up there.
There was a bar against one wall, though that, too was subject to strict rules. No more than two drinks for anyone who wanted to play, no exceptions, and no drinks for yellow wristbands at all. Alcohol is a privilege of membership, they’d been told. There were a number of small, private seating areas tucked into nooks along the dark walls, and then a wider, more open collection of sofas and tables and comfortable looking chairs, which Erika assumed were as much for aftercare as for socializing. She’d read all about it.
There was a dance floor, and there were people out there working off their energy and anticipation—or maybe that was just her—to the seething, brooding electronic music that filled the space. And made everything feel edgier. Cut through with danger.
But beyond that, Erika knew thanks to the hand drawn map they’d been shown up front, lay the dungeon. Here there be dungeons, someone had written in bold letters and they’d all laughed on cue—and had all sounded equally nervous, to her ears.
She pulled in a breath now, then let it out in a rush. Because she knew without a doubt that the dungeon was where she would find him.
And she would finally be able to set her plan in motion.
There were butterflies in her belly as she began to make her way through the crowd, her gaze skimming over couples in leather and latex or jeans, submissives in various chains and collars or merely kneeling at their dominants’ feet. She took an extra moment to admire two buff, beautiful men on the end of their top’s leash wearing bridles and jaunty tails.
She skirted the edge of the dance floor, her feet bare against the hardwood. It felt strange to be barefoot in a club, but it was deliberate. Submissives are encouraged to go barefoot, they’d been told at the desk, where they’d surrendered their phones, wallets, coats and bags, as well as their shoes.
Erika would have worn clown shoes if asked, and had thought it was a silly request meant to make the club more mysterious—but now she got it. The wood beneath her feet felt silky and warm. It was one more sensation to add to the mix. The heat of so many bodies in one space. The cool prickle of air moving over the flesh she’d left uncovered. She could feel her pulse pick up as she wove her way through the crowd, carefully keeping her gaze averted from anyone she passed.
Especially if they had that particular look about them, too calm and too direct, that she knew meant they were dominants.
Because Erika was wearing the costume of a submissive, and she’d experimented a little with the whole power exchange thing, but she only intended to explore it further with one very specific person. Starting tonight.
It had taken her six months to get in the door tonight, but she’d spent years working her way here, one way or another. She’d danced nearly naked beneath the desert sky one summer, then experimented in the red light district out there in Black Rock City. That had been illuminating, if dusty, and it had spearheaded her own little journey. She’d followed her libido wherever it took her, aware that there was a restlessness in her but never sure quite how to address it. She’d tried partying. She’d tried spiritual retreats. She’d done yoga in Santa Monica and she’d surfed in Bali. She’d hiked and she’d communed and still, that restlessness had dogged her.
That had been true since she’d dropped out of university after her second year, but Erika had felt an enormous sense of relief when she’d packed up her things and left Oxford behind. She’d felt less sanguine about her choices when her officious, tight-assed older brother Conrad—in his role as head of the family that he’d assumed after their father had died, which Erika felt he’d taken to a little too readily and far too sternly—had cut off her financial support.
“I’m not supporting you while you waste your life,” he’d said after he’d summoned her to his palatial home in Paris.
She’d rolled her eyes. “I’m actually getting a life, Conrad.”
“Get it with a job, then,” he’d retorted.
And could not be swayed, epic asshole that he was.
Erika had gone right out and found herself a job in a dive bar in New Orleans, because she was sure that would gall her uppity brother, and she’d had every intention of paying her own way to make her own fun. But then her dramatic, theatrically self-involved mother had swept in and restored Erika’s access to the family money, because the only thing Chriszette Vanderburg feared was not having strings to pull on to control her offspring.
At first, Erika had resisted, because she didn’t want to answer to anyone. Especially not a member of her family. But Chriszette had implored her and Erika had given in because Chriszette was difficult to ignore and harder still to deny, and that was how she’d ended up acting like a paid companion when her mother was between torrid love affairs. And having to find new ways to ask for money without ever being so crass and vulgar as to ask for it the rest of the time.
But what she’d really missed in that time was not Conrad, who could shove his tough love up his own ass as far as Erika was concerned. She didn’t care if he treated her like a walking disaster, because really, he always had. What she missed was the occasional access to Dorian.
She shuddered a little, involuntarily, as that name—his name—rolled through her the way it always did.
Dorian Alexander was her older brother’s best friend, stretching back to their boarding school days. They had been thrown together at age eight and had been fast friends from the start. She had heard Conrad refer to Dorian as his brother.
But he was not Erika’s brother.
The last time she’d seen Dorian, it had been at the family charity ball his shipping magnate grandfather threw each year in Athens. Erika had gone with her mother, who liked to order her daughter to serve as her date at such things when she didn’t have a lover on hand. And yes, if she was honest, Erika had accompanied her mother to an event she could have talked her way out of for the distinct, petty pleasure of flaunting herself in front of her brother.
Conrad had been icily civil. Though Erika had seen that telltale muscle going wild in his jaw and had smugly enjoyed the satisfaction of shooting him an unmistakable middle finger simply by turning up and not begging him to reconsider.
Dorian had not followed Conrad’s lead. He had been distinctly uncivil when Erika had chirped a greeting his way, and her stomach had knotted up with a strange heat when he’d stared at her. Unsmiling.
“Why don’t you dance with me?” Erika had asked him, feeling reckless and daring. Where Conrad was infinitely disapproving and always annoyed by Erika’s existence, Dorian had always been… stern. But there was something about the particular intensity of that sternness and the frank way he looked at her—at everything—that had always made Erika feel… silly.
That night she’d decided to lean into the silliness. And besides, she’d been wearing a sparkly dress that bared most of her back and hinted at her ass. Okay, more than hinted. She’d wondered how long he’d stay stern if he had his hands on her.
“I don’t dance with little brats in the middle of temper tantrums,” Dorian had said. Calmly.
And she’d never understood how he could do that. How he could look at her in a certain way, usually while saying obnoxious things to her, and it only made her want to giggle. Or maybe melt. Or worse, both, while the knotted heat inside her seemed to thump its way lower the longer he looked at her.
“That sounds like Conrad-sourced propaganda,” she’d said, laughing.
Because she was afraid that if she didn’t laugh, she’d do something far more embarrassing.
Dorian did not laugh. He was a tall, extraordinarily well-built man. That had been true when he was in high school and Erika had seen him on the odd holiday he’d spent with Conrad’s family instead of his own. But time clearly loved him. He looked as if he was chiseled from stone, his lean muscle honed to perfection. His dark hair was closely cropped, yet somehow gave the impression he’d only moments before run his fingers through it. His eyes were a cool coffee brown, excruciatingly intense. Powerful. His cheekbones were so high they made Erika think of arias.
And his mouth was always set in that firm line. She’d spent a lot of time staring at it over the years, so she knew its every slight quirk and the raw sensuality that seemed to brood its way out of him no matter how stern he looked at any given moment.
But the look he gave her at that ball in Athens was pitiless.
“Is it propaganda or simple truth that you flounced out of university and refused to return?” he asked coolly.
“I wouldn’t call it flouncing.”
She expected him to launch into a screed on the importance of education. Or to discuss the firsts he and Conrad had received when they’d gone up, because of course they had. She’d wanted him to, really, because surely if he was horrendously boring and too much like Conrad she’d stop feeling so lit up when she saw him.
Dorian was not the only person around who disliked Erika, well she knew. But he was the only one whose dislike she felt so keenly. And the only one whose dislike did not result in her immediate indifference.
But Dorian did not wax rhapsodic about the dubious charms of an Oxbridge degree as expected. “Your brother has far more patience with willful disobedience that I would,” he’d said instead.
“I’m not sure I would consider cutting off his only sister very patient,” Erika had replied, not sure why she felt flushed. With a surprising wallop of what couldn’t be shame, surely. And something else she hadn’t wanted to name. “But I suppose your mileage may vary.”
“I don’t negotiate disobedience,” Dorian had said in that same quiet, intense way. His gaze was fierce and disapproving and worse, made her shiver. “I punish it.”
Erika hadn’t known what had come over her then. It was part of that flush that seemed to deepen by the moment. Red and everywhere and what was happening to her?
She’d tilted her head to one side. “How would you punish me?”
Dorian hadn’t smiled. If anything, he’d looked more forbidding. And harder, somehow, though he didn’t move or shift as far as she could see. Erika had felt herself go a little weak, even as she’d felt herself get wet and needy between her legs.
Right there in a fancy dress, in a room where her mother and brother also stood.
And that restless thing in her… settled. Into a kind of expectant stillness she’d never felt before in her life.
“I generally start with a spanking,” he’d said, very distinctly. “And not the kind you’d think was fun, Erika. The kind that would encourage you to change your behavior.”
“Or what?” she managed to ask, though her voice was barely above a whisper.
His eyes had gleamed. And she could swear there was something like a curve to his hard mouth. “Or I would be even more disappointed with you than I already am.”
And it was at that moment that a great many things about her older brother’s best friend came together for Erika. With the force of a blow—or, perhaps, that spanking.
Dorian had sauntered away as if nothing had happened. As if Erika was breathing normally and wasn’t the least bit overheated and reeling. The genteel crowd had swallowed up that gorgeous body of his, dressed in black tie that somehow managed to suggest that he was from another time.
Her blood had thudded inside of her, making her heart feel heavy and her head light. And the sense that he’d spanked her without putting a hand on her only seemed to grow, turning into an ache. An ache that spread, then went deep.
All the whispers that followed in Dorian’s wake made a different kind of sense, suddenly. The very specific way certain women looked at him, as if they knew a secret about him. Erika had always thought it was simply because he was so powerful, with all that Alexander family money augmented by the tech company he’d gone and started himself after university. Apparently feeling that where there was one fortune, there might as well be two.
And when she began looking specifically for rumors about Dorian Alexander in darker, more shadowy places, well. That was when she’d really found him. And it hadn’t taken a whole lot of digging to learn that Dorian was famous for great many things in the wider, more civilized world, but when it came to sex he was a king of a whole different sort.
In fact, they called him Master.
Her schoolgirl crush flipped inside out and turned into something far more edgy.
Particularly because, the more she thought about Dorian and spanking—and Dorian spanking her, for that matter—all her vague fantasies and all her sexual explorations seemed to spark into something new. And much, much hotter.
She’d experimented with light bondage and a few tame scenes in clubs in New York. London. Lisbon. She’d spent a particularly hot and steamy winter down under in Melbourne, playing top and bottom games with some new friends. And anytime it got to be too much, playing dominance games with tops who were never quite what she wanted, she thought of Dorian.
Master Dorian, as he was known. Master Dorian, who had used to scene quite a bit in the clubs—especially in Berlin, at the Walfreiheit—but did so less and less these days. Master Dorian, who was a legend and a favorite fantasy of pretty much every submissive she met.
Master Dorian, who had nothing to prove, had never given a submissive his collar, and was the only thing Erika could take from her brother that he would miss.
He’d had no use for her as a supposedly spoiled rotten socialite, sure. But would he feel differently about her as a submissive?
It was time to find out.
She felt her pulse pick up when she saw the displays as she made her way into the dungeon. A pretty girl strapped to a table while her Domme applied all manner of wicked looking clamps to her, murmuring encouragement as she shuddered and squirmed. In the next room, a Dom was working his submissive into a series of intricate and beautiful Shibari knots, as if she was an installation piece, there with her ass in the air and her face to the floor. One scene bled into the next. Threesomes. Fireplay. Suspension. One erotic fantasy brought to life after another.
But the biggest throng of onlookers had flocked to the biggest space, toward the back, and Erika headed in that direction. Even though she felt something shiver over her, like foreboding.
Because she knew what she would see. They’d all heard the whispers out there in line, that Master Dorian was picking up his whip tonight for the first time in ages. That he was putting on a show.
But God help her, she wasn’t prepared.
Dorian stood on a raised dais, facing a Saint Andrew’s Cross. A woman was strapped to it, straining against her bonds, moving her head back and forth in erotic distress. That alone made Erika’s belly quiver.
But Dorian took her breath away.
He looked darker and more dangerous than she remembered him, dressed in dark trousers, boots, and a black T-shirt that managed to hug that remarkable chest of his like an obsessed lover. Every single one of the muscles she’d marveled at when he was clad in black tie was on display. And more, like his mouth watering expanse of sheer abdominal fitness.
And it was hard not to appreciate his corded, glorious arms as he wielded that lethal, deliciously terrifying whip.
Erika’s mouth went dry. She felt her eyes go glassy, but she couldn’t look away. She felt rooted to the spot as surely as if it was her up there on the cross, writhing, tears wetting her own cheeks while cuffs kept her exactly where he wanted her.
Meanwhile, Dorian made the whip dance.
He was murmuring in a low voice and the woman responded, and it took Erika some time to understand that he was telling her exactly where each strike would land. Then he waited as she writhed, moaned.
But each time she quivered. Then said, distinctly, “Yes, Master Dorian. Please.”
Yes, Master Dorian. Please.
The words jolted through Erika like a live wire. Like the kiss of that terrible whip, landing precisely where he said it would.
He was controlled, precise. Beautiful and terrible, like an angel. He moved like a furious dancer, a dark and mighty cloud, and Erika thought the whole crowd was as breathless and undone as she was.
And for the first time since that party in Athens, Erika thought to ask herself what in the hell she was thinking.
All her little sex games were just that. Games. But Dorian was very plainly the real thing. She’d been charging up a gentle slope and calling it a mountain, and it was only now that she understood the enormity of her error. She wanted to poke at her brother, not… this. A whip and a crowd and that hungry, greedy thing she could feel turn over inside her and bare its fangs.
She didn’t want that. Erika felt exposed, even though she stood with everyone else, and knew no one was looking at her. Still, she felt vibrant with embarrassment and panic. Most of all she felt deeply, remarkably silly. Foolish.
The brat he’d called her, and more.
She needed to leave. Now. Before she made an even bigger fool of herself.
But she couldn’t seem to tear herself away. The scene on the dais went on. The whip licked over the submissive on the stage, bringing her closer and closer to that brutally perfect end that Erika could feel all over her. Her own nipples were hard. She was much too wet. She wanted to squirm but she didn’t dare move. Or she couldn’t move.
And then, finally, he asked and was answered with a sob. But a yes, Master Dorian, please, all the same. Dorian shot out his arm. The whip cracked.
Then landed with merciless precision on the submissive’s exposed clit.
The girl on the cross screamed, her body shaking wildly as she arched into a climax, her body like a bow against the cross. Out there in the dark of the audience, rooted to the floor and still bright red with the realization that she shouldn’t have come here at all, Erika felt her own body clench and tremble, as if she was on the same slippery edge.
That was when Dorian stopped. He looked out toward the crowd and the murmurs of appreciation. He looked as if he might smile.
But then he saw her.
She felt the impact of those fierce, intense eyes. She saw the flare of recognition.
And without a single hand upon her—without anything but that outraged gaze of his—Erika felt herself catapult straight over that edge.