King of Paine: Sample Page 2

The e-mail in his inbox that morning had seemed well-intentioned to the agents in the Innocent Images Unit, a small team of Cyber agents dedicated to rooting out pedophiles:

A welcome gift for The King of Paine: Interested in a traveler soliciting little girls in Atlanta this morning? He’s using the RealTime chat handle PaulBrennerATL.

The agents had zeroed in on the traveler, an Internet predator who arranged illicit meetings with underage girls, paying scant attention to the regal nickname. To Frank’s knowledge, though, only one person, Jolynn Decker, knew its significance. The King of Paine had been his RealTime alter-ego, the ruler of the online world of BDSM—bondage, dominance, submission, and masochism—until he quit the habit three years ago, one day at a time, not long after he quit on Jolynn when she needed him most.

He desperately wanted to make amends—his therapist called it “Step Nine,” his dad just “doing the right thing”—but if Jolynn, or whoever else sent that e-mail, revealed his kinky secrets, his quest to turn his life around would come to a humiliating end, maybe in the next few minutes.

A held breath burned in Frank’s chest as Jeronimo Reyes, an athletic man of about thirty with black hair styled in an expensive Caesar cut, positioned himself beside the door. The lone woman on the team, Jessica Carlisle, a thick-shouldered blond, stood poised with a bolt cutter, awaiting the command.

“We’re here for shock value,” Woodbridge continued. “When the perp sees what he’s up against, he’ll—”

 Copyright © 2011 by Larry Kahn

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