Madame X, стр. 1

I am not for you.

I belong to one man and one man alone, and he does not share. Not like you desire me, at least.

And you—you are not worthy to even think his name. You could not even begin to fathom the sophistication and the polish and the culture and the charm and the elegance and the easy power and the natural domination that man possesses. You just cannot.

I do not think his name. I do not speak his name. Not when I am alone, and not when he deigns to visit me, his chattel. And I certainly do not ever, ever mention him to you, any of you. He is the sun arcing across the horizon, and you are fireflies flitting to and fro in the night, each of you thinking your little light shines the brightest, never realizing how small and insignificant you truly are.

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An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

MADAME X

This book is an original publication of the Berkley Publishing Group.

Copyright © 2015 by Jasinda Wilder.

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

BERKLEY® and the “B” design are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

For more information, visit penguin.com.

eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-98687-5

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Wilder, Jasinda.

Madame X / Jasinda Wilder. — Berkley trade paperback edition.

pages ; cm

ISBN 978-1-101-98688-2 (softcover)

1. Man-woman relationships—Fiction. 2. Sexual dominance and submission—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3623.I5386M33 2015

813'.6—dc23

2015021646

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Berkley trade paperback edition / October 2015

Cover photographs: Woman © Mayer George / Shutterstock; New York City Skyline © Ultima Gaina / Thinkstock.

Cover design by Sarah Hansen.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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Version_1

CONTENTS

Title Page

Copyright

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Special Excerpt from Exposed

ONE

You are beautiful, today. Your eyes are deep-set and dark brown, with a patina of warmth that I am discovering hides a turbulent ocean of intelligence and cunning and cruelty. You are young, today. Not even twenty-five, I believe. Your youth shows in your inability to sit still on my pristine white leather couch, the way you cross your long, lean, slate-gray Armani-sheathed legs ankle-on-knee, and then stretch them out ankle-on-ankle in front of you, and the way you reach with a Rolex-braceleted wrist and delicately pick at an invisible loose thread on your black V-neck T-shirt, the way you brush at your knee with strong but fragile-seeming fingers, and then touch your jaw and then dig in your hip pocket for your sleek smartphone—which isn’t there, because unshackling you from that device is an integral part of the training program. And you definitely need training.

Your name is Jonathan, today. Not Jon, or John, or Johnny, but Jonathan. You very subtly accentuate the first syllable, Jonathan. It is cute, that little accent on the first syllable of your oh-so-generic name. Jonathan. As if to make sure I am listening before you say the rest, as if to say “pay attention to who I am.” You are so young, Jonathan. You are only a few years younger than I am, but age is so much more than how many times one has spun around the sun. Your age shows through in more than your incapacity for stillness; it is in your eyes, those layered brown eyes, how you look at me with lust and calculation and wonder and not a little fear.

You are like all the rest of you—oh, how I hate the lack of a you-plural conjugation in the English language; other languages are so much more precise and effective and elegant. Let me try this again: You (singular, Jonathan) are very much like all the rest of you (plural, the multitude of men-boys that have come and gone before you-singular, Jonathan).

You, Jonathan, look at me with that needy greedy hungry lusty fear, wondering how you can possess me, how you can circumnavigate the rules binding us to this contract, how you can get me to leave with you and be yours and how you can get me to loosen my top or bend over for you a little so you can catch a better glimpse down my blouse, how you can have me in any way at all. But like all the others, you cannot. Not any of that.

I am not for you.

I belong to one man and one man alone, and he does not share. Not what you desire of me, at least.

And you—you, Jonathan, and you-plural—you are not worthy to even think his name. You could not even begin to fathom the sophistication and the polish and the culture and the charm and the elegance and the easy power and the natural domination that man possesses. You just cannot.

He is the sun arcing across the horizon, and you are fireflies flitting to and fro in the night, each of you thinking your little light shines the brightest, never realizing how small and insignificant you truly are.

We are sitting on my couch right now, sipping at Harney & Sons Earl Grey tea, and I am noting your posture and the drape of your arm as you lounge, and the angle of your wrist as you sip, and the sweep of your neck and the shift of your eyes. I see all of this, I note each detail, and I adjudicate it all, make mental tallies and prepare my lesson. For now, though, I sip, and try to let you guide our conversation.

You are an abysmal conversationalist, Jonathan. You speak of sports, like a common boy squatting on a bar stool swilling beer. As if I could ever possibly spare a single moment of thought for such tripe. But I let you natter on about some player, and I nod and ummmm-hmmm at all the right pauses, and let my eyes shine as if I give one single shit. Because you need this lesson, Jonathan. I am going to let you ramble about this football of yours and pretend to care and will let you go on and on and waste my time and yours, and when you run out of words, or maybe even finally realize I am merely humoring you, I am going to gut you like a fish.

You bore me, so I will not be gentle about it, Jonathan.

“. . . And he’s putting up numbers like nobody’s business, you know? Like, he’s just a fucking beast on the field, no one can touch him, not once he’s got the ball. Every game I’m like, I’m like give him the fucking ball you goddamned idiot, just feed him the ball, it’s all you have to do. Obviously I picked him for my fantasy football league, and he’s gonna make me a shitload of money . . .” You gesticulate with your hands, roll them in circles, and you go on and on and on, until I’m having to force myself to hear each individual word as if they’re nuggets of sound without substance.

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