“Just tell you?” She could do that, couldn’t she?
“For now. Someday you will show me.” He raised one hand to his hair, raking his fingers through it, mussing the blond waves. It made her ache to do the same. To lie beside him in bed and know that she mussed up his hair, that she had grasped the thick shimmering strands and tugged while in the midst of passion.
“I don’t like delays, Sophie,” he warned.
Swallowing a shivery breath, she nodded, more for herself than him. “I’ve got scars.” There. It was out. No going back.
“What kind of scars?” Emery’s voice was soft, velvety, like he wanted to soothe her.
His question confused her.
“Scars. There isn’t any other kind.”
Emery’s eyes trained on her. “I mean, are they scars from abuse? From an accident?”
“No abuse. Surgery.”
“What did you have surgery for?”
“Explaining that isn’t part of the bargain,” Sophie replied. She’d agreed to submit, not tell him her every secret.
Emery stood up and left the bench to come toward her. He moved so fast she had no time to react. He snatched her wrists and dragged her over to the bench, bending her over it and spreading her knees with one thigh. He pulled her wrists back behind her body and pinned them there with one of his hands. When he pushed his leg up against the apex of her thighs beneath the skirt she whimpered. The soft, expensive fabric of his suit rubbed erotically against the sensitive skin of her thighs.
“Lesson one: Never lie to your dom, or any dom. Punishment is always the result, or worse, the dom severs the relationship and releases the sub. Now, let’s try this again. What was the surgery for?”
“All right!” Sophie hissed. She was madder than a wet cat, but she knew he had her beat. Still, she jerked and jostled against the bench, testing his hold. Tight. No way to get out of this.
“Stop.” His bark made her flinch and go slack. “Tell the truth. I have ways of making you talk if you think to keep quiet.”
Did he mean he’d spank it out of her? She wish she knew, then again, maybe she didn’t want to know. Her eyelashes fell against her cheeks and darkness captured her vision, thankfully making her feel alone enough to utter the truth. “I had an accident and got cut. The surgery was to sew the cuts back together. Is that a personal enough answer for you?” She flinched, waiting for a blow.
“I didn’t want a personal answer, only a truthful one. And I don’t ever beat answers of anyone, especially a sub who surrenders to my care.” Although his words suggested a chastisement, he didn’t seem angry, rather puzzled and hurt that she’d assumed he’d beat it out of her.
“How did you know I was afraid you would hit me?” she whispered.
“You flinched after you lashed out verbally. I’ve seen that before in other submissives. You expected me to spank you, but know this, I don’t ever react with violence, only with erotic punishment. There is a difference and I will teach you.”
Very slowly, he withdrew his leg from between her thighs and released her wrists. Sophie lay for a moment, unsure of what to do. But rather than standing, Emery sat on the floor and reached for her. He took her in his arms and laid her on the floor beside him. Sophie gasped as he settled over her. If she hadn’t been so distracted by his close proximity she might have laughed. Emery Lockwood did not strike her as the type of man to prefer the missionary position.
But Sophie was distracted; he invaded her space, gently took hold of her wrists again and secured them to the floor above her head. He slid one hand down her ribs, over her belly and then between her knees, parting them so his hips could sink into the cradle of her legs. He rocked his pelvis forward, rubbing against her, showing her she couldn’t shift, couldn’t move unless he wished her to.
It had been ages since she’d been this close to a man, with every inch of their bodies touching except their lips, and his were so temptingly close. The last time hadn’t affected her like this. Her universe was shrinking around this one single moment, to just the two of them. Their gazes locked.
“This is personal. My past is personal, Sophie. Everything you want from me and what I want from you is personal.” His free hand slid up from her hip to rest on her lower ribcage. He toyed with the loose ribbon of her corset. She could feel him tug, tease, but not undo the laces any further. Still, he could if he wished; he could pry the corset open and see her scars, her ugliness.
Sophie’s breath hitched, her breasts rising rapidly as she struggled to breathe.
Concern darkened his eyes. “You’re like a frightened little sparrow, your chest heaving as you beat against the cat’s paw holding you down. Relax, Sophie,” he murmured. “Otherwise I might lose my already tenuous control. As a dom, I am aroused by your apprehension. I love bringing a woman to the fine edge between trust and fear. I’d never hurt you, but still I’m determined to push your boundaries, test your limits, and I know that scares you just as much as it arouses you.” His once silky tone was now gruff and a little ragged.
The truth of his words was like a whip cracking in her mind, more sharp and agonizing than anything she’d ever felt on her skin.
Sophie bucked her hips, trying to dislodge him. “Damn you!” His large erection dug into her, making her womb throb.
As though he could sense her rising need and frustration, Emery’s eyes swirled with lust and hunger.
“So you have scars and they upset you,” he observed.
She raised her chin, glowering at him. “Well, it’s humiliating. Men don’t like my…my…” To her own shame, her voice wavered.
“They don’t like your breasts?” The sheer look of incredulity on his face startled her.
“Uh huh.” Sophie shut her eyes, shame smashing her insides like a sledgehammer through fine china.
God, let this humiliation be over quickly. Every other man had left her alone after hearing this. Emery wouldn’t be any different. He was too sexy, too gorgeous to ever settle for a scarred woman like her, not when he could have his pick.
Emery held still, didn’t make a sound or move until she opened her eyes. When she did finally look up at him, he dropped his head a few inches, his nose touching hers, nuzzling her cheek.
“I’m not like other men, Sophie. Scars are a sign of strength, survival. Someday you’ll be brave enough to show me, and I’ll prove you have nothing to be ashamed of. Now, I am willing to accept the deal you proposed. Are you willing in return?”