Authors: Robin L. Rotham
You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”
held vast new meaning.
“Oh my God, youth is
wasted on the young,” she muttered. At the last section of pavement below the front steps, a memory tickled. Spreading her arms, she shoved off with her toe and glided over the slab on one foot. When her slim black boot hit the riser, she bounded up the steps, taking them two at a time, and landed on the porch with a breathless laugh. Her knees had cartilage again! They didn’t hurt at all!
“I saw that.” The amused reproof in Jared’s voice made her cast a flirtatious smile over her shoulder before she slipped through the front door.
When she unbuttoned her coat and hung it on one of the pegs in the entry hall, the feeling of coming home nearly overwhelmed her. Her boots landed in the pile of dirty work boots and worn sneakers and she trailed her hand along the smooth, knotty pine paneling as she walked into the living room. It all looked exactly as she’d last seen it, cluttered and comfortable and altogether masculine.
Pain tightened her throat. Would Jared and Alec still be alive if she hadn’t reacted so childishly that night, if she’d stayed and talked through her fears instead of taking off in a panic?
Turning, Grace gave herself a mental shake. This wasn’t the time for futile regrets.
She’d been granted a magical gift, a second chance to experience the kind of passion most women only dreamed of, and she wasn’t going to waste it lamenting things she 11
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couldn’t change. Taking a deep breath, she gripped the banister and started up the stairs.
She’d already washed her hair and shaved her legs and underarms when she heard the door open. Tensing with excitement, she expected Jared to step into the shower with her, but he dawdled over ripping into some sort of packaging and running water in the sink, humming under his breath the whole time. Then his voice came to her through the curtain. “Princess, bend over until the spray is hitting your lower back, then spread your feet and brace your hands against the wall beneath the showerhead.”
Confused and a bit anxious, Grace followed his instructions, waiting breathlessly for his next move. She didn’t have to wait long. The brass rings supporting the shower curtain clinked over the rod as he pushed it forward and stepped in behind her. She wanted to look at him but didn’t dare when they were in Master/Princess mode.
A couple of metallic thumps told her he’d set something on the edge of the tub before the curtain closed once more, and then his calloused hands slid over her hips.
His thick, hard cock pressed against her ass when he leaned over her back, blocking the spray. “Have you had an enema before?”
Her breath caught in her throat. “No Sir.”
Somehow that wasn’t quite how she’d envisioned spending any part of her very limited time with him.
“I didn’t require it when I fucked you here before,” he rumbled, anchoring her against his chest with an arm around her waist. His other hand drifted down until his fingers teased the crease between her buttocks. “But since we’re having company this time, I thought maybe we should do a little spring cleaning.”
His angular feet looked huge between hers, and Grace bit her lip as she watched rivulets of water wind down his muscular calves. She should
be turned on by what Jared was suggesting. Really. It was the silky steel of his thighs rubbing against hers 13
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and the rough fingertips grazing her sensitive folds that were making her squirm inside, the scent of wet, masculine flesh making her suck in air like she’d just finished a marathon.
. God, how had she lived so long without the primal satisfaction of skin on skin? She was starved for it, aching for it, and suddenly nothing mattered but the compulsion to push back into him, to feel his hands all over her body.
“How do you feel about that, Princess?”
Grace blinked and heat surged into her cheeks when she remembered what he was talking about. “Does it really matter…Sir?”
“Of course it does.” His tongue trailing between her shoulders drew a shiver from her. “It may not change the outcome, but I’d like to know ahead of time if you’re going to freak.”
When she didn’t answer, Jared’s fingers dipped into her vagina and Grace choked back a moan. Unfortunately, they didn’t stay long but instead spread the embarrassing flood of slick moisture back over her anus.
“Awfully quiet,” he murmured. That was the only warning she got before his finger forged into her. She went up on her toes with a moan, her nails scratching at the cold tile. Chills rose on her arms as he twisted deeper, and she burned with both embarrassment and arousal at the sensation of being probed.
“You still haven’t told me how you feel about the spring cleaning, Princess.”
“I’m not really in a chatty mood right now, Sir,” she told him through clenched teeth, provoking a chuckle.
“You’re already due a punishment. Don’t make me add to it. And no coming,” he added. “That’s for later.”
There was no holding back her groan of dismay.
How much later
? she wanted to whine. But Jared had no idea how profoundly she needed him already, much less that there was a stopwatch running on their time together, and she couldn’t very well tell 14
him. Steeling herself against the searing pleasure of his explorations, she watched the water swirling past their feet and imagined it was an icy mountain stream.
That might have worked if Jared hadn’t eased his hold on her waist and brushed his fingers over her clit.
“No fair!” she hissed at him.
“Did I give you permission to address me?”
“I was talking to myself,
, not addressing you.”
“Somebody’s developed a very smart mouth in the space of one morning.”
Grace would have laughed then if her need weren’t so critical. God, if only he knew.
“You’re not going to freak, are you?”
Although he sounded pretty certain, Grace shook her head emphatically. She’d lived the last half of her life steeped in bitter regret over things she’d left unsaid and undone, at the trust he’d earned but she’d failed to give, and she wasn’t about to hold anything back now. For better or worse, Jared was getting all there was to have of Grace Hendrick. She belonged to him, body and soul, for the next eleven-plus hours.
“That’s my girl,” he praised, pressing a lingering kiss on her shoulder. Then he withdrew from her and aimed the showerhead at the wall before turning her to face him. “But first things first.”
She wasn’t the least bit surprised when he picked up a can of shaving cream from the edge of the tub and squirted a mound of white foam into his palm. Crouching, he spread it over her neatly trimmed bush. Then he reached back and produced a wicked-looking straightedge razor.
Grace’s hand flew to cover her crotch. Questioning him probably wasn’t the sensible thing to do, but she couldn’t help it. “There’s a perfectly good safety razor on the caddy,” she said tentatively.
He studied her face for a moment. “Do you trust me, Grace?”
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Tears sprang to her eyes and she removed her hand without a word.
An hour later, she knelt in Jared’s bedroom, naked and squeaky-clean inside and out. Her ass in the air, her hands clasped behind her back and her forehead on the floor, Grace wallowed in red-hot desire. Thirty years earlier, she would have balked at his ministrations in the bathroom, especially those that came after the shaving. Now the intimacy, while excruciating, thrilled her to the bone. She was laid bare to him, flaws and all, and she was accepted. Wanted. Cosseted and coveted.
Had anything ever aroused her more?
“I’m really surprised you’re taking all this so matter-of-factly.” She heard one of his knees crack as he crouched beside her on the carpet and ran a hand over her ass. A thousand words crowded behind her lips, but she remained silent. “You’ve always been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, Grace, but now…” His sigh filled the air. “Sit up, sweetheart. Might as well get the rest of this out of the way before Alec gets here.”
The blood rushing out of her head made her sway for a second and he grasped her upper arm to steady her. “You okay?”
At her nod, he nodded pensively too. He’d dressed in the black slacks and white dress shirt she remembered from that long-ago night, and even wore socks and shoes.
And here she’d thought she couldn’t possibly feel any more naked…
He took her hand in his before asking, “How did you find out about Alec and me?”
It was tempting to just lay it all out for him, but Jared was a diehard pragmatist. If she told him about the magical cupcake, he’d probably think she’d cracked her skull in the fall and rush her to the emergency room, so instead she gave him a loving smile.
“Sometimes a woman just…knows.”
“Not every woman would be so accepting of a lover who’d experimented with another man.”
She cocked her head and watched him chew the inside of his lower lip. He was nervous. Why hadn’t she seen it before? Jared McLain was actually afraid she was going to reject him. Which she had, the first time. Oh, she hadn’t intended the rejection 16
to be permanent. She’d just needed some time to think, to finally come to terms with it all—his sexual explorations with Alec Ruston years before he met her, the idea of taking two extremely dominant lovers at once and her own submissive nature.
Squelching a whimper of regret, she asked wryly, “Will it make you feel better if I experiment with another woman?”
Though he looked taken aback, the twitch in his pants told her such a scenario might make him feel very good indeed. Too bad—she wasn’t going to be touching anyone but him tonight. Except maybe Alec.
“I’m having a hard time getting a handle on your mood,” he said, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’d been dipping into the cooking sherry.”
“You don’t have any cooking sherry.” Ignoring his unspoken question, she asked,
“So I gather you both decided sex was better with a woman between you?”
“Not just any woman,” he said pointedly, leaning his forehead against hers. “We’ve been waiting for you.”
Grace tilted her face until they were eye to eye and nose to nose, then she touched her lips briefly to his. “Not nearly as long as I’ve waited for you.”
When the doorbell rang, neither of them moved, and it would have been fine with her if they stayed locked together this way forever. She’d never been so totally absorbed in him. It was like they were melting into one being.
“Does this mean that you’re ready to be collared permanently?”
Why had she ever hesitated? “Yes Sir. Please.”
Jared groaned and took her mouth hungrily, seeking her tongue with his and twining them together with exquisite care. All too soon, he pulled away.
“I love you, Grace,” he whispered. “Marry me.” Leaning back, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a black velvet box.
Robin L. Rotham
Oh God, he had a ring in his pocket that night!
The joy and pain colliding in her heart were so intense that she couldn’t catch a breath. Realizing the full extent of what she’d thrown away doubled her agony, but she toughed it out, determined not to waste a second of their time together.
Squeezing out a raspy, “Yes,” she closed her eyes and nodded until the urge to howl had subsided. She’d shed too many tears already.
He was slipping the stunning emerald solitaire onto her finger when Alec said from the doorway, “Looks like congratulations are in order.”
Too overwhelmed by emotion to be concerned about her nudity, Grace wiped at her damp eyes and glanced at him, then stood up. “Almost,” she said. The collar that Jared loved to see her wearing was in his underwear drawer, and she pulled it out with a reverence she’d never felt before. This slender piece of studded leather symbolized what they were to each other every bit as much as the ring did, and she’d wear it with pride for as long as she could.
Jared took it from her and stood behind her, watching her face in the mirror with unadulterated possessiveness while he fastened it around her neck. “There’s no going back now.”
No going back
. His hands closed on her shoulders as the words echoed in her ears.
Oh how she wished it were true! Nothing would make her happier.
Nodding, she gave him a tremulous smile. “No going back,” she agreed.
“I’m definitely feeling like a fifth wheel,” Alec said. “Why don’t we try this another day?”
Grace looked over her shoulder at Jared and, seeing the question arching his brow, turned to Alec. “No, it has to be today,” she said firmly. “Today would be…perfect.”
He met her gaze for a moment and then his eyes slid all the way down her body to her toes before returning to her bare mons. “Pretty pussy, Princess. I’ve waited a long time to see it.”
Heat boiled up her neck into her cheeks and she looked at the floor in front of her, suddenly breathless. He’d never called her Princess before.
“Alec just admired your pussy, Princess. What do you say to him?”
Grace swallowed, her heartbeat ragged. “Thank you…Sir?”
“The pleasure’s all mine,” Alec said in a silky tone.
“And mine.” Jared’s fingers slid under her chin and he pulled her face up for a brief kiss before grinning at Alec. “That’s quite a sack you’ve got there, Santa. Did you bring something fun for us to play with?”
“You know it.” Alec walked to the bed and set the silky black bag on the mattress.
He was the one who’d gotten Jared interested in sexual domination, and Jared had always spoken of the “dungeon” in Alec’s apartment and his vast collection of toys with awe. “You in the mood for rope?”
“Definitely.” Jared pointed to the center of the floor. “Kneel with your back to the bed, Princess, and tell Alec your safe word.”