As the Jack-of-All-Wicked-Trades for a secretive French military intelligence agency, 24-year-old Lieutenant Kingsley Boissonneault has done it all—spied, lied, and killed under orders. But his latest assignment is quite out of the ordinary. His commanding officer’s nephew has disappeared inside a sex cult, and Kingsley has been tasked with bringing him home to safety.
The cult’s holy book is Story of O, the infamous French novel of extreme sado-masochism. Their château is a looking-glass world where women reign and men are their willing slaves. Or are they willing? It’s Kingsley’s mission to find out.
Once inside the château, however, Kingsley quickly falls under the erotic spell cast by the enigmatic Madame, a woman of wisdom, power, and beauty. She offers Kingsley the one thing he’s always wanted. But the price? Giving up forever the only person he’s ever loved.
The Chateau is a new standalone Original Sinners novel international bestseller Tiffany Reisz, author of The Siren and The Lucky Ones.
By late afternoon, Kingsley been waiting for the payphone to ring for six hours. At least it had warmed up enough that he could almost, perhaps, maybe take a quick nap while sitting on the floor of the phone booth with his coat wrapped around his knees. He got settled in and closed his eyes. Just as he was about to drift off, someone knocked on the phone booth door.
Kingsley sprang immediately awake. And when he saw the girl standing outside the door, he leapt to his feet, a smile on his face.
“Pardon me, sir,” she said. “Do you live here?”
She spoke French like a native. He knew he was supposed to play dumb, to act like he only spoke English or stilted French, as part of his cover.
The girl was magnificent. Black hair in a loose bun. Onyx eyes. Skin a deep olive like his, maybe even darker. She had a little beauty mark on her chin and her lips were a dusky hue, full and mischievous as if they wanted to slide into a smile but knew better than to encourage him. All her clothes were chic. Chic brown leather knee boots with a little heel. A brown skirt, a belted brown coat, and a red newsboy cap tilted rakishly over her right eye. She didn’t look very old—maybe eighteen or nineteen—but she carried herself with a sophistication beyond her tender years.
Since she was so very magnificent, he was compelled to respond with his own fluent French. So what if he blew his cover? He’d blow anything for this girl.
“Do I live here?” he asked. “On this street?”
“In the phone booth?”
She smiled and he decided they should have two children. Both girls. Or maybe one boy and one girl. He wasn’t picky.
“No,” he said. “I’m waiting on a call.”
“Oh,” she said. “I’ll find another phone then.”
“You can use this one,” he said. “It’s not mine. I don’t own it. It’s public. You’re the public.”
“But I’m not public. I’m very private,” she said.
Maybe three children, he thought. The third would be an accident. Unplanned. Likely the result of him ravishing her one time too many while on holiday in Saint Croix. He wondered if she liked being spanked. He would try to find that out before tomorrow morning.
“Then you shouldn’t use my public phone,” he said. “We should find you a private phone. I have one back at my place.”
“If you have a phone, why are you using a phone booth?” she asked. She was looking at him with unabashed appreciation. She might even find him as attractive as he found her.
“It’s for work. I think.”
“If you’re working I should leave you alone then,” she said. “I’ll find another phone on my own.”
She furrowed her beautiful brow. “Are Jews not allowed to use phones?” she asked.
“I noticed your necklace,” he said. A gold Star of David pendant danced in the hollow of her throat. “I like it.”
“Are you Jewish?” she asked.
“No,” he said. “I’m just so happy you aren’t Catholic.”
She laughed and her laugh bounced off the sidewalk into the sky and jumped into the nearest passing cloud. Kingsley hoped wherever that cloud went it would rain her laughter onto the world.
“Is it so bad to be Catholic?” she asked.
“I went to Catholic school,” he said by way of answer.
“Is it like I hear it is?” she asked.
“Worse. We can raise our children Jewish. I’ll convert.”
“Are you circumcised?” she asked.
“Not yet, but if you’ll give me a minute, I have my Swiss Army knife on me.”
OMG, this series!
I’m woefully behind in it (Audible to the rescue!) but The Chateau worked just fine as a standalone, so that was perfectly okay. It’s billed as an erotic thriller, which gives it a slightly different flavor than the other series books that I’ve read thus far. Taking place in 1989, it tells the story of a heretofore unknown part of Kingsley’s (here Lieutenant Kingsley Boissonneault, in later years he’ll be known as Kingsley Edge) life, a rather..ahem…unusual mission he took part in as a member of a secret group within the French Foreign Legion.[(Can I just say–ha! I knew who Mr. Madame was! But I never suspected the real meaning behind the hidden room…) (hide spoiler)]
I loved seeing this small part of Kingsley’s past, and this bit in Ms. Reisz’s Q&A at the end:
Q: Inside the cult’s chateau, women reign and men are their willing slaves. How did the idea for such a community come about?
A: Wishful thinking?
both made me LOL and sigh wistfully at the same time. Well played, Ms. Reisz.
The blurb for the next standalone series novel (Picture Perfect Cowboy) has me counting the days until its release; until then I’ve got some catching up to do!
(Slight spoiler, so avert your eyes if you don’t want to see it: Ha! I knew who Mr. Madame was going to end up being! But OMG, I did not suspect the true history of that hidden room…did I mention, this series…?)
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.