The Submissive (The Submissive Trilogy #1)(9) by Tara Sue Me

I hobbled to the bedroom and lay on my stomach. I certainly hoped Nathaniel wouldn’t want to do any…experimenting…this weekend. Plug or not, I was too sore even to think about it.

And what if he did? Would I say my safe word? The spanking, okay, I could handle that. I’d messed up. He’d let me know tonight, in no uncertain terms, that rules were rules were rules. But what if he wanted to try anal sex?

I just didn’t think I could do it—not tonight. Not this weekend. I’d have to use my safe word.

I decided then and there, that was my limit. You needed to have limits. Had to tell yourself how far you’d go. And that was mine. No anal sex this weekend.

I thought about leaving Nathaniel.

And I got sad. Whether it was disappointing Nathaniel, the spanking, the thought of never seeing him again, or all three, I started crying. I pushed my face into the pillow—I didn’t want him to hear. What if he came in?

As I cried, I heard footsteps echoing in the hallway. I stopped and held myself still. Had he heard? The steps stopped. I saw his feet underneath the door.

He continued walking.

I let out a shaky breath and forced myself to go to sleep.

The dream came back that night. The one with the music. It started out faster this time. Angry. Fierce. Then gradually grew into the same sweet longing of the song I’d heard the previous weekend. Sweetness laced with a hint of sorrow. In my dream, I ran from room to room. Desperate. I would find it this time. I would find out where the music was coming from. I pushed open door after door after door. But, like before, each one opened to another hallway and each hallway ended with a new door.

The music stopped. I reached another door and shoved it open. Only to see that it led to nothing…

Another Saturday morning. Another early alarm clock wake-up. As I got ready, I thought about facing Nathaniel. What would he say? How would he act? What did he have planned for the weekend? Would the day see me saying my safe word and leaving?

I walked gingerly to the kitchen, my body achy all over. No sounds from behind the door of the gym. The kitchen was empty. My eyes swept over the room. There. On the table. A folded note.

On the outside, in neat script, was my name.

I opened it.

I’ll be back for lunch in the dining room at noon.

I took a deep breath. He wasn’t telling me to pack up and leave. Some part of me had feared he would.

I fixed a quick breakfast of oatmeal, stirring in a few nuts and diced bananas. I ate standing up, staring at the cabinets that lined two walls of the kitchen. I decided to dig through them after I’d finished eating. It would give me something to do, since I didn’t feel like jogging, and yoga moves were out of the question.

I took some ibuprofen and then explored for an hour. Nathaniel had a wonderful selection of cookware, gadgets, and dishes. And his pantry was well stocked. Four deep shelves contained a chef’s dream world of supplies. The top shelf, I couldn’t reach. I’d investigate it later.

I decided to make bread. Kneading dough would be the perfect way to work through my feelings. And it had the extra bonus of being work I could do standing.

As I pounded the dough, I went over and over my feelings for Nathaniel. I had been stupid last week to think—to hope—that he was falling for me. I was his submissive. For now, that would be enough. I wouldn’t think about the future. Just the here and now. Besides, after seeing him again, maybe I would discover my feelings toward him cooled.

I took a cold cooked chicken from the refrigerator and cut it up. Chicken salad would go nicely with the fresh bread. I’d serve it with grapes and carrots.

The morning passed quickly. I heard Nathaniel return at some point. Apollo ran into the kitchen. He spotted me, let out a ‘woof’ and jumped up to give me a sloppy kiss.

At noon, I carried a plate into the dining room, where Nathaniel sat waiting. My heart pounded. I hoped he didn’t see the way my hand shook when I set his plate down.

“Eat with me,” he said simply.

I didn’t feel liking sitting down, but there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell I was going to disobey him. I made a plate, carried it into the dining room, sat it on the table, and pulled out the chair across from him.

It had a pillow on it.

I hesitated for just a minute. Was he trying to be funny? Because there wasn’t a damn thing funny about anything. I shifted my eyes over to him. He was staring straight ahead, chewing.

No. He wasn’t trying to be funny. The dining room chairs were hard. He was being considerate.

I sat down cautiously. Okay. It hurt a bit. Not too bad. Nothing I couldn’t handle.

We ate in silence. Again.

I didn’t mind silence normally. Silence was good. Silence gave you time to think. But I’d had nothing but silence this morning and I was tired of thinking. I was ready for noise.

“Look at me, Abigail.”

I jumped. Nathaniel was looking at me with those strangely intense green eyes. I couldn’t breathe.

“I didn’t like chastising you. But I have rules and when you break them I will chastise you. Swiftly and soundly.”

Of that, there was no doubt.

“And I don’t give gratuitous compliments,” he continued. “But you did well last night. Far better than I thought you would.”

Something inside me I thought dead flickered back to life. Not a lot. Not even a spark. Just a flicker. But to hear him say I’d done well…it was the highest praise I could hope to get from him.

He pushed back from the table. “Finish eating and meet me in the foyer in half an hour in your robe.”

I quickly tidied the kitchen and went to my room, hoping to lie down and rest, even if it was just for a few minutes. I was tired and, despite the ibuprofen, still feeling very sore. Instead, I put on my robe and went to meet Nathaniel, who was waiting for me in the foyer in his own robe—not quite what I’d expected. I had no idea what he was planning.

“Follow me,” he said, turning and walking through a door I’d never used.

We made our way through a masculine living room. There was a large television above a massive fireplace. Leather couches provided ample sitting room and a tall, wide window overlooked an expansive patio.

He opened the French doors leading to the patio and waited for me to go outside.

Outside? In this weather? In a bathrobe?

But, again. Snowball’s chance and all. I stepped outside and waited.

He led me to a bubbling hot tub that sat low in the ground, surrounded by steam and fluffy white towels. It looked like heaven.

He untied my robe and slipped it off. “Turn around.”

I turned, just a little embarrassed to have him look at my backside, although why, I wasn’t sure. He’d seen plenty of it the previous night.

“Good.” His hand skimmed over me lightly. “It won’t bruise.”

It wasn’t a question, so I didn’t say anything. But I was happy. And surprised. It certainly felt like it would bruise.

When he took my hand, I noticed he’d taken off his robe. He led me to the side of the tub and stepped in, still holding my hand.

“It’ll sting a bit,” he said. “But that should disappear soon.”

I gasped as I entered the hot water. It felt so good after the icy coldness of the winter air. And it did sting, but as I grew accustomed to the water, I felt the pain slip away.

“No pain today,” Nathaniel said, taking me in his arms and drawing me down to sit on him. “Just pleasure.”

The steam was heavier when I sat down on his lap, I couldn’t see him clearly. He was all fuzzy and buried in the fog. Like he was a dream. Like this was a dream.

His lips nibbled on my neck and his hands ran down my arms. “Touch me,” he whispered in my ear.

My hands ran down his chest. I hadn’t touched him like that before. It was new. His chest was rock-hard and perfect, like the rest of him. My hands went lower, stroked his stomach. He sucked in a breath when my hands went even lower. Then I brushed his c**k and he was hard. I took him in one hand.

“Two hands,” he whispered. I took the length of him with both hands and, because I knew he’d like it, squeezed him hard.

“You learn fast.” He slipped his arms to my waist and spun me to straddle him. Gentle, though, careful not to touch where he’d struck me last night.

The entire experience was a lesson in opposites. The frigid temperature of the air and the heat of the water. The pleasure Nathaniel brought to my body and the soreness that reminded me of the pain he inflicted last night. But mostly it was Nathaniel himself—the man who could be hard as nails and still touch me as light as a feather.

I breathed in the warm, enveloping steam as he worked me with his magical hands. I’d thought that maybe my feelings for him had cooled. Especially after the previous night. But being in his arms, being so close, and feeling what he could do to my body, the flicker grew to a spark and I knew I was dangerously close to igniting completely.

CHAPTER TWELVE

I looked over my shoulder to make sure no one was watching. No one. I went back to the computer in front of me.

Do it, Bad Abby encouraged.

But it’s wrong, Good Abby countered.

No one will know. Bad Abby was so bad.

You’ll know. Good Abby was a stick-in-the-mud.

My fingers were poised over the keyboard. Poised and ready. Nathaniel West. It’d take me seconds to type his name.

Nathaniel. The man was starting to fill my weekdays as well as my weekends. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Even after the horrible spanking. I should have wanted nothing to do with him. I should have taken the collar off and mailed it back to him.

Instead I was counting down the hours until Friday night. At six. Six o’clock this weekend. There had been no impersonal phone calls this week. No need for one.

I looked at my watch. Thirty-and-a-half hours left. I was such a dork. I bet none of his other submissives had counted down. Then again, we were talking about Nathaniel West. On second thought, I bet all his submissives counted down.

But back to the business at hand. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and typed his name as fast as I could.

Oh, yeah. Sure, Good Abby snorted. It doesn’t count if you don’t look.

The computer whirred as it pulled up the information I asked for. My heart pounded. I looked over my shoulder again. Then back to the screen.

And there it was. Jackpot.

Nathaniel West was a public library patron. Or at least he could be. He had a card. He just never used it. Interesting. When had he been issued a card? I counted backward. Six and a half years ago. Hmmm…I’d been working at the library six and a half years ago.

Wonder who issued him a card? I glanced around. So many people had come and gone in six and a half years. It could have been anyone. The only thing I knew was that it wasn’t me. If I clicked on the next link—

“Abby?”

“Ahhh!” I jumped ten feet in the air.

Elaina Welling was staring at me strangely when I came back down from the ceiling.

“Elaina!” I said, putting a hand over my pounding heart. “You scared the crap out of me.” She had a sly grin on her face and I wondered if she’d seen the screen. “Ready for the big game?” I asked.

Jackson and the Giants were in the play-offs the upcoming weekend in Philadelphia. He’d given Felicia tickets to the game. She had been beside herself all week. Hard to live with, truth be told. All Nathaniel had given me was a spanking.

Stop it. Here and now, remember?

I was sure Nathaniel would be going to the game, which meant we only had tomorrow night. Just one night…

“Getting ready, but I was hoping I could take you to lunch today,” Elaina said, dragging me away from thoughts of the next night.

“Oh.” I looked at my watch. “I don’t take lunch until noon.”

“That’s okay, I have a few things to take care of. How about Delphina’s at ten past?”

We agreed, and half an hour later I walked into the bistro Elaina had picked out.

She was waiting for me at a secluded corner booth. We both ordered iced tea, and when the waitress left, Elaina leaned across the table.

“I’m going to tell you a secret,” she said. “I know what you are. I know about Nathaniel.”

My jaw hit the table. Elaina knew. If Elaina knew then Todd knew and if Todd knew—

“You’re in shock. I should have said it differently. It’s just—” she stammered, “—I thought it’d be better to lay it all out. And I don’t care. You’re great. And I love Nathaniel. I’d love him no matter what.”

“Wait a minute,” I said, holding a hand up. “Does Nathaniel know? Does he know you know and does he know you’re taking me to lunch?” Because, damn it, she wouldn’t be the one with the sore ass.

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