Book 2 in the Nature of Desire series. Mackenzie "Mac" Nighthorse is a highly respected homicide detective and a career cop. There isn't a dangerous situation that can back him down. However, the personal becomes uncomfortably entangled in the professional when he goes undercover in a high class BDSM club as a male submissive in order to find a Dominatrix who is winning the trust and then murdering her chosen partners. When his path crosses Violet Siemanski's, he realizes he's found a Mistress willing to be his ally in finding the murderess. But Violet is also going to shatter Mac's shields and make him question who he is and what he wants, a challenge more disturbing than any case he's ever worked.
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1 . This is my favorite book of all time.
Posted May 24, 2010 by Stetsinlady , Everett,Great storyline, Interesting characters. I love this book.
Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Natural Law by Joey W. Hill
"I've got a meeting with the captain at ten, Mac." Sergeant Darla Rowe took a seat behind her desk and lifted a brow as one of her top people closed her door before taking a seat before her. She straightened, put her hands on her desk, one folded over the other. "What's on your mind, Detective?"
"We found a second body last night," Mac said, forcing himself to sit back in the chair and ignore the painful knot low in his belly. The dead kid he'd just stood over had had a much worse day than he was having, no matter how bad his sergeant's reaction was going to be.
He'd been working in her squad over two years, and he trusted her. She had a level head, an unfathomable patience for bureaucrats, but no tolerance for bullshit, and she was loyal and fair to her people. He was counting heavily on fair, but he was venturing into territory where fair was often drowned by moral reaction.
"Same MO. Mid to late twenties male. Worked as a stockbroker. Good WASP background, church-goer. He was dressed in a leather thong, dog collar, cuffed spread-eagle to his four poster bed, dildo up his ass, begging your pardon. Bullet in the base of his skull."
"Detective Ramsey said she thought that the murderer may resent the victims' social standing, may be trying to humiliate them." Rowe nodded. "Have we been able to keep a lid on the press?"
"No leaks on the way the vic was found. We've told them it appears to be a sex crime, bullet to the head, but that's all." Mac lifted a shoulder. "Connie has good instincts, but we're still waiting for the official psych profile, and it doesn't mesh to me. If the perp was trying to humiliate them publicly, I'd think she'd have sent pictures to the paper by now."
"Nail gouges on the victim's back suggest it, but they were done with gloves on. We're doing DNA checks. In both cases a caller has contacted one of the parents, told them that they have to come right away because there's an emergency at the victim's home. I think she's revealing the truth about the victim, perhaps reenacting a similar trauma that happened to her, or something she wants to reveal about herself but never has gotten the chance or the guts to do it. Just amateur analysis, granted, but it smells right."
Darla's eyes narrowed. "'Revealing the truth'?"
"Yes, ma'am. Both men frequented a fetish club called The Zone in Tampa. I had a uniform go down there today, talk to the manager, confirm their memberships with a warrant to pull their specific records. They were very cooperative as soon as they understood their members could be in danger. They'll be a helpful ally. I think our murderess is a practicing sexual Dominant, a Mistress, and she's choosing her victims from The Zone, even if she's not playing with them there. Granted, two victims doesn't establish a definite pattern--"
Rowe sat back, her brows lifted. "But it does give us some lead on her preferred trawling grounds. Excellent work, Detective. Who called the families?"
"A man, both times. Called from a pay phone, but it's suspected from the speech patterns described by the parents that the caller was a drifter or homeless person the perp paid to make the call. Different men, based on the voices described. We're casing the local liquor and convenience stores near the booths to which we traced the calls to see if the store employees remember a homeless person coming in and dropping an unusual amount of money for a bottle of booze in the past forty-eight hours. However, both calls were made from the worst areas of Tampa, so it's likely they've rabbited and we can take our pick of a few thousand drifters."
"So how did you make The Zone connection? Business card for The Zone in their wallets?"
Mac hesitated. "No, ma'am. Both victims were extremely circumspect about their lifestyles. That gels with the reputation of The Zone. The club even provides lockers there for members to keep their paraphernalia, so it's not kept in the home. They don't give out member ID cards. They put your social security on file and when you come, you enter it into the entry key pad. That's how you get in." He shifted. "I've done a little research."
Sergeant Darla Rowe had seen Mac Nighthorse come out of situations that would give nightmares to the most grizzled veteran. He'd started his career in undercover work, proving himself so adept at deep cover and maintaining the integrity of his personality in that high stress area, that they'd kept him in it for over five years. When he'd advanced into public field work, he quickly obtained his Detective rating, working cases 24/7 to solve murders, armed robberies, kidnappings. She'd listened to wire taps of him breaking up volatile drug deals. A few months ago, he had taken down a Tampa serial killer one-on-one in the cramped quarters of the sewer system when the killer had gone to ground there with an AK47. Mac had been disarmed, his arm broken during the fight, and had brought the killer down with nothing but determination and a healthy dose of fury. He didn't freeze, and he wasn't cocky. He was so steady the other guys called him The Oak, not just because of his size, but because of that unflappable demeanor, no matter the circumstances.
At the moment, she was watching the wooden arm of her visitor chair grow slick with nervous sweat from his palm.
"What's on your mind here, Mac?" she asked, pointedly glancing at the damp surface.
He stared at it, then lifted his hand, leaned forward and clasped both hands loosely between his splayed knees. It emphasized his broad shoulders, the long columns of his thighs. As usual, Darla sternly forced her gaze off the nice shape of his groin outlined by the dress slacks. Since she was happily married, it was aesthetic appreciation only, but it wasn't exactly professional to be caught eyeing the crotch of one of her detectives. She had often wondered why Mac didn't have a woman in his life, but suddenly she got the feeling she was about to find out why.
"To find her, we're going to need to send someone undercover in The Zone. She's picking up submissives, that's the terminology, winning their trust, so she's likely already working her next target."
"So we pull in an undercover team."
He shook his head. "That won't work, Sarge. This isn't a seedy adult club where the criminals mix with the thrill seekers. The activity at The Zone is legal, and the clientele is high dollar. This is about sexual gratification, not perversion." He raked a hand through his hair. "It's not the same as the criminal side. To most people in the vanilla world it looks that way, but it's the difference between a murder and a natural death. One is forced coercion. The other one's about natural law. A cop who doesn't understand that would stand out so clearly he might as well wear his badge pinned on his chest."
Darla sat back. "I'm going to repeat my question, Mac. Why don't you tell me what's going on between the lines here?"
He nodded, looked down at his big hands, laced them together, then he raised his face so he met her expression square on with those silver eyes that could freeze a criminal in his tracks or pry the truth out of the most devious snitch. Right now, they looked like they were facing the prospect of a prostate exam with Andre the Giant donning the latex gloves.
"I know those types of clubs, Sarge. I've been part of the D/s scene since I was in my late twenties. I know the language and the people. The Zone isn't my usual haunt. It's out of my income bracket." A light smile touched his lips. "But every club has a certain percentage of new blood running through it, guests of members, prospective members, people who try it out for a couple months."
"I see." She tapped two fingers on the desk, a meditative gesture that the men and women of her squad recognized as a sign she was mulling things over in her head. "And if you're made as a cop? You're a little well-established to be doing undercover work again."
"It might not rouse suspicion, particularly if it's obvious I'm part of the scene. A cop who plays in those waters would have as much interest in concealing his or her profession as any of the well-heeled clientele. On the floor, most use assumed or first names only. The rule is, if you happen to see someone you know on the street, you either pretend you don't know them, or that you met them at a mainstream place, like a bar. That's how I made the connection. I recognized the second victim. He's been at my usual club before, several times, but I knew The Zone was his preferred digs."
He sat back, sliding back on the familiar ground of the case, trying to ignore that his sergeant's gaze was as intense as a dentist's drill on him.
"Robert Myers was a submissive. High-powered, but amiable. Enjoyed having a woman dominate him with soft bondage techniques, but he could accommodate a higher level. I don't know if that figures into the MO or if there's some other aspect of the two men that was the attraction. The psych profile may help me figure that part out. I'm expecting that in a couple of days. Neither of them would have let his dick overrule good sense. Again, begging your pardon, ma'am. They would have spent some time with the murderess before taking her into their home, or they would have already known her in the scene."
"Do you have someone on the inside you can use as your initial connection to the place?"
"Not at this point, but I should be able to pick up someone. It's not unusual to connect with someone there for play. Sometimes it sticks for a few days, sometimes just for the night, but by then you get to be a known face."
"How will you bring in your backup?"
He shook his head. "I won't be able to do that in this scenario. Unless they're part of the lifestyle, they would be made as fast as a cop trying to pass himself off as a dope addict. I figure I could keep Consuela - Detective Ramsey - informed of my itinerary and whereabouts through the usual call-in set up."
"You going in as a Dominant or a submissive?"
Mac blinked. "A sub. Makes more sense that way."
"I'm not seeing anyone buying you as someone's whipping boy, Mac. Not with your size and presence."
She watched him lace, unlace his fingers again, lean forward, and felt the shock run down to her toes at the truth she saw in his pained expression.
"It's best I go in under my own preference."
"Well, I'll be damned," she said at last.