Authors: Ava Claire
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Anthologies, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College, #Collections & Anthologies
. The bitter aftertaste of our last encounter soured my stomach. The elevator beeped and I focused on happier things. I focused on a future where me and Logan could finally—
The loft was dark. Foreboding.
The fluorescent light shining in the elevator glued me in place. Common sense told me to calm down. Maybe Logan ran out to grab a drink. Or he could be lying down. I didn't have to spend too much time running through possible scenarios before a deep voice smoothed over the quiet.
"I'm in the bedroom."
I relaxed, letting out a nervous chuckle as I moved through the front entryway. I reached for the light switch.
"Did I say turn on the light?"
It wasn't a scold. If I didn't know any better, I'd say there was lust ebbing and flowing in his voice. My pulse quickened and a shiver ghosted up my spine. Even fully clothed, untouched by anything but his words, I knew I was wet. Drenched with need for him.
My fingers twitched against the cool plastic, sensing that we were venturing down a kinky road. I strummed the wall as I dropped my hand to my side.
He couldn’t even see me, but he knew that I’d pause when I got off the elevator, knew my first reaction would be to turn on the lights. He was luring me to him. Who knew what he had in store?
“I know you’re curious.” His voice drifted from the direction of the bedroom, an amber glow lighting the way. I knew he was in there, waiting for me, and anticipation made me tremble.
This wait was torture—and I was loving every second of it.
I wet my lips and took a step forward, trying to get my bearings. "So if I fall and break my neck-"
"You'll always wonder what I had waiting for you."
He may as well have reached right inside my panties then and there. I was trembling, my breaths a low pant that veered dangerously close to hyperventilating as I moved closer.
"You're getting warmer."
Nerve endings fired like sparks when I stopped in the doorway. Dozens of candles illuminated his bedroom, surrounding a small bench that stood in the center. It was unassuming, nothing extraordinary—but in the hands of Logan Mason, even the most innocent item turned deliciously sinful.
I gasped when his hands gripped me, pulling me into his arms. Holding me so tight that I wanted to cry out in pain and tell him ‘harder!’ at the same time.
"Hi, beautiful,” he whispered, taking my earlobe between his teeth.
My eyes fluttered shut as I melted into his embrace. I wanted to feel him in the dark, breathe in the way his fingers felt against my skin. I knew how badly he wanted me; his cock was imprinted like a tattoo on my body. But his fingers took their time. They stroked my skin, bringing me to life, then deepened as he pulled me closer. The world was exploding in rhythmic pulses, throbbing need radiating from my center.
“Are you mine, Melissa?” he breathed huskily. “Mine to do with as I wish?”
“Yes,” I moaned as his hands rounded my breasts. Pierced through the fabric of my T-shirt and bra and clamped onto my nipples. They were swollen and aching, tender to his touch. “I’m yours.”
I tore off my clothing, hurling the pieces behind me before he had time to tell me to take it slow. When I turned to face him, bare and exposed, I saw the cuffs and rope on his bed. It felt like an eternity since we took on the roles that drew us to each other in the first place. We'd enjoyed each other since the tryst in his office, and it was hot and sexy...but this was my bliss. Surrendering control to him. Trusting him.
He took my hand and led me to his bedside. He attached the cuffs to my ankles and wrists then picked up the rope. It was red, glimmering in the golden dark. He beckoned for me to follow him, guiding me to the bench. Up closer I saw it was padded, black embroidery weaving through the ivory colored cushion.
“Lie on the bench, chest facing the floor.”
Swallowing, feeling the heat of the candles, I shuffled toward the bench. I straddled it at first, the cushion relaxing the nerves that bundled in the pit of my stomach, and then I lowered my upper body until my breasts were mashed against the bench and my arms dangled down to the floor. The O ring on the cuffs glittered like diamonds in the dark.
I had so many questions. What was the rope for? Would he bind me with it? Spank me with it? The curiosity made me tingle from head to toe, waiting with bated breath for his next move.
I jumped when the rope hit the floor, the sound cutting through the silence. I felt a gentle tug on the cuff, one of my legs snug against the leg of the bench. My other leg followed suit.
His legs appeared out of the corner of my eye, still wrapped in his expensive trousers. I watched him loop the rope through the ring on the cuffs and secure it to the bench. When he was done, I gingerly pulled at the cuffs to no avail. I was strapped to the bench.
“Your submission is a beautiful thing, Melissa. Giving yourself over to me. Surrendering.” His fingertips danced down my spine. Lingered on the globes of my ass. “There’s nothing more beautiful.”
As he teased me, turning me inside out with lust, I realized that this was the ultimate escape. When I submitted to him, I wasn't caught up in all the voices in my head; day-to-day worries faded to a whisper and when he began, it was silenced altogether. He bound my body, and it made my soul soar.
I felt him behind me, as surely as the blood coursed through my veins. As surely as my heart clenched and pulsed in my chest. As surely as I was his. And he was mine.
His hand rounded the curve of my ass, fingertips fanning out to clutch it tight.
There was one thing we hadn't done. Sure, he'd given me a few spanks in his office, but nothing . It was as if he knew exactly how far to go, how far to push. My body vibrated with the realization of why we hadn't used this bench yet nor done any intense spanking. He didn't want me to break.
He knew I wasn't ready.
I didn't have those doubts in my head anymore. My desire to be dominated didn't make me a weirdo. Even in the dark, his touch told me I was wanted and needed.
Giving Logan my body to use as he saw fit didn't make me weak. There was a strength in me that burned like the candles all around us. The strength to give myself to my lover. A nakedness that was more than a lack of clothing. As his submissive, I was stripped down to the very essence of me.
"This is going to be more intense than anything you've ever experienced, Melissa. But you're safe with me. If anything becomes too much, you say red and we'll stop. No questions asked. No explanation required."
My first instinct was to say okay. Yes. Anything that kick started the terrifying bliss I knew was waiting for me just beyond the pain. But I hadn't forgotten the rules.
I took a breath. "Yes sir."
His moan was low and pleasing as his fingers strummed my heated flesh. "Let's begin."
The first smack was firm. It sent a gasp through me that made my hands spring open and my toes dig into the hardwood floor. The second found the exact location of the first. The third set the cheek on fire, and I cried out. He waited, and when I remained silent, a fourth had me gritting my teeth. When his hand left my skin I braced myself for the fifth, but instead he gently rubbed my skin. Soothing it. I thought there was only that hand. Only the pain—but his other hand glided over my ass and spread my cheeks, finding my juicy warmth.
His fingers sunk inside my pussy and my eyes rolled back in my head. I wanted him deeper, so deep that I could feel him all around me. I rolled my hips...and a flash of pain cut through the pleasure. The pain spread out from the first point of impact, a chain reaction that was met with maddening pleasure. It was a battle of desires; pain and pleasure at war to determine who staked a claim on my body. Just when I was sure that the pain was all there was, too unbearable, he'd hit a new angle inside me and the ecstasy had me moaning, begging for more.
I bucked against my binds, suddenly feeling the fragility of the bench as I shook like a caged thing so close to freedom. I knew I should ask for permission to come, but this orgasm was within reach and it robbed me of the ability to speak. I was on fire for him. He was everything; this beautiful pain was my salvation.
He knew me and I heard him unbuttoning and unzipping, clawing at his clothing like a feral need was overwhelming, too. I wanted him so badly.
My hold on the bench slackened until my limbs hung loose and free. The feeling of calm, of catching my breath was short lived. He pulled me up by my hair. My body was slick against his as his lips devoured my neck.
"Tell me to fuck you," he breathed wildly. "Tell me you
me to fuck you."
"Please fuck me, Logan," I begged. I begged with my lips, then I kneeled over the bench and begged him with my body.
His fingertips dug into my hips as he gripped me. I was empty without him. He slammed his cock inside me and I was complete. He took me with abandon and when I asked to come, asked for release, he set me free. I felt his warmth coursing inside me in time with the hot pulses of my body.
Spent and whole again, we staggered toward the bed and collapsed into the tangled sheets.
His fingers pulled through my hair, his heartbeat still an erotic thunder that radiated from his chest. This was it. This was the happiness that I'd been looking for from the start.
"I can't think of a single thing that would make my life more complete,” I said softly.
The stroking stilled and I lifted my head, gazing at my lover.
And then my heart stopped.
It didn’t skip a beat. It skipped the entire chorus.
In the throes of passion, I'd forgotten about the drama with Delilah. I'd forgotten about the baby. The look on Logan's face wasn't the look of someone that was being brutally reminded of something they'd pushed to the back of their mind. My heart flopped in the pit of my stomach like a fish out of water. Gasping for air, just wanting to go back to the moment before when my head was against his chest. When he was a part of me and nothing else mattered.
I thought the darkness was part of the experience. Foreplay. But now I saw that was just a ruse. I would have seen his face, the shadows and torment hardening everything to stone. I would have known that as much as I wanted him, the last thing he needed was sex. He needed to talk.
I braced my hand on his chest, eyes boring into his. "Don't shut me out, Logan."
His green eyes usually reminded me of the forest: lush and green and wild. But now they were the color of some far off jungle where danger lurked. Lying in wait for the perfect moment to rip your throat out.
"You don't want to hear what I have to say."
"Of course I do." I frowned, pulling myself up. "I don't want any secrets. I can handle it."
His bitter chuckle made my blood run cold. He folded his arms behind his head. "No, you can't. You could barely handle me raising my voice at Mackenzie." He tossed his gaze to me. "You won't understand what I have to do."
The impact of his words was fierce and immediate. The walls came tumbling down, ripping my heart out as I was left to see that he wasn't on the road to healing.
He was declaring war against Delilah James.
"Whatever you're planning to do," I whispered, keeping my voice low so he wouldn't catch the fear. "Don't do it. You're better than this."
His face darkened as he scowled at the ceiling. "Don't be a child, Melissa."
"A child?" I hissed. I tried to keep my anger in check, but it was spreading all over me. Why couldn't he see that retaliating against her was sinking to her level?
But somewhere, he did realize it. He had to, because he couldn't look me in the eye. That was the part of him that made me take a deep breath and try again. "You'll regret it. You're better than this,” I repeated.
He locked his jaw. Stubborn. Determined. "No, I'll regret singing “Kumbaya” after she set out to destroy me. And all of it started because I didn’t love her." When he finally looked at me again, I wished that he hadn't. This wasn't the Logan I fell in love with. This Logan was cold and brutal. "But I love you. You—a woman who claims she loves me. Knows me. But if that were true, you wouldn't expect me to let this go."
My throat burned with suffocating emotion. We were approaching perilous territory. When anger gets the best of you, things are said that you don't mean. True intentions or not, there was no taking it back. Hurtful words can't be unsaid.
Just get some air. Give him some space.
But I was just as stubborn. I had to make him understand.
"When was the moment I knew that I wanted to go into business?" He lunged from the bed, standing tall as the dark shadows twisted and contorted his face into something terrible. "Where's the scar from the first time my mother hurt me? How old was I when I lost my virginity? Hell, what's my favorite band?" He didn't wait for me to answer. He didn't want an answer. He wanted to prove a point.
He wanted to break my heart.
"You know what I let you know, which isn't very much. Because you don't want to see the ugly." He spread his arms wide. "This is me. I don't let people walk all over me. I don't grin and bear it. I'm not like you."
I covered my mouth, stifling the gasp. I made a vow and I kept it—I let it go no further than my fingers.
I forced the tears back even though they were begging to spill. To lament over the fact that I'd been so sure that he was the one. That we were right for each other.
I rose from the bed, standing tall. Taller than I'd ever stood in the face of someone that made me feel insignificant. "You're right. I don't know you. Revenge is the easy route. It takes nothing to get back at someone who wrongs you. It takes everything to walk away."
pretended I didn't notice that Melissa left.
It was more than the clothes that she draped at the foot of the bed were gone That her purse wasn't propped on the counter. Her fresh, floral scent didn't linger in the air. The lack of her things tormented me. It was a bitter reminder that I had something good, something beautiful...and I ruined it. The wilted petals gusted right out the door, along with the love of my life.