“We deine who we are and what we do,” Chris reminds me.

“I know, but—”

He slides a hand back to my face and kisses me. “Trust me.”

“I do, but—”

He presses the logger into my palm. “It’s silk,” he says. “Feel it. It’s soft. It won’t hurt you. I won’t ever hurt you. There are diferent kinds of material used to make these. Leather and rubber sting more. This won’t. It’s a good beginner’s choice.”

My ingers close around the eight strands dangling from the handle, and they’re indeed soft to the touch. “It won’t hurt?”

“I know what I’m doing. I know how to make it feel good.”

And he does. I know he does. I close my eyes. “I . . .”

His mouth brushes over my mouth, and his tongue whispers past my lips. “Trust me, Sara,” he murmurs again, teasing me with the possibility of another kiss. “Let me redeine what this is to you, and to us. Don’t let what you saw in the club, or whatever Isabel said to you, do that for us.”

I suddenly lean back to look at him. “You didn’t even ask what she said to me.”

“I don’t care what she said. I care how you reacted. I care that whatever poison she tried to feed you didn’t work. That says everything about where we are and what we can be.”

My eyes burn with unshed tears. Do I dare believe that I’ve inally washed away his doubts? His fears? “It does?” I ask, needing conirmation.

“Yes. It does. Trust is everything, remember? That’s what you gave me tonight. And I’m asking for it again. Will you give it to me?”

I cup his face. “I told you. You have it.”

His eyes soften. “And I’ll always deserve it—you have my promise. But Sara, that doesn’t mean you can’t say no now. You can always say no.”

“I know. I do.” Chris makes me discover parts of me I never knew existed, parts that often work against how the past has conditioned me. But I feel safe enough with him to go to those places. I know I can be me, and he won’t judge me or hurt me.

Certainty ills me and I say, “I want to do this.”

Twenty-One

This isn’t something I’d ever have believed I’d agree to. But this is Chris, and we are everything I never knew I wanted, and everything I was once missing.

One of his long, talented ingers trails over my jaw, raising a shiver of erotic anticipation. “You’re sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure, Chris. I want to try this.”

His eyes ill with acceptance. “All right, then,” he agrees, his voice low, seductive. “Flogging is similar to spanking. It will be delicious friction, nothing more. Not with this logger, and not with me holding it.”

He is what’s delicious. He’s what makes a spanking erotic.

He, that makes me eager for what comes next.

“Hold out your hand. I want you to get used to how they feel on your skin.”

I nod. I can’t seem to ind my voice, but I don’t think he needs words. He’s watching me, studying my every reaction.

He slowly drags the tails of the logger over my arm, and then does it again. Anticipation builds in me, and I can feel my nerve endings coming alive.

He covers my arm with his hand for a moment, drawing my gaze to his. Heat simmers in the depths of his stare. He, too, is illed with anticipation, and it stirs conidence in me to know I can do that to him. That doing this with me excites him, not just me. His ingers drag seductively up and down my arm as he says, “Now I’m going to show you what an actual logging motion is like.”

He suddenly licks his wrist, slapping the strands over my arm in kind of a circular motion, the slight sting just enough of a contrast to his soft touch to shock me. I jerk slightly but the next slap comes, and the next, and I become lost in the sensations that start to tingle on my skin. Incredibly, the small bites of silk become a warm sort of awareness that darts up my arm and over my chest to my ni**les. They ache, and that ache radiates to my sex.

“You like it?” Chris asks, his voice deeper, warmer.

I glance up at him, meeting his stare, and whisper, “Yes.”

Approval lights his eyes at my fast reply. “The longer I do this, the more your body should react.”

I wet my lips. “Yes. Only . . .” I’m moved by the power radiating from his eyes, aroused by the raw sexuality so a part of who he is. “But I’m pretty sure I’m reacting to you, not the logger.”

His eyes darken, amber lecks of arousal simmering in their depths. “You’re reacting to me using the logger. And to the invisible ‘more’ you want and can’t name.”

Yes. I do want more. Please. Whatever it is, I want it.

As if hearing my silent plea, he sticks the logger’s handle in the top of his jeans. His hands go to my arms and he caresses a seductive path downward, pressing me backward at the same time. “Hands on the desk.” He guides them there with his, covering mine on the glass behind me, his big body molding mine from the waist down. The position is intimate, arousing, the springy hair of his chest tickling the tips of my ni**les, now thrust up between us.

Chris lowers his mouth to my ear, crushing my throbbing ni**les against the hard wall of his chest. “I’m not going to tie you up.” His breath is a warm wash over my ear and neck, promising I will soon be warm all over. His hand curves under my hair, possessive but gentle, and he leans back and looks down at me. “But we need to talk about rules.”

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