Authors: Madeleine Oh
Book two in the Dominant Lovers
With her mother recently dead,
Adele Royer is determined to find the father who abandoned them when she was a
toddler. The only clues she has are two addresses in Nice that she finds among
her mother’s papers. Determined to start her search in the South of France, she
applies for a job as cook in Eze and becomes part of Luc Prioux’s staff at Les
She loves the job and is more than
ready to begin her search but Branko Odic, Luc’s secretary, proves to be a delicious
distraction. The passion they share is undeniable, their chemistry tangible. He
becomes her dream Dominant in bed and a true friend as he aids her in her
Together they find her father in
nearby Cannes. But Adele is in for the shock of a lifetime.
BDSM erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave
In a suburb of Lille, Northern France
Adele Royer hit Send and her application went off into the
ether. She knew better than to hope too much. The last five applications hadn’t
netted anything and this one was definitely a long shot. They wanted a cook for
a private estate and her work experience was in a clinic, a hotel in Tournai
and, the past four or five years, a small café restaurant in Lille after she’d
come back home to take care of her failing mother.
And now, mother gone, Adele was all set to disobey and break
the promise she’d made when she was seven.
The job sounded fantastic, or potentially fantastic. A
live-in position in an estate not far from Nice. Close to a dream job! She
looked out at the drizzle against her window and decided, apart from anything
else, a little southern sunshine was just what she yearned for.
Ten days later, a brisk email asked her to come to Paris for
an interview the next week. Paris meant Uncle Alain. Since she was little she’d
wanted to meet the man who’d never forgotten a birthday or Christmas. Odd
really, he lived only an hour away and it might just as well be a thousand
miles. She’d never met him. In fact she had only the haziest memories of her
father. Now that her mother was dead her father’s unknown family were her only
Just because her mother refused and forbade any contact with
her ex-husband’s family was no reason for Adele to continue. She wanted to know
what had happened to her father and to meet her uncle.
A week later, she was in Paris. Adele walked out of the
and took a deep breath. Of carbon monoxide and pollution. She was
used to the traffic and bustle of Lille but it was nothing compared to Paris.
She smiled at the crowds, the noise and the buzz of activity. She was making a
new start. Assuming, of course, she actually got the job. If not, well darn it,
she’d keep looking and meanwhile she was defying yet another of her mother’s
many fiats. But come to that,
had other secrets, several of which
Adele had packed into the rolling overnight case she pulled behind her as she
headed for the Metro
Her destination was a certain shop in a side street in
. And this too,
would have disapproved of. She had
done all her business with
Le Paradis des Sens
through the post. Well
Adele was in Paris, and delivering the last consignment would save postage and
had always approved of saving money.
Plus, Adele would be lying to herself if she pretended she
wasn’t curious about the man who’d bought her mother’s exquisitely handmade
whips, blindfolds and floggers for years. That extra income had often made all
the difference when it came to holidays or new shoes or repairs to the little
house her mother owned.
Adele opened the door to the little shop, looked around and
had to close her mouth. Incredible was the only word. No, fascinating. Amazing.
Wonderful. And talk about blush-making. Never mind all that. She was here on
business, not to gawk. Although she had to admit the gray-haired man arranging
magazines didn’t match her mental image of the Monsieur Charles Morgan she’d
“I’ve come to see Monsieur Morgan,” Adele said. Was he in
the back room perhaps? He’d said to come to the shop at eleven.
The elderly man straightened himself and crossed the space
between them. “You must be Pauline’s daughter, Adele.” The minute she nodded,
he shook hands, then hugged her. “How wonderful to see you, and my thanks for
bringing her last works to us.” He turned to the tall woman standing behind the
counter. “Marie-Claude. Close the shop and come and see the treasures this
young woman has brought us.”
As Marie-Claude locked the door and turned the sign to
Monsieur Morgan led Adele to the rear of the shop and invited her to open her
She couldn’t help smiling as she spread out the array of
suede, leather and velvet in a spectrum of jewel colors and darkest black.
There were ten floggers, two braided whips and a dozen or so velvet, leather
and silk masks, and another mask in a gorgeous bronze-colored velvet with a
matching set of manacles and leg restraints.
While Marie-Claude exclaimed, Monsieur Morgan smiled like a
benevolent gnome as he let the tresses of a flogger slide over his fingers.
“Beautiful craftsmanship. As always. Your mother had such talent and such
dedication.” He shook his head. “A true tragedy. She was so young.” He turned
to Marie Claude by his side. “Feast your eyes, my dear, these are the very last
Pauline Royer toys we will ever see.”
That had Adele sniffing back a muffled sob. Not that
muffled, though. M. Morgan reached out and touched her hand. “Such a tragedy,
my dear. Have you considered taking on her mantle?”
Adele shook her head. “I used to help her at times but I was
never as meticulous as she was. Usually I was relegated to buying raw materials
and shipping out her finished products.”
He sighed. “A pity and this is all?”
Hadn’t she told him so on the phone? “It is. She used to
sell to other places.” Might as well make the point before dropping the big
one. “But she was very firm that you were to have all she had left. She said
you had encouraged her to make a business out of it.”
“I did indeed. I saw a beautiful flogger she made years ago
for your father.”
Adele’s mouth went dry. “You knew my father?” Maybe not the
best time to ask but she had to know.
“Briefly, my dear, only briefly. They parted many years
Adele already knew that.
“So do we take these under the usual agreement?” Obviously
business was more pressing than sharing details—if he had any—of her
long-absent father. “I can pay cash if you prefer.”
It could be tax free that way, but she wasn’t too sure of
walking around Paris with a bag stuffed with money. “Bank transfer will be
fine, but I think we need to talk about prices.” Not waiting for him to
interrupt, she went on. “Since these are the very last ever, they will surely
go for a premium price. Collectors all over France will be eager to snatch them
up while they have the chance.” She smiled, heart beating at her own nerve, but
heck… Money was very important right now. She couldn’t count on getting the
job, after all.
“What did you have in mind?” he asked.
She told him, Marie-Claude gasped and then tutted at the
suggestion and was sent off to tidy the shelves as M. Morgan invited Adele to
sit down. They haggled for several minutes before shaking hands on the deal.
“Pauline would be proud of you,” he told her, “and if you ever decide to follow
her footsteps, I want first option on your wares.”
“If I ever do, you will.” Unlikely as Adele didn’t possess
her mother’s skills, but if a job proved elusive…
“And you give your word these are truly the last? I don’t
want another batch appearing somewhere else.”
“There are no more.” Aside from a rather gorgeous magenta
suede flogger that she’d held back for herself as a memento of her mother.
Bargaining over, he sent the transfer to the account she
gave him. Adele said, “
,” and went out into the sunshine.
Pausing only to check on her phone that the money was in her
bank, she took the Metro back to the
Gare du Nord
, left her now-empty
suitcase in the left luggage and treated herself to a
She was hungry but waited to eat as she was due for lunch in
just over an hour. And that was another hurdle. At this rate she’d be worn out
by the time of the interview later that afternoon but darn, she was in Paris
and wouldn’t miss any opportunity. She might even go back and quiz M. Morgan
about her father, but put more hope in her uncle. She stifled the twinge of
conscience. Her mother had wanted to sell her last work but definitely would
not have wanted Adele to have lunch with Uncle Alain. But she was going to.
As she approached the restaurant in a trendy-looking side
, she was overwhelmed by doubts and could hear her
mother’s voice in her head, berating the entire Royer family.
Damn it! She was on a quest for answers and her father’s
brother was a good place to start. Taking a deep breath, Adele squared her
shoulders, crossed the narrow road with a determined tread and opened the door.
The small restaurant was almost empty. A group of three men
in business suits was in earnest conversation over coffee and brandy. A couple,
totally engrossed in each other, sat in one corner and, across the room by a
window, a single woman was studying the menu.
Uncle Alain had been right, the crowd had thinned out but
where was he?
Half-tempted to back out and run, Adele looked around as
someone called her name.
“Adele? It is you. It must be.” A short man with
salt-and-pepper hair smiled and came toward her. He reached out his arms and,
as if by instinct, she stepped over to him and they embraced. “I would have
known you anywhere,” he said as he released her but kept his hands on her arms.
“You are so like your poor mother, but enough, come and sit. We have oysters,
fresh from Brittany this morning. I saved some for you.”
He’d saved a dozen. Total luxury and indulgence verging on
gluttony but she’d be a fool to offend him by refusing. “You’re not eating?”
“I will, my dear. I eat with the staff after we close, but
now, let me feed you.”
She couldn’t remember the last time someone else had cooked
for her. Mother, before she became ill, but that was years back. “They look and
smell wonderful.” She picked up a shell and tilted the oyster into her mouth.
It tasted of salt, lemon and the sea. “They’re incredible.”
He smiled. “Enjoy, my dear, and thank you for taking the
time to visit an old man.”
“You’re not old.” Perfect opening here. “You’re not much
older than my father. Four years older, right?”
He nodded. “Yes. I wanted a puppy but my mother had Jules
instead. I was devastated.” He sipped from the glass of Perrier in front of
him. “But I soon recovered. We used to be very close.”
She caught the “used to be”. “I don’t remember much about
“You wouldn’t. You were very young when they separated.” He
shook his head. “But enough of that. Tell me what brings you to Paris?”
“To sell the whips and floggers mother made” wasn’t perhaps
the best reply. At his age the shock might give him a heart attack. “Mother
left me a little money and I decided I needed a holiday.” The first bit was
true, and wasn’t getting a new job—hopefully—a version of a holiday? “I decided
to start with a day in Paris.”
“To look up your old uncle? Eh?”
He obviously did not believe that was all. “I wanted to
thank you for all the presents you sent me over the years and to ask about your
family. My family. Mother never let me even mention the Royers.” She’d barely
consented to Adele keeping the toys and books her uncle sent her. “As a result,
I know nothing. Do I have grandparents? Cousins? Were you and my father the
only siblings? What about great-aunts and uncles?” For all she knew there was
an entire tribe of Royers. “I know nothing at all about any of you.”
“I thought as much.” Uncle Alain shook his head. “That, my
dear, was your mother’s doing.”
She’d hoped to learn something she’d didn’t already know.
“I’m well aware of that and while she was still alive I’d never have gone
against her but she’s dead now. I have no brothers or sisters. You are the only
other relative I know about, and I really want to know if I have any other
family and,” she paused for a deep breath, “if my father is still alive. Mother
said he moved south but that was it.” Could have been South Africa for all
Adele knew, but she always suspected, hoped perhaps, that her mother meant the
South of France.
Uncle Alain went silent for a good minute or two. “As for
family, Adele, there were three of us, your father, myself and a much younger
sister, Eloise. She was ten years old when your parents separated. You did meet
her once or twice, but I expect you were too tiny to remember her. She’s
married, has three children and lives in America, in California, with her
husband. He’s a visiting professor at Stanford. They are due to return next
year and I believe she would be very happy to get to know you after all this
“As for your grandparents, your grandfather died five years
ago and unfortunately your grandmother has since had two strokes. She is very
frail. The last one affected her mind and some days she does not even recognize
me. I can take you to meet her if your stay permits but be prepared that she
will not know who you are.”
Seemed her best hope was her uncle. “And about my father?”
“I have not seen him for twenty-five years.”
What had happened? And
didn’t necessarily mean
don’t know where he is
. “So he moved south.” He hadn’t denied that. “What
did he do that everyone cut the connection?” Being an only child didn’t give
her any experience of siblings, but why such a break? A thought occurred. “Is
he in jail?” That would explain a lot.
“Good God, no! Whatever gave you that idea, child?”
The arrival of a veal chop in a luscious and aromatic cream
sauce caused a delay in replying. She had to taste it. Two bites later, she
replied, “I can understand Mother never admitting to a husband in jail.” On the
other hand, wouldn’t he have visited a brother in jail?
“My dear, listen to me. The rift was mutual. Your father
made the choice to cut himself off from all of us. I am sorry but you’d best do
as all of us have done and forget about him.”
Since she had no memories, there was nothing to forget, but
darn… “You have no idea where he is now?”