Copyright Sarah Masters
He recalled his lowest point, the time when he’d had enough and couldn’t take any more. The time he’d walked out with just the clothes he wore and his wallet with a fiver and some loose change inside. He’d caught the bus outside Tom’s place and paid the driver, his mind so full of what ifs he’d failed to rip his ticket from the machine. He’d sat upstairs on the double-decker, looking out the window but seeing nothing except the images inside his head. Tom chaining him to the bed and leaving him for days without food or water because that way Seth ‘proved his love for him’. Tom laughing as the whip split Seth’s skin, blood and translucent fluid oozing from the welts. Tom regaling Seth with tales of his sexual exploits with other men—men Tom heard groaning in the next room while he curled in a ball and tried to pretend he wasn’t there, that things weren’t happening.
Love did strange things to a body, didn’t it? That particular love had stripped away Seth’s self-confidence and turned him into a pliant yes-man, a shell of who he once was, agreeing to anything Tom said if it meant being in his life. Hell, Seth had given everything up—family, friends, his job—and for what? To lose himself? To be disrespected at every turn?
What had been different that day he’d took the bus? What had made him leave?
Copyright Sarah Masters
Hidden, that’s what they thought they were, but Leyton knew better. Those killers, their crimes unsolved, their existence unknown except for the evidence they left behind.
Leyton had picked them off one by one, watched as they fled their crime scenes. But he pursued, sometimes leaving months between announcing his presence so they gained a false sense of security.
I know when they’re going to do it. Just like it was me thinking. I see them planning, getting ready, and instinctually know where to go in order to follow them. Dreams…they come so vividly, guiding me, pushing me to kill…
He laughed, the sound echoing through the treetops, a dry boom that sent him giddy. Lifting his binoculars, he stared through them into the distance. The latest killer had camped perhaps half a mile away in a clearing surrounded by trees. From his tree-branch vantage point, Leyton studied his comings and goings—the same pattern every time—and the familiar and much-wanted surge birthed inside him. At last! It had taken a while for this euphoria to visit, that certain knowledge that soon, very soon he would take another evil man away, only to return him to his bed, dead.
Copyright Sarah Masters
Carl longed to join Paul on the bed and kiss away his fears. Shouts from the hallway filled his ears, and he clamped his hands over them, humming to drown them out. With an infusion of strength, he darted to the wardrobe, patting around on top until his fingers touched what he sought. He found the handle and pulled it toward him, taking the gun case down and placing it on the bed.
“What are you doing?” Paul asked, eyes wide, panic written all over his face.
“Doing what I should have done a long time ago.” Carl snapped open the case and removed the gun, inserting the bullets with a steady hand.
“And what’s that?” Paul stared from Carl to the door then back again.
“You expecting someone?” Carl asked, pointing the gun at Paul.
“No. No! I— Look, whoever it is…maybe we can get rid of them.”
“Get rid of them? Not likely. They’re cops. Too many of them. Not enough bullets.”
“What are the cops doing here?”
Carl studied Paul. Did he know? He must do. I saw that brawny cop at Brian’s earlier. No fucking way Paul isn’t aware of what I’ve done.
“Coming for me. I wanted to explain, but—”
Heavy footsteps running down the hall cut him off, and a thump on the bedroom door jarred Carl’s last nerve.
“Police! Come out with your hands behind your head!”
“Carl, make them go away,” Paul said.
“You haven’t got the balls, kid.”
“Shut up,” Carl snarled.
“What?” Paul frowned.
“No you. Him.” Carl jerked his head then looked at the gun, wishing he’d had time to explain, to make things right with Paul before he blew his head off.
Then swallowed a bullet himself.
In His Arms: Jerry is trapped in an abusive relationship and realises he’s had enough.
Secrets Revealed: Upon arrival in France with his new man, Zeb, Jerry encounters the bizarre villagers in Castle Karbidon and wonders if he’s stumbled into Narnia.
Promises Kept: The race is on for Jerry to get to Zeb.
Another Realm: With the task of slaying dragons ahead, Jerry and Zeb enter the realm of Vildas.
Fate Unwinds: Zeb discovers his past held many lies, and the heartbreaking truth must be thrust aside.
The First Kill: A completely new start brings horrors that Lee could well do without. Who is killing the townsfolk? And who is sending those macabre gifts?
The Reporter: The town is thrown into chaos as news of the murders spread. No one is a suspect, because the police have put the killer down to being a large wild dog…
The Talisman: Body parts keep arriving at Lee’s bar after every kill. How many more gifts will he receive?
The Obsession: The murders take on a new twist, and Lee continues to cope with being the recipient of macabre gifts…
The Capture: As the stress levels increase, Lee is about to discover just who and what the killer is.
Devil’s Spawn: After an altercation with Vincent, Julian leaves the town as captain of Le Frai de Démon, trading his wares in foreign parts.
Le Frai De Demon: As Le Frai De Demon coasts the ocean waves, Vincent and Julian continue their love affair.
Devil’s Return: Vincent and Julian have lived on land since their last voyage on Le Frai De Demon. Someone from their past has followed him back to England and is intent on finding Julian.
Devil's Torment: The past haunts Vincent, tormenting him day and night.
Devil’s Revelation: With the death of Julian’s father weighing heavy on his mind, Vincent vows to sift through his feelings and force himself to live a guilt-free life.
Mistress Shadow works in a dungeon in the heart of the city. Each short story explores one of her clients and their predilection.
Bastinado: Beautiful Luke arrives for his usual Monday session. Can Mistress Shadow keep her emotions intact?
Trussed: Mistress Shadow entertains a new client, who, as well as being trussed, requests the use of an ordinary, every day object. A rubber band.
Flagellation: Mistress Shadow once again greets Mr. Delirious, a skittish man who enjoys the crack of a whip on his skin.
Masochist: Matthew Scott needs Mistress Shadow, though he acts like it should be the other way around. Can he shirk the stigma attached to his desires, or will he forever treat Mistress Shadow with contempt?
Satyriasis: Mistress Shadow entertains Mr. Liston, a man with an insatiable sexual appetite, as well as her work colleague and roommate, Mistress Klara.
Mistress Klara works in a dungeon in the heart of the city. Each short story explores one of her clients and their predilection, as well as her affliction of nymphomania.
Hunger: Mistress Klara is hungry for sex. Her client today is Harvey Lewis. Though he may sate her sexual yens, Klara is left unsatisfied in other areas of her life.
Trois: Mistress Klara entertains two men at once. However, one of her clients is addicted to her in more ways than one. Will his admission mess up her already confusing love life?
Marked: One man returns to see Mistress Klara to confirm the sentiments he made the previous day. She entertains him sexually, but does she allow his endearments to sway her line of thinking?
Shadows: Mistress Klara joins her roommate and work colleague, Mistress Shadow, in sexually entertaining a man who suffers from the male version of Klara’s affliction—satyriasis. However, the dilemmas in her life cannot be kept in the shadows any longer…
Knots: Mistress Klara entertains her final client of the week and contemplates walking away from her job. With her emotions in torment and her mind on her ties with her clients, Beautiful Luke, Mistress Shadow, and Mark, can she leave her dungeon for the last time and start somewhere new?