On my knees, p.9
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       On My Knees, p.9

         Part #2 of Stark International Trilogy series by J. Kenner
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“Yes, sir,” I say. Then I draw in a breath, a little bit nervous, a little bit more aroused. And very, very curious about where this week will lead.


  Leather cuffs surround my wrists, my ankles. Each has a small metal loop through which Jackson has threaded nautical rope. My arms are spread wide across the mattress, lashed into place by the rope, which is knotted firmly somewhere near the ground, outside my range of vision.

  My legs are spread wide, too, and bound similarly.

  But for the small vibrator that I still wear on a chain, I am naked. And I am alone.

  We’re on Jackson’s boat in Marina del Rey, the Veronica, a small yacht that serves as both home and office.

  We’d come here straight from the parking garage, and Jackson had wordlessly led me to his bedroom below deck. He’d gestured for me to sit on the edge of the bed while he opened a small trunk that he keeps in the bottom of his closet. I’ve seen it before, though I have never gotten a look at the contents. Only what he’s removed.

  This time, he removed the cuffs and the rope.

  I wanted to slide off the bed and peek over his shoulder. Even more, I wanted to ask with whom he has shared those toys. But I kept quiet; that is a conversation for another time.

  And now I am alone, naked and wanting. “Anticipation,” he’d said. “And imagination. And, yes, something with a little bit of a tease. ”

  The tease is the vibrator, which he turned on before brushing a soft kiss over my lips and then pulling back. When he left, I had moaned in protest, but he had only looked back at me from the doorway, his heated gaze sweeping over me and affecting me as potently as a caress.

  He’d put his finger to his lips for silence. And I, who have agreed to submit to his demands, pressed my lips together.

  “Soon,” he said, and then he was gone.

  According to the clock mounted on the opposite wall, it has been thirteen minutes since he left.

  Thirteen minutes I have been alone, aware of the gentle rocking of the boat. Aroused by the sensation of the vibrator buzzing between my breasts. Page 34

  At first, the pulses had been localized. A slight tickle over my breastbone that seemed odd, but not uncomfortable. Intriguing, but not arousing.

  But then I closed my eyes and let myself drift, and the sensation began to spread. To my breasts. Down to my belly. To the soft skin between thigh and torso where Cass has inked a red ribbon, a reminder of the mistakes I’ve made.

  In fact, it is almost as if the vibrations are following my ink, following the path of my triumphs and tribulations, only to culminate now between my thighs as I think of where all those trials have led. To Jackson.

  Deep, rhythmic vibrations fill me, along with soft, gentle teases that skitter along the surface of my skin like an electric current connecting each tiny hair along my body.

  The pendant hasn’t moved at all, and yet I feel the sensations racing through me. And they are growing. Building.

  Before he left me, Jackson told me that I’m not allowed to come, and I had scoffed when he’d said so. Come? How could I possibly when I couldn’t move? Couldn’t touch myself? When his erotic toy was between my breasts and not between my legs.

  How wrong I’d been.

  Now, as my body tightens and my arousal grows and my sex feels heavy with need, I can’t help but fear that I will break his rule and explode. Right here, right now, I’ll shoot up into the heavens with nothing but my imagination and these wild, trembling sensations to bolster me.

  Frustrated, I writhe on the bed, but I can only manage the smallest of motions with my hips, and though I want to stroke myself, my hands are a long way from my clit, which is so damn sensitive that even the still air in this small room is tantalizing.

  I glance at the clock. Fourteen minutes now. Just one measly minute has passed since I last glanced that way, and I can’t help but wonder when Jackson will return—and how I will survive until he does.

  I close my eyes and try to focus on something other than my current state of arousal. But that’s really not possible. I’m nothing but sensation now, and even when I try to think about something other than the way I am feeling, all I can do is imagine him. Beside me. Touching me. Teasing me.

  A tremor cuts through me, and I bite my lip. Hard. So much for trying to keep my thoughts under control. Right now, I am incapable of thinking about anything but him.

  And then—as if the universe has decided that I’ve suffered enough—he is there. He stands in the doorway, his hands thrust casually into his pockets. And even from this distance, I can see that he is fully erect, his cock straining to burst out of the tight denim of his jeans.

  I think I whimper. Because oh, dear god, I want him inside me.

  “This is a truly spectacular sight. ”

  “Jackson, please. ”

  His brows lift, and I can tell that he is enjoying this game. This torment. “Please what?”

  “You know. ”

  “Say it. ”

  “I want you inside me. ”

  “Not like that. Tell me. ” He takes a step toward me. “Tell me exactly what you want. Because right now, what I want is to pleasure you. I want to see your skin ripple under my touch. I want to hear your breath stutter as you try to keep control. I want to see your cunt glisten as I make you more and more wet. And I want to watch your breasts pucker and tighten, your nipples as hard as nails and so very ready for my touch. ”

  Oh my.

  “But I need you to tell me, baby. How should I touch you to get you there? Tell me what you want. Tell me what turns you on. ”

  My cheeks burn, which is ridiculous considering how open I am to him at this moment. But I can’t help it.

  “Tell me,” he says, stepping closer. “Or have none of it. ”

  My eyes cut to him. “Cruel, Mr. Steele?”

  “I can be. Or I can be very, very kind. ” As he speaks, he moves his fingertip over my body. Literally over it, by about two inches. So that while I can imagine his touch, I do not get to experience it. Even so, it seems to me like he is leaving a trail of heat in his wake.

  All that does, though, is drive home how much I will be missing if he doesn’t touch me for real. And though I am not sure what I intend to say, I start talking. “I—I want your hands on my breasts. Tight on my nipples. And then gentle touches, light and teasing, all the way down my body. And—”

  I stop myself, because he is smiling, and the expression is both aroused and victorious.

  “This is as much for you as for me, isn’t it?”

  His brows lift. “I certainly hope so. ”

  “I mean—” I cut myself off. “I mean that everything that happened today. With me. With me freaking out and you, well, having me surrender control and—” I draw a breath. “It’s just that you hate it, too, don’t you?” Page 35

  “Hate it? Hate what?”

  “Not this,” I say quickly. “Not us. The situation. The not knowing. And the fear that they might find out that your run-in with Reed wasn’t about the movie at all, but about me. And the fear that you can’t protect me. ”

  His posture has stiffened as I’ve spoken. And now he says only one word. He says, “Yes. ”

  I nod, because that is what I expected he would say. So I continue. “You were right about me, you know. I do like to submit so long as I’ve willingly relinquished control. ”

  “I know,” he says. “I can tell. ”

  Since I’m certain that he can, I don’t argue.

  “But what about you? I want to be there for you when you need to keep control. Like the other night, with the fighting. But what about now? Is it as satisfying for you to take control when I’m already giving it?”

  He looks at me for a long moment, his eyes traveling up and down my body. “Sweetheart, nothing could be more satisfying than you giving yourself to me. ”

  It’s the perfect answer, even better b
ecause I can see the truth in his eyes.

  After a moment, though, his smile turns wicked. “It occurs to me, though, that you’ve changed the subject. I believe you were telling me how you want me to touch you. ”

  “Oh. Right. ”

  “I suggest you continue. ”

  “Or?” I ask, feeling playful.

  He crosses his arms and looks stern.

  “Or what?” I press. “Or you’ll spank me?”

  “Careful, Ms. Brooks. You’re walking a line. ”

  “Am I? After all, I already told you I wanted more. In fact, I believe that more is just what you promised me. ”

  “Definitely naughty,” he says, making my smile grow even wider.

  “You want details, Jackson? You sure you want to know what I really want?”

  “Very much. ”

  I meet his eyes. “All right. I want it rough. ” It’s not until I say the words that I realize how very true they are. “I want it wild. I want you to fuck me hard. And I want to forget everything that’s going on out there. I want to be lost in you, Jackson. Lost in us. ”

  He remains perfectly still, only the tightening of his jaw revealing that my words have affected him.

  “Those are dangerous things for a woman to say when she’s all tied up. ”

  “Maybe I like danger. ”

  I watch as the storm builds in his eyes. “Do you?”

  Gently, he presses a fingertip to my lips. Then he starts to trail it lightly down my chin, my neck. “Oh, baby. What you do to me. I want to give you everything you want. See pleasure bloom in your eyes. ” The finger dips lower, and he takes one nipple between two fingers, then rolls it, tightening his grip as he does.

  I bite my lower lip as the pressure increases, tighter and tighter, bringing more and more pleasure-like pain to the surface, until I feel it not just in my breast, but in my clit as well.

  “I want to take you to the edge and bring you back in my arms. And then I want to hold you close, calm you down, and take you right back out again. ”

  He releases my nipple, and I gasp, unprepared for the amazing sensation that accompanies the return of blood flow.

  “Is that a promise?” I have to concentrate to force out my whispered question.

  “Sweetheart, it’s a bond. ”

  He makes a crooking motion with his finger and tells me to lift my head. I do, and he removes the vibrator from around my neck.

  “Jackson …”

  I’m not sure why I’ve said his name. A warning not to go too far? A plea that he take me as far as I can go, and then some?

  It doesn’t matter. Because Jackson will do what he wants. And in doing it, I know that he will do what I need.

  He presses the tiny button to rotate through the settings. And though the vibrator is very small and very quiet, I hear the whisper-soft hum of the pulses, then the increase in frequency as he sets it at maximum.

  He slants a look at my face, and then he very slowly trails the tip of the pendant over the swell of my breast. The sensation is delicious, and I close my eyes, giving myself permission to simply float as he ministers to me.

  The touch cuts through me, rousing me, but it is also relaxing, and I drift a bit, letting myself simply feel.

  And then he ramps it up.

  He moves the pendant in a spiral, as if drawing a series of decreasing circles on my breast. Getting closer and closer to my nipple, until finally the pendant edges up against my now-tight areola.

  I am no longer drifting. Now I am on the verge of begging. Because the sensation has started to grow, and I am not sure that I can keep it all inside, and I am moving back and forth as much as I can with my arms and legs bound, as if by writhing and swaying I can somehow regain control over the riot of sensations inside me. Page 36

  Of course I cannot. I have ceded that control, after all. I am in Jackson’s hands, and he is relentless, and I am wondering now about the wisdom of telling him to take me far. To take me hard.

  Because so far, I am barely managing even this relatively mild touch. How will I survive a full-blown onslaught of sensuality?

  He lifts the pendant now and then touches the tip ever so softly to my nipple, which is already so sensitive and tight that even this butterfly-kiss contact rockets to my cunt and—oh, dear god—I feel the tremors of a building orgasm rise through me, set off by nothing more than Jackson’s teasing of my breasts.

  “Oh, yes,” he says, then very gently strokes his fingers over my sex. “I think someone likes this. ”

  I say nothing. But I do whimper a bit.

  I hear him chuckle, and then he moves on, teasing my other breast similarly before easing the vibrator down my belly. I arch up, wanting both to escape the relentless sensation and to silently beg for it to continue.

  When he reaches my pubis, he pauses, then lifts his head to look at me. It’s a challenge, I think, and I stay silent. Neither protesting nor begging, despite wanting to do both.

  His small, smug grin suggests he knows exactly what I am thinking. My pubic hair is waxed into a thin landing strip, and he teases me by tracing the edge before finally trailing the tip of the vibrator around my clit. Close, but not on the most sensitive part.

  I writhe, testing my bonds, needing to escape or control this growing, wild sensation. But I am bound and there is no escape. There is only submission. And excitement. And pleasure so keen it is disguised as pain.

  “Please. ” It is the only word that means anything. “Please. ”

  But he doesn’t listen. He torments me for another minute, an hour, a year. Until finally—finally—he brushes the tip of the vibrator over the sensitive tip of my clit and I explode as a knife edge of pleasure slices through me, cutting me to ribbons and then sending those shards up into the sky, higher and higher until I finally, blissfully, fall back to earth, my body still tingling. Still hyperaware.

  “Oh, god, oh, Jackson. ”

  I am still trapped, and I struggle against the bonds, wanting to touch him, but he is having none of that.

  He strips quickly, and he’s so hard that I think his erection must be painful. “Hard, you said? You want to be fucked hard?”

  “Yes. ” I buck my hips. “God yes, please. ”

  He doesn’t disappoint. He slams into me, and I am so wet and aroused that he enters me fully in one deep, amazing thrust. Over and over, his body pounds into mine, and the friction on my still sensitive clit sends me spiraling up over and over—one, two, twelve, a million—I have no idea how many times I come, but I seem to be nothing more than an explosion of light and sparks. No longer myself, but simply pure pleasure.

  And when I finally do drift back to earth—when he unties me and pulls me close—I realize that he did exactly what he promised. He took me somewhere I have never been. And in doing it, gave me the most profound sexual experience of my life.

  “That was wonderful,” I say, though the word sounds weak. “Profound. Life-changing. A religious experience. ”

  He laughs. “That is very good to know. ” The vibrator necklace is on the mattress beside us and now he picks it up and puts it back over my head. “And I have to say, I very much like you wearing this. ”

  I raise a brow as I trail my finger over the delicate chain and down to the pendant. “Like a slave collar. ”

  His eyes widen just a bit. “And what would you know about that?”

  “I read. I watch movies. I surf the internet. ”

  “Do you?”

  “And what do you know?” I counter, thinking about his trunk, the contents of which I still haven’t inspected. But leather cuffs are rather telling, as far as I’m concerned. And, yes, I am intrigued.

  “I think there are some very interesting things that can be adopted from the BDSM repertoire,” he says as his finger strokes my collarbone, then my breasts. He flicks his thumb over my nipple, and I can almost see him thinking about the possibilitie

  After a moment, he looks up at me again. “As for the collar, that’s a symbol of ownership. Do I need to mark you as mine?”

  I lean forward to kiss him. “You already have. ”

  His expression hardens. “Your tattoo. On your back. ”

  I cringe and shake my head. “No. God, no. ” My words are vehement, and he relaxes. “I was lost when I had Cass do that tat. It was a way to keep you without keeping you. And that wouldn’t satisfy me now. Not even close.

  “No,” I continue, taking his hand and pressing it to my chest. “You’ve marked me here. You’ve marked my heart, Jackson. And we both know that I belong to you. ” Page 37

  He is not beside me when I wake in the middle of the night, and though I try to drift back to sleep, I can’t seem to manage it without Jackson beside me.

  I find his T-shirt on the floor and put it on, wanting the scent of him more than I want the warmth of a robe. Of course, as I climb topside, I begin to regret that. California is mild, but in October by the ocean, there is a definite chill.

  Fortunately, he is not outside, so I am not too cold when I find him in his office, which is made from the converted entertainment and living area on this exceptional floating home.

  He is sitting at his desk, facing the blackness of the ocean and a few sparkling lights from Catalina Island in the distance. He is flipping through a folder, and from where I stand at the top of the stairs, I can see that the documents inside are photographs and sketches.

  “Fucking ridiculous,” he mutters, and I take a step toward him, curious.


  He looks up, and I’m grateful that he looks happy to see me and not irritated that I’m intruding. “Hey. Couldn’t sleep?”

  “Not without you beside me. ”

  He holds out his hand for me, his smile tender. “Then I apologize for leaving. Come here. ”

  I do, and he slides his arm around my waist as I look down at the documents he’s studying. They are his sketches. And I can see that his reaction is identical to mine—no matter who follows him, the resort will suffer for it.

  “It’s not going to be as good,” he says, though I’m not sure if he’s talking to himself, to me, or to the universe at large.

  I sigh. “No, it’s not. ” I lick my lips, and then voice the thing that has been troubling me. “I’m sorry. ”

  “We’ve had this discussion. Stark is the asshole who fired me. You were just the messenger. ”

  “Not for that. For staying. ”

  “What?” He looks genuinely baffled.

  “I could have walked out, too. I probably should have. ”

  “No. ” He shakes his head vehemently. “Good god, Sylvia, did you think that I would want you to?”

  “I don’t know,” I say honestly. “Didn’t you?”

  “This is your project. Your concept. Your baby. Of course I don’t want you to toss it away for me. I’m the best—I’m not going to argue that point—but no matter who you end up with, it will still be an excellent resort, and you are the reason why. ” He pulls me close and kisses my forehead. “I would never ask you to walk away from something you love, and you shouldn’t ever do that. Not without a reason that makes sense. And misplaced loyalty isn’t a good reason. ”

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