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I tie each of her wrists, then hook the sashes to small hooks near the top of the wall I’d installed earlier this morning while she was asleep, then I press my hands to the silk by her head. She stares back at me, her lashes half veiled, her eyes laden with arousal.

“You’re beautiful, Sara, and you’re mine.”

“You’re beautiful, Chris, and you’re mine.”

I laugh, tenderness seeping into the arousal pulsing through me; no one ever made me laugh in a moment like this. But then, I’m not sure there ever was a moment like this, before Sara. “Yes, baby—I’m yours.” I run my hands down her sides, her hips, and back up again, then gently let my thumbs brush her ni**les. She whimpers, that soft sexy sound I’ve come to crave, and I step closer, sliding my shaft between her thighs, teasing us both, and then tugging lightly on the stiff peaks of her ni**les.

Cupping her br**sts, I bend my head and begin sucking and licking, warming her ni**les until I think she’s ready for what comes next. I move to the bench and remove the butterflies from the case, then return to Sara.

“I’m nervous,” she confesses, a slight shake to her voice.

I like that she can be that open and honest with me. I like where that leads us, what that makes us. “Because it’s new, but all you have to do is say ‘stop’ and we’ll stop. You know that.”

“Yes,” she whispers. “I do know.”

“These are gentle clamps, without weights.” I reach down and start stroking one of her ni**les, taking her mind off the unknown, readying her for the pressure she’ll soon feel. “They’re good for beginners.” I lean in and kiss her.

“Chris,” she whispers. “You . . . you make me feel . . . I don’t even have words.”

“Ditto, baby, from the first day I met you. You ready?”


“There’s a clamp for both ni**les and your clit, so when we f**k, it tugs on all the right places. I’ll put the ones on your ni**les first. They’re going to bite and then throb, but the ache will ease quickly. Okay?”

“Yes. Okay.”

“Good.” I stroke her hair from her face, pulling her mouth to mine, kissing her deeply, passionately, drinking in the taste of her nervous excitement, her passion, then letting my lips caress down her neck, over her shoulder blade, until I suck her nipple again.

Lifting the clamp, I run the metal over her sensitive skin, glancing up at her as she sucks in a breath and waits. I close the butterfly down on her and, panting, she drops her head forward. “Oh, God. Chris, it—”

I lean down and lick around the metal, and at the same time, I press my fingers down her flat belly and into the slick, wet heat of her sex. She whimpers, and the sound is pure pleasure, no pain, as she whispers, “It’s . . . hmmmm . . .”


“I . . . yes.”

I lick the other nipple, and then warn her with the feel of metal on the stiff peak before I clamp the second butterfly into place. Her reaction is the same as before, with her head falling forward, followed by panting. And damn, I like the way she pants.

Careful to ensure those pants stay about pleasure, I again lave the nipple with my tongue, easing her away from the ache. Lowering myself to my knees, I let the chain connected to the clamps drop down her belly. I tug gently on the end, applying pressure to her now sensitized ni**les, and she moans in response.

I stroke her swollen nub back and forth. “This one won’t be as intense as the other two.” I don’t give her time to think about it. I clamp down on her clit with the metal, then, sliding two fingers inside her, smile with satisfaction when she starts to spasm around me almost instantly. Her hips arch, and using my fingers and tongue, I stroke her to completion, fast and hard, and then ease her down soft and slow, until she’s done. She turns her head to hide her face.

I stand up and cup her face, forcing her gaze to mine. “It’s sexy as hell,” I promise her, kissing her, letting her taste herself on my lips, my tongue. “And that was only the beginning.” I cup her gorgeous backside and lift her hips, pressing my shaft into the warmth of all that slick heat of her orgasm, knowing the motion will tug on the clamps.

She sucks in air and jerks against the wrist ties as I thrust into her, then she moans and confesses raspily, “If I didn’t get the whole pain is pleasure thing before, I do now.”

The words punch me in the chest, shifting my mood, darkening the place I’m taking her, and us. I tangle my fingers into her hair and drag her mouth to mine. “There are two kinds of pain, Sara. Pain meant to create pleasure, and pain meant to be just pain. You will never know that kind with me. Never.” I drive into her harder, faster, with a need that wasn’t there seconds ago. A need for escape, though I’m not sure from what. Just . . . escape.

Part Two

The Promise

It’s been a few days since Sara and I returned to Paris; just hours before we leave for San Francisco. With Sara’s naked body pressed close to mine, her head resting on my chest, I lie and stare at the ceiling, as I have every night since proposing to her.

On the surface, everything is fine. We have a farewell breakfast planned with Rey and Chantal to talk to them about attending the wedding. We’ve resolved Sara’s passport situation, and I’ve booked a private flight to prevent any more of the problems that have haunted us for the past two weeks. We need some smooth sailing, heading into the storm of Ava’s trial and questions about Rebecca. Everything is fine—except it’s not.