She wants me to hurt her, and I will. But first, she’ll have to ask for it.
Black Light: Fearless by Maren Smith
He was the last thing she thought she needed, but she was everything he wanted.
Abused and alone, Kitty had no idea how far she’d have to flee after she finally got the courage to run. She never would have guessed she’d end up halfway around the world, or in the home — much less the arms — of dominant Australian whip-master, Noah Carver.
He knows she’s damaged, that she needs safety and time to heal, but the way her submission calls to him has Noah thinking more about what could be between them than her history.
The only question now is what she fears more: standing up to her abusive ex-dom, or staying with a man she’s afraid to love?
“The kitchen?” she echoed, a startled pang bursting in the pit of her stomach.
“For a start.” He took the last bite of his breakfast before pushing his plate aside in favor of nursing his coffee mug. He watched her, that incredibly relaxed and super personable smile on his face. The one that said he was nothing but trustworthy and would never hurt anyone, including her. She trembled, knowing better than to believe it.
And yet, where was the threat? She rubbed her hands against her hips. There was a trap waiting for her somewhere, but she couldn’t see it. What she could see was how unbearable it would be if she didn’t have something to do with her time. Like at Hadlee and Garreth’s house, where they’d all but jumped to assure her she didn’t have to help them every time she tried. As if she were too fragile to cook a meal or wash a load of clothes, or sweep a damn floor. After that first week, she couldn’t even lose herself in her job; Ethen had stolen that from her too. He’d left her with nothing to do but stand in front of a window all day, staring out… sometimes at him.
“I can do that,” she finally agreed.
“Good.” His smile widened, even as he hid it behind another sip of his coffee. “Finish your breakfast, please, and we’ll move on to the next issue.”
She still had half an egg left and a lot of shredded toast on her plate. Shifting in her seat, she picked up her fork and tried to sop up loose breadcrumbs with her egg. “What other issue?”
“Rule Number Eight,” he said, taking another swig of coffee before lowering his cup to the table. His fingers remained hooked in the handle. He looked so relaxed, so calm, and yet the bomb he dropped was brutal enough to shake her. “In this house, submissives are allowed neither to discipline themselves, nor to pleasure themselves.”
He’d seen. Somehow last night, without her hearing him or knowing it, he’d seen her doing… oh God! Kitty shoved back from the table, vaulting up from her chair before she knew she was going to move.
“Sit down,” Noah ordered, the quiet thunder of his suddenly steely voice as sharp as the crack of his whip had been earlier. That sharpness snapped beneath her panic and the submissive in her reacted. As fast as she’d shot to her feet, Kitty was back in her chair.
“You’re not my submissive,” he said, that note of steel that had so completely bound her to his will melting once more into softness. “Sadly, right now you’re not anybody’s submissive and I think that might be a huge part of the problem.”
Now, here it came. The seedy order thinly disguised as an offer. A choice that wasn’t really one at all. Jesus, how stupid could she be?
He tipped his head, the corners of his mouth curling even as his eyes narrowed. “Do you think I’m going to offer you my dominance?”
Something on her face must have given away the direction her wildly churning thoughts had shot in. Despite that curl, he wasn’t smiling anymore. Although he hadn’t moved, he didn’t look quite as relaxed either.
“Aren’t you?” She locked her hands in her lap to quell their shaking, but it didn’t work.
“There is no way for me to do that right now without violating your consent.”
Tiny shivers danced through her, up the backs of her legs, across the flesh of her belly and her back, all the way up into her breasts. Her nipples peaked, at instant odds with nearly all the rest of her, including her mouth. “Why would you want to do that?”
She could have bit her own tongue off. Why would she say that? Why that of all things? Not, what makes you think I would give you consent? Or even, what makes you think I would welcome that? She didn’t know Noah. She wasn’t comfortable around him. He scared her, but then everything scared her. So really, that hardly ranked as an argument.
“I don’t believe you are in the right place mentally for me to do that,” he said bluntly. “I’m not comfortable at this point in entering into anything binding, not even as simple play partners. But that is what you need. Isn’t it?”
Her shivers grew shivers.
His thumb lightly tapped the table as he studied her. “It’s the reason you crawled into bed last night, clinging to my old strap, and cried yourself to sleep.”
Her heart fluttered, the vibrations of which she felt echoed all the way down through her stomach and in between her thighs. She squeezed her legs together. Hidden in her lap, her hands became fists. She fought to keep her breathing even and her expression properly masked, but inside, all she could think was: What else? Had he seen her touch herself? Had he seen her being Kitty-girl? Oh God, had he seen that?
“It’s the reason you crawled through the house in the middle of the night,” he said, sinking both her stomach and her arousal and, for a fraction of a second, making it impossible for her to breathe. “I think you washed the dishes I said could wait, because you couldn’t bear the thought of them sitting in the sink. What else can’t you bear, love?”
She couldn’t hold his unwavering stare and yet, she couldn’t make herself look away.
“Do you even know?” he wondered out loud.
Her chest felt so tight, it was strangling her heart. Her stomach was a nest of serpentine knots all flexing and tightening, and yet her nipples felt hard, swollen, aching to be touched. Pinched. Rolled, between the thumb and fingers he rested on the table when he could just as easily have reached out and caught her. Hurting her the way bad Kittys deserved to be hurt… needed to be hurt.
Her shallow breaths shook. Her pussy heated and throbbed. Unable to stop herself from asking, instead of a question, it came out a plea: “Do you know?”
He tipped his head, a single nod that made the shivers inside her go wild.
“What?” She was almost afraid of the answer.
“I know how to give you exactly what you need, and I will,” he promised. “But if you want it, you’re going to have to do one thing first.”
She struggled to swallow. “What?”
“You’re going to have to ask.”
About Maren Smith
Fortunate enough to live with my Daddy Dom, I am a Little, coffee whore, pain slut, administrator at my local BDSM dungeon, resident of the wilds of freakin’ Kansas (still don’t know how I ended up here) and submissive to the love of my life. An International and USA Bestselling Author, I have penned more than 120 novels, novellas and short stories, and am the author of the Masters of the Castle series.
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