The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz Book Review

Updated: Nov 17

The Mistress

by Tiffany Reisz

Published by Mira Books

Book #4 in the Original Sinners: The Red Years series

The final book in The Original Sinners Series - The Red Years.

There's punishment-and then there's vengeance.

Nora Sutherlin is being held, bound and naked. Under different circumstances, she would enjoy the situation immensely, but her captor isn't interested in play. Or pity.

As the reality of her impending peril unfolds, Nora becomes Scheherazade, buying each hour of her life with stories-sensual tales of Søren, Kingsley and Wesley, each of whom has tempted and tested and tortured her in his own way. This, Nora realizes, is her life: nothing so simple, so vanilla, as a mere love triangle for her. It's a knot in a silken cord, a tangled mass of longings of the body and the heart and the mind. And it may unravel at any moment.

But in Nora's world, no one is ever truly powerless-a cadre of her friends, protectors and lovers stands ready to do anything to save her, even when the only certainty seems to be sacrifice and heartbreak...


Steamy Erotica Exciting

Violence BDSM Climatic

The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz is the fourth book in the Original Sinners series, and the final book of The Red Years series. It begins right after the events of the last book, when Wesley and Nora were knocked out. The Mistress centers around Nora's abduction, and through five different narrators, get very different points of view on what transpires. Cleverly, the person who kidnaps Nora refers to it as a game she is playing, and Tiffany Reisz not only assigns each protagonist their own chess piece, but separates the book in parts labeled by chess moves. I really liked that.

This is a big book. Bare with me as I try to keep my review as spoiler-free and short as possible.

Originality: There is no denying that this book - hell, the entire series - is flawlessly unique in a genre overwhelmed with plot-less erotica and, BDSM erotica that borders on offensive with the sheer lack of ignorance. Tiffany Reisz has created a fictional world that feels real, and shows how much passion she has for her art form.

The Story: Holy. Shit. I was convinced before, but Tiffany Reisz has made me a lifelong fan. Do you know how much awful romance/erotica I have read? The genre can be brutal. The Mistress is action-packed, from the first, to the very end, while at the same time, carving out these characters in such intense detail, you feel like you know them. While I always love a steady plot, some of my favorite parts of the book were when time stood still for a little while, and we had two characters baring their souls to one another. In a lot of books, it usually feels like a stall tactic. A way to add more words to the word count, and not to the story as a whole. It doesn't feel like that in this book. Tiffany Reisz is truly an accomplished writer. My ONE issue: there were a couple things that happened that were predictable. The only thing that is keeping me from deducting half a star; she had just as much twists in the book as she did predictability.

Characters: This one will be a long one. Again, I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. As a whole, Tiffany Reisz writes some abso-fucking-lutly amazing characters. They are not perfect. There are things I love and hate about every one of her characters. They all have brilliantly written backgrounds, that have all contributed to who they are in this book. My ONLY issue in this book, is consistency with the characters. I will explain below with each main character.

The Queen/Nora

I have a love/hate thing going on for Nora's character. She is incredibly complicated though, which makes me appreciate her, even if I don't fully understand her. I love her wildness, her kick ass, take charge attitude (even when she is submissive to Søren). I love that she does everything her way. I love her capacity for love, and her faith in those she loves. I think the only thing I don't like about her is her indecisiveness, and the consequences it has on those around her. That being said, Nora was ... well, Nora in The Mistress. Tiffany Reisz stuck true to Nora's personality - all the good and bad. Her story ends just how I predicted.

The King/Kingsley

I have had a hard time liking Kingsley in this series, but I have to admit, The Mistress saved his character for me. Like all of her characters, Kingsley is complex. It wasn't just his parts of the story that made me like him, despite the truly terrible things he has done. After all, most of The Prince was narrated by his character. It was seeing him through Nora, in combination with his part of the story, that cemented it. He went from a rather 2D character, to someone with layers, and depth. He is human under all that swagger, and it was nice to see him gain some peace in a very troubled life.

The Knight/Wesley

I'm going to start this out by saying, I have always loved Wesley. His intense love for Nora, his desire for her safety, and happiness, his constant support of her, whether she was doing something he didn't like or not. I admit, I really wanted Wesley and Nora together ... until they were. The Prince showed us readers pretty clearly that Nora and Wesley, despite loving each other deeply, were not compatible. The Mistress further cements that with Nora's stories she tells to her captor, and choices she is forced to make. Which is fine. I've actually grown to kind of love Søren. My issue is this ... and this is a spoiler, so don't finish reading unless you want to know ... ready ... here it is ... it's inconsistant with Wesley's character to ... move on ... from Nora the way he did. Call it comfort from his broken heart at the realization that Nora and him were not meant to be if you want (Tiffany Reisz does), but for the last three books, Wesley has DEEPLY loved Nora. He saved himself for her, despite other women wanting him. Sex isn't just something you do. It's meaningful to him. He wouldn't jump into bed, literally minutes after ending things with Nora, with another woman. He wouldn't. I finished the book 12 hours ago and it's still bothering me. THAT BEING SAID, I am happy with the outcome. Wesley is an amazing guy. He deserves to have a woman that loves him with her whole heart, believes in monogamy, is "vanilla" like him, and wants to get married and have kids with him. Nora was never going to be that. He would have always had to share her heart with Søren. She would have never been happy sexually. And I knew there was a reason Wesley hadn't found out about Nora's past abortion until this book ... and I was right. It was the one thing that finally showed Wes that they weren't meant to be. So ultimately, while I am thrilled for his character growing, and walking away (and I love that HE was the one that walked away), I am not happy with how it happened, because that is not the Wesley we have grown to know and love.

The Rook/Grace

I kid you not, I was shocked that we were getting Grace as narrator in The Mistress. And without Zach! I LOVED Zach's character, so I was bummed that he wasn't really in this book. But Grace! It was surprising ... but pleasantly so. I know some other readers don't like her. Probably because they, like me, loved Zach and Nora together. Her wildness and his seriousness, the insane sexual chemistry in infectious. But that's silly! In a way, it was nice to get to know Grace as more than Zach's wife. She is a true friend of Nora's. The friendship she strikes with Søren, and the resulting conversations they have, are my favorite part of The Mistress. Not only do we learn more about her (and I can see why Zach is smitten), but we learn so much more about Søren. And because I can't help myself, there is a BIG ... no HUGE ... spoiler coming up. Look away if you don't want to see it. Seriously. Now.

I have read other reviews ... and readers were NOT happy about what happens between Grace and Søren ... nor the result. Which I don't quite understand, other than some small inconsistencies. I'm going to tell you my thoughts on the matter. The first chapter from Grace's POV, shows she is interesting in the kink world, and like Zach, experience it for herself. Zach encourages her to do so. They both have faith in each others love for one another, that a night of sexual exploration with another person isn't a big deal. Now, I get it. I'm a monogamous person, so it's hard to wrap my head around. But there are many couples who have open relationships. So that doesn't bother me. I do, however, understand some other readers opinions that Søren wouldn't have had sex with Grace. Understand, but I don't agree with it. Why? Their instant connection. Søren and Grace had some intense moments, and became instant confidants. It's true that Søren had only previously been intimate with 3 people in his life (and one of them, she raped him, so I hardly count that.) He has only had sex with those he loved. Who is to say in those days, he didn't fall in love a little bit with Grace? Zach fell a bit for Nora. Nora loves Søren, Wesley, and even Kingsley to some degree. Why is it impossible for people to see that Søren may have fallen a little in love with Grace? Their conversations, his openness with her, certainly suggests he at least liked and respected her. I know people take issue with the fact that Nora essentially was promised a week with Zach in exchange for Grace to have one night with Soren, but, who are we to judge? Monogamy doesn't seem to exist in this world of kink. Grace knows that her husband still "carries a torch" for Nora. It's weird to most of us, but I actually think it was consistent with these characters. Proof he was intrigued by Grace:

Søren: "You speak of beautiful women as if you weren't one. I assure you, you are. The freckles are an especially nice touch."

Grace: "I'm not sure I agree with you. My husband would, but Zachary's a freckle fetishist, if there is such a thing."

Søren: "Your husband and I have excellent taste in women."

Søren: "I learned long ago that it was for the best that I erect a very high wall between myself and the rest of the world. She and Kingsley are the only two people I've ever met who simply ignored that wall as if it didn't exist."

Grace: "Kingsley and Nora ignored your wall. I have to ask ... what is the reward for getting past that wall of yours? Or is it a punishment?

Søren: "Both reward and punishment."

Grace: "How so?"

Søren: "I fucked them. Thank you, Grace. I no longer wish to kill Kingsley. No more than usual, anyway."

Grace: "You're welcome, Father.

Søren: "You're welcome to call me Søren. I'd prefer it if you did."

Grace: "Of course ... Søren. That's what Nora always calls you. She says she can't call you 'Father Stearns' without wanting to giggle. Søren's a Danish name, yes? What does it mean?"

Søren: "It means 'stern.' A good name for me, I've been told."

Grace: "I beg to differ. I don't think you're quite as stern as you're letting on."

Søren: "Careful Grace ... it's dangerous behind the wall"

Before moving on ... um ... that was quite an ending, eh? At first I was shocked, but looking back, there was some foreshadowing there. Nora telling Zach to dominate Grace in the bedroom to release more horomones to help with fertility back in The Angel. Grace told Søren Zach wanted to adopt, meaning a biological child for him wasn't important. Just a child, and family with Grace.

Who knew my longest character review was going to be about Grace of all people?

The Pawn/Laila

I can't help writing about Laila without spoilers, so don't read on if that bothers you.

I couldn't like her. I wish I could have. And it's not because of her and Wesley. I couldn't like her because of her convenience and predictability to the story. By the end of the first chapter she was featured in, I KNEW she and Wes would end up together. Is she perfect for him? Totally. Not the point though. She listened to Wesley and Nora (a woman she considers her aunt) break up, KNOW he is hurting and in love with Nora still, and she goes to seduce him? What the heck? Tiffany Reisz is not known for filler characters ... but Laila felt like a filler character. She was thrown in there so Wesley has someone ... but it wasn't done right in my opinion. If her and Wes stayed in touch after these events, and ended up falling in love that way, I would have been overjoyed. Wesley and her having sex literally minutes after he broke up with a woman he has loved for three years? No. Just no!

And now for a rather important character, Søren himself. I hated him in The Siren. I warmed up to him a lot in The Angel and The Prince. I fell in love with him in The Mistress. Wonderfully complicated, deeply intellectual. Sure, he is a sadist ... but that's only a part of him. After reading the Mistress, you can't deny he is a good man. His conversations with Grace, Wesley, and Kingsley were beautifully written, and he is definitely on my list of favorite male characters now ... which I never thought would happen when I started the series.

Consistency: This is where the book loses half a star, and officially becomes the lowest rated of the series so far (the last three all got 5 stars). The inconsistency with Wesley's arc is kind of an insult to his character. It bums me out. If him moving on was just written a little bit differently, and stayed true to the Wesley we have gotten to know in the past 3 books, I wouldn't feel this way.

Honestly, this book, this series, is so, so good. I love romance books. I love a happy ending. I try to stay away from erotica, because it's usually just smut with no plot. Tiffany Reisz has put out an absolutely brilliant story, with, yes, lots of dirty details, that proves you can have your erotica and a fascinating, intelligently written story as well. If you like darker reads, complex human relationships, sex, BDSM, and have an open mind ... I 1000% recommend you pick up this series.

Top 3 Favorite Parts

1. Søren and Graces conversations. All of them.

2. Nora's memory of Wesley surprising her for her birthday

3. Nora's memory of the first time Søren and Kingsley both shared her

4. (bonus) Wesley and Søren's conversation

5. (bonus) Grace walking with Søren towards his death

6. (bonus) Søren and Nora's goodbye to each other

7. (bonus) Søren bathing Nora and crying in his relief and happiness

8. (bonus) Søren and Grace's night together

9. (bonus) Nora protecting Wesley and Laila from Søren's wrath

10. (bonus) Kingsley and Nora'a talk at the end of the book

11. (bonus) Søren telling Kingsley he loved him through bible verses

12. (bonus) That BIG reveal at the end

Where to Buy


Paperback (amazon)

Paperback (Chapters/Indigo)


Google Play Books

Apple Books

Favorite Quotes:


Eleanor: "And you'll go to all this trouble for me ... why?"

Søren: "Because there is nothing I wouldn't do to protect you, Eleanor. Nothing I wouldn't do to help you. And nothing I wouldn't do to save you. Nothing."


Søren: "But my assistance doesn't come without a price."

Eleanor: "Right. So this is when we get back to my first question and the fucking of the kids at church. Oh, well, if you insist."

Søren: "Do you value your worth as a child of God so little that you think the only thing I could possibly want from you is sex?"

Eleanor: "Is that a no?"

Søren: "That would be a no. I will require something of you, however, in exchange for my assistance."

Eleanor: "Do you always talk like this?"

Søren: "You mean articulately?"

Eleanor: "Yes."

Søren: "Yes."

Eleanor: "Weird. So what price am I paying? Hope it's not my firstborn child. Don't want kids."

Søren: "My price is simply this - in exchange for my assistance, I only ask you do what I tell you to do from now on."

Eleanor: "Do what you tell me to do?"

Søren: "Yes. I want you to obey me."

Eleanor: "From now on? Like ... how long?"

Søren: "Forever."

Kingsley: "Did you ask her to marry you before or after your head injury?"

Wesley: "Has anyone ever told you that you're an asshole?"

Wesley: "How do you know this person's willing to die?"

Kingsley: "Because, mon petit prince, she pissed me off. That is a good indicator she had a death wish."

Kingsley: "Exactement. That's why I say you can take some comfort in that threat. That's why I know she's alive and safe ... for the time being. Le pretre was in love with someone else at the time. But your fiancee was not the bitch my sister meant."

Wesley: "Who was she, then? Maybe we should talk to her."

Kingsley: "You already are, mon ami. The bitch ... at your service."

Zach: "How's my Gracie?"

Grace: "Amazing..."

Zach: 'Are you going to tell me why you're amazing or are you leaving it to my imagination."

Grace: "I've been reading."

Zach: "Horrible idea. I hate books. Reading's for bellends."

Grace: "It's one of your writers."

Zach: "Writing's for bellends."

Grace: "What about editing? Do you recall editing one called All Hallows High?"

Zach: "Oh, God."

Grace: "What is that for? That 'oh, God'? It's fantastic."

Zach: "I think Nora wrote it to test me."

Grace: "It's a romance novel. Not a very hard test."

Zach: "It's an erotica novel between two teenage boys at a Catholic school."

Grace: "And?"

Zach: "And she's trying to get a rise out of me with it."

Grace: "She got one out of me. With my husband on the other side of the earth she'll probably get another one out of me before the night's over."

Zach: "I'm glad you find a book that includes illegal sexual acts so erotic. The underage boys fuck each other."

Grace: "You remember I'm a teacher. Teenagers, even the boys, do that sort of thing."

Zach: "Oh, yes, and the teacher fucks the boys, too."

Grace: "Dear Lord. Do the boys also - smoke marijuana?"

Zach: "You're mocking me."

Grace: "You do remember you lost your virginity at thirteen, and that I lose mine at eighteen to my own teacher, who happened to be you?"

Zach: "Please don't call me out on my hypocrisy when I'm trying to be hypocritical."

Grace: "Zachary."

Zach: "What?"

Grace: "Stop being so vanilla."

Zach: "Grace."

Grace: "Yes?"

Zach: "I love you."

Grace: "I know you do."

Zach: "So you're telling me that you're not jealous that I slept with Nora Sutherlin and still miss her from time to time. You're jealous that I had more fun committing adultery than you did."

Grace: "Entirely correct."


Grace: "A priest ... really?"

Nora: "My priest. He's been my priest since I was fifteen years old. I hope you're scandalized. It's no fun if you're not scandalized."

Grace: "Thoroughly scandalized. Is he handsome?"

Nora: "Is the pope Catholic?"

Grace: "I'll take that as a yes. Zachary's not very fond of him."

Nora: "Zach has terrible taste in men."


Nora: "I thought you might want ... she might have wanted ..."

Søren: "No, she wouldn't. She gave it to you. She wanted you to have it. Unless it means nothing to you anymore."

Nora: "It means as much to me as it always did. I only thought that since I left you, you might want to bury it with her."

Søren: "You might have left me, but I never left you. Keep it if you want it at all."

Nora: "At all? It's my most precious possession."

Søren: "As you are mine."

Marie-Laure: "I thought my husband was a man of refined tastes."

Nora: "In wine and books and music, he is. Terrible taste in women, though. Obviously."

Marie-Laure: "I knew my marriage was ostensibly for money - that's what he said, anyway - but I agreed to it because I knew he'd love me eventually. Why wouldn't he?

Nora: "I can think of a few reasons."

Marie-Laure: "He must love beating you."

Nora: "He's a sadist. Of course he does."

Marie-Laure: "I tried to talk to him before when we were together. I asked him over and over again what was wrong with him that he didn't want to be with me."

Nora: "Maybe he just wasn't that into you."

Grace: "Nora's told me a great deal about you."

Søren: "No wonder you're so nervous."

Grace: "She only told me good things, I promise."

Søren: "I refuse to believe that. I know Eleanor too well."

Grace: "Well, perhaps it all wasn't good per se. But nothing bad. Fascinating definitely. She did seem to imply you were the one usually putting the handcuffs on, not ending up in them. I could take those off if you'd like."

Søren: "I would like. But as I said, I don't recommend it."

Grace: "Why not?"

Søren: "I'm a pacifist. I don't believe non-consensual violence is never justified. I am trying to remember that I'm a pacifist so I don't murder Kingsley where he stands."

Grace: "I don't think murder will help the situation."

Søren: "It might not hurt it."

Søren: "Don't despair? That's usually my line."

Grace: "I imagine even a priest needs words of comfort sometimes."

Søren: "All the time, Grace."

Grace: "I don't want to know what's going on in your mind, do I?"

Søren: "Terrible thoughts. Vengeance. Brutality. What I want to do to anyone who hurts my Little One."

Grace: "You call her Little One?"

Søren: "I always have. She was a teenager when we met. A very ill-mannered teenager. She demanded to know why I was so tall. She insinuated I had grown this tall simply for attention."

Grace: "Only Nora could be rude and flirtatious at the same time."

Søren: "You speak of beautiful women as if you weren't one. I assure you, you are. The freckles are an especially nice touch."

Grace: "I'm not sure I agree with you. My husband would, but Zachary's a freckle fetishist, if there is such a thing."

Søren: "Your husband and I have excellent taste in women."

Grace: "God knows I can't do anything to help this horrible situation at all. If at the very least I can be a sympathetic ear, then please, inflict whatever you need to on me."

Father Stearns raised his eyebrow at her.

Grace: "I didn't mean it like that."

Søren: "Are you sure about that?"

Grace: "You are terrible. Seriously. I'm going to take the handcuffs off you now, but I can tell I'm going to regret it."

Søren: "You will."

Grace: "How on earth can anyone concentrate with you being ... you?"

Søren: "I learned long ago that it was for the best that I erect a very high wall between myself and the rest of the world. She and Kingsley are the only two people I've ever met who simply ignored that wall as if it didn't exist."

Grace: "Kingsley and Nora ignored your wall. I have to ask ... what is the reward for getting past that wall of yours? Or is it a punishment?

Søren: "Both reward and punishment."

Grace: "How so?"

Søren: "I fucked them. Thank you, Grace. I no longer wish to kill Kingsley. No more than usual, anyway."

Grace: "You're welcome, Father.

Søren: "You're welcome to call me Søren. I'd prefer it if you did."

Grace: "Of course ... Søren. That's w hat Nora always calls you. She says she can't call you 'Father Stearns' without wanting to giggle. Søren's a Danish name, yes? What does it mean?"

Søren: "It means 'stern.' A good name for me, I've been told."

Grace: "I beg to differ. I don't think you're quite as stern as you're letting on."

Søren: "Careful Grace ... it's dangerous behind the wall"

Wesley: "What? Are you the French James Bond or something?"

Kingsley: "Of course not. James Bond is vanilla."

Wesley: "I feel so much better now. Kinky James Bond is going to rescue Nora."

Wesley: "A nice and honorable family man? Then why are you friends with him?"

Kingsley: "Because he's kinky as hell, and I used to fuck his first wife."

Søren: "Kingsley, please."

Marie-Laure: "I've seen too many movies, haven't I?"

Nora: "And not enough therapists."

Marie-Laure: "So many better women in the world, and he picks you."

Nora: "I know. Nuts, right? If you figure it out, be sure to let me know."

Nora: "He is kind of gay for the bible."

Marie-Laure: "I want someone to die. I have seen you all - you and my husband and my brother - you're like a fabric all women together. I want to pull one thread and see you all unravel. If you die, my husband will be destroyed. If my husband dies trying to save you, my brother will be destroyed. To kill one of you will kill all of you."

Marie-Laure: "No guilt at all?"

Nora: "None. Okay, maybe a little but only with Alex."

Marie-Laure: "Alex?"

Nora: "He was the son of this bitchy book reviewer. Totally blasted my first book. Called all my lovely kinksters 'sick' and 'abusive'. So I got my payback my sickly abusing her youngest all night long."

Marie-Laure: "And you felt guilty about that?"

Nora: "Not the sex. The note I sent Mom the next day."

Marie-Laure: "You sent his mother a note after you seduced her son? What did it say?"

Nora: "It said ... it said, 'Your son gave me five stars last night. And five fingers.'"

Marie-Laure: "You're smiling."

Nora: "I'm trying so hard to feel bad about it. I swear to God I am."

Søren: "New love."

Grace: "No wonder Kingsley works from home. I'd need twenty-four-hour access to a bed, too, if I was surrounded by sights like that all the time."

Søren: "Kingsley takes near-constant advantage of his twenty-four-hour access to beds."

Grace: "I don't blame him. I don't blame any of you."

Søren: "Not even me?"

Grace: "Not even you, Father Stearns. My grandfather was a minister in the Presbyterian church. He had a wife, children. Zachary's brother Aaron is a rabbi and has a wife and children, too. I've never understood the Catholic church's insistence on celibate priests."

Søren: "Celibacy wasn't always mandatory for the priesthood. New Testament church leaders were reported to have had wives. It wasn't until the eleventh century that it was spelled out as obligatory in the First Council of the Lateran. The Second Council of the Lateran banned jousting."

Grace: "Jousting?"

Søren: "Yes. They were apparently of equal theological weight."

Grace: "You don't joust, so you?"

Søren: "Only with Eleanor."

Søren: "I know a few Jesuits who also have lovers. Other men, mostly."

Grace: "Do they know about you and Nora?"

Søren: "The only Jesuit who knows is the priest who hears my confessions."

Grace: "And what does he say?"

Søren: "He says to send her his way when I'm done with her."

Grace only looked at him before bursting into laughter.

Søren: "I'm not joking, I promise."

Grace: "I believe you."

Søren: "He's in his seventies, my confessor. I've warned him a night with Eleanor would mean the end of him. He said he was quite content to go out with a bang and meet Saint Peter with a smile on his face."

Grace: "I like him already."

Søren: "I never intended to break the vows of chastity and celibacy."

Grace: "So why did you?"

Søren: "Let's simply say that a young Eleanor Schreiber drove a hard bargain."

Kingsley: "Our Nora has a magic pussy. It's the opposite of the Bermuda Triangle. Lost men sail into it and then find themselves."

Søren: "Kingsley, that's enough."

Kingsley: "You were her first Lost Boy."


Griffin: "You shouldn't treat another Dominant like this."

Nora: "If you didn't want to be my man-whore today, you shouldn't have let me in your place."

Griffin: "I'll never do it again."

Nora: "Really?"

Griffin: "Okay, I totally will."


Nora: "Let's try bribery. If I fuck you now, will you promise to give me a massage after?"

Griffin: "I will massage anything and everything you want me to, Mistress. Especially your pussy with my entire hand."

Nora: "Will you take me out to dinner?"

Griffin: "You pick the place. I'm buying."

Nora: "Of course you are. I think I could use a night in the city, too. I might want to ride your cock all night long."

Griffin: "Anywhere. Mi cock es su cock."

Nora: "Gansevoort penthouse."

Griffin: "It's yours."

Nora: "Now I'm going to gag you. Don't take it personally. It's easier for me to orgasm if you aren't talking my ear off the entire time."

Griffin: "Anything. Cut my tongue out. Just fuck me."

Nora: "Your desperation is very pleasing, Griffin. If you keep this up, I might even let you come, too."

Griffin: "I'm keeping it up, I swear to God."

Nora: "I can tell."


Griffin: "You're a sadistic bitch, Mistress."

Nora: "Flattery will get you everywhere."

Marie-Laure: "A teenager? You have no morals, do you?"

Nora: "If he's old enough to join the army, he's old enough to get it from Griffin. And you married an eighteen-year-old, Captain Morality. Oh, and you killed someone."

Marie-Laure: "I never said I had morals. I'm simply pleased to find that you don't, either."

Nora: "Let's be best friends. We can braid each other's hair and murder runaways together."

Marie-Laure: "Let's. After your story, s'il vous plait."


Wesley: "Don't be depressed. You're only thirty -"

She covered his mouth to prevent him from announcing her age.

Nora: "Good boy."

Wesley: "Don't freak out, Nora. You've got at least a couple good years left."

Nora took the roses and smacked him on the ass with them.

Wesley: "Ow. Those have thorns."

Nora: "I know. That's why I hit you with them."


Nora: "I'll go change out of the fetish-wear first."

Wesley: "Thank you. And I'll change into mine."

Nora: "The assless chaps, please. It is my birthday, after all."

Wesley: "Anything for you."


Søren: "If you choose, Little One ... I can own you. You would be my property, mine alone."

Nora: "Of course you own me, You always have ..."

Nora: "I don't ask people to sacrifice themselves for me."

Marie-Laure: "I do."

Nora: "You ask people to sacrifice themselves for you?"

Marie-Laure: "No. I asked my husband to sacrifice himself for you."

Laila: "Your blood sugar's still love."

Wesley: "I have a glucose tablet in the bag. And you're blushing."

Laila: "I hate being this pale."

Wesley: "You're not pale right now. You're bright red."

Laila: "I should have let you pass out."

Wesley: "As soon as I was out of the hospital, she lectured me for a solid hour about how much I'd scared her, how I was never allowed to do it again."

Leila: "I couldn't have been that bad. You're smiling."

Wesley: It's almost fun getting chewed out by Nora."

Nora: "May I help you?"

Fat man: "She wants you for breakfast."

Nora: "Is she a cannibal, too?"

Fat man: "Probably."

Nora: "I knelt at his feet because I felt like that's where I belonged. An no, not because I was so unworthy of him, but because he was so utterly worthy of my devotion. Oh, and me submitting to pain gets him rock hard and the man fucks like a freight train when in the right mood. Not that you would know anything about that."

Marie-Laure: "I don't think I like you."


Nora: "I'm sorry I left you. I'm sorry I had to. I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm sorry I lied about you. I'm sorry I tried to hate you all this time and blame you for everything. It was only because it made being apart from you easier ...

He'd forgiven her with a kiss and the words

Søren: "I'll forgive you because you've asked me to, not because you need my forgiveness. You did what you had to. You had to leave to become who you were meant to be. All the matters now is that you're here, Little One."

Marie-Laure: "I did destroy their relationship. I know what happened. Kingsley quit school and joined the French Foreign Legion right after I died. My husband went to Rome and began training for the priesthood. That kiss of theirs, the one I witnessed, it was their final kiss."

Nora: "You didn't destroy their relationship, though, despite a very good effort on your part."

Marie-Laure: "Don't lie to me. I know my husband. I read your file. You're the only person he's been with sexually since becoming a priest."

Nora: "Kingsley writes the files and he;s a very unreliable narrator. He decides what goes in, what stays out."

Marie-Laure: "What do you mean I didn't destroy them?"

Nora: "Let's just say that tonight, if you want it, I'll have one hell of a bedtime story for you."

Daniel: "I know about Eleanor. I can't believe someone would kidnap her. I wouldn't even borrow a teacup from you two"

Søren: "Is that so?"

Daniel: "You let me borrow her, remember?"

Søren: "For one week. You're the one who attempted to convince her to stay."

Daniel: "Come on. You would have tried to keep her, too."

Søren: "Yes. Only I would have succeeded."

Daniel: "You get more arrogant with age. Aren't priests supposed to be humble?"

Søren: "We're also supposed to be celibate."

Daniel: "Who's the guy with her? Boyfriend?""

Søren: "He most certainly is not."

Daniel: "Sorry. Jesus. I said 'boyfriend' not 'pimp.'"

Kingsley: "Le pretre is annoyingly protective of his nieces."

Søren: "A product of spending too much time in your company."

Daniel: "I've been friends with him for decades and he still scares the shit out of me sometimes."

Kingsley: "He knows he does. You make it too much fun for him."

Daniel: "I thought he was going to kill me for daring to suggest his niece had a boyfriend."

Kingsley: "He might have."

Daniel: "So that boy ... one of Nora's conquests?"

Kingsley: "Worse. He's her fiance. Supposedly. He asked her to marry him right before he was knocked unconscious and she was taken."

Daniel: "Are we sure he asked her before he received the head injury?"

Kingsley: "I knew I liked you for a reason."

Kingsley: "Go, Daniel. Do and fuck your wife for me."

Daniel: "Happily. After I fuck her for me."

Daniel: "I'm going. You'll call when this is over."

Kingsley: "Non. She will call."

Daniel: "She better."

Kingsley: "And knowing her, she'll demand phone sex."

Daniel: "If she insists."


Søren: "You'll need a safe word, Eleanor."

Eleanor: "I trust you."

Søren: "That's all well and good but I don't entirely trust myself with you. Choose a word and I'll carve it onto my hear and when you say it, I'll know I have to stop. Otherwise, there is a very good chance I won't, not even if you struggle, especially if you struggle."

Eleanor: "Jabberwocky. I always loved that monster."

Søren: "He was always my favorite monster."

Nora: "You're my favorite monster."

Laila: "Tante Elle and I went for a walk together last time she came to visit. I asked her why she and my uncle never got married. I said I felt bad for her because she couldn't be his wife. I asked her if she was mad at him for not leaving his job and marrying her."

Wesley: "What did she say?"

Laila: "She said being a priest was like being a writer or a healer or a parent. It was a calling, not a job. It wasn't something you did, it was who you are. And she would no more ask him to quit being a priest than he would ever ask her to quit being a writer, or ask my mother to quit being a mother. She said that for Catholics the priesthood was a sacrament. Being a priest was written into his very DNA. She loved him and he was a priest, and if he quit the priesthood, he wouldn't be him anymore. He'd give up so much of himself there would be nothing left of him to love. And then she told me something I'd never known..."

Wesley: "What did she say?"

Laila: "She said I shouldn't judge him for not leaving the church and marrying her. He'd offered once and she said no."

Wesley: "He asked her to marry him and she said no."

Laila: "Yes, and that;s when she left him. She said she was scared she'd change her mind and say yes and he would leave the church for her. She said it was like hearing someone offer to commit suicide to prove their love. She left so he wouldn't destroy the man she fell in love with."

Nora: "I had this idea in my head that once you fell in love with someone and they loved you back, that was it. There was no one else, right? That's how it should be. Don't judge me. I was so young and foolish."

Marie-Laure: "You were in love."

Nora: "I am in love. Søren was kind enough to show me the folly of that sort of thinking early on. One person for your entire life? One? Ridiculous. Who needs that kind of pressure? Expecting someone to fulfill all your needs is blasphemy. You're expecting a human to be God for you."

Marie-Laure: "Was he attracted to you? My brother?"

Nora: "You sound skeptical."

Marie-Laure: "I am. I suppose I was wrong thinking my brother had good taste in women."

Nora: "He has amazing taste in women. He's probably fucked the thousand most beautiful women on earth."

Marie-Laure: "And you."

Nora laughed.

Nora: "You know what they used to call me in the Underground?"

Marie-Laure: "Tell me."

Nora: "The White Queen. The subs wore white. I wore it better than anyone. The other submissives were scared of me. They took orders from me like I was a Domme. Being Søren's property made me something special in that world. I was envied, feared and desired. And you better fucking believe your brother wanted me. And he wanted Søren. That night we went to his house ... he got us both."

Søren: "You've been crying."

Grace: "Sorry. I must look a mess."

Søren: "No, you look beautiful. And troubled."

Søren: "You and Zachary are still trying to conceive?"

Grace: "Yes, actually. How did you know?"

Søren: "Eleanor told me. She wasn't spreading gossip, you should know. She asked me to pray a novena for you."

Grace: "She did?"

Søren: "Eleanor is convinced I make God nervous and that He's more likely to take my calls than hers, as she says."

Søren: "You know her first words she ever said to me ... I remember them like yesterday. She said, "You're kind of an idiot, you know that, right?'"

Grace laughed.

Grace: "She said that to you?:

Søren: "She took exception to the fact that I didn't put a lock on my motorcycle. She said I was asking for someone to steal it. Considering that a week after that conversation she was arrested for stealing cars, she did know what she was talking about."

Grace: "Arrested for car theft? That naughty girl. I had no idea she'd been that kind of trouble. I thought teenage girls got arrested for shoplifting purses and makeup."

Søren: "Eleanor does not do anything the normal way."

Grace: "And you loved her for it."

Søren: "I did. Utterly and unrepentantly. My heart was so torn after meeting her. Rent in two. I knew I should only love her like a father to a daughter, but her wildness and her beauty made it nearly impossible. I protected her, though, like a father. I always tried to protect her. And I always did. Until now."

Søren: "My heart is outside myself tonight and far away."

Grace: "How far away?"

Søren: "Ten miles between here and Elizabeth's house. I could run it in an hour."

Grace: "I could run it in fifty-five minutes."

Søren: "Behave yourself. You're seventeen years younger than I am. Respect your elders.

Søren: "May I ask you a question?"

Grace: "Of course. Anything."

Søren: "Why don't you hate Eleanor?"

Grace: "I might need a lot more wine to answer that. All right ... My marital problems with Zachary began long before he met her."

Søren: "But they were lovers."

Grace: "I'm well aware of that. She hits on him every time they talk. I know this because she tells me my husband is being mean and won't put out for her anymore."

Søren: "And that's not infuriating?"

Grace: "It would be if I genuinely thought she was a threat. I think she would be heartbroken if Zachary and I broke up."

Søren: "She would be. She loves you both."

Grace: "That is quite a mouthful."

Søren: "Not unlike the man himself."

Grace nearly dropped the glass, but she saw the glint of wicked amusement in Søren's eyes.

Grace: "You're doing it again. You're trying to play with my mind."

Søren: "I am and entirely without remorse."

Søren: "She's rarely used her safe word with me. Almost never. But if she needs me to stop for a moment she'll tell me. If something is starting to go too far, she'll pull me, pull us both, back from the edge. But not Kingsley. It's far too easy to forget myself with Kingsley, far too easy to go to the edge with him and fall over. And since I love him and would rather not be the architect of his destruction and therefore mine ..."

Grace: "You don't touch him because you love him."

Grace: "She loves you. Whatever she had to work out with Wesley, it doesn't change that fact. Any more that me sleeping with Ian or Zachary sleeping with Nora didn't change the fact that he and I were married, that we loved each other and that we belong together."

Søren: "That's why you don't hate Eleanor?"

Grace: "Exactly. Because I hated Zachary like I was supposed to. That's why the wife always hates the other woman. The other woman - is other. She's not even a person. We can heap all our hatred, all our disdain, on her even though deep down we know she's not the one to blame. She's the scapegoat."

Søren: "Did you know the scapegoat is an Old Testament concept?"

Grace: "I had no idea."

Søren: "From Leviticus. The sins of the Israelite's were symbolically placed onto the head of a goat and then the goat was driven into the wilderness never to be seen again. It was a form of atonement."

Grace: "That's what it is exactly. You put all the sins of the husband and wife, of the marriage, onto the head of the other woman. You pray she will go away forever and take all that misery with her and leave your husband behind.

Søren: "You wanted to reconcile with Zachary?"

Grace: "Yes. So much. Which is why, at first, I was angry with everyone but him. There were dozens of other women. The job was another woman I blamed. Zachary's boss, John-Paul Bonner. I blamed him. He knew we were having problems and he took advantage of that. America ... she was the trollop that seduced my husband away from me."

Søren: "The whole country?"

Grace: "Yes. I blamed the entire country. Typical bitter wide behavior. And then he mentioned Nora Sutherlin on the phone, one of his writers, he said. But he said it with heat. I looked her up, saw a picture of that beautiful woman. Then I hated her. But that didn't work for me, the scapegoat game. The sins were still there in the marriage. They couldn't be driven out so easily simply by blaming J.P. Bonner or Nora or the entire bloody country. I knew that if I wanted Zachary back, and I did, I couldn't blame anyone but us. Our problems were my fault. Our problems were his fault. Our problems were out fault, not hers."


Kingsley: "Is your Little One in a mood to play tonight?"

Søren: "No, she's in a mood to play martyr tonight."

Kingsley: "No martyrs allowed in my bed. Only satyrs."

Søren: "Try telling her that."


Kingsley: "You're standing at the edge of a rabbit hole. Are you sure you want to fall down it?"

Eleanor: "I'll trade you my hole for your hole."

Kingsley laughed then, a laugh of pure surprise.

Kingsley: "You ... You are more than you seem."

Eleanor: "I could say the same about you."


Søren: "Kingsley, remind me ... didn't we have a dream like this once."

Kingsley: "Black hair and green eyes ... pale like you, dark hair like me ..."

Søren: "And wilder than the both of us together. How nice when dreams come true."

Kingsley: "Oui, mon ami. Although she doesn't seem particularly wild at the moment."

Søren: "Wait and see. She might surprise you."


Kingsley: "I told you that's no submissive you found for yourself. Your little kitten is going to grow up to be a tiger."

Søren: "Even more reason to tame her now."


Søren: "Thank you."

Eleanor: "For what?"

Søren: "Trusting me."

Eleanor: "I do trust you, sir."

Søren: "How much?"

Eleanor: "Try me."

Søren: "Dangerous words."

Eleanor: "That's why I said them, sir."


Søren: "Jeg elsker dig, min lille en"

Nora: "You have no idea how much it turns me on when you speak Danish."

Søren: "Of course I do."

Wesley: "You're not the only one who loves her, you know. I love her, too."

Søren: "I know you do. And she loves you."

Wesley's eyes widened in the shock of hearing those words from Søren's mouth.

Søren: "Don't look so surprised, young man. I've known how much she loves you for well over a year now."

Wesley: "And that doesn't bother you?"

Søren: "Does it bother me that he loves you? No. God is love. I'm sure you've herd that somewhere. When someone loves someone else, they are acknowledging the God inside that person. It's a spiritual act, loving someone. She sees God in you. So do I."

Wesley: "I wouldn't want to get on her bad side."

Søren: "You couldn't if you tried."

Wesley: "That's good to know."

Søren: "I told her all my secrets that night, all the ones that mattered. I told her I was a sadist who could only become aroused by inflicting pin, mental or physical, on another person, and if we were to be lovers someday, I would hurt her. I would have to. I told it all to her, and I did not spare her the gruesome details. When she was fifteen she made it abundantly clear she desired me. When she was sixteen she made it even more abundantly clear that she was in love with me and she knew, despite my best efforts to hide my feelings, that I was in love with her, too. I dropped all pretense, all subterfuge, and I laid out all the dark, stark truth before her."

Wesley: "What did she do?"

Søren: "She said the three most beautiful words I'd ever heard in my life."

Wesley: "I love you?"

Søren: "'Is that all?'"

Wesley: "What?"

Søren: "That;s what Eleanor said to e when I told her the sort of horrific stories that would send anyone else running for their life. She said, 'Is that all?' I didn't even know how to answer at first. I'm not sure I remember what I said. Bit I do remember her laughing, and breathing a sigh of relief. She said she'd been worried something was actually wrong with me. Perhaps terminal cancer or that I was a serial killer. Or even worse, she said, I could be impotent."

Wesley: "Sounds like her."

Søren: "That seventeen-year-old girl was braver than I was that night. I'd been anticipating shock and disgust from her, and I prayed with time she would understand and accept or at least forgive me for being what I was. Telling her the truth seemed like the greatest of risks, and yet I loved her too much to keep her in the dark any longer. I'd feared she would spurn me. Instead, she said she belonged to me and knew she belonged to me from the moment we met, and her body was mine to do with what I wanted. She loved me. She trusted me. She knew I wouldn't hurt her even if I hurt her. And we kissed for the first time, and I felt something I never dreamed I'd feel."

Wesley: "Happy?"

Søren: "Normal. I felt normal. I'd felt loved in the past, and I'd certainly felt happy. But never normal. She so readily accepted everything about me that I'd worried she would fear or despise, I felt almost foolish. When Kingsley and I were teenagers at school, we often congratulated ourselves on what beautiful freaks we were. Typical teenagers thinking we were so different from the rest of the world. We were two lost souls who'd found each other in a wasteland. But with Eleanor, I didn't feel lost anymore. She simply saw nothing wrong at all with what I was. I might as well have told her that I had a bad habit of drumming my fingers on the desk, and I would have gotten the same reaction. The same patronizing, 'Is that all?' My God, I thought I loved her before that. After ... you have no idea."

Wesley: "I think I do have an idea."

Søren: "Yes ... Of course you do. I apologize. I've loved Eleanor as long as you've been alive but it's wrong of me to dismiss your feelings for her simply because they're younger than mine."

Wesley: "She does have an amazing laugh."

Søren: "That she does. It's my favorite music."

Wesley: "I'm going to miss hating you."

Søren: "You're most welcome to keep despising me if you need to. I'm no saint."

Wesley: "You're trying to make me feel better about hating you. You are the weirdest man on the planet."

Søren: "You only say that because you haven't gotten to know Griffin yet."

Søren: "Daniel asked her to stay. What man wouldn't? Although tempted to stay with him, she came back to me. And when I told her that I was surprised she'd come back. she looked at me with so much hurt in her eyes ... She said, 'I love you, you stupid man. Don't ever fuck forget that.' And that's what I regret, putting her through a vain and cruel test of her love for no reason. There were other ways to help Daniel. I didn't have to use her like I did. That I doubted her love ... I regret that. I regret it enough that I went to confession over it. When I told Eleanor, she absolved me, too."

Søren: "Eleanor would never forgive me if I broke one of her favorite toys."

Wesley: "You do that on purpose, don't you? Goad people?"

Søren: "Only worthy adversaries."

Wesley: "Then I'll take it as a compliment."

Søren: "Telling him that I still love him and then refusing to be with him? That's a sort of sadism even I won't touch."

Marie-Laure: "You sit there and you tell me that my husband ordered you to have sex with another man ... and after you do, you find out he's fucking him, too. They used you for their perverse pleasures, beating you nd passing you between them like a whore ... and you defend them?"

Nora: "No, I don't defend them. I fucked them, and I enjoyed it."

Marie-Laure: "They fucked you."

Nora: "Semantics."

Marie-Laure: "Sounds as if I should be grateful that my husband didn't want me. Otherwise, I might have been subjected to your fate."

Nora: "Oh, yes, poor little me. Had to gave sex with the two most beautiful men on the planet in the same night. It was torture by orgasm. All, I don't know, five or sex of them."

Marie-Laure: "You were how old when you met my husband?"

Nora: "Fifteen."

Marie-Laure: "No wonder you turned out like this. And my brother."

Nora: "You know Søren's not a vampire, right? He's a sadist. You don't turn kinky just because he bites you."

Nora: "After I left Søren and became a Dominatrix, I started playing with Kingsley. Off the clock and without getting paid, I played. And I played hard. I had a whole stable of pony-boys, I did medical play with the sexiest little girl sub you've ever dreamed of, I adored having my feet worshiped. I did every kind of edge-play you can name and then I even invented a few of my own. I had a harem, I had orgies. I did the sort of shit Søren never even dreamed of, I fantasized about kink before I met him. I still did it after I left him. I did with him, without him, by land and by sea and by air. I did it every chance I got and with everyone I could. I did it for money, for pleasure, for pain and for the pain of pleasure. He does kink because he has to. I do it because I want to. And every time I did it I did it for me. You think Søren turned me into this?"

Nora shot her hand out as fast as a striking cobra and grabbed Marie-Laure by the neck.

Nora: "Bitch, please - I'm kinkier than he is."


Søren: "If she is, she'll figure it out for herself."

Kingsley: "There is no "if," mon ami. It does take one to know one, and I know what she is. Your pet is no submissive, and you're lying to yourself if you think she is."

Søren: "You're trying to define the undefinable. She is who she is."

Kingsley: "You're trying to put a collar on a tiger. It won't turn it into a house cat."

Søren: "Why do you think I love her so much?"

Kingsley: "And you call me a masochist."

Søren: "If she is what you say she is ... we'll cross the bridge when we come to it."

Kingsley: "She'll cross that bridge when she runs from you. Then she'll burn the bridge behind her and leave you on the other side."

Søren: "Then it's a good thing I know how to swim."

Kingsley: "Swim? As far as she'll run from you and as fast, pray you learn to fly."


Nora: "My mother has terrible taste in men. She loved my father. She hated you."

Søren: "You left me. What does that say about your taste in men?"

Nora: "It could use some work."

Søren: "Come back to me. You don't have to stay away anymore. You never did."

Nora: "It's such a risk, Søren. Any second now we could get caught. The stories are in the newspapers every day, some priest falling from grace."

Søren: "You're worth the risk, and you are my grace."


Søren: "You promised me forever."

Nora: "I was fifteen when I promised you forever. And you promised me everything the same day. I can no more keep my promise than you can keep yours."

Søren: "You won't let me keep it."

Nora: "Because I love you too much. You stupid, infuriating man, why do I love you this much?"

How could God create two people so perfect for each other and then force them to stay apart? God was a sadist. No doubt in her mind. No wonder her uncle loved Him so much. - Laila

Laila: "I think I learned what sex was that night. I mean, I learned what it should be."

Wesley: "And what is that?"

Laila: "A gift. A gift you give someone you care about. A consolation, a comfort, even a distraction, but always a gift. I didn't listen after that. I made sure I didn't hear any more. I read her books. I know what happens with people like them in private. I didn't need to hear. But I'm glad I heard that much so I know ... I know that love is giving yourself to someone else. Giving yourself to someone without losing yourself."

Nora: "Don't try to mindfuck a mindfucker. Either they don't know where I am and you're lying, or they do and they're coming. Two and two is four. I know Søren."

Marie-Laure: "You're so certain of his love?"

Nora: "Two and two is four."

Nora: "Fine. Whatever. What do you want? I can tell you about the time Søren and I spent two nights at this great B&B owned by one of our freak friends. Søren beat me, he fucked me, we went for long walks on the beach in the middle of the night. The end."

Marie-Laure: "Not good enough."

Nora: "Yeah, it needs more sex, doesn't it? Story of my life."


Søren: "I know, Little One. It's only ... I thought I would have her a few more years. The women I adore always leave me before I'm ready to let them go."

Nora: "That is not fair. I am here, after all. When you need me, I'm always here."

Søren: "I always need you."


Søren: "Jeg elsker deg, min lille en. Du tilhorer mig." I love you, Little One. You belong to me.

Nora: "Tonight, I do."

Marie-Laure: "At least he loved you. He never even gave a damn about me."

Nora: "He did, though. He did. He was in love with Kingsley, but he never wanted anything bad to happen to you. He never wanted to hurt you."

Marie-Laure: "But I know what he is now. Him not wanting to hurt me? That's the final proof he didn't care about me at all."

Grace: "No. No ... no, don't go. Don't."

Søren: "It's fine. It's all right, Grace."

Grace: "No, it's not. You can't go. Don't ..."

And she wrapped her arms around him and held him tight to her, so tight it almost hurt her.

Søren: "I'm touched."

Grace: "You can't save everyone. You can save yourself."

Søren: "This is how I save myself."

Grace: "But Nora ... she won't want to live without you."

Søren: "She already has. She left me years ago and made a life for herself. She'll do it again. I've never known anyone as strong as she."

Grace: "And she went back. She loves you. She told me how much she loves you."

Søren: "She loves Wesley, too. They can be together. He can give her everything. She'll want for nothing."

Grace: "She'll want you."

Søren: "When the time comes, tell her that she and Wesley ... they have my blessing. He's a good man, a good person, and he'll love her. That's all that matters ... that he loves her."

Grace: "I have to tell you something."

Søren: "Last call for confessions."

Grace: "I love my husband more than life itself. And there's no one in the world other than Zachary who I want to grow old with. I want to have his children and be his wife and stay with him for the rest of my days. But the truth it ... I would have sold my soul for one night with you."

Søren: "Beautiful Grace, I wouldn't have charged you nearly so much."

Grace: "She said you were the best man on earth."

Søren: "She says that all the time. No one ever believes her."

Grace: "I did."

Wesley: "She told me ... She told me once why she trusted you. I didn't trust you. You sent her on all those jobs. Sent this five-foot-three woman to strange houses and hotels with nothing but a riding crop to protect her. You sent her into the bedrooms of these rich and dangerous men. I told her she shouldn't do it, it was dangerous, she could get killed. You two fought on the phone all the time. Fought and flirted and plotted and schemed. I asked her why she trusted you. You know what she said?"

Kingsley: "Enlighten me."

Wesley: "She said that you were like the brother she never had. She said that yes, you two fought all the time, but only in the way siblings fight. She said that at the end of the day she knew you would never put her into real danger. You could punch her in the arm and pull her hair because you were her big brother but if anyone else tried it -"

Kingsley: "I would destroy them."

Kingsley: "She will never be the wife you want her to be."

Wesley: "You know what, I don't give a fuck about that right now. I just want her safe. You get that?"

Kingsley: "More than you can possibly imagine."

Nora: "You lunatic, why are you smiling?"

Søren: "It's good to see you again, Little One. I missed you."

Nora: "I missed you, too. God, I missed you so much."

Nora: "You shouldn't have come. You should have let them kill me."

Søren: "You know I couldn't do that. I told you there was nothing I wouldn't do to protect you."

Nora: "Goddammit. Why do you love me so much, you stupid man?"

He smiled down at her.

Søren: "Because I met you."

Nora: "Oh, no. He bit you. Now you'll turn kinky, too."

Marie-Laure slapped Nora so hard blood came out of her nose.

Nora: "See? Told you so. You're one of us."

Nora: "Søren ... I'm so sorry -"

Søren: "Don't you dare. We only have a few minutes left on this earth together and do not waste a moment of this time apologizing to me for your imagined sins."

Nora: "You know I didn't imagine them."

Søren: "You have nothing to apologize for. You've lived your life without fear and without regrets and without giving a damn what anyone thought of you. Don't start that nonsense now."

Nora: "I left you."

Søren: "You had every right to leave me. My God, Eleanor, the tests I put you through, the trials..."

Nora: "Don't forget that stick you made me water for six months."

Søren: "I remember. I was never shocked that you left me. Only shocked you didn't leave me sooner."

Nora: "You were kind of a hard-ass."

Søren: "You're being too kind."

Nora: "Okay, you were an unbelievable hard-ass."

Søren: "That's better."

Nora: "I loved it, though. I loved being yours. Even when I carried that stupid watering can out to water that fucking stick, I loved it. I knew you tortured me like that because you loved me, because you wanted me to be strong."

Søren: "You were always strong, Little One. I only ever wanted you to be mine."

Nora: "I am yours. I always was. Even when I was with someone else ... I was always yours."

Søren: "I know."

Nora: "It's not fair, it's not. This isn't how it's supposed to end."

Søren: "It's not? You've already decided how we're supposed to die?"

Nora: "I have. I've given it a lot of thought."

Søren: "That's very ... Catholic of you."

Nora: "I've even seen it. You're going to be one of those men who gets more handsome with every passing year. You'll be like Christopher Plummer - handsome even when you're eighty."

Søren: "I've been meaning to talk with you about your unhealthy level of interest in him."

Nora: "He'll return my emails eventually, I know he will."

Søren: "Or file a restraining order."

Nora laughed.

Nora: "It'll be peaceful, quiet ... You're fourteen years old than me. I've had to face that fact since the day we met. Barring a bus hitting me in downtown Manhattan, you'll go first."

Søren: "Something I'm profoundly grateful for."

Nora: "You'll be in the rectory reading the Bible in your favorite chair by the fireplace and you'll ... you'll fall asleep. That's where I'll find you when I sneak in that night. In that chair asleep. And I'll know ... I'll know you're gone. And I'll kiss your beautiful hand and put the Bible on the bookshelf. I'll take your collar and I'll go away. I'll disappear."

Søren: "Into thin air."

Nora: "Almost. I'll go north to my mother's convent. I'll bribe them if I have to, and they'll let me in. And that's where I'll stay the rest of my life."

Søren: "Giving up? That's not like you, Little One."

Nora: "Not giving up at all. I'll be so busy I'll need the quiet of a convent and no distractions. I'm going to write books about us, you and me. And Kingsley and Juliette and Griffin and Michael and Zach and Grace. That's what I'll do with my last years."

Søren: "I told you that you weren't allowed to write about me."

Nora: "You'll be dead. What do you care?"

Søren: "My ghost will be most put out with you."

Nora: "But will your ghost put out?"

Søren: "If yo're good."

Nora: "I won't be good. I'll be wicked until my last day. I'll write one wild, wicked book after the next. I'll change our names, change the locations, change the dates, the details. But it'll be us, our story. I'll write the books in third person so Zach won't kill me. He hates first-person novels. Plus if it's third person I can write about how beautiful and sexy I am and it won't sound arrogant."

Søren: "Good plan. Will these books be comedies or tragedies?"

Nora: "Both. Just like life."

Søren: "Will I be a hero in your stories? Or the villian?"

Nora: "Haven't decided yet. But I promise you this .. I will give you the last laugh."

Søren: "That's all I can ask for."

Nora: "And after I give you the last laugh, I'll put my pen away and I'll fall asleep. And when I wake up, you and I will be back together. I'll be fifteen again and you'll be twenty-nine and it will all start over again - you and I. That's how I'll know I'm in heaven."

Søren: "My Little One ..."

Nora: "I love you. I always loved you. I never once stopped loving you. All those times I said I hated you, I never meant them, not once. I loved every part of you, every secret, every sin. I love what you are and what you do and how you make me feel so scared and so safe all at the same time. God, I wish I had my collar."

Søren: "You don't need it. I know who you are, who you belong to."

Nora: "I promised you forever. Forever isn't long enough."

Søren: "And I promised you everything in return. I meant it."

Søren: "Don't be afraid. This life is nothing but one blink of God's eyes. He'll blink again, and we'll be back together."

Nora: "Are you sure I'll go to heaven?"

Søren: "Of course. It wouldn't be heaven without you."

Kingsley: "You always were one for temper tantrums. One tantrum too many."

Nora: "Is Zach here?"

Grace: "He's in Australia."

Nora: "Can you tell him something for me?"

Grace: "Anything."

Nora: "Tell him my edits are going to be a little late. I have a good excuse, I promise."

On Wes's face she saw grief and relief wrestling with each other. The relief she understood. The grief ... It came to her then. Wes wasn't merely a close friend of her aunt's. His feelings went far deeper than a crush. He loved her. He was in love with her. And in her moment of greatest crisis, her aunt had clung to her uncle and not him. It seemed such a travesty ... such a waste. Here stood this beautiful young man who had everything to give and no one to give it to.

Laila: "I shouldn't say this. But I will."

Wesley: "Say anything you want, Laila."

Laila: "If I were her ... I would have picked you."

Nora: "I'm loving this room service. But I feel like I'm being quarantined. I don't think 'kidnap victim' is an illness that's catching."

Grace: "Your priest has ordered all of us to leave you alone. I don't think any of us are brave enough to counterman his orders."

Nora: "Countermand away. He went for another run."

Grace: "Another one? Didn't he go running this morning?"

Nora: "Yeah. He's feeling a bit pent-up."

Grace: "Pent-up?"

Nora: "I mean, he's horny."

Grace nearly choked on her tea. She coughed to clear her throat.

Nora: "What? Priests get horny, too."

Nora: "We need to get him a sub."

Grace: "A sub? You mean -"

Nora: "A submissive. Kink is like Søren's lithium. It's a mood stabilizer for a lot of people. Half my clients came to me for medical reasons - not sexual. Without kink Søren gets ... difficult."

Grace: "Difficult?"

Nora: "Cranky. Grumpy. Surly. Pick a synonym for bitchy."

Grace: "Fascinating. So he needs a submissive to play with?"

Nora: "If by 'play with' you mean 'beat the shit out of,' yes."

Nora: "You have a crush on my priest."

Grace: "What? No. Of course not."

Nora: "You totally do."

Nora: "Grace, I was kidnapped and held at gunpoint. I could have died. You can at least answer my question."

Grace: "You're playing the 'I was kidnapped' card?"

Nora: "Yes, and I will keep playing it as long as I can."

Grace: "That's not fair."

Nora: "Do you want to see the soccer-ball-size bruise on my side from where I got kicked?"

Nora: "Don't let go."

Wesley: "I'll hold you as long as you want me to."

Nora: "Wes, you're allowed to have feelings about this situation. Just the same way as I'm allowed to milk it for all it's worth for sympathy points and cookies and stuff."

Wesley: "You want cookies?"

Nora: "I think they would help with the healing process."

Wesley: "I'll bake you some cookies."

Nora: "Wes ... you're dumping me, aren't you?"

Wesley: "It's not that. I love you. You have no idea how much. And I love you enough to know you'll be happier with him. As much as that hurts to admit, it would hurt worse keeping you and knowing the whole time you belong somewhere else. I was ... I was going to pay every penny I had to get you back. Every penny my parents had. Every penny I could beg, borrow, or steal. And he ... he went to pay with his life. I know you love him and you always will."

Nora: "I know I love you ... and I always will.:

Wesley: "I love you, too. You crazy, weird, wild woman. I love you."

Wesley: "I don't want you to hurt. Never again."

Nora: "So what now?"

Wesley: "We let go. And we get on with our lives."

Nora: "You let go first."

She inhaled deeply, wanting to take in as much as his scent as she could. Summer. Warmth. Clean laundry hanging out to dry. Wesley.

Wesley: "I can't."

Nora: "I can't either."

Wesley: "Same time, then?"

Nora: "Okay. On the count of three. Ready?"

Wesley: "No, but we better do it anyway."

Nora: "All right. One ..."

Wesley: "Two."

They met each other's eyes and together spoke the final count.

Nora and Wesley: "Three."

They let each other go.

Nora: "We can still be friends, right?"

Wesley: "Forever."

Nora: "Hello down there. I snuck out of my room."

Søren: "I see that. I think I ordered you to get your rest, didn't I?"

Nora: "You did."

Søren: "You think I won't punish you because you're already bruised?"

Nora: "I'm willing to take that risk. Speaking of risks ..."

Søren: "Eleanor ..."

Nora: "Catch me."

She swung her bottom up onto the banister and without any further warning slide down it toward Soren.

Søren: "Eleanor, how old are you?"

Nora: "Fifteen."

Søren: "You're too young for me."

He moved as if to drop her.

Nora: "I'm thirty-four, I'm thirty-four, I swear."

Søren: "Are you going to act like it?"

Nora: "Do I have to?"

Søren: "No."

Nora: "Then no."

Laila: "You're big."

Wesley: "And you're a virgin."

Laila: "Don't. Don't think of that. I want to take care of you tonight. That's why I'm here."

Wesley: "I'm not going to forget that you're a virgin, and you better believe I'm going to try to take care of you, too."

Laila: "We'll take care of each other."

Wesley: "I like that idea."

Wesley: "This isn't a good idea."

Laila: "I know that."

Wesley: "You've never done this before."

Laila: "I don't care."

Wesley: "This is such a big deal. We have to talk about birth control - "

Laila: "I'm on it."

Wesley: "And what this means for us."

Laila: "We can answer that question later."

Wesley: "Laila ... I don't want to hurt you."

Laila: "You're hurting."

Wesley: "That's why it isn't a good idea. I'm not strong enough to say no to you tonight."

Laila: "Its not weak to say yes."

Wesley heaved a breath.

Laila: "Wes, I know you're hurting. Don't be afraid to hurt me, too. I know you want to let go. Let go with me. You need comfort. Let me comfort you with my body. Lose yourself inside me. Forget what you've lost, forget what you can't have. There's no shame in trying to forget for a night even if you know you'll remember in the morning."

Wesley: "English lesson, little Danish girl. I'm a guy. Guys aren't pretty. I am not pretty."

Laila: "So my English isn't perfect. What are you, then?"

Wesley: "I'm stunning."

Grace: "Nora said I wasn't supposed to speak until you spoke to me."

Søren: "You're doing a wonderful job at it."

Grace burst into nervous laughter.

Grace: "I have no idea what I'm doing."

Søren: "Obviously."

Søren: "Grace ... You don't have to do this."

Grace: "I know. But I want to. Please."

Søren: "Saying 'please' is a good start."

He smiled and laughed a little.

Søren: "Are you sure?"

Grace: "Absolutely. Are you?"

Søren: "Not even remotely."

Grace: "Thank God. I can't recall ever being so nervous or wanting something so much."

Søren: "I won't even charge you your soul for it."

Grace: "Good. I'm a poet. I need my soul."

Søren: "I know theses past few days you and I have gotten close. Tragedy and adversity can make best friends of even strangers. But you've only seen one side of me ... and you seem to rather like that side of me. This ... this would be a very different side of me."

Grace: "Are you afraid I won't respect you in the morning?"

Søren: "Morning?"

He laughed as if she'd told the most hilarious joke.

Søren: "You'll be lucky to last an hour."

Grace: "Is that a challenge?"

Søren: "Are you accepting?"

Grace: "I'm here. I've already accepted."

Grace: "I've walked with you to your death. You knew you were going to have to die for Nora and you went, anyway. I saw you do it. There is nothing I wouldn't trust you to do to me. I don't care if that's the wrong answer. It's the truth. And it's the only answer I have."

Grace: "You have your ... equipment with you?"

Søren: "I'm a man. I always have my equipment with me."

Grace: "You're doing it again. You're playing with my mind."

He came back to her and lightly bit her shoulder.

Søren: "Foreplay, Grace. Mind-play first. Then body."

Grace: "Ready."

Before she could prepare herself, the first blow landed on the center of her back. She gasped from the sudden shock of pain. From behind her she head Søren laughing.

Søren: "I told you so."

Grace: "I didn't say 'stop.'"

Søren: "No. No, you did not."

Søren: "Good girl. I'm proud of you."

Grace: "You are?"

Søren: "For someone who has never done this before, you take pain beautifully."

Grace: "Thank you. I want to please you."

Søren: "You do."

Laila: "Thank you."

Wesley: "My pleasure. Literally."

Laila: "And mine."

Wesley: "I was wrong. That was a seriously good idea."

Laila: "It will be a terrible idea if my uncle catches us. I hadn't planned this far ahead"

Wesley: "It's fine. He'll only kill me. He'll let you live."

Laila: "And that's fine with you?"

Wesley: "Oh, yeah. Sex with you? Worth dying for."

Nora: "Oh, good. Someone in this house is in worse shape than I am."

Kingsley: "I don't know about that, Maitresse. You look like merde yourself."

Nora: "I know you said I look like shit but it still sounded sexy. Why does everything sound better in French?"

Nora: "Jesus, King, you got beat to hell. Some of these bruises look old."

He raised an eyebrow at her. Nora rolled her eyes.

Nora: "That horny priest. I leave to go fuck somebody else for one week, and he jumps you the second my back it turned."

Kingsley: "Not true. I seduced him, and he did make me wait a few days."

Nora: "He's such a sadist."

Kingsley: "He almost killed me, if that makes you feel any better."

Nora: "It does. But we both know that's how you like it."

Nora: "You need to start taking better care of yourself."

Kingsley: "I'm fine."

Nora: "Fine? Let's not even talk about the six-inch gash I'm sewing up right now. You're covered in welts and bruises and it even looks like that big blond fucker tiger-striped you."

Kingsley: "He did."

Nora: "Have you possible maybe once considered using, I don't know, a safe word or something?"

Kingsley: "Don't insult me."

Nora: "Or maybe the green light, yellow light, red light system?"

Kingsley: "You might as well turn me vanilla."

Nora: "I know it's scary. But you're not going to lose Søren because you have Juliette and Junior now. What you two have, it's something even I can't touch."

Kingsley: "Funny ... I've always thought the same about what you and he have. I've envied it."

Nora: "Envied it? I have to obey him. That's how it works. How many orders has he given you this week?"

Kingsley: "Dozens."

Nora: "How many have you disobeyed?"

Kingsley: "All but one."

Nora: "You want to take my place? You want to sit at his feet and water sticks and do everything he tells you?"

Kingsley: "He's be dead in a week."

Nora: "Thought so."

Nora tied off her thread and taped a gauze pad over the stitches.

Nora: "See? That wasn't so bad, was it?"

Kingsley: "I think I almost enjoyed it."

Nora laid a hand on his inner thigh and slid it up to his crotch.

Nora: "I don't think 'almost' is the right word. Fucking masochists."

Søren: "Don't get into a scriptural pissing contest with a Jesuit priest, Kingsley. You'll lose every time."

Søren: "Eleanor, where is my niece?"

Nora: "Still in bed."

Søren: "Her flight leaves in a few hours. I'll go wake her up."

Nora: "No, I'll do it."

Søren: "And where is Wesley?"

Nora: "Probably sleeping, too."

Søren: "Eleanor, answer me."

Nora: "I'm not one hundred percent certain I know where Laila and Wesley are."

Søren rose out of his sear and headed to the entryway. Nora has to run to beat him.

Nora: "Don't."

Søren: "Eleanor, get out of my way."

Nora: "They're together right now - Laila and Wes. They spent the night together. They're still together. And if you don't want to traumatize your niece for the rest of her life, you'll leave them alone."

Søren: "Me, traumatize her? She spent the night with someone she barely knows who is in love with someone else."

Nora: "And she had a damn good time doing it from what I overheard."

Søren: "Eleanor ... If you don't get out of my way right now -"

Nora: "You'll what? Beat me up? Or, as we call it, foreplay?"

Søren: "I'm not joking. Get out of my way this instant."

He eyed her with barely restrained fury.

Nora: "No. You and I have put We through enough pain and drama to last a goddamn lifetime. If spending some private time with Laila makes him feel better, then fine. Laila got kidnapped and held at gunpoint. If she wants a few hours' distraction with a gorgeous, sweet kid like Wes, we're not going to stop them."

Søren: "You aren't. I am. So help me God, Eleanor, she is only eighteen -"

Nora: "So the fuck what? I was seventeen when you and I fooled around the first time. Remember that night? You didn't seem to mind I was a seventeen-year-old virgin. And you also didn't mind you were a thirty-one year-old Catholic priest. My priest. You remember that?"

Søren: "This is an entirely different situation."

Nora: "Why? Because she's your niece? Fuck you, I'm somebody's daughter. I know Mom would love to come do what you want to do to Wesley right now."

Søren: "I'm not having this conversation with you."

Søren started to push past her and Nora put her hand out, grasping the door frame.

Nora: "You go another step past me and you will never see me again. If you dare interfere with Wes's chance at happiness, even for a few more minutes of it, I will run so fast and so far from you even God and all His angels won't be able to hunt me down. You and I have been playing this game by our rules for twenty fucking years and it is way too late for you to be pulling this vanilla bullshit on any of us right now. We know who you are. We know what you do. Every single one of us in this room has the bruises to prove it. So unless you want to lose me and lose me for good this time, you will sit your ass down and eat your goddamn breakfast and you will leave Wes and Laila alone. Otherwise, I will disappear from this life and the next life. I will make sure I die first and whether I'm in heaven or hell, I will bar the gates behind me so you can't even touch me in the afterlife. Say, 'Yes, MIstress," if you understand."

Søren: "Eleanor..."

Nora: "Say it. Say it if you ever want to see me again. I left you before. By God, I will do it again. This time I won't come back. I mean it. You know I mean it."

Søren: "Yes, Mistress."

Nora: "Good boy. Oh, one more thing."

Søren: "What?"

Nora slapped Søren so hard that he gasped from the pain of it. Søren looked at her in pure unadulterated shock.

Nora: "I have wanted to do that for nineteen years, you pretentious, overbearing, self-important hypocrite. You made me water a goddamn stick for six fucking months. Kingsley, I'm leaving. If he tries anything before Wes and Laila come up for air, shoot him."

She couldn't remember the last time Kingsley looked so delighted.

Kingsley: "With pleasure, Maitresse."

Søren: "You're being mysterious."

Nora: "Entirely on purpose and mainly to annoy you."

Søren: "It's working."

Søren: "Very good work on the tree. I see you managed to avoid any inappropriate ornaments this year."

Nora: "I'm still putting the Christmas shark up on the tree when I find it. What is Christmas without the Christmas shark?"

Søren: "I can't even begin to answer a question of such theological import without at least a week of prayer and fasting first."

Zach: "Nora, you and I have slept together. I don't know how appropriate it would be for you to be my son's godmother."

Nora: "When has the appropriateness or something ever been a deciding factor for me doing anything?"

Zach: "Well, I suppose I can't argue."

Nora: "Zach, I hope you finally have my synonym for thrust, noun form. Otherwise, I'm hanging up on you."

Check out the Original Sinners Main Series

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Before The Siren

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