For a two-month stretch that ended a few weeks ago, Mistress Seven spent her evenings as the guest of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Tent City, the primitive outdoor jail in south Phoenix.
She did so under her legal name of Amber Dawn Landin, 32, serving time for extreme DUI and felony endangerment. "Seven," as she prefers to be called these days, had been arrested after crashing her car into a tree near Williams, a small city in northern Arizona between Flagstaff and Kingman.
Remarkably, she'd suffered only minor bruises and cuts in the crash, after which she blew a blood-alcohol level of .306, almost four times the legal limit. A boyfriend with her at the time also escaped serious injury.
In sentencing Seven to four months in jail, a Coconino County judge allowed her to do her time in Maricopa County, where she lives and works. Under Arizona law, Seven would have to serve at least 60 days of that sentence, but with a most-welcome provision:
The judge agreed to let her out of custody every day but Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to go to work.
So, for six mornings a week in March and April, one of Seven's three roommates would pick her up in front of the Tents at 8 a.m. They'd drive up to their north Phoenix apartment, where Seven would take a hot shower and grab something to eat that wasn't green bologna or any of the scary mystery meats on Arpaio's ghastly menu.
She would then cake on her makeup (cosmetics aren't allowed in the jail), and it would be off to work at a business tucked away in an industrial area 10 minutes southwest of downtown Phoenix.
The owner of that business, officially called DOIAZ, earlier had written the judge that Seven's work duties "include answering and directing phone calls, e-mails and basic customer assistance."
That was all true.
So, apparently, was the boss' line that said Seven "maintains a positive, supportive attitude with other employees and clients, and often assists with duties she is not obligated to do."
It was these other "duties" that first led us to the saga of Mistress Seven, a very sweet yet very twisted sister who proudly calls herself the "most extreme dominatrix in this part of the world."
DOIAZ, which sounds like a government agency or a computer business, is better known to habitués as the Den of Iniquity, owned by former porn star Porsche Lynn.
The place is a sprawling "dungeon," at which a bevy of mistresses set up their little shops of horrors, and perform nasty, often painful acts (none involving overt sex and all of them legal, according to Seven) upon men from all walks of life.
The men (occasionally a guy will bring in a lady pal for a group session) are "slaves" to their mistress, usually for a few hours at a stretch.
Seven a voluptuous (thanks to the miracles of modern medicine), exotic-looking beauty in the mold of, say, Carmen Electra has been a professional dom for more than a year. She jumped headfirst into "the life," as she calls it, with the same manic intensity that has dictated the rest of her existence.
Of Latin, American Indian and Scotch-Irish descent, Seven's life as an object of sexual attention started young, probably when her mother began taking her around to Phoenix nightclubs as a 15-year-old to model lingerie.
Since then, she's had more bad relationships with men than any self-respecting (at times) dominatrix should ever have had to endure.
Her unenviable track record includes two ex-husbands, the first of whom was heavy metal legend Yngwie Malmsteen, a guitar wizard who rose to global prominence in the 1980s.
Her troubles haven't been relegated just to her choices of lovers.
Seven claims to have survived four or five unintentional drug overdoses in the late 1990s, some of which led to recoveries in psychiatric hospitals. There also was a suicide try, with the mode of attempted self-destruction being a razor blade.
But Seven is a survivor, and currently seems to be making a good living at tormenting men.
"In my professional life, I kick ass and they pay me for it," she says, smiling devilishly. "Am I vulgar and vile and evil to people who are desirous of me being that way? Yes. But I'm not going to whale on someone and kick them in the balls or whatever unless they really want me to.
"It's hard for the vanilla, close-minded person to understand about the energy exchange that goes on between the dom and her slave. You can fake an orgasm, but you can't fake the energy. I get a lot out of it, too."
Some of Seven's "specialties" are listed on the DOIAZ Web site and on her MySpace page. They include the old S&M standbys: "discipline, corporal punishment, light to severe flogging, cropping, paddling, caning, and spanking."
Now, that's just what some of Sheriff Arpaio's correctional officers have been accused of doing over the years. But Seven insists that she never compared notes with them, nor met any truly sadistic types during her incarceration.
She also goes by the name Perversion Barbie on MySpace (myspace.com/perversionbarbie), where she refers to herself as "the one who has Ken tied up in the dungeon."
On the job, Seven says she's amenable to just about anything that doesn't include children, animals and the breaking of bones.
But if one of her slaves wants to pretend he's an animal, say, a "bad puppy," bring it on.
Seven also has embraced the sadomasochistic "arts" of smothering, trampling, needle play, blade play, electrical play, wax play, gagging, mummification (look out, King Tut!), body suspension, and a bunch of acronyms only insiders could define, including GS, RS, CBT, CBB, NT, and BS.
Seven admits to having engaged in all manner of what we'll call "toilet games" and leave it at that. And she sounds sincere when speaking about how much she enjoys that particular part of her repertoire.
"I like that it's wrong, I like that it's disgusting, and I like that I'm liking it," she says. "And, two, I want to be the, quote, hot chick, who's the one doing it."
Seven's play-acting roles at work include evil nurse/patient, goddess/worshipper, teacher/student, queen/peasant, owner/pet (good for a howl), and policewoman/criminal.
As for the last, Seven says she has a client who's actually a cop at a Valley agency.
His name is . . . oh, never mind.
Naturally, she refuses to name any of her clients (bad for business), but she concedes that they range from bankers and real estate agents to computer geeks, lawyers and car salesmen.
With Officer X, Seven says she relishes literally pounding a "confession" out of her slave. The real-life cop assumes the role of a criminal who won't confess to wrongdoing without certain "proddings" and other interview techniques more common to, say, Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, where terror suspects are detained).
In her fantasy police world, the Miranda Warning against self-incrimination is "suspended" (maybe in midair, depending on the vibe) during the "interrogation."
Seven also won't say how much the cop or anyone else pays for her attention, but she suggests that her "tips" can be substantial.
On the job, she's in physical control of her environment and of the men under her thumb and, at times, the rest of her. But Seven's personal life is a different ball of wax (sometimes literally), though it's every bit as kinky as her professional world.
Currently, it is, well, dominated by overlapping relationships with various men. During her private playtime, she prefers to be what's known in her subculture as a "submissive."
"I kick around people daily, and the last thing in the world I want is to be like that at home," she says. "I submit to certain guys like putty. My turn-ons are blood, pain and the extreme. I get a rush out of being hurt, though most guys don't want to hurt me. You don't have to twist my arm or pull teeth to get me to do stuff."
Seven pauses to digest what she's just said, and breaks out laughing.
"Hmmm," she says. "I guess a little twisting and pulling would be okay."
That this one-time homecoming queen candidate at Phoenix North High School still is among the living often surprises her.
But that won't stop her from what she calls "playing with life" away from the dungeon.
On her MySpace page, she writes, "I have opened up to people in my life about my fantasies, desires, wants and needs, and have never heard from them ever again. I like blood and gore. I like the thrill of riding the line of life and death . . . They call me the S&M Superhero. I have more than nine lives. My life speaks life . . . and it speaks death. I am sexually aroused by life, and I am sexually aroused by death."
Yes, Mistress Seven has been a very bad girl for a very long time.
As she reveals herself, much of Seven's story seems sadly defined by her admittedly self-destructive and tumultuous nature. She's a damaged soul who insists on waving her freak flag on a daily basis off the highest, most dangerous cliff she can scale.
"There's both a lot of light and darkness in me, and I always feel both sides pulling hard," she says.
"I have a lot of self-hatred and I've had a lifelong death wish a lot of inner demons. But I'm so much of a pussy I couldn't pick up a gun and put it to my own head. I've been this wild, drunken, bar-fighting bitch who's dragged a lot of people down. I really want to figure out what's making my head tick because it's really fucked up up there."
It's a Friday night in early May at the rambling Desert Ridge Marketplace, just north of the 101, off Tatum Boulevard.
The mall is popular with young families and teenagers, especially on weekend nights, when hundreds of people stroll slowly around the contoured outdoor walkways, shopping and taking in the sights.
Seven sits with an inquisitor on a bench outside the Paradise Bakery & Cafe and begins to tell her story. She says she's nervous and not feeling in control, and can't bring herself to eat.
Sober for months, she says, "I'm this blazing, raging alky, and I just can't do it to myself and anyone else anymore," as she sips a glass of water into which she squeezes several lemon slices.
Seven looks healthy and turns out to be a great storyteller and listener during two hours of conversation.
"Look at me with the fake boobs, dyed hair, fake nails, the deep tan and all the rest of the bullshit," she says, by way of overview. "It takes a lot to look like this, and it's not how I grew up, believe me."
The magnitude of her practically exposed super-breasts attracts passers-by.
Young mothers with toddlers and husbands in tow try instinctively to herd their clan away from the tight-jeaned dom, though the hubbies linger as long as possible. One fellow kneels as if to fix his sandal as he checks her out.
Small clusters of teenage boys circle, working their cell phones to yip about the hot tamale outside the bakery. One boy wearing a tattered Green Day T-shirt screws up the nerve to approach Seven.
"Ma'am, you are very hot," he says, as his buddy giggles.
"You're hot, too," Seven replies, giving the kid a 1,000-watt grin.
Though these boys are way too juvenile for her, Seven says she prefers young, heavily tattooed military types as "personal playmates" (her phrase for guys with whom she has sex). She says she usually meets these fellows over the Internet, where they can get to know each other before meeting in person.
"I love my military men," she says, "the 21 and 22-year-olds who are more open to the kind of extreme stuff I want, and who don't want to be obligated to any one person. But too young is just too young."
As a 15-year-old, Seven says she was seduced by a 39-year-old man she met during one of her lingerie-modeling gigs at a Phoenix bar.
It happened even with her mother's supposed oversight.
Though Seven says she's usually on good terms with her mom, Elaine Potter, she hasn't forgotten what she calls an "abusive" childhood that left her emotionally scarred and angry.
Born in the San Diego area, she was raised by her single mom, with whom she's long had a mercurial relationship.
"We had our ups and downs because we had a very tough situation, not having any money and me being stressed out," says Potter, who now also lives in the Valley.
"Amber always was very bright and very beautiful, but she always was a handful."
Seven says she started to think she was different from her peers when she was just 5 or 6 years old.
"I knew from an early age that I had these dark desires," she says. "I'm alone watching horror movies and hardcore gore as a little girl, and my adrenaline is getting going and I'm liking it. Meanwhile, my friends are at home watching Sesame Street."
Life for Seven, her mother and an older brother was a struggle. Her alcoholic father mostly was out of the picture (he's been in and out of her life for years), and she says her little family often wondered where their next meal would be coming from.
"We were on welfare and living in roach-infested apartments, not having food to eat now and then. All that stuff," Seven says. "I was this goofy-looking, skinny kid with buck teeth and a lot of anger in me that I still have to this day."
Then, as it happens, Seven (then Amber) became a teenager, began to develop into a beautiful, if melancholy, young woman.
Living in Phoenix with her mother, she was attending North High when her mom allowed her to model sexy lingerie at the smoky night spots.
"My mom was with me every step," Seven recalls. "We simply needed the money . . . By then, I was looking for attention from men, sexual attention. I didn't have any dad around to tell me what was what. The false love from these men filled a temporary void in my life. It was all very fucked up."
It was so messed up that she dropped out of high school (she earned her GED shortly before her 30th birthday).
As for her role in Seven's unhealthy teenage years, Potter says, "I do feel guilt, and I wonder what would have happened if we had gone a different way. But I am proud of the person Amber is today, especially with everything she's gone through."
In May 1992, Amber, then 17, and her mom went to the Mason Jar, the old rock dive in central Phoenix. Heading the bill was Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, then about 30 and a bit past his zenith in the States, though a recording of his that year, "Fire and Ice," sold 100,000 copies in Japan on the day it was released.
Seven says she didn't even know who Malmsteen was, and had attended the concert so she could get an autograph as a birthday present for her brother, a big fan.
Mother and daughter hung around after the show, and got their autograph. Seven also got Malmsteen's phone number, and vice versa. The pair communicated frequently over the next months, and on her 18th birthday that July, he sent for her from his adopted home in Miami. "Like a Russian mail-order bride," Seven says.
"I had all the hopes and dreams of what love was going to be. Here he was, giving me the love and attention I was craving, but then he started hitting me six weeks after I got there. It was not mutual. I did like the aggression in consensual sex situations, but not the hitting."
That Seven says she now loves to be hit, pummeled even, by trusted "playmates" is something she can't really explain.
She says she and Malmsteen regularly used cocaine and other drugs, and that the violence escalated as time passed.
(Malmsteen's management company did not respond to requests for comment for this story).
In August 1993, according to accounts in the Miami Herald and, later, in Miami New Times, Seven's mother called the Miami Shores police, alleging that Malmsteen was holding her daughter with a shotgun in another part of the house.
A SWAT team surrounded the home and, after a four-hour standoff, Malmsteen surrendered to police in his bathrobe.
Seven declined to press charges, and an aggravated assault complaint was dismissed.
The highly publicized incident didn't spell the end of the tempestuous relationship.
The two were married at a castle in Stockholm later that year, on December 26, 1993.
Wedding photos of the couple are revealing: Seven says Malmsteen wouldn't allow her family members to attend, and her bridesmaids were three women who had won a fan-club contest.
The bride was anything but blushing. In fact, she looked downright sad, which she says she was.
Seven says she went on several world tours with Malmsteen, and that he abused her in front of his bandmates and hangers-on.
As the turbulent six-year relationship wound down, Seven says she found herself fighting back and hard against the 6-foot, 3-inch Swede.
"I became an animal a drugged-up, drunken animal," she says. "I was not well, and he made me even sicker."
Along the way, Seven says she wrote the lyrics to Malmsteen's tune, "Prisoner of Your Love." She's on the album credits but says she never collected royalties.
The chorus goes, "Encaptured by the beauty/I'm a prisoner of your love/Enslaved by the passion/I'm a prisoner of your love."
Seven says Malmsteen changed her original lyrics from what she calls "a song about literal imprisonment to a sappy love song."
Seven says she won a settlement totaling a few hundred thousand dollars when her marriage to Malmsteen officially ended in April 1998.
She remarried that same month, to a well-known DJ she'd met at a Miami rave.
With that relationship, "it was drugs, drugs, drugs and what I thought was love," Seven says.
The new couple plowed through Seven's divorce money, spending it on bad investments and narcotics.
Within a few years after remarrying, Seven says, she had a life-altering experience after being locked up for a misdemeanor in San Diego. She says she "found the Lord" during that stay and resolved to go straight and try to salvage her fading second marriage.
A subsequent long stretch at San Diego's Christian Recovery Center gave her the strength to rejoin her spouse in New Orleans (where they had moved) and to attempt to persuade him to give Jesus a shot in place of their beloved white powder.
They joined a Baptist church there, where she would testify about her previously wayward life, ran an addiction-recovery group, and ingested (she swears) nothing stronger than an aspirin for two years.
"I was really sold-out for God at that point," she says.
Photos during that time are as revealing as the creepy ones of her wedding to Malmsteen.
Several photos show Seven posing with huge ocean fish that she caught herself.
Sans makeup, with a ball cap on backwards and a big, proud smile, she seems genuinely happy.
"I am a serious fisherwoman, and I love it out there on the water, because fishing for me is very, very physical," Seven says. "I was happy in that moment."
She says she's still in touch with God:
"I know some people think that's ridiculous, a dom with my history and my bullshit still believing in God. But when I die, I know it's going to be between me and Him, so I don't give a fuck what people think."
In New Orleans, Seven set up a residential and commercial cleaning business with another woman from her church that thrived for a time. She says loved the hard work, the labor that kept her from ruminating too much about her life.
But her relationship with hubby number two was kaput. "When we sobered up, we realized we didn't know each other at all, and that was that," she says.
Seven says her church abruptly rejected her after she split from her husband.
Within months, she returned to the wild life she had fled.
Soon, she was back to drinking, drugs, wild sex and seemingly obligatory dysfunctional relationships.
About five years ago, short of money and wondering which end was up, Seven (still Amber at that point) returned to Arizona.
Seven has decided to cook a big meal for her roommates, a few pals and a reporter.
It's an evening not long after she's been released for keeps from Tent City, and everything is going pretty well for her.
As she slaves over a hot stove in the kitchen of her apartment, Seven's friends chat glowingly about her.
"She's got the biggest heart you'll ever see once she decides that she can trust you," says one of her roommates, Nelly, an affable former Air Force enlistee from Kentucky who aspires to a career in real estate. "She's also just about the hottest girl in Phoenix."
The other friends include another roommate (a young man who hopes to go to Iraq after re-enlisting this summer), an artist whom Seven met while working (which means strutting her stuff) at a biker show, a lesbian jet airplane mechanic, whom Seven met years ago while stripping at a local club, and a woman who also works as a mistress at the dungeon and goes by the handle Switchable Jessica (the switchable part refers to her ability to play either the dominant or subservient role).
The crew disperses after downing Seven's delicious (and healthful) meal of chicken, salad, and steamed vegetables.
Seven settles on the couch to further discuss her life, her time at Tent City and her future.
Her cat, Jubilee, who's been about the most consistent thing in her life for the past nine years, cozies up to her.
Seven says she struggled mightily with the same old issues when she moved back to Phoenix. She lived some of the time with her mom, which saved her money.
But, ever strapped for cash, she worked for long stretches as a stripper at various Valley clubs.
"I hate stripping," she says. "You give nothing of yourself and get nothing in return, the opposite of my current job."
Then came her latest brush with death in Williams in early 2005. That case wasn't resolved until earlier this year, when the Coconino County judge ordered Seven to jail.
Well before she was sentenced, Seven says, she knew she deserved incarceration and that a sea change was necessary if she expected to live much longer.
Last year, she unofficially changed her name to Seven as part of her latest self-imposed fresh start.
"The number seven represents the seven sins, and it's a really positive number, a real lucky number," she says. "I wanted to get rid of Amber that weakling, that drunk, that hurtful person."
Seven says she was determined, as her jail term neared, to make the best of being locked up.
"I wanted to make something good out of the time I had to myself there," she says. "I had a lot of time to myself there, and I got to face myself and how I've done such bad things to a lot of people. It actually was a good experience, everything considered."
Seven says she generally coexisted with other inmates, though she had to exercise "self-discipline" at times or risk the wrath of Arpaio's lurking troops.
"I didn't get in trouble fighting or anything like that," she says. "I laid low, 'cause I didn't want to get rolled to the Hole. And I mostly got along with the other women. A lot of them just wanted to discuss my boobs, their size. If I had been bi, I could have had a field day in there."
Seven says her stay behind bars (or at least behind the barbed-wire fence that surrounds Tent City) also provided her with time to mull over the naughty-girl Web site she had long envisioned for herself.
Safe to say, this jail stint didn't end with Seven intending to do any more "selling out" for God.
"I love to shock 'em, offend 'em, and turn 'em on," she says . "What's wrong with that? That's just what I plan to do with my extreme, extreme Web site."
To prove her point, Seven fetches a DVD of a fetish porn she did for money last year with a rather elderly gentleman from Phoenix. She puts it in the machine, and settles in to watch it, ostensibly for the first time.
After a moment of perfunctory dialogue, she ties up the guy on a living-room floor, hikes up her miniskirt and backs down onto his face with her bare butt, rendering him unable to breathe.
After about 30 excruciatingly long seconds, Seven lifts herself up, as the old boy gasps for air, red-faced.
Soon as he's able to catch his breath, she again drops down onto him, subjecting her willing foil to another disturbing bout with enforced breathlessness.
"Yeah!" Seven says, watching herself suffocate the guy. "The 'smothering people' go crazy watching this video! I heard this one is big over in Italy and Europe."
After about 10 minutes, the dom pronounces that she's tired of staring at her behind, and shuts off the television set.
"Thank God there are these outlets in my personal and professional lives for [a] fucked-up [person] like myself," she says. "I'm not bottling myself up anymore. I just love my perversions!"