“You think I’m a real submissive?” Sophie could hear the shock in her own voice. Was she truly? More importantly, could she trust him to keep his word and respect her safe word if she needed to use it?
“You are submissive. To the right man, you are. When I held you in my arms and commanded you to focus only on me, you did it without hesitation, without question. You submitted to me and it was a beautiful thing to behold. You’re too strong for most, but you still crave submission. Being a sub doesn’t mean you’re weak. It only means you need to surrender. Many weak people crave power, crave to hurt others, to take control, but they are still inherently weak individuals.”
Sophie knew that was the truth. She had met killers and murderers—pathetic examples of humanity. They were too weak to stand up for themselves when it mattered, and the resulting loss of power or control turned them toward paths of violent retribution on innocents. Such behavior was more common than it should be.
A sudden thought struck her. “What if…I let you teach me how to surrender?”
Curiosity flitted shadowlike in his eyes, but his wariness was stronger.
“I’m not sure I come out on top in this bargain. You might prove to be too much trouble.” Emery moved over to the spanking bench and sat down on the edge, seemingly unbothered by its real purpose. Sophie’s face heated with a treacherous blush.
It should have surprised her how much she did want to please him. He seemed an intricate puzzle and knowing her behavior was a partial key; she couldn’t help but wonder what doing his bidding would unlock.
He leaned back, crossing his legs at the ankles, and looked at her. She was still on her knees, hands clenched together, fingers knotted. Sophie studied him, traced the perfectly tailored suit that clung to his body like a second skin. He was every inch the rich recluse she’d heard him to be.
People spoke of him in sad whispers, their eyes full of pity. But when Sophie met Emery’s gaze, she couldn’t pity him. Sympathize? Yes. Pity? No. His expression of domination demanded obedience, respect, and not one second had passed where he’d let that expression falter, except when he’d stared at the picture from his past. Only then had she seen the other Emery, the one trapped in childhood memories. The one she had to save. For that was clear. Part of this man before her needed to be saved.
“I’m not sure bedding you is worth my tale of woe.” His tone sounded almost taunting, rather like he was reciting Shakespeare. He was mocking her!
Embarrassment flooded her face with heat, but her pride was pricked. Without a second thought she slipped off one shoe and threw it at him.
Thunk! It bounced off the solid wall of his muscular chest and dropped to the floor. He didn’t move an inch except to drop his eyes to the shoe, and then raise his gaze again. She could feel it passing over her body as he did so.
“You just threw a shoe at me.” His eyes flashed fire, but his lips twitched.
“Yeah? Well, you just implied I’m not good in bed!” Muttering to herself, she bent to remove her second shoe, wanting nothing more than to chuck that one at him too. She was completely unprepared for his reaction.
One second she had her hand on her remaining shoe, the next he’d spun her around to face the wall, his body pressing tight against hers from behind. Both her wrists were caught in one of his hands at her lower back. He rolled his hips, rubbing against her bottom, grinding a very hard erection against her miniskirt. Emery put his free hand on her stomach, his large palm making her feel incredibly small.
“You have an unusual way of expressing your temper.” His low growl summoned deep shivers from the base of her spine. “Some doms like to paddle that temper out of their subs, then they pound the sub into delicious submission until the sub is dying of pleasure.” He punctuated this with a sharp arch of his hips again. Her clit throbbed and her breath quickened.
Images rose in her mind—him dragging her skirt up to her waist, tearing away underwear and taking her hard from behind. Sophie jerked when her knees smacked together and she wobbled. Emery held her upright, rubbing her stomach, the pressure arousing rather than soothing.
“Don’t tell me I’ve struck you speechless.” His husky laugh was rich as scotch and burned her to the core.
He nuzzled her ear, then nipped at it. An explosion went off somewhere below her waist and Sophie sucked in a breath. Her blood pounded in her ears, and a dark mist seemed to roll across her vision as she sank into him and his teasing kisses and touches.
“I’m having trouble…thinking,” she admitted through the fog that seemed to curl around the logical part of her mind. All she could focus on was his breath on her cheek, his tongue flicking inside her ear and the stinging jabs of arousal that spiked though her lower spine and zoomed straight to her clit. She was empty, and needed something inside her, needed him. Her body actually hurt with the wild craving to have him. All it would take was his thrusting into her softness and giving it to her hard enough, and she’d die from the pleasure.
“You respond well to me. Perhaps you are worth a few nights.” He licked a path up from her shoulder to a spot beneath her ear, and then feathered kisses before blowing softly on the now sensitive shell of her ear. Her hands shook violently in his hold.
Then he was gone. He’d released her and stepped back. Sophie fell forward a few inches, her body resting against the wall as she fought to regain her composure. The stone against her cheek was cool and slightly rough, like the craggy rocks of a castle’s keep. It lent a dungeonlike atmosphere to their sparse surroundings, more than chains and whips and other objects might have. She was at his mercy, his to torture or to pleasure, or perhaps a combination. Her clit pulsed to life at the thought of both.
“Very well. Unlace your corset.”
The command was so abrupt that Sophie balked instantly. There was no way she’d do that, and it didn’t have anything to do with modesty.
“You can’t obey a simple command?” One golden brow arched over his eye.
“It’s not that I don’t want to obey…”
“Are you plagued by modesty?” His lips tilted down, but a glimmer of amusement danced briefly across his face.
“I’m not plagued, I’m naturally modest. But that’s not why I can’t unlace the corset.”
Emery sighed and crossed his arms. “I suppose I’ll give you one easy out today. Tell me why you won’t open your corset and I will release you of the command to actually unlace it. Can you do that without issue?”