THE KITCHEN IS NOW THE OFFICIAL CRIME SCENE WHERE THE ABDUCTION IS BELIEVED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THE CRIME SCENE WAS LITTERED WITH BROKEN COKE BOTTLES, BLOOD, AND HALF-EATEN SANDWICHES ON THE BOYS’ PLATES.
—New York Times, June 10, 1990
So, my best case of bourbon?” Emery raised his face to look at Royce, who stood in front of the couch.
“If you don’t mind.” Royce’s eyes twinkled with devilish merriment, but he clapped a palm on Emery’s shoulder with gentle camaraderie. “I’ll be by the house later to pick it up.”
“I’ll have it ready for you,” Emery assured him, and then turned his attention back to Sophie. “Now, little sub, let’s see about that punishment.”
A sensuous light flickered at the back of his eyes, like a lighthouse’s beacon fighting to shine through the depths of a storm. Every emotion—a thousand of them—shuttered and then exploded behind his gaze. To Sophie it felt as if she was seeing the entire world captured in one rapid blink…and then it was gone. His eyes were heavy with desire and nothing else.
Oh dear. “I…uh…” How inadequate words were! What could she say to persuade him against punishing her?
Emery rose from the couch in a fluid movement with Sophie still clasped in his arms. She had only a moment to marvel that her weight didn’t seem to bother him at all before he was carrying her through the group of people. There was a door ajar halfway down one of the halls that branched off the center room. He nudged it open with his foot. It was completely empty save for a thick rug spanning the entire room and a wooden piece of furniture that she knew from her research was a spanking bench.
At the sight of the bench Sophie went rigid; her limbs locked up, her hands balled into fists. Only a sliver of her panic came from fear. The rest of her wanted to know too badly how it felt to be bent over that, with his hand smacking her ass until she cried out. That scared her: how much she wanted to experience something so dark and sinful. Emery set her down and started to close the door. He left it open about an inch or two. Someone could come in, could get to her if she needed help. Still…Sophie shot a glance at the bench. There was no way in hell she was going to bend over that and…and…let herself go with him. She’d never been able to do that with anyone and she couldn’t start with someone like him. He was tall, blond, and brooding. She’d make a fool of herself if she gave in to him. What would he think of her if she got aroused by a punishment? That she was just like any other woman in the club? The thought stopped her cold.
She didn’t want to be just another woman to him. She wanted to be something more; she wanted him to trust her, to open up to her. Letting him spank the hell out of her might not be the best way to earn his trust…
Then again, maybe it would.
I wish I knew what I was doing. She cursed inwardly. With men, she was always awkward and unsure of herself, and now her typical failings seemed magnified because he affected her too strongly.
“Look, I’m sorry, but this whole scene just isn’t for me. I shouldn’t have come here.” She edged toward the door. Maybe if she got far enough from the bench, he’d forget about punishing her and she could talk to him about the abduction. If he thought she was scared enough to leave, he might back off in his determination to spank her and she’d have her chance to speak.
Emery sidestepped, blocking her access to the exit. She saw the outline of well-defined muscles; he was much bigger and stronger than she was. To her sheer humiliation, something inside her started to purr with delight at the thought of that strength and size directed at her, for her protection and more importantly, her pleasure.
He placed a hand on the side of her neck where it connected to her shoulder. His thumb moved slowly back and forth against the base of her throat, as though questing for the frantic drum of her pulse. His lips moved, flirting at the tips with a smile.
She couldn’t take much more of this. If she didn’t get away, she’d let him take her over to that bench and she’d surrender to him. That couldn’t happen.
“Please, let me leave.” Her tone, thankfully, sounded stronger than the whimpering inside her which begged to stay, to let him bend her over the bench and do wicked things to her.
“If you want out, say your safe word.” His sharp tone was edged with a challenge. Something deep inside her responded.
She knew enough of D/s relationships to know that subs weren’t powerless; surrendering to a dom was their choice, one that had to be based on trust. Emery’s challenge for her to surrender was tempting, too tempting if she was honest with herself. She’d never wanted to surrender to a man, but the idea of willingly letting one overpower her? Her thighs clenched together, her sensitive nerves inside jumping to life. Could she give in? Gain power by giving him power?
“I’m waiting for your answer.”
When Sophie hesitated, Emery threaded his fingers through the black satin ribbons that laced the front of her corset. He tugged one bow’s string with careless ease, so at odds with the cool, dispassionate expression on his face as he began to loosen the laces and peel her corset apart. A haze of heat settled over her skin and fogged her mind. Sophie prayed he’d keep going, would pull her corset open like they were in some torrid romance novel, and bend his head to her breasts to…
His fingers caressed the tip of the folded up photo. She jolted back, the memory of where she’d tucked his photo slamming into her. He couldn’t see it; he’d never understand. Emery’s hand shot out, caught her wrists, and lifted them above her head. In a move as smooth as the steps of a slow dance, he maneuvered her back against the wall by the door. One thick, muscled thigh pressed between hers, and he kept her wrists trapped above her. His other hand moved back to her corset, dipped between her breasts and retrieved the photo. His thumb and index finger deftly unfolded it and the wide-eyed interest of natural curiosity on his face morphed to an expression of narrowed suspicion.
He released her wrists, stepped back several feet and stared at the image in his hand. He was so still he could have been carved from marble — his eyes dark with horror, his tanned skin now alabaster white.
A long moment later he drew a deep measured breath and raised his eyes to hers.
“Where did you get this picture?” Each word seemed dragged out between his clenched teeth. He changed before her eyes, the prince transforming into a beast. Wounded rage filled his eyes, morphing with the promise of vengeance.