This was the first step in claiming her destiny. Of becoming the woman she’d always wanted to be. Of claiming the man she’d always wanted. Her past melted away. Thoughts of Carson fled. She loved him—would always love him—and this was no betrayal of her marriage.

Peace enveloped her in its tender embrace. Surrounding her, filling her heart. Much as Dash had in only a few short days. How could she have never known?

Because she’d never opened her eyes fully. She’d never looked at him, truly looked. And now that she’d finally seen him, she recognized him as the missing piece of her soul.

“Arms up,” Dash ordered.

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She arranged her arms over her head, supporting herself on her forearms but holding her hands up for him to coil the rope around her wrists.

He wrapped the soft rope around one wrist and then stretched the rope to the post at the corner. Then he took another piece and repeated the process on the other side so both wrists were bound, the rope pulled tight so there was no give.

When he finished her hands, he went to the bottom of the bed and secured each ankle before stretching the rope to both posts, effectively rendering her motionless. There was no possible way for her to move.

Her thoughts were muddled, scrambled, and she searched for what he’d said was the next step. Then her breath caught. The plug. He’d said he was going to insert the plug and then flog her.

Her pulse accelerated the moment his hand slid over her buttocks, petting and caressing until she was twitching with need. Then he pulled away. She tried to look over her shoulder but it put too much strain on her shoulders so she faced ahead, waiting breathlessly for what came next.

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His hand moved back to her behind, parting her cheeks and then she felt the cool shock of lubricant. He traced the seam, pausing at the entrance, smearing the gel over the opening. Then he pushed in with just a fingertip and her breath caught.

Her body protested the barest of penetrations, squeezing and rejecting his finger. But he persisted, exerting firm pressure until it slid inward to his knuckle. She gasped, jolted by the sudden breach.

He leaned down and kissed the plump cheek of her behind and then nipped her flesh with his teeth. Using her distraction, he slid in another finger, more lubricant easing its pathway.

He began to stroke, in and out, lubricating her passageway. After several long moments that drove her insane he withdrew his fingers and then squeezed more of the gel over the seam. Then she felt the blunt head of the plug probing gently at her tight ring. He pushed inward the barest amount before withdrawing it and pushing forward once more.

He slipped his free hand underneath to her belly and then down, through her folds to her tingling clit. He began stroking her, rubbing in a tight circle as he forced the plug deeper into her body.

Her pu**y was quivering with need, wet with desire, and she found herself trying to push back against the plug, wanting—needing—more.

“That’s it, darling,” he murmured. “Almost there. Embrace it. The pain will pass. Reach for it, hold on to it. Allow the pleasure to take over.”

His fingers slipped lower, rimming her vaginal opening while he pushed the plug even farther. It was now at its widest point, stretching her impossibly. The burn was intense but his fingers were working magic on her cl*tand pussy. She was nearly mindless, restless and edgy, fighting off her impending orgasm because she knew without the intense buildup the plug would only hurt.

Just when she thought she couldn’t stand another minute, it was as if her body caved in, completely surrendered and allowed the plug access. His fingers left her cl*tand she breathed in deep, steadying breaths, sweat beading her forehead as shallow pants burst from her lips.

He kissed her bottom again and then pressed another kiss to the small of her back.

“Give yourself a moment to come down,” he said quietly. “I want you so on edge when I finally f**k your ass that you’ll be mindless with pleasure. I’m getting the flogger now. I want you to think about how the kiss of leather will feel on your skin. Don’t shy away from the pain. Embrace it. Because after the pain comes the pleasure. For many women, pain is the gateway to subspace. Once you reach that level, you’ll feel nothing but the sweetest of pleasures. I’ll get you there, Joss. Trust me to get us both there.”

She nodded, incapable of speech. She wanted his mark on her skin. Wanted to feel the fiery sensation of the leather slapping her skin. Everything she’d heard about, read about, fantasized about was about to happen.

She closed her eyes, listening to the sounds of his movements. And then she heard the sharp smack of leather. Her eyes jerked open. The noise had jarred her from her dreamlike state, but there was no pain. It took her a moment to realize that he hadn’t struck her. Not yet.

She flinched when he touched the leather flap to her spine near the base of her skull and slowly slid it down her back to her buttocks where the plug split her cheeks. She held her breath, anticipating, waiting. But nothing happened.

“Breathe, Joss. Don’t hold it in. I’ll make you wait even longer if you don’t relax.”

She blew out her breath, sagging as she tried to force herself to comply with his order. And then pain blew over her skin like a blowtorch. She jumped, unable to prevent her reaction to the shock of that first blow. Her eyes widened in surprise. That had hurt!

It was instinctive to immediately say her safe word, to retreat behind the safety that word gave her. But she bit her lip, determined to stick it out.

The second blow didn’t take her as unaware as the first. She breathed through the burn until it faded and then, as he’d promised, pleasure replaced the pain, a different kind of burn spreading over her body.

The third didn’t hurt as much as the first two even though it was, in fact, harder. By now she knew what to expect and didn’t dread them as much as she had the first. Pleasure was faster to replace the discomfort and she reached for it. Embraced it just like he’d told her to.

He peppered blows over each cheek, never hitting the same place two times in a row. He picked up the speed and they came harder now, one after the other, until the world around her fell away. Everything was hazy, a sense of euphoria seeping through her veins, spreading like wildfire over her body.

Was this what he referred to as subspace? She’d read about it. Knew it happened for some women when they entered a different plane and felt no pain, only the sweetest of pleasures.

It was a high she’d never experienced before. She lifted upward, seeking the blows before they fell. She craved them. Wanted more. Harder. Faster.

It took her a moment to realize that he’d stopped. Her flesh hummed and buzzed with heat. She was supersensitive. She flinched when his hand touched her behind, caressing the welts he’d raised.

“So f**king beautiful,” he said, his voice thick with desire. “My marks on you. Never seen a more beautiful sight. I know I said I was going to f**k your mouth and then your ass, but honey, I’m dying to get inside that ass. I’ll never make it if you wrap those pretty lips around my dick.”

She moaned softly, closing her eyes as she imagined Dash f**king her from behind. Taking her where no man had ever been before. And her helpless to do anything but take it. Whatever he wanted to do to her, however he wanted to do it.

He pressed his lips to one cheek and then the other, the reverence in his actions bringing tears to her eyes. She breathed in deep, inhaling the scent of desire in the air. Savoring it, committing to memory this night. All of it. She knew there would be more nights to come, but this was the first. Not the first time they’d made love, but the first time he’d truly demonstrated his dominance—and she, her submission.

It was a beautiful thing. Never would she have imagined the sheer beauty of such an act. Now she understood better why Dash said it was a gift. One to be cherished. But she wasn’t the only one offering the gift of herself. Dash was gifting her with his dominance. His absolute care of her. His demonstration of power. It could so easily be abused and yet he walked that fine line between not enough and too much.

He gently began pulling the plug from her behind. Her body clutched at it, not wanting to let it go. He exerted steady pressure and suddenly it was free, her opening caving in after so much pressure. She sagged, feeling deflated once the sense of fullness was gone. She was left achingly empty, bereft of that pleasurable tightness of her stretched around the plug.

How much better would it feel when he was filling her instead of a rubber object? She craved it with every part of herself. Wanted him deeply within her, possessing her, demonstrating his absolute ownership of her.

The bed dipped at her knees as he climbed onto the bed and positioned himself between her spread legs. His hands trailed up the backs of her legs, over the sensitive skin behind her knees and then higher to her ass. He cupped and petted the twin globes, running his fingers over the raised welts before finally spreading her, opening her to his pending invasion.

She immediately tensed, her reaction automatic. He smacked her ass, just enough to jar her, but not enough to hurt her.

“Relax, honey. It’ll hurt a hell of a lot more if you tense up like that when I’m trying to get inside you. I used plenty of lubricant. You’re ready for me. You can take me. Relax and let me do the work.”

She forced herself to do as he commanded. And he waited, maintaining his position behind her, stroking and caressing her body until finally the tension began leaving her and her muscles became loose and limber once more.

It was at that moment that he pushed forward, parting her cheeks and thrusting inward. It wasn’t hard or forceful. He only gained about an inch, but she sucked in her breath, her eyes going wide as she felt herself stretch to accommodate him.

If she’d thought the plug was impossible then he was even more so. How on earth could she possibly hope to take him? What choice did she have? Whether she thought she could or couldn’t, he wasn’t giving her an option. He was going to force his way inside her.

The thought gave her a decadent thrill. A dark and edgy sensation that snaked through her veins, catapulting her right back into the same subspace as before. The whole experience took on a dreamlike quality. She hovered between fantasy and reality as he pushed forward, pressing steadily inward until she stretched even farther to accommodate him.

“Almost there, honey,” he soothed, caressing her back with both hands. “Just a bit more and you’ll have taken all of me.”

“Hurry,” she whispered, biting her lip to prevent her from begging for more.

When he pulled away she whimpered her displeasure, but then he was back. With one powerful thrust he was all the way into her. Her cry shattered the quiet and she instinctively tried to lurch forward, away from his invasion, but her bonds kept her from escaping.

His hands curled around her hips, his fingers digging into her flesh, marking her the same way the flogger had. He let out a low growl and yanked her back to meet his thrust. He was buried to the balls. She could feel the heavy sac and the crisp hairs surrounding his c**k against her behind.

She was panting, gasping for breath, dizzy and buzzing from a high like she’d never experienced. Then he reached underneath her, stroking lightly over her clit. She let out another sharp cry, her orgasm nearly rocketing through her. Oh God, not yet. She couldn’t come yet. It would all be over and that wasn’t what she wanted.

“How close are you, honey?” Dash ground out.

“Close,” she said in a desperate voice. “Don’t touch me. Not yet. Not until you’re ready to come. I’m so close, Dash. Too close.”

He leaned down and kissed between her shoulder blades, but his fingers stilled at her clit. He twitched and pulsed inside her.

“I’m close too,” he said in a guttural tone. “I want it to last. You’re so sweet, Joss. So damn sweet. Your ass is as perfect as the rest of you. So tight and hot, sucking me in like a greedy fist.”

She closed her eyes, breathing deeply through her nose. He wasn’t touching her and yet she still hovered precariously on edge. It wouldn’t take much at all for her to go off like a bomb.

He slid both hands up her body underneath to cup her breasts. He toyed with her ni**les as he lay over her, perfectly still inside her. He cupped and toyed with her breasts, caressing and rolling the ni**les between his fingertips.

Finally he lifted himself upward again and his hands fell away from her breasts. He grasped her waist and withdrew, hammering forward again, driving deep and hard. For several moments he repeated those motions. Withdrawing until only the tip remained inside her opening and then thrusting savagely.

He’d told her he’d show her no mercy. That he’d f**k her rough and hard. That he’d push her boundaries. But not since that very first blow that had shocked her with the pain and intensity had she even considered calling a halt to it all. She wanted it too much. Craved it with her entire being.

Now that she’d had a taste of his dominance, she was already addicted. Like a druggie desperate for her next fix. She’d never get enough of him. His power. His control. It called to the deepest, darkest parts of her soul. She came alive under his ownership. Like a flower in spring after lying dormant for the winter.

“Going to go hard at you, Joss,” he said through clenched teeth. “I’ll be rough and I won’t stop unless you use your safe word.”

She shook uncontrollably. She’d thought he’d been rough and hard already. There was more? Had he been holding back until now?

She soon had her answer when he levered himself higher over her, in a position of greater dominance. He spread her cheeks wide with both hands, holding her open to his invasion. And then he took her with savagery that took her breath away.

Hard. Fast. Deep.

Over and over he rammed into her, overwhelming her with the power of his possession. The room blurred around her. She wasn’t cognizant of anything but the power he demonstrated. It hurt. It burned. It was the most intense pleasure she’d ever experienced.

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