Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross
Happy Hump Day! Let’s celebrate it with a Mid Week Tease, courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino. This week, I’ll be sharing a teaser from one of my current WIPs, Behind the Iron Cross. In the aftermath of World War I, Berlin has become a hotspot of decadent pleasures, and American millionairess Kat Tracy is determined to enjoy each and every one of them with Sam Hellman, her late brother’s lover and her convenient “fiancé.” But when the two of them meet Friedrich von Bader, a former German Army officer turned reluctant prostitute, their wicked games take on a new meaning.
Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!
Colonel Friedrich von Bader paused at the door to the nightclub, taking a deep breath of the night air to steady his nerves. He immediately realized his mistake as the scent of alcohol and cigarette smoke hit him, teasing a hunger for both. It had been so damned long since he’d been able to indulge in luxuries like a glass of schnapps, or a cigarette not fished from the gutter. Those days when he’d been a respectable and respected officer of the Deutsches Heer, the Imperial German Army.
He sighed. His glorious past, one that would never return. He had to accept the present and what was now expected of him. And right now, he was expected to step inside the nightclub and start his new profession, if he could call it that. God knew he was dressed for it, he thought bitterly. His uniform was inspection-ready, from his Iron Cross on display at the rounded collar to his mirror-polished boots. Underneath the uniform, he was scrubbed from head to toe, hair neatly combed. His sister-in-law Lilli had even managed to scrounge up a bit of lemon rind for him to use for scent.
He grimaced when he remembered her hopeful face. She thought he was going out to have dinner with a potential employer, had accepted the transparent lie wholeheartedly. He wouldn’t — couldn’t — tell her the truth, that there was only one way for someone like him to earn money without turning to the Ringvereine, the criminal gangs that practically ran the city.
And so tonight he would let strangers approach him, talk to him, and make an offer for his services. His very private, very personal services.
Tonight, he would become a whore.
He swallowed hard, fighting the revulsion that threatened to bring up the meager meal in his stomach. He would have to get used to such things, if he wanted Lilli and her son Rudi to survive. He would accept the best offer that came to him, and follow his customer to one of the rooms over the club, take off his clothes, climb onto a bed, and do whatever was requested of him. Touch himself, intimately. Open his mouth, his thighs, his body to a stranger.
In return for providing these services to a rich foreigner who wanted to explore sexual desires that were forbidden back home, he would be paid one American dollar. It seemed like so little, but compared to the millions of German marks it took simply to buy a few slices of bread, an American dollar was a small windfall. It would feed his family for a week, perhaps even two if they were careful.
His family. He was torn between gratitude and guilt that it was so small, compared to others. His parents, his brother, his wife were all dead now, killed in combat or by illness. His sister-in-law and her toddler son were the only loved ones he had left. The only ones he had to protect.
Lilli will never know. After what had happened to her — no. His pride was nothing. He would provide for her, one way or the other.
Taking a deep breath, he straightened, putting on his best aristocratic look. If the rich foreigners inside the club wanted their whores clean and smelling nice, then he would fit the bill. Now he just had to find a customer.
“I’m bored,” Katherine Tracy said, taking a long drag off her cigarette. “I thought you said we’d find something entertaining here.”
Sam Hellman chuckled, glancing around the room with an appreciative eye. “We’ve only been here for ten minutes, sweetheart,” he said, taking a sip of his champagne. “Give the talent a chance to circulate.”
She raised a dismissive eyebrow at that. The Cupid Club was dark and smoky, the dim light hiding the tackiness of the cherub-heavy decor and allowing the customers to focus on the stage, where a redheaded singer in diamonds and a long silver gown was crooning “Just a Girl That Men Forget” into the microphone. The fact that the singer was a baritone and her adam’s apple could be seen under the diamant choker she wore was neither here nor there. That was part of the club’s charm, after all, just like the rest of Berlin.
Berlin was the cuckoo’s egg in the nest of the German Reich. The aftermath of the Great War had wreaked havoc on Europe in a number of ways, and a conquered Germany was one of the hardest hit. With the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II and an economy in ruins due to catastrophic war reparations, the country had struggled to put together its first democratically elected government, the Weimar Republic, under the leadership of Friedrich Ebert.
By 1922, the new parliament had their hands full trying to rein in a galloping hyperinflation, all while dealing with political and military uprisings throughout the country. Staid Prussian social mores quickly fell by the wayside, and the urban centers of the country developed a more freewheeling mindset. The city of Berlin in particular had given up any attempts at censorship under the Republic, and musicians, artists, and writers soon flocked to the city, eager to enjoy this new freedom. They weren’t alone; philosophers and scientists also rushed to study the fascinating aspects of this brave new world.
That was the bright aspect of the city. On its darker side, Berlin was also a hunting ground for those with money and a taste for more sordid pleasures. The city had quickly become the leading fleshpot in Europe, where hectic partiers could listen to the hottest jazz, indulge in the drug of choice, and have any kind of sex they craved.
As Kat finished off her champagne, a beautiful young waiter dressed in a filmy drape of fabric appeared at her side with a fresh glass. She accepted it, watching with amusement as her fiancé admired the expanse of lean muscled flesh on display. The waiter also noticed, and made sure to brush against Sam’s arm as he sashayed away from the table.
“He’s certainly pretty,” she said.
“And probably carrying every social disease known to mankind,” Sam said dismissively. “Besides, he’d run screaming the moment you pulled out the rope.”
“Not if I gagged him first.”
That earned her a wicked grin. “I love you for offering, sweetheart, but let’s find someone more like that redhead from last night, hmm?”
She took another puff on her cigarette, remembering the previous night’s pet, an impoverished aristocrat with curling auburn hair and the most charming sprinkle of freckles across his shoulder blades. After she’d trussed him up and played with him mercilessly for two hours, Sam had taken over and fucked him into ecstasy. Afterwards, the man had dropped bonelessly to his knees, a dazed look on his face, ready to worship them as his new gods.
Delicious, yes, but far too easy. Kat was in the mood for a challenge. She returned to her study of the club crowd. The bars and nightclubs they’d sampled so far offered their clientele a dizzying variety of delicacies. At the Cupid Club, for instance, there was nonstop music and dance acts on stage, tall, frosted glasses of blessedly legal alcohol (and discreet silver dishes filled with crystalline white powder that could be purchased for just a bit more), and a variety of prostitutes who worked the main floor.
Kat was particularly intrigued by the boot girls, the specialist dominatrices whose boot and lace color identified which services they offered. You could buy everything from collaring and asphyxiation to cropping and cross-dressing humiliation from a boot girl, if you knew the code. Their first night in Berlin, she’d paid a blue-booted girl named Lena fifty cents to let her watch as Lena took a customer to one of the tiny rooms over the club, strapped on a huge, lovingly carved rubber phallus, and viciously fucked the whimpering man in the ass. It turned out to be a worthwhile investment, as it also gained her the location of a small shop that catered to the boot girl trade. Kat had indulged herself in buying toys and other accouterments that would horrify the country club set back in Bridgeport.
Now, she just had to find a pet for tonight, one who could satisfy both her needs and Sam’s. She glanced at her fiancé, a memory flickering through her mind. Sam laughing, young and carefree. And her brother Bart at his side, equally happy and young—
Her lips thinned, pressing together. For God’s sake, stop. At least this way Sam still has a Tracy, even if it’s not the one he wanted. And it means you don’t have to marry some dolt who wants you to be a brood mare and society hostess. Bart wouldn’t have wanted that for you.
She brushed away the memory of her brother, forcing a bright smile as she glanced around the room. At the bar stood a collection of white-coated waiters, men in tailored suits, and even the occasional woman, drinks in hand as they chatted or traded orders over the bar’s polished surface. One man at the end of the bar caught her eye. Tall and neat, he wore the uniform of a German army officer, an Iron Cross gleaming dully at his throat. He gazed out at the club with barely concealed contempt, and she felt a flush of irritation at his attitude. If he doesn’t want to be here, he should just go home to his undoubtedly doting frau and their houseful of Prussian brats. There’s no reason to spoil the evening for everyone else.
Then she noticed the pink rose he held clutched to his chest, as if he was afraid of dropping it. Her eyes went wide. Sam had explained it to her earlier; at the Cupid Club, you could always tell the prostitutes by the pink buds they carried. If they were holding a rose, they were for sale.
But an army officer? Then she remembered Lena telling her about decommissioned officers with no other skills working the clubs, selling themselves to support their families. Being the good little soldiers that they were, they would do anything they were told to do, no matter how humiliating. Lena had said it was something the American tourists enjoyed, particularly the ones who’d fought in the Great War.
Kat knew it wasn’t just the veterans who wanted to buy a German soldier’s submission. After her brother’s death at Verdun, she’d dreamed of having a tall, arrogant figure kneeling in supplication at her feet, grey uniform shredded around his body as her crop fell on him with a metronome’s precision. And with every stroke he begged her for more, harder, please.
Now there was a genuine Germany army officer at the bar, with a pink rose in his hand. A soldier/whore, just waiting to be bought and enjoyed.
A slow thrum of anticipation shivered through her. “Sam,” she murmured, nodding at the officer.
Her fiancé turned and looked. “Oh, well done, sweetheart,” he said appreciatively. “Want me to go fetch him?”
He nodded and grabbed the bentwood cane hooked on the back of his seat, limping off towards the bar. Kat sat back and sipped her champagne, waiting.
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…