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Maya Banks

  Hayley’s importance and role in Silas’s life. It made her unsure and insecure, and neither was a welcome or comforting feeling.

  If Silas truly cared for her the same way she cared for him, he wouldn’t constantly place the needs of another woman—a married woman—over Hayley. Hayley wouldn’t be relegated so far down the list of Silas’s priorities, ranking at least fourth—if not lower. She knew his loyalty was to Drake, Evangeline and his brothers above all others, and those were just the ones she knew about. Who knew who else rated higher?

  Maybe she was just a distraction. A passing source of entertainment and an outlet for sex. Convenient. Maybe he didn’t have any intention of keeping her around for any length of time, and if that was the case, she was the biggest fool ever for putting him first, for giving him her absolute loyalty, obedience and submission.

  She didn’t doubt that Silas was a good man. He wasn’t an asshole, at least not on purpose. He’d never given Hayley any indication that he didn’t value her, and he always looked out for her best interest and protected her from any perceived threat. But if she didn’t have his heart, if she didn’t have his absolute commitment, what did she really have?

  He owned every piece of her, body, mind and soul. Could she say the same about him? And did she even want to know the answer to that question? Sometimes the truth hurt. It cut as deeply as the sharpest blade, and sometimes ignorance truly was bliss. At least if she didn’t know the truth she could continue to create her own reality and remain unaware of Silas’s true feelings for her.

  She closed her eyes, angry that she was ruining what promised to be an exciting, pleasurable night because no matter what Silas planned, no matter the uncompromising set to his features, she knew he would take care of her and ensure her pleasure before his own. If she knew nothing else, she knew this to be the one steady truth in their relationship.

  If she would only stop overanalyzing and picking apart every aspect of his personality and stop letting her insecurities and fears overrule all else and just relax and live in the moment, then she’d be a hell of a lot happier for it. She couldn’t predict what might happen tomorrow, next week, next month or five years from now. But what she could do was enjoy each and every minute she and Silas were together, and no matter what the future held, she would hold close and savor and cherish every single moment she had with him. The only thing she could control was the here and now. Nothing else. So why torture herself endlessly on the what ifs and maybes?

  Feeling marginally better after the stern lecture she’d administered to her deeply held fears and insecurities, she relaxed and instead focused on what Silas had planned for her and just what he’d do to her tonight.

  Just the thought sent a warm flush over her entire body, and an electric tingle skittered up her legs to her torso and to the roots of her hair. Her fingers that had been splayed wide, planted on the mattress on either side of her head, dug into the bed and curled into tight fists, the material of the luxurious comforter gathered in her grasp.

  Her body was suddenly restless and a low moan slipped past her lips as she fought the urge to writhe and slip one hand down between her legs to stroke over her highly sensitized clit. She fought off the temptation, knowing Silas wouldn’t be pleased, and pleasing him made her happy. She loved the approval that warmed his gaze when she willingly did his bidding. It made it sound like she was a child desperate to please or gain the approval of a parent or adult. It would no doubt make her appear needy and pathetic to other people, but she didn’t give one fuck about what anyone except Silas thought about her. Making him happy—wanting to make him happy—was something she did for her every bit as much as she did it for him. And if something satisfied her and filled the hollow places in her heart, then that was all that mattered. She owed no one explanations, nor did she have to justify her decisions to anyone but herself.

  She breathed in sharply and went completely still, letting her fingers uncurl and relax when she registered Silas’s presence in the bedroom. Her pulse sped up and a flutter began deep in her belly, traveling to the many erogenous zones at the apex of her thighs. Her vagina clenched in greedy expectation of what was to come.

  She nearly flinched when his huge hand covered her ass cheek, offering a caress as he petted her.

  “That’s my good girl,” he said huskily, approval laced in every word. “You’re my very good girl. So obedient and mindful of my instructions.”

  She flushed with delight, warmth shooting through her veins at his praise.

  “However, you weren’t so obedient or mindful of my wishes earlier today. My princess must be punished for such blatant and willful disobedience. I won’t tolerate you ever ignoring matters concerning your personal safety.”

  Her eyes flew open at the unexpected reprimand. What? She barely managed to keep from voicing the shocked What? aloud but bit into her lip just in time. Her mind raced frantically, perplexed and trying to understand what he meant. She’d ignored matters concerning her personal safety?

  “More than the fact that you disregarded my wishes,” he continued as he kept caressing the plump swell of her ass, “is the fact that you put yourself at risk by placing yourself in danger and prevented me from being in a position to protect you if the need arose. And that, my beautiful girl, is something I will never allow. Your safety, your well-being, is not just important. It’s everything. This is one area I will tolerate no defiance, and you will obey me when it comes to your welfare. Is that understood?”

  “Y-yes,” Hayley whispered.

  Understanding finally registered. He’d been angry that she hadn’t waited for him to walk her into the building when he dropped her off at school. She hadn’t even considered it because so much else had consumed her thoughts since then. A part of her heart melted at the stern gruffness that did nothing to disguise the very real concern in his voice.

  “Yes, what?” he prompted.

  “Yes, Silas.”

  “Promise me.”

  “I promise, Silas.”

  “Now, as your punishment you will remain positioned exactly as you are except I will bind your hands behind your back. You will receive twenty lashes from a flogger and after each one you will thank me for punishing you and keeping you safe. You get me?”

  Stunned, she tried to respond but nothing came out. When she finally could formulate a sentence it came out choppy and nearly inaudible.

  “I get you, Silas.”

  “Repeat back my instructions so I know you understand.”

  “After each lash I am to thank you for punishing me and keeping me safe,” she said, her breath hitching in her throat.

  His hand traveled up and then back down her spine in a loving caress that was in direct contradiction to the steel in his voice.

  “That’s my princess,” he praised.

  His hand left her and she nearly cried out her protest. There were muffled sounds and then he was back. He captured one of her hands and very gently brought it around to the small of her back before retrieving the other and positioning her wrists in a cross. Then he began winding rope around her wrists, taking care not to make it too tight or abrade her skin.

  He hadn’t administered the first blow and she was already violently aroused, her entire body tense, expectant, her nipples taut, her clit tingling with anticipation. She closed her eyes, sinking her teeth into her lip. Oh God, she’d never last the twenty lashes he’d sentenced upon her.

  Would he fuck her when he was finished, or would withholding her pleasure be part of her punishment? She went moist as images of him spreading her, her arms still bound, thrusting deep and hard over and over into her willing body bombarded her senses.

  This time the moan escaped her lips and she twisted restlessly in an attempt to alleviate the burning need that gripped her so relentlessly.

  He moved away from her again and she strained to hear any sound he made, trying to track his movements and anticipate when he’d administer the first lash.

  It ca
me out of nowhere, taking her completely by surprise. Fire erupted on the fleshy cheek he struck and raced over her skin, turning quickly to heated pleasure that hummed through her veins, bathing her entire body in the euphoric aftermath of the initial pain.

  Never had she experienced anything to rival the sensation of the crop across her bare ass. By the time she’d blessedly remembered to thank him for punishing her and keeping her safe—very nearly forgetting after the initial blow—she was mindless with edgy need, pleasure and a haze of euphoria that settled over her like the thickest cloud.

  When he reached the halfway mark, he paused and she very nearly cried out in disappointment and had to stifle her pleas for him not to stop. He petted and caressed every inch of flesh he’d marked with the flogger and then leaned down to cover the same area with kisses.

  She let out a whispered sigh of sweet contentment, wondering how something that felt this good could possibly be called punishment.

  When his lips left her, she tensed in expectation of the next blow, even arching her buttocks eagerly as if begging for the kiss of the flogger.

  “My beautiful, sweet girl,” Silas murmured in obvious approval. “So perfect. So obedient. I’m so fucking lucky.”

  Tears pricked the edges of her eyes as the precious words seeped into her very soul. Silas wasn’t a demonstrative man by nature. She’d observed how he was with others. Quiet, reserved. And very private. And yet with her he was so much more open. Affectionate. Approving. That she got to see a side so few rarely witnessed gave her a measure of satisfaction unlike any she’d ever known.

  She jumped when the next blow fell even though she’d been expecting it at any second. It was harder than the first ten and she had to battle through the initial burn before the exotic bliss finally followed on its heels. He stepped up his efforts for the remaining lashes and with each subsequent flick of his wrist, the intensity grew until she was no longer cognizant of any thought or rationale. She could only feel. Experience. Give herself wholly to wave after wave of exquisite, earth-shattering pleasure.

  She was panting when the last blow was administered, and her thank-you was a barely audible whisper. Once more Silas leaned down, and this time he pressed his lips to the small of her back just below where her bound wrists rested. It was like a benediction. Full of praise, admiration and approval. She had pleased him and that gave her indescribable pleasure.

  To have brought even a measure of happiness and satisfaction to a man who’d seen little of either in his dim, gray life gave her a sense of peace she hadn’t felt since she was just a little girl with no worries except what game to play next. Before the days of her father’s illness and watching him slowly waste away and become a shell of the man he used to be.

  Perhaps she gave Silas something he rarely experienced, but he too gave her something she’d long gone without. Protection. Affection. Being needed by someone. Love . . .

  She blinked rapidly as the last word rolled through her mind, glowing brightly. Oh yes, she loved him. She’d loved him from the very start, of that she was certain. Why else would she have reacted to him as she had? Why else would she give him something she’d never give to another man? Her absolute submission. Control. Her body, her heart, her very soul.

  Slowly and with great care, Silas loosened the bonds around her hands and in turn brought each wrist to his mouth and kissed every inch that had been touched by the rope. This big, beautiful man was so very good to her and he was all hers. Except maybe he wasn’t.

  She immediately closed the door on that wayward thought, refusing to allow anything to ruin this moment. She wouldn’t think of Evangeline—or what she was to Silas. Not tonight. She wouldn’t believe such a thing of him. He was too honest and blunt, always saying what was on his mind, and she couldn’t conceive of him betraying her in such a horrible fashion. She had to be wrong. There was no other explanation.

  Letting go of her hands, he gently turned her over and then pulled her to her feet, wrapping his arms around her. He fed hungrily at her mouth like he was starving for her. Every bit as ravenous for her as she was for him.

  She went a little crazy, her need to touch him, to bring him the same pleasure he gave her consuming her to the exclusion of all else. She ripped at his clothing, desperate and impatient to remove any barrier between them, wanting to be skin on skin.

  He didn’t utter a single protest or admonishment, seemingly as mindless as she was, needing her every bit as much as she needed him. His shirt went flying, minus at least three buttons, lost in her haste to undress him. His jeans followed and then his underwear slid to the floor, leaving him naked, his erection scorching her sensitive flesh.

  She started at his mouth, kissing him with as much fervor as he’d kissed her merely seconds ago. Then she worked her way to his neck, nipping and biting, marking his beautiful male skin. The idea of marking her territory, of giving him a visible sign of her possession, aroused primitive instincts within her.

  She kissed, licked and sucked over his muscled chest and lapped at his flat nipples, causing them to become rigid beneath her tongue. Gripping his hips, she licked her way lower, swirling her tongue around his navel and teasing him until he growled and circled her shoulders in his strong grasp.

  Her final destination was just inches away. His erection jutted upward magnificently, every vein exposed, the dusky color of the head evidence of the extent of his arousal. She wanted to lick and suck him until he begged for mercy. Each time in the past that she’d intended to pleasure him with her mouth, to take his huge cock as deeply into her mouth as possible, he’d always been too impatient and had interrupted her before she had the opportunity to give him as much pleasure as he gave to her on a nightly basis. Tonight she wouldn’t be deterred.

  Lowering her hands and bending her knees, she wrapped her fingers around his massive girth and flicked her tongue out to lick at the bead of moisture forming at the tip of his cock. Before her tongue touched him, he let out another growl.

  “No!” he said harshly.

  She was immediately lifted and tossed down onto the bed. He loomed over her, his features drawn into a savage expression of need and intense arousal. Before she could so much as utter a word, he spread her wide, baring her completely to his possession, and he was above her and then inside her in one forceful lunge that robbed her of all breath.

  It was too much. Already hypersensitive and violently aroused, she shattered into a million tiny pieces as soon as he completed one brutal thrust. She cried out and latched desperately onto his powerful arms, needing an anchor in the ferocious storm of her orgasm. It went on and on, seemingly endless, until she sobbed with need, hunger, a little frightened at the intensity of their passion and her body’s reaction to Silas’s invasion.

  “Shhh, princess. I’ve got you. Just hold on to me and trust me. Let yourself go. I’ll never let you fall.”

  With another cry, she completely unraveled, shocked and terrified by the power of her second release so quickly after the first. She felt as though she were held together by only the thinnest of threads.

  “Trust me,” Silas whispered against her ear as he hugged her close to his chest.

  “Always,” she whispered back.

  She floated on a sea of the most beautiful pleasure she’d ever experienced as she registered Silas following her over the edge. He slumped down over her body, blanketing her with his warmth and strength. This was what she loved and craved most in the aftermath of their tumultuous lovemaking. When he was as boneless as she and he gave her his full weight while still buried deeply inside her. The sense of peace in this moment was the most beautiful thing she’d ever felt. Here and now there was no room for doubt or insecurity. There was just her and Silas, and in his arms, nothing could ever hurt her.

  “Have to say, princess. You might have to disobey me more often,” he said between ragged breaths. “Although I might not survive it if you do.”

  She laughed softly, joy filling her heart. “If this is y
our idea of punishment, then I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you don’t exactly provide incentive to be a good girl.”

  He nipped at her lobe and then licked the mark to soothe it. “You’re my good girl, though.”


  Hayley rubbed the last of the wetness from her hair after drying off from the shower she’d laughingly begged Silas to let her take and then walked back into the bedroom. Her stare was immediately drawn to Silas, who was still naked and sprawled lazily against the headboard. God, this man was magnificent.

  His gaze immediately locked onto her and he smiled, a spark in his eyes that made her shiver. The muscles in his arm flexed as he raised his hand to crook his finger at her. He chuckled when she crawled onto the bed next to him.

  “I don’t know why you insisted on a shower when I’m just going to mess you up all over again,” he drawled, a wicked glint to his eyes.

  His statement elicited a full-body shiver, chill bumps of anticipation prickling over her skin. Licking her lips, she hesitantly slid her hand over the top of his muscled thigh, brushing the tips of her fingers over his testicles. She held her breath, waiting for his inevitable rejection, bracing herself for the hurt and confusion over why her touching him so intimately seemed abhorrent to him.

  Maybe the other times were just a coincidence. She did have a history of jumping to conclusions, and those instances had been at times when his patience and control had been thin. But now after being initially sated, the mood was more relaxed and she was determined to show him her love and give him as much pleasure as she was capable of.

  When he didn’t move away or redirect her attention, she relaxed, relief bubbling up inside her. Emboldened by his acceptance, she wrapped her hand around his now-hardened flesh and then lowered her head, her hair splashing over his thighs like a curtain.

  Before her mouth could close around him, he fisted his hand in her hair while gripping her arm with his other hand, and he hastily dragged her up his chest so that her thighs straddled his hips.

  She opened her mouth to ask him why when his lips melted over hers, his clever fingers simultaneously stroking over her clit while he used his other hand to tease one of her nipples. With a soft moan, she surrendered, melting into his body as he continued his delicious torment. But this time, she wouldn’t forget to question him later. No longer could she tell herself that it was all in her head.

  One of his hands left her and she heard the nightstand drawer open, then felt something cold press against her clit. She gasped and tried to pull away from the sensation, but Silas clamped down on her hip to prevent it.

  “Reach down and put my dick in that sweet pussy,” he growled, and Hayley hurried to obey. “That’s right,” he hissed as she slid down his length. “Now don’t move until I say so. Not one twitch, princess, or I’ll redden your ass again.”

  Hayley stared at Silas with uncertainty, not at all sure what to make of their current positions. She gave him a half smile and adopted a teasing tone. “Wow, I’m never in control. I have no idea what to do here, Silas.”

  Amusement was thick in Silas’s voice. “It’s adorable that you think you’ll be in control because you’re on top.” He tweaked her nose affectionately. “I assure you that at no time will you be in control, sweet girl. Now put your hands on my shoulders and keep them there.”

  She leaned forward to follow his command and as soon as her hands were in place, the hard coldness pressed against her clit again. “Silas, what—?”

  A cry of shocked pleasure escaped her as the coldness started to vibrate. The sensation shot from her clit to her nipples, then continued to spread. Her nails dug into his shoulders as she fought the urge to impale herself on him over and over. Don’t move. Don’t move. Oh God, she needed to move.

  Just when she knew she was going to defy Silas’s order, he moved the toy from pressing in one spot and began circling her clit. Her strained breathing eased slightly and just as she thought she could handle the sensations, he once again pressed it firmly to her clit, holding it in one place. Her world narrowed to that buzzing object and the enormous erection stretching her trembling muscles.

  She made a desperate sound of need. “P-please, Silas. Please. I need to move.”

  “Are you sure that’s what you need? Positive?” he whispered against her trembling lips. “Beg me prettily and I’ll consider granting my princess’s request.”

  As if he would ever deny her. Hayley almost gave him a smug smile until she remembered he had denied her one thing and she had no idea why. She wasn’t experienced enough to understand the intricacies of male sexuality, and she was completely puzzled by Silas’s reaction to her. Maybe it was just a stereotype that all men liked for women to go down on them.

  “Please,” she said in her most husky, enticing voice. “Please let me move. I need to move.”

  His hand shifted lower and his eyes glittered as he stared at her. “Go,” he said in a harsh, needy voice as he pressed the toy against his dick, sending a shock wave of vibration through her pussy. “Ride me hard, princess.”

  Her eyes nearly rolled back in her head at the electrical surge that made his engorged cock quiver and stimulate her highly sensitized tissues. Desperate for the pleasure he promised, she rose and fell, trying to hold back the orgasm that was precariously close to erupting over her.

  No. It was too soon. Calling on discipline and restraint she didn’t think she possessed, she fought to keep her release at bay. She wanted to make this as perfect for Silas as it would be for her, and to do that she had to keep moving but not end it before it had barely begun. She increased her pace but kept a very tight leash on the edgy, clawing need that was all-consuming. In response, Silas’s fingers dug into her hip as he began to arch his hips, no longer content for her to do all the work. He seemed determined to drive himself as deeply as possible into her welcoming body, and she wanted that every bit as much as he did. But when he once again moved the toy and began a relentless assault on her swollen clit while pumping forcefully into her, she could no longer hold back the inevitable. He dragged her lips to his, and her scream was swallowed up by his mouth, his tongue plunging inward, mimicking the action of his cock. A mere second after she came screaming and writhing wildly in his arms, his entire body grew taut, his muscles tensing, a look on his face that could be interpreted as either intense pleasure or pain marking his features, and he followed her into the chaotic swirl of ecstasy. Her heart clenched when he shouted her name and then he gathered her in his arms, nearly crushing her with the strength of his hold, and he whispered so very tenderly, “My princess. My precious girl.”

  Never had she felt so cherished, like she was the most important person in Silas’s rigid, disciplined world. She could spend forever like this, soaking up his tender endearments. Exhausted, completely sated and spent, she snuggled deeply in Silas’s arms, nestled against his chest, a sigh of deep contentment escaping in a long breath. Silas seemed as content as she was for him to hold her in the ensuing silence, rubbing his hand up and down her back as she burrowed even deeper into his embrace until there was no space between them and they were joined physically, mentally, soul deep. No longer were they two separate entities but one single being. She was so deeply in over her head. If Silas didn’t feel the same way as she did, she would be utterly destroyed. She closed her eyes and shook off those thoughts, knowing she was on a path that potentially led to heartbreak.

  “I don’t think I can move,” she murmured ruefully.