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Page 26

Now you know.

This is me.

She turns and gives me a piercing stare as I wait for her to say something, but she prolongs my agony and walks farther into the room, forcing me to follow her.

Her fingers trail over a suede flogger, one of my favorites. I tell her what it’s called, but she doesn’t respond. She walks over to the bed, her hands exploring, her fingers running over one of the carved pillars.

“Say something,” I ask. Her silence is unbearable. I need to know if she’s going to run.

“Do you do this to people or do they do it to you?”

Finally!

“People?” I want to snort. “I do this to women who want me to.”

She’s willing to have a dialogue. There’s hope.

She frowns. “If you have willing volunteers, why am I here?”

“Because I want to do this with you, very much.” Visions of her tied up in various positions around the room overwhelm my imagination; on the cross, on the bed, over the bench…

“Oh,” she says, and wanders to the bench. My eyes are drawn to her inquisitive fingers stroking the leather. Her touch is curious, slow, and sensual—is she even aware?

“You’re a sadist?” she says, startling me.

Fuck. She sees me.

“I’m a Dominant,” I say quickly, hoping to move the conversation on.

“What does that mean?” she inquires, shocked, I think.

“It means I want you to willingly surrender yourself to me, in all things.”

“Why would I do that?”

“To please me,” I whisper. This is what I need from you. “In very simple terms, I want you to want to please me.”

“How do I do that?” she breathes.

“I have rules, and I want you to comply with them. They are for your benefit and for my pleasure. If you follow these rules to my satisfaction, I shall reward you. If you don’t, I shall punish you, and you will learn.”

And I can’t wait to train you. In every way.

She stares at the canes behind the bench. “And where does all this fit in?” She waves at her surroundings.

“It’s all part of the incentive package. Both reward and punishment.”

“So you’ll get your kicks by exerting your will over me.”

Spot on, Miss Steele.

“It’s about gaining your trust and your respect, so you’ll let me exert my will over you.” I need your permission, baby. “I will gain a great deal of pleasure, joy even, in your submission. The more you submit, the greater my joy—it’s a very simple equation.”

“Okay, and what do I get out of this?”

“Me.” I shrug. That’s it, baby. Just me. All of me. And you’ll find pleasure, too…

Her eyes widen fractionally as she stares at me, saying nothing. It’s exasperating. “You’re not giving anything away, Anastasia. Let’s go back downstairs where I can concentrate better. It’s very distracting having you in here.”

I hold out my hand to her and for the first time she looks from my hand to my face, undecided.

Shit.

I’ve frightened her. “I’m not going to hurt you, Anastasia.”

Tentatively she puts her hand in mine. I’m elated. She hasn’t run.

Relieved, I decide to show her the submissive’s bedroom.

“If you do this, let me show you.” I lead her down the corridor. “This will be your room. You can decorate it how you like, have whatever you like in here.”

“My room? You’re expecting me to move in?” she squeaks in disbelief.

Okay. Maybe I should have left this until later.

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