Thursday, November 24, 2016

You Want Me? Then Take Me. - Part Two




The Way Back to Play Novella  
Game Maker:   
Part Two
Read Part One Here
.
“Much.” She closed her eyes as his hands skimmed down her neck, her shoulders, and her arms before settling on her waist.

“Are you sure?” Worry weighed down his voice and touch. His finger trailed a new tear as it fell down her cheek. “You don’t seem fine.”

“I just—” she started. “I...” She shrugged helplessly. “I’m sorry; I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

“There’s nothing wrong with you,” he insisted, indignant on her behalf. But then he sighed and brushed her hair off her face, a bemused half-grin on his face. “It’s just been a while for you and I never go that far with you.” He shook his head. “I always stop.”

Kat sat up in his arms, blinking down at him, frowning at the castigating tone he seemed to aim at himself. She shook her head. 

He’d said there was nothing wrong with her

As if there were something wrong with him

She shook her head again. “It’s not...” She frowned and drifted off. “I just…”

She pouted and huffed, trying to force her still muddled mind to work. 

It had been a while since they’d played—really played—together. And, yes, he’d always stopped before she reached that red point. And, yes, it’d been a lot to take in with Rand; she was still reeling. 

She felt shaky and off-balance. She felt weak and exposed.

“I want to thank you, Peter.” She lay her hands on his shoulders.

“For what?” His tone was a little sardonic.

“For everything,” she insisted. “I needed this, Peter.” 

He frowned. “Needed to be beaten so hard you cried?” 

She gave a weak laugh. “Well,” she said with a shrug, “yes.” 

When he gave her a skeptical look, she laughed again and threw her arms around her. “Oh, Peter, it was fantastic, really. I feel...” she shrugged again before saying, “freer. Like everything that’s been pent up—like everything that’s been building up inside me lately—has been released.” Like the walls she’d built had been torn down. 

She leaned back and smiled, heaving a relieved sigh. “Thank you, Peter, for everything.” 

He was still frowning. 

She tilted her head. “What’s wrong?” 

For a long moment, he just frowned. He heaved a sigh and shook his head. “I don’t know if I can do that with you.” Consternation furrowed his brown. 

“Do what?” 

“What Rand did.” He hung his head. “Play with you like that.” His eye twitched and he cringed a bit. “It was hard enough to watch; I really don’t think I can do that. Go that far with you.”

Her heart broke at the self-disappointment she heard in his voice. 

She reached out, framing his face with her hands. She kissed him deeply. “I never asked you to.” 

———

Peter gripped Kat’s shoulders and pushed her away.

Lips still pursed, she stared at him confused. “What is it?”

“You never asked me to;” he repeated, “doesn’t mean you didn’t want me to.” He knew Kat. Even though she’d definitely grown—in confidence and experience—since they’d met, she was still shy. 

Still so quiet. 

Still submissive. 

Still so eager to always please.

Even with him, she rarely asked for what she really wanted, what she needed. As if she thought it might be too much to ask. 

“I love you, Kat.” He lay his hands over hers on his face. “I want you to have everything you want. Everything you need. That’s why I did all this.”

“Thank you.” She leaned in to kiss him again.

He stopped her. 

He grimaced at her confused look. “I thought that was what I was doing,” he told her in a quiet, low, unsure voice, the questioning voice he only really heard in the back of his mind. “I thought I was giving you want you need. Giving you the kind of play you crave. Giving you time with our friends. Giving you a sense of community again.”

“You did.” She smiled and tried to kiss him again. “Thank you.”

He held her still. “But now what?” 

“What do you mean?”

He sighed and rolled his neck, hating this. Feeling unsure. Feeling vulnerable. Feeling fucking weak. “Where do we go from here?” He couldn’t do what Rand had done. Not with Kat. Not to Kat.

He felt so helpless. He hated feeling helpless. Useless and inadequate. “I can’t be what you need.” How could he stand it?

How could she?

“Peter,” she scolded, putting her hands on her hips—making him, despite everything, smile. She looked so sweetly fierce, her jaw set and her eyes furious as her sexy, naked body braced for a fight. 

She pointed her finger at him, shaking it in his face—making her small breasts jiggle in an amusing, rather arousing way. “Don’t you laugh at me, Peter Richards.”

“I love you,” he said on a laugh. “I love you so much—”

“And I love you,” she said, sounding—and looking—more angry than that phrase would typically warrant. “You, Peter, not anyone else.” She sighed. “Tonight was…” she shrugged and said, “amazing. More fun than I think I’ve ever had, but I don’t need it.” She beamed down at him. “Not like how I need you.”

Peter’s chest clenched, his heart stopping for a second before it raced. 

Hearing her say things like that—sounding so confident and sure, so strong and loving—he didn’t think he’d ever get used to it. “I need you, Kat,” he told her, sounding choked up even to himself, “so much. More than I can say.” More than anything.

He huffed, straightening himself up. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the pendant he’d bought her. “One more surprise.” He held it out to her. He watched her eyes light up at the sight of it. No longer on its delicate silver chain, the silver heart now hung on a silver, flat snake chain collar, sturdy and unbroken.

He handed it to her. “It’s beautiful.” Pride swelled inside him when she touched it reverently, her fingers sliding lovingly over the smooth silver. “Perfect.” Her fingertip touched the pearl at the heart of the pendant.

Transformation, indeed.

She frowned and ran her fingers over the unbroken chain. “How do I put it on?”

He grinned at the confused look on her face. “You don’t.” 

He took it from her again. Touching back of the pendant to his newly modified wedding band. He chuckled at her wondering gasp as the chain’s magnetic lock released at the pendant. “Once I put it on, only I can take it off again.”

“Put it on, please.” She eagerly turned around and bowed her head.

Peter stared at her submissive pose and smiled. Reaching around her, he slipped the silver around her neck before locking it, the chain securing itself in place. 

He watched while she adjusted it, allowing the heart-shaped pendant to lie right in the shadowy dip of her throat. 

She was right. She was beautiful. Perfect. His.

More than her ring. More than her vows. That necklace—that collar—said she belonged to him. And would always belong to him. 

A reclaiming.

“I love it, Peter.” Her fingers were still touching it, stroking over it. She leaned closer and kissed him. “I love you.”

“I love you, Kat.” He pulled her near. “I always will. And I’ll do whatever I have to, whatever you need me to do, to make you happy.” He gripped her by the shoulders and stared deep into her lovely eyes. “I promise you, Kat, I’ll be whatever you need.”

She cocked her head, a mischievous gleam in her eye as her fingers tugged at the pendant. “Is that so?”

He smiled, wrapping his arms around her, pulling her toward him. He nodded. “Absolutely.”

Snuggling closer—settling her hips delectably over his—she lay her forehead against his. “Know what I need now?” She nuzzled him sweetly.

God, he could feel her, hot and wet, while she rubbed herself over his hardening dick. “Hmm?” He groaned, incapable of actual words, and his hands gripped her harder.

“You.” She leaned in to nip his ear while her hand slipped down to cup his cock in her hand. “I just need you.”

He hissed and his hips bucked into her hold. 

Ah, God, yeah. 

He huffed when her hand massaged him through the linen of his pants. Fuck, he needed to be naked. To feel all her bare flesh against all of his.

Desperate hands jerked at the hem of his tucked-in shirt, tearing the offending cloth up and off. He groaned when her hands touched his chest, gripping and stroking reverently. His teeth gritted as her nails trailed over his nipples. His hands tensed on her shoulders, pulling her closer.

He felt her lips lick his neck, his chest. Felt her slide down him to flick the tip of her tongue against his navel. 

Aw, damn. He fisted his hands in her hair as she tugged at his belt and pants, opening the fly to tug his hardened flesh free. Unable to do more than grunt, he watched her lick the tip of his penis. He jerked, his hips trying to force himself past her smiling lips.

He gave a half-grateful, half-disgruntled growl when she wrapped a restraining fist around the base of his cock before stroking him from hilt to head in a slow, twisting rhythm. 

“Kat,” he ground out, tugging on her bound hair, pushing her head closer. “Open your mouth. Suck my cock, before I come all over your face.”

His dick tightened at her low laugh before she licked his head teasingly. “Katherina!”

———

Kat moaned and let Peter’s cock slip sweetly between her lips in one long, fast, wet slide. She peeked out of the corner of her eye at the mirrors surrounding them, marveling at the look of them. 

Together. 

Like this.

His fingers fisted in her hair as she moved her mouth over his hard shaft in time to his thrusting hips. Peter’s head was thrown back, a look of pure pleasure suffusing his face. His lips were parted as almost pained sounds panted through them. 

She stared at her own face. Tear-streaks and puffiness gone, her eyes looked hot and almost feral, as driven wild by his pleasure as he was. One hand gripped his thigh while the other still pumped his shaft in insistent strokes.

She glided her tongue over him, running it along his length. God, she loved the taste of him. So sleek and smooth against her tongue. 

She needed more. More of him. 

She swallowed hard before she reared back and swallowed the entire length of him. She felt the hard tip of his dick slid down her throat while her hand moved to cup and rub his balls.

She choked a bit in shock when he jerked, his hips burying him that final bit further into her mouth, past comfort, before pulling out.

Kat gasped when, in a single, swift movement, Peter grabbed her shoulders and yanked her beneath him. Her still raw, burning ass pressed against the cold, hard edge of the counter. She sighed in pleasure at the sensation.

Without a word, he grabbed both her legs beneath the knees, wrenching them apart in a stretching pull. 

She groaned into his heated mouth as he crushed his lips against her, capturing the sound. Devouring it. She grabbed his forearms and felt him grind his hard cock against the soft lips of her pussy. 

“Are you ready for me, Katherina?” His voice was a guttural, gravelly grate to her senses. He pressed deeper, sliding himself between the sensitive lips. “God, you’re so wet for me, baby. So wet.”

“Yes, Peter.” She sighed. God, yes. 

“Do you want me, baby?” He rubbed himself against her clit. “Do you need me?”

“Yes!” She arched her back to press more intently against him.

“Yes, what?”

“I want you,” she said. “I need you.”

———

Fuck, yeah! Peter wanted to shout in victory. Wanted to pound himself—pound them both—to completion in her tight, little hole.

“Peter,” she begged, writhing against him. Her slick cunt coated his cock in her silky arousal. “Peter, please.”

He tightened his jaw. “You want my cock?”

“Yes.” She arched her hips up to press her heated purry against the head of his dick.

“You need me buried deep inside you?”

“Yes!” She bucked.

Though it almost killed him to do it, he held her hips in place before she could do much more than pressed herself onto the very tip of his cock. “Say it. Tell me.” He wanted the words.

“Please.” She wriggled beneath his hold, the muscles of her sex gripping him furiously. “Peter, please. I need you. I need your cock inside me. Deep inside me. I want to come with you buried deep inside my pussy. I want to feel you come inside of me. Please, Peter, please.”

On a growl, he pressed into her in one hard, fast push. He grabbed her around the waist as she gasped and clutched him closer. For a second, they both stilled, wrapped in each other’s arms.

Goddamn, she was tight. 

He pulled out of her, the slick slide of her pussy extraordinary, before her thrust back into her. Sliding his hands up to cup her face, he pressed his lips to hers in a ravenous kiss. His other hand moved to grab her ass, tilting her hips so he could thrust deeper—as deep as he could go. 

“Ah, yeah.” He moaned and swallowed the small, pleading sounds trembling on her lips. He pressed her shoulders back, bowing her back so he could get at her beautiful, little breasts. 

She shuddered as his lips, his tongue, his teeth, nipped at her nipples, the ripples wracking her body pooled in her pussy gripping his dick. “Fuck, Kat, that’s so good.” 

So good. 

But not good enough.

He gave her breast one last hard grab before he trailed his hand down between their thrusting bodies to touch her clit. He stroked her, unrelenting until her orgasm wrenched from her. She bucked against him, wild moans spilling from her lips. 

Better. 

Still not enough.

He coated his finger in her slick wetness, loving how soaked she got from their loving. “Damn, baby, you’re so wet. You’re getting this counter so wet you’re just sliding against me, aren’t you?”

He gave her clit one last, hard tweak before moving low between her legs to press against the taut hole of her anus.

“Peter!” she cried, tearing her lips from his, when he pushed the tip of his finger into ass. Her whole body arched—so rigid and stretched. He slowly pumped his finger deeper and deeper into her, tempering his cock’s thrusts in time, imagining—feeling—the fullness invading her.

He leaned back a bit, so he could see the dazed, entranced look on her face as she gave herself over to his rhythm. As she gave herself over to him. “Mine.” He rode her, leaning in close to bury his face in her neck. He sucked at the delicate skin where her collar touched, taking both her flesh and the skin-warmed silver into his mouth. He bit down, making her squeal and squirm. Her body quivered against—around—his. “You’re fucking mine, Kat.”

He felt her stiffen, her body going hard and still as the pressure of her pussy—the clenching pressure on his cock—intensified before she came. Her hand grabbed his ass, pressing herself against him, pushing him against her. She threw her head back, her voice ripped raw. “Mine!”

———

She whimpered when she felt Peter come, her name hard on his tongue. His hard body moved over her, his cock jerking inside her sensitive flesh. He groaned low and deep in his throat before he collapsed on top of her, his weight heavy and hot over her.

He should have been crushing her. 

Kind of was. 

But in a good way. 

Wrapping herself around him, she pulled him closer, burying her hands in his hair. Her heart still hammering, she listened to him breathe, the sound ragged and hard.

God, she loved him. So much.

She kissed and licked his salty skin, feeling sexy and satisfied. Feeling loved. She buried herself in his neck and whispered against his hot flesh, “Mine.”

She squealed when his arms squeezed her tight. He gave a rumpled, sleepy sound. “Yours.”



CHECK OUT HOW
PETER & KAT MET IN MY
NOVEL THE TAMING SCHOOL
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You Want Me? Then Take Me. - Part One

The Way Back to Play Novella  
Game Maker:   
Part One
Companion Story to
Raincheck

Rob breathed in and stared at Kat strung up on the post in front of him. It was strange playing with someone other than Cara. He rolled his shoulders. He flexed and relaxed his hands. It was strange. Definitely different.

When Peter had first asked him to do this, Rob had told the man that he had to think about it. Had to talk to Cara about it.

Not that he thought she’d be upset by it. 

He scoffed. 

No, she’d been thrilled.

Pushy. 

She’d pushed him to do it.

“Try it,” she’d begged him. “It’s fun. You’ll see.”

He studied Kat, her shorter, slimmer, amber-toned body so different than his wife’s long, voluptuous, creamy form. A pixie instead of his goddess.

He studied her body, taut and tense. Fearful, maybe. Definitely nervous. 

Not like Cara, who was always confident and brazen. Who enjoyed being tied up, but who—he’d always feared—never enjoyed it as much as he did. Who did it because he wanted it so much, and she knew it.

But here he was with someone who wanted to be tied up. Perhaps wanted it more than he did, if the scent of her arousal wafting up hot from her bound body was any indicator.

He pouted his lip thoughtfully and walked about Kat, thinking, imagining. He reached out and grabbed the long lengths of rope that fell from her wrists like tendrils of possibility and smiled.

They’d said this would be fun. He took a deep breath. Okay. Let’s have some fun.

———

From the stage’s wings, Cara watched her husband work, watched his hands weave the rope about the nubile body before him. 

She loved watching him work. She so very rarely got to see it—really see it—since she was always the one being tied up. Unless his ties were in the front or photos were taken, she never really got the chance to truly appreciate his mastery, his artistry.

She leaned in while Rob twisted the ropes all down Kat’s arms, crisscrossing them intricately behind her head, trapping her like Andromeda against the large metal pole. 

Cara could almost feel the tight embrace of the ropes against her own skin while she watched him wrap Kat in a pretty chest harness that crept over her shoulders and neck, over her breasts and stomach to wind around her waist and hips. It was beautiful and laid her back bare.

Perfect.

Cara gripped the fur flogger—more of a pretty, decorative piece than a hardcore, honest-to-Domme toy—readying herself. She looked up at Max, who carried her own tenderfooted tool.

Elin leaned around the curtain, clutching her headset that was connected to the stage’s light booth, and whispered, “Okay, you’re on, ladies. Let’s warm her up.”

———

God, this was weird. Max wiped her hand against her leg before taking hold of her blue leather flogger again and heading on stage.

Don’t get her wrong; she’d Dommed before. Loved doing it too. She was even getting pretty good with a flogger these days.

But this was Kat. 

Her best friend. 

Practically her baby sister.

Max shook her head a bit.

When Peter had come to her and Hayato about his plan, she’d thought it a fantastic idea. Had actually hugged the man. 

And, while there wasn’t a force on earth that could have stopped her from taking part in the plan to bring balance and happiness back into her friend’s life, it was her specific part that gave Max a bit of pause.

More than a bit, really.

Her steps slowed as she crossed further and further over the stage to stand on the far side of the post so she, Kat, and Cara made a neat triangle.

It’s just a warm up, she reminded herself. She drew the thick-cut tails of the flogger into her fist. She nodded to Cara and pulled back her arm, like an archer notching an arrow. She waited until Cara did the same before taking a deep breath. 

At the snap of Cara’s flogger—the tails making a dull thwack across Kat’s back—Max let hers echo with a sharper crack before they settled into a nice, rhythmic beat—their toys timed to tick in sync like a man-made metronome. 

Well, woman-made. 

She grinned at Kat’s inhale, full of more shock than pain, before her breathing settled into the easy rhythm.

Max knew her friend—had seen her play many times now, knew her limits well—and while she had no desire to test those limits, that slightly sadistic, gleefully mean part of herself wanted more of a reaction. 

So, this time, she stepped closer and wound her wrist a bit—not unlike a pitcher winding up for the throw. 

When she struck next, Kat’s back bowed a bit as her breath rushed from her. Max grinned at the good-sized red mark now marring Kat’s back. 

She held her hand up to Cara to stop her. Max pressed her palm against the blood-warmed skin. She felt Kat arch up into the touch, eager for the connection. 

Max’s eyes lit with a devilish idea as she waved her hand out for Cara’s flogger. Cara gave it over easily before stepping back.

Max stepped back too, to give herself some room. She’d only done this twice now, but she’d been practicing her form and technique. 

She started with one flogger, twirling it in the air in a controlled arch, before she added the other in a figure-eight pattern. She let them twirl like that just behind Kat, letting herself get used to the rhythm while letting Kat listen to—anticipate—the sound.

And then she stepped forward.

———

Rand proudly watched Max work Kat with both floggers. Girl’d been practicing. Good.

Maybe all those hours of him doing it to her sweet, little, freckled hide had paid off.

Not that they both hadn’t enjoyed it at the time, but an almost paternal pride swelled while he watched her work Kat over. 

Next time, he thought, I’ll get her to add some punch to the end of those swings. Really make it sting. Rand never much saw the use of wielding a tool if he wasn’t going to really use the shit out of it.

Rand laid his massive paw around his own implement sheathed ready at his hip. A cane. Special made. Whittled bamboo, the cane had intricate designs carved into it, the deep, sharp grooves making for fucking magnificent marks.

“Sir,” Reena—sweet, little, obliging Reena—whispered deferringly to him, “they’re ready for you now.”

He smiled as he made a twirling motion with his hand. Dutifully, Reena turned and bent, presenting her rump up at him. Good girl. 

He drew his cane like a sword and reared back to give her a quick slap across her ass. He smiled as she bit back a muffled squeak and her ass bounced. He leaned over to pat her cheeks affectionately before whispering in her ear, “We’ll finish this later, won’t we, girl?”

Reena nodded against his stubbled cheek, making his cock swell. Hot damn, it was going to be a hell of a night!

Turning, he left Reena to her girlfriend, Elin, and their duties and picked up his own. Striding out onto the stage, he let his heavy boots clomp onto the shined wood floor; the hard sound echoing in the cavernous space.

His eyes flicked, spotting the guy with the camera moving slow and steady toward him. Cute, in a pretty-boy, model kind of way. Rand smirked into the camera, flashing it and the cameraguy teeth bared in a sadistic smile. 

He chuckled as the guy froze for a moment, his feet tripping over themselves under Rand’s gaze.

He let himself be distracted by the beauty of the pretty boy’s cowering stance before turning back to the task at hand. 

“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” he growled, “someone’s been a very bad kitty, hasn’t she?”

His body puffed when he saw her body tense immediately. Yeah, she knew it was him. He wanted her to know. She’d seen him work a sub over and, she knew, he never played around.

Feeling almost giddy when she instinctively cringed away from the sound of his approach, he swung the cane in a harsh arc. The sharp swish of the bamboo was audibly cutting as it sliced through the air. He caught her gasp as some of that lovely amber color of her cheeks drained. 

Reaching out, he trailed his hand down her back, following a shiver that chased down her spine.

God damn, but he’d been waiting for this—wanting this—for a while now. He’d seen Kat Valdez play with her boy so many times at this club. Seen him take her over his knee and spank that sweet, heart-shaped ass of hers. Seen him use crops and slappers and floggers against her small, compact, little bod. Seen him fuck that sweet ass of hers until she sobbed with relief and pleasure too great for her tiny form to contain.

For years, he’d tried to take his turn. Asked and bartered and offered for a chance—just a taste—of Peter’s little pain-slut submissive. 

Girl could take a beating, Rand knew it—had seen her do it on many occasions—but he’d never seen her break. No, Peter knew his wife’s limits well and could read her well enough to always stop just shy of them.

Rand grinned toothily. He had no intention of stopping. Had been given permission—the order—to not stop. If this little Kat wanted the scene to stop, she was gonna have to scream red.

“What’s your color, Katherina?” Rand heard Peter ask over the theater speakers.

“Green,” she answered dutifully even though her body shook. With nerves. With anticipation.

Rand leaned in, his fist grabbing at the ropes that held her to the pole. He pulled, straining the ropes all along her arms. “Let’s see if we can’t do something about that,” he growled against the back of her head as he felt her heart thunder against his chest.

———

Dare flinched behind his camera as he watched the huge mountain of a man—Rand—aim his cane at Kat, each strike sounding with a cruel crack. 

Her body writhed, twisting and twitching under the torture of the rod. Under the zoom of his lens, Dare saw vicious, red welts rise on her skin. He could hear her muffled gasps and grunts that seemed to rip from her throat behind gritted teeth each time a lash landed.

It was...unreal.

He shifted to one side to get a better angle.

How had he gotten here? How was this his life now? Watching a woman getting beaten by a man more than three times her size. He shook his head, his mind boggled by it. 

If he were honest, he just didn’t get the appeal. Didn’t get what Kat got out of it all. Who wanted to get pounded on like that?

Dare didn’t like to think of himself as weak or a wuss about pain, but—damn—watching tiny, little Kat take this level of abuse felt...wrong. 

Like someone—maybe...not him—should stop it. 

With a frown, he shot a quick, almost accusatory glare up at the control booth where Peter waited and watched, his own video camera filming the scene. Dare shook his head, wondering how the man could allow this. How her husband could have arranged all this.

Huffing, he turned back to the stage. Wasn’t really any of his business, he supposed. All he was here to do was take some pictures. Like Peter had asked. That was all.

But it was hard not to feel tacitly responsible while he listened to Kat’s cries, when the sight and sound of her pain surrounded him. 

Dare held the camera steady while he forced himself to fire off a few shots despite the clawing guilt tearing through him. Tense fingers tightened his shot to focus on Kat’s reddening flesh, closing in on the now tender curve of her ass.

Looking through the limited view of the lens, Dare paused with his finger poised. 

Divorced from the actual act—from the actual people involved—there was something...intriguing about soft, honeyed skin being held still by thick, unyielding rope while hard, unforgiving wood was wielded upon it, leaving its unmistakable mark upon it. 

Claiming it. 

Completely.

Dare aimed his camera and took the shot, wanting to remember—to capture—that thought, that moment, forever. 

He zoomed out, widening the shot to her torso and thighs. He could see the marks again—the twisted trails left by the carved wood. Her back, ass, and thighs were crisscrossed with stark, striking lines and welts, like a patternless painting. Like a picture only Rand could see as he relentlessly struck her in deliberately placed strokes.

He listened to Kat’s guttural grunts and groans. It struck Dare as a kind of metamorphosis. It was almost like watching art in reverse; taking something so beautiful and perfectly put together and taking it, twisting it, transforming it into something raw and base. It was like stripping a person down to their very core and laying them out bare.

It was...beautiful.

Dare widened his field of vision further and walked around the stage, around Kat. He bent his knee to gaze up at her face. Dare wanted to—needed to—see her. Really see Kat. To look into her core—raw and base and bare—and see her soul.

Through the thin space between the post and her arm, Dare could  see her eyes, wide and unseeing, as she blinked rapidly like a believer in a trance. Her cheeks were flushed and her mouth parted in an ecstatic “o.” She looked lost in sensation, adrift in a pleasure that bordered on unbearable.

Shivering, Dare sat back on his haunches, marveled. The whipping sound of the cane cracked harshly behind her. He peeked over Kat’s back, watching—up close—as the long, thin switch hit. 

Dare’s eyes widened when it struck her with a thunderous smack. Her whole body went rigid as all breath left her. His eyes burned, unwilling to blink in case he missed even a second. 

She was beautiful. 

So small and yet so strong. A resiliency shone through the ropes and trappings, through the darkening bruises and harsh marks. Her tense body was held tight with such a sense of pride, of dignity. Even as she wheezed, as her wracked form fought for air, she looked stunning. Galatea brought to life.

Dare held his breath, his dry eyes painful as they strained to stay open wide. His own body tensed when the man reared back for another vicious blow, feeling Kat’s anticipation fill the room, touching everyone. 

Just as he started his swing, Kat gave out a whimpering, almost inaudible cry. It was such a small, halting squeak—her voice hoarse and breathless—yet silencing as it seemed to almost echo through the space.

That fast, the whole scene froze. The man’s arm dropped limply to the side and his other came up to softly stroke her back. 

Dare watched them whisper to each other, their voices mere wisps of sound while the man’s huge, hard hand gently touched her raw, tender skin.

The image was so incongruous, so unlikely—given what had passed—but endearing. It was sweet, really. 

He had to take a picture. 

He just had to. 

Dare lifted his camera, aimed, and stared through the lens at Kat. She looked so open, so vulnerable, yet protected, sheltered, by the man. 

Dare’s finger hovered over the shutter release. The muscles in his arm tensed. He pointed the camera. 

He wanted that shot. 

But something was off. 

He sighed, wondering what was wrong, when Kat looked up. Their gazes met and Dare felt struck as they stared at each other through the lens of the camera. 

The dark, watery depths of her large gibbous moon eyes held an intensity in them, a deep, swirling, unreadable sky of emotion. 

His breath caught, choked. Dare’s hands gripped the camera hard and his heart pounded almost violently. 

It was...perfect.

———

Kat tried to sniffle back tears through closed eyes. She told herself to concentrate on the soothing strokes of Rand’s hand. 

God, she never cried anymore. Hadn’t cried during a scene in a really long time. And she’d never—not in all the time she’d done this—ever called out red.

But she had this time. She had found her limit and met it. Might have even surpassed it.

Definitely feeling the effects of how far they’d gone, Kat felt as if she could barely breathe. Felt overwhelmed by the emotions clamoring and competing inside her as she shook, still strung up on the post. 

She felt limply tired. 

She felt startlingly alive. 

She wanted to thank him. And wanted to apologize. She was proud of how far she went. And she was ashamed of having stopped.

She wished she could wipe her eyes. Hiccuping, she turned her head and wiped the tears stinging her eyes on her arm.

“Shh,” she heard Rand coo, the rough gravel of his voice rumbling as he reached up to loosen the ropes. 

The second his big, hard body lay atop hers, she panicked. 

She didn’t know why—too much, too soon after having been ripped so raw, maybe—but her body tensed and her heart began to race. With heaving breaths, she pulled and tugged and struggled against the ropes, making them tighten rather than loosen.

She tried to stop—tried not to claw and climb and cling madly to the post—logically knowing that she wasn’t helping herself. 

Was in fact making it harder and more painful on herself. 

She tried very hard to calm down. To just fucking breathe. But she couldn’t.

“Shh,” she heard him say again, this time more insistently. “Shh.” 

She tried—damn it, she was trying—but her body wouldn’t listen. 

Reacting on reflex and panic, it all was too much; a loud, uncontrollable storm roiling inside. “I can’t.” More tears began to fall. “I’m sorry. I can’t.”

“Shh.”

Kat stopped instantly at the soothing, familiar sound. Falling instantly limp, she felt her sobs stall into a wrenching hiccup.

“Shh, now, Katherina.” A rough hand stroked her nape. “It’s okay. I’ve got you.” 

Kat’s eyes snapped open and she forced herself to take big, heaving breaths.

Peter.

She turned her head as much as the ropes would allow, hope and relief pulling at her.

“Peter.”

She felt him reach up, his chest to her back. He held himself as lightly over her as he could manage while working the knots free, so he didn’t brush up against her abused skin any more than necessary. All the while, he murmured sweetly to her. 

Telling her how proud he was of her. 

How perfect she was. 

How much he loved her. 

She sighed, deeply if weakly.

When he finally got the last knot loose, he grabbed her hands and lowered her arms, rubbing her wrists and arms gently before wrapping his long arms around her—surrounding her with his body. 

Making her feel safe. 

She sighed and let herself sink into him. He squeezed, hugging her even closer to him. “Shh.” He lay his head so very close to hers. “I’ve got you, baby.” 

Damn it, she didn’t want to cry anymore. Not now. Not while she felt relieved and grateful and happy. Not when she wanted to thank him and love him until they both couldn’t move. 

But even those feelings felt strange; too new next to the churning mess already inside her. Tears she tried so hard to hold back crashed down on her. Fighting free, they poured from a body that no longer felt entirely hers.

God damnit, she felt like a wreck.

“It’s okay, love.” Peter turned her, shaky and weak-kneed, around in his arms and held her close. “It’s all right.” He caught her around the waist and lifted her, wrapping her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist. 

Kat let herself be tucked safely around him and carried off the stage and into the wings.

She settled weightlessly into his hold, letting herself drift into the comfort he gave her. She closed her eyes and sighed, breathing in his clean, woodsy scent in contently. 

Peter.

Her Peter.

She opened her eyes when he sat down in a chair with her straddling his lap, feeling as if she’d just woken up. She lifted loose fists to her groggy eyes, rubbing them gingerly. 

Looking about, she saw that they were in the dressing rooms in the back of the theater. She winced when she saw herself reflected in the large mirrors.

Her hair—that had been so intricately styled—was now mussed and falling down. Her cheeks were splotchy and wet from crying, looking swollen and wan. Naked, she felt terribly exposed and she could see the angry marks left by the floggers and cane. Her lips wobbled again as she glared at her recalcitrant reflection and pouted.

Peter leaned back, grabbing some tissues off the countertop, before reaching for her to wipe her face with a frown. “How are you doing?”

“I look like a mess.” She hated that it came out a whine. She felt like a mess.

Hell, she was a mess.

He leaned in and kissed her nose. And then her mouth. “You look beautiful.” She scoffed. He had to be lying because she could see what she looked like. 

She narrowed her gaze. But he didn’t look like he was lying. He was looking at her like she were gorgeous.

It felt so long since he’d looked at her like that.

He leaned in again to kiss her, a longer kiss this time. Sweeter. Deeper. 

“Here.” He leaned back again, one hand cupping her face while the other dabbed and wiped at her skin. “Let me help.”

She sat back and bit her lip, staring at the concentrated look on his face as he set into his task. She loved that look. Determined. Sure. Capable.

When he was finished, he set down the tissue. “There, see,” he told her, “beautiful.”

Kat peeked over his shoulder at one of the mirrors and her image inside it. While she looked better without the streaks of tears, she still didn’t see it.

She met his gaze again, liking the way he saw her more. Under his gaze, she felt beautiful.

He smiled up at her while he stroked her cheek tenderly. “Better?”



Read Part Two Here