Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross #MidWeekTease #MWTease
Happy Hump Day! Let’s celebrate it with another wonderful Mid Week Tease, courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino. This week, I’ll be sharing a teaser from Behind the Iron Cross, my historical MMF romance set in 1923 Berlin.
Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!
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.
Friedrich followed the Americans backstage, still boggled by the evening and the spectacle he’d just witnessed. Heaven and Hell was just as glamorous and expensive as he’d heard, and their notorious stage show was just as debauched. How those girls could keep their balance so perfectly and dance while trussed up like that was a mystery.
And of course the Fräulein loved the show; he noticed the high color in her cheeks, and the way she kept licking her lips as she stared at the dancers. He was sure it wasn’t the beautiful naked girls so much as how they were bound that captivated his employer’s attention.
Sam guided them to a narrow hallway, where he indicated that they should wait. He knocked on a door, then disappeared into the room for a minute. When he stuck his head back into the hallway, he was grinning. “He said yes, Kat.”
“Oh, wonderful,” she purred. “Come on, colonel. We have someone to meet.”
Wary, Friedrich followed her into what turned out to be a small, pin-neat dressing room. The Japanese man from the show stood in the middle of the room, arms at his sides. He gave them a short, precise bow. “Konnichiwa,” he said.
“Konnichiwa,” Sam echoed, also repeating the bow. “Kat, von Bader, allow me to present Hajime Ito. Hajime-san, this is my fiancée, Katherine Tracy, and our friend Friedrich von Bader.”
Friedrich found himself giving the man a military bow. The man grunted acknowledgment, then gave the Fräulein a slightly deeper bow, which she returned in kind.
“We’re honored that you would speak with us, Hajime-sama,” she said, surprising Friedrich with the respect in her tone. “My fiancé spoke of your work in the highest of terms. Your artistry with the rope is amazing — I’ve never seen such beautiful patterns.”
“Thank you,” Hajime said in accented but understandable German. “Most people look at the girls, not at my work.”
The Fräulein shook her head. “I respect your work, Hajime-sama. I wish I could become your student and learn from you.”
A small smile split his craggy features. “I have never taught a woman the art of kinbaku. I only use them as models. It would be interesting to teach a woman, I think.”
“I would hope so,” she said lightly. “Speaking of men and women, I was wondering — have you ever bound a man?”
Friedrich tensed at her words, as Hajime shrugged. “Of course. The art began as a way of controlling prisoners during wartime. There are different patterns you can use with a man, different suspensions.” He eyed the ceiling. “A pity we do not have rafters in here. I could show you, if I had a model.”
She clapped her hands at that. “But you do have a model,” she enthused. “The colonel here would be happy to volunteer.” She turned to Friedrich expectantly.
He was surprised to feel hot and cold at the same time. Cold at the thought of being forced into yet another humiliation, but oddly hot at the thought of obeying her politely worded command. “I — Fräulein, please,” he muttered.
That sable gaze caught him. “I believe I gave you an order, colonel.”
Stiffly, he nodded once and stepped forward, holding his arms up. The rope master’s dark brows beetled at him in puzzlement.
“He can’t bind you over your clothes, colonel,” the Fräulein said, amused. “Strip.”
Gritting his teeth, Friedrich obeyed. Anyone with military experience quickly got used to being naked in front of other men, so getting out of his uniform wasn’t bad. Even Sam’s appreciative leer was more flattering than annoying.
The ropes, however — as the rope master began looping the jute rope over and around him, forming diamond patterns along the front of his body, Friedrich couldn’t ignore the gentle but insistent compression as he was tied up like a Christmas present. The strangest thing, however, was how the bonds made him feel. He’d expected a growing sense of panic, as if he was trapped in a jute cage, and didn’t know how the Fraulein would react to his need to escape.
But to his surprise, the ropes made him feel…secure. Even safe, in a bizarre sort of way. He found himself relaxing as the rope master finished binding his torso, slipping ropes between his legs and pulling up the slack along the crease between thigh and hip. The tightening sensation was acutely sensual, and he wondered if the ropes would be used on his cock and balls as well. He felt a combined mixture of disappointment and relief when Hajime-san glanced up at him and nodded briefly in satisfaction, tying off the ropes at one hip.
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