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“Monday morning,” Dash said. “When she comes into work.”

Joss frowned but held silent.

“What is it, honey? You obviously want to say something,” Dash gently encouraged.

“It’s not for me to decide,” she began.

“Say what you want to say,” he directed.

She drew in a breath. “I just thought that perhaps something like this should be said outside of work. It’ll be a shock. And we’re friends. I mean, you’re more than just her employer. I think you owe it to her to tell her someplace more intimate.”

“What did you have in mind?” Dash asked slowly.

She glanced nervously up at him and he wanted to pull her into his arms and reassure her. She had nothing to fear from him. No disapproval. There was nothing she could do that would earn his censure.

“You could invite her here,” Joss said. “We could tell her together. It may be easier than at work. It would also give her time to come to terms before she has to go to work. Time to deal with it so she has it together by the time she has to go in on Monday.”

“It’s not a bad idea,” Jensen said. “No one wants her hurt by this and obviously I’m going to be a sore subject with her.”

“What if you came too?” Joss said.

Jensen looked surprised and then wary.

“I don’t mean right away,” Joss said hastily. “But perhaps it would be a good idea for you two to meet in neutral territory. She can see that you aren’t an ogre. We could have Kylie over and have a dinner party Sunday night. We could invite Tate and Chessy to come so that Kylie meets Jensen in a group setting. What do you think, Dash?”

Hell, if it meant her coming to terms so quickly with him and her being together, and she didn’t mind their friends knowing it? He’d agree to damn near anything. Kylie be damned. Joss wanting to host a dinner party at Dash’s house, as a couple? Hell yes.

Dash glanced over at Jensen. “You up for dinner Sunday night?”

“Say yes,” Joss said impulsively, leaning forward to take Jensen’s hand. “We’re very much family. It’s always been that way with Carson and Dash’s company. I’d like for you to be a part of that.”

Jensen looked befuddled and Dash nearly chuckled. Another victim of Joss’s magic. She could soften even the hardest heart and no one could ever refuse her. Not when she asked so prettily. Hell, it would be like kicking a puppy.

“I’d like that,” Jensen said, and was rewarded by a blinding smile from Joss.

She latched onto both of Jensen’s hands and squeezed, delight shining in her eyes.

“I’ll cook a marvelous dinner,” she said, excitement evident in her voice. “You’ll like Tate and Chessy. You’ll like Kylie too when you’ve had a chance to see what she’s really like.”

Jensen smiled back at her. Joss’s enthusiasm and evident happiness was contagious. Jensen glanced Dash’s way, and he didn’t even have to mouth the words this time. It was evident in his look. Lucky bastard. Yeah, Dash was lucky all right. He didn’t know what he’d done to deserve this chance with Joss but he wasn’t about to spend any time pondering the whys and wherefores.

He’d grab the opportunity with both hands and hang on for all he was worth.

SEVENTEEN

“MY darling deserves a reward,” Dash said in a husky voice.

Joss glanced up as he closed the door after seeing Jensen out. “What did I do?”

He smiled and leaned down to kiss her. “You were, as always, a fantastic hostess. You made Jensen feel welcome and alleviated any potential awkwardness by asking for a meeting before he came on board. Thanks for that, love.”

She smiled back and twined her arms around his neck. “I’m glad you approve. Now what’s this about a reward?”

His eyes darkened, sending a shiver down her spine. She got the feeling that this reward was not going to be a typical one.

“I’m going to tell you what I have in mind,” he murmured. “In exacting detail. And then you have to be honest and tell me if you’re up for what I have planned. The hell of it is I don’t know who will be more rewarded. You or me.”

“Is there any reason we can’t both be rewarded?” she asked innocently.

“I hope to hell not,” he growled.

“Then tell me what it is you have planned and I’ll tell you whether I’m up for it,” she said with a grin.

He wrapped his arms around her, keeping her linked to him and her arms in place around his neck. As he walked her backward into the living room, he nibbled and nipped at her neck and up to her ear, sending chill bumps dancing over her skin.

“First you’re going to strip down until you’re completely na**d,” he whispered against her ear. “Then I’m going to tie you up so you’re completely powerless and subject to my every whim.”

“Mmm, sounds good so far,” she murmured.

“Then I’m going to insert a plug to prepare you for me. After that I’m going to spank that sweet ass of yours until it’s rosy with my marks.”

She shivered uncontrollably, her mind exploding with the images he evoked. She let out a small whimper as he sucked the lobe of her ear into his mouth. God, she could come with just his words. She was already aching with need. Her ni**les tingled and hardened to painful points. Her cl*tpulsed and twitched between her legs until she clamped her thighs together to alleviate the burn.

“And then I’m going to f**k your mouth, Joss. But I won’t come. Not yet. When I’m close, I’ll flog you again until your ass is burning and you’re on fire with the need for relief. And then I’m going to f**k that ass. I’m going to take you hard and rough, to the very limits of what you can withstand. I won’t be gentle. Not tonight. I’m going to take you as roughly as you can stand. And then I’m going to come all over your ass. I’ll mark it with my cum just like I marked you with the crop. And then I’ll f**k you some more, filling your ass until it spills down the insides of your gorgeous thighs. Think you can handle that, honey? Are you ready to be completely and utterly dominated? Taken over and used purely for my pleasure?”

The words were silky in her ears, sending her into a dreamlike haze. She could barely form a coherent response, so aroused was she by his statements. It was everything she’d fantasized about, only now it was real and in the here and now and not in her darkest dreams. Was she ready? Was this truly what she wanted or was it merely a fantasy better left in the realm of fantasies, never to be brought to life?

“Tell me, Joss,” he said roughly, tightening his hold around her. “Give me the words.”

As he spoke his demand, his fingers wound around her hair, pulling it tight until her scalp tingled. This was a side of Dash she’d never seen, never dreamed existed. She licked her lips, her mouth dry with desire and need. So much need.

“Yes,” she croaked out. “I want it, Dash. I want it all. I want you.”

“Your safe word,” he said in a guttural voice. “Remember your safe word. If I go too far, use it and I’ll stop immediately. Tell me the word so I know you remember.”

She scrambled to remember what she’d decided on. She couldn’t imagine Dash going beyond her limits when he seemed so in tune with her needs.

“G-ghost,” she stammered out.

“Very good,” he said softly, sucking at her ear again. “But be sure, Joss. Because when you say that word, it ends and the mood will be broken. There won’t be any going back. So be very sure that you truly want me to stop and aren’t just overwhelmed by the moment. I’ll push your limits. You want a man to push you. You’ve said as much. So don’t chicken out the first time things get intense. Because this will be intense, Joss. You need to understand that. When I say I’m going to mark your ass, it’s no game. I will spank you hard. I’ll raise welts on that pretty skin of yours. I won’t break the skin, but you’ll wear the marks the next day and be reminded that I put them there. I want to look at them the next morning and remember that I put them there.”

She nodded her agreement but then quickly voiced her acceptance, knowing he’d force her to say the words, to fully acknowledge the step they were taking.

“I won’t use it unless I’m absolutely certain I don’t want to continue,” she said softly. “I trust you, Dash. I know you won’t go too far. And I do want it all. The full measure. I don’t want you to hold back. I want you to do what it is you want without fear of hurting or frightening me.”

“That means a lot to me, honey. Now, if we’re finished with talking, I’d rather get on to getting you na**d and bound and at my mercy.”

“Me too,” she whispered.

“Go into the bedroom, undress and kneel at the foot of the bed. I’ll be there as soon as I get the necessary items. Remember your position. Thighs spread, palms up and resting on your legs.”

“I remember, Dash. You don’t have to remind me. I won’t disappoint you.”

He smiled tenderly at her. “I know you won’t, honey. Now go. I’ll be there in just a moment.”

Joss hurried toward the bedroom, her pulse thudding in her veins. She was so aroused and excited that she was dizzy with it. His words echoed in her mind, vivid and erotic. She was wildly aroused, so excited that she couldn’t remain still.

Even when she’d hurriedly undressed and sank to her knees to wait, she fidgeted with impatience. Yes, she’d fantasized about a man having complete control over her body. Of being bound and vulnerable. Of having a man mark her. Inflicting pain that quickly faded to pleasure. But would the reality hold up to her darkest fantasies? Would she enjoy him spanking her and would it be enjoyable or would it be painful with none of the pleasure she imagined?

There was only one way to find out. She’d given herself to Dash to do with as he pleased. She hoped with all her heart that it didn’t turn out to be awful. She didn’t want to wimp out and use her safe word the very first time he pushed her boundaries. He’d said she’d never disappoint him, but how could she do anything else if she backed out the minute things got edgy?

The wait seemed interminable, though she was sure only moments had elapsed since she’d left Dash to wait for him in the bedroom. She forced herself to maintain her position and be patient. She’d do nothing to disappoint him. Not when he’d been so patient and understanding with her.

He entered a scant second later carrying rope, a flogger and a plug that looked enormous. Her eyes widened as she imagined taking that into her body. It didn’t look possible!

He smiled at her reaction. “Don’t worry, darling. I’m not going to just shove it in. I’ll work you up and go easy. You’ll take it just fine. And then you’ll take me. All of me.”

She shivered again, her eyes half-lidded as a drugged sensation overtook her. He had yet to touch her and already she had entered another zone altogether. Euphoria heightened her senses. She was painfully aware of his presence. Anticipated that first command, that first touch. She wasn’t sure how she’d possibly hold out. She was already so close to the edge and there was so much more to come. He’d very vividly outlined precisely what he planned.

He dropped the instruments on the edge of the bed and then slowly unzipped his pants, pulling his rigid c**k free of confinement. Then he positioned himself in front of her, his erection straining upward. He grasped the base and lowered the tip to her lips.

“Maintain your position. Don’t move a muscle. Open your mouth and let me in.”

Careful to remain perfectly still, she parted her lips as he nudged inward. He didn’t take her roughly. In fact, his thrusts were slow and measured, sliding over her tongue, allowing her to taste and feel the thickness of his cock.

She savored the wholly male taste of him. Inhaled his scent. His hands slid into her hair, gripping her harder and holding her firmly in place as he f**ked her mouth. A tiny spurt of liquid spilled onto her tongue and she swallowed, sucking greedily for more. He laughed and withdrew, tapping her cheek lightly in reprimand.

He lowered his hand, motioning for her to take it. Then he lifted her to her feet, holding her when she was unsteady, so on edge. Her knees felt like jelly. Thankfully she didn’t have far to walk. She felt drunk. High on anticipation, eager to experience all that he’d promised her.

“Get onto the bed. I want you in the middle, on your knees, facing the headboard. I’m going to tie your hands above your head to either post and then I’m going to tie your ankles to the lower bedposts. You’ll be helpless, Joss. Completely and utterly at my mercy. And tonight I plan to have no mercy with you. I’m going to push you to the very edge of your limits. We spoke of those limits and that you wouldn’t know what they were until you got there. Tonight we’ll both find out just what those limits are. Remember your safe word. There is no shame in using it if you’re truly past your limits. But give yourself time. Don’t back out at the first moment of uncertainty. Trust yourself—and me—to get you where you want to go. Just let go, Joss. I’ll be here to catch you. I’ll always catch you.”

She closed her eyes, his words washing over her like the sweetest of balms. He gave her peace. Reassurance. That she could be who she truly wanted to be with him. That he wouldn’t judge her nor would he be disappointed in her if she did back out. His tenderness only made her more determined that she’d take anything he dished out and beg for more.

She crawled onto the bed, her limbs shaking, her entire body quivering with need. Harsh, edgy craving. She wanted him—what he could give her—more than she’d wanted anything else in her life.

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