Protecting His Own Part 15

More silence.

Nolan shook his head. Dammit. Pretty speeches were his submissives strength, not his. As the men in the house, its our job to keep Beth safe and try to make her happy.

Still silence.

Absently, he considered the picture of flowers on the wall. Nice and generic, but his guys would probably prefer something more interesting. Trains or football. You did good defending her. Both of you. Your mistake was in throwing the plate. He scratched his cheek. Its against the guy code to hurt women"unless they were into it"so its good your aim was off.

Are you mad at me? The whisper was so low he almost couldnt hear it.

Nope. He considered the picture again. Yeah, it definitely had to go. Beth should buy more masculine bedspreads, too. Actually, Im fucking proud of you and Connor for standing up for Beth. You showed real courage.

A rustling sound came from under the bed. I didnt mean to hurt the therapist lady. I wasmad.

Yep. Itll take work to get your temper under control. I had one, too, and I did some stupid shit when I was your age. And he hadnt had the excuse of having crappy examples of how to behave.

Grant crawled out from under the bed. I busted the window. Tears had left streaks on his cheeks, but he was on his feet and facing Nolan. Like a man.

Pride clogged Nolans throat. Guess youd better help me fix it then.

A second later, he had his arms full of boy.

Chapter Fourteen.

THAT NIGHT, BETH hesitated at the door of the Shadowlands. Turning, she stared back at the long, curving drive lined by stately palms. Sunset threw darkness into the contours of the land and gilded the stones of the three-story mansion.

This wasnt exactly the place shed have chosen to talk with Nolan.

His text hadnt invited discussion. The Shadowlands. Nine tonight. Kids are going to Dans. Ben will have your clothes. Was he angry with her?

Probablynot. She hadnt been rude, merely fled the house like the rabbit he called her. Humiliation washed over her.

Her afternoon hadnt been pleasant"and many weeds had died as shed worked out her frustration and hurt and anger. She felt so petty to be jealous of Alyssa. To want to be lusher and more like what she knew Nolan liked.

She bit her lip, wondering what hed planned for tonight. Maybe she could ask him for a quiet chat before the scene? Becauseshe needed to woman-up. Shed been an idiot and a wuss.

With a sigh, she grasped the heavy wrought iron handle, yanked open the door, and entered.

If it isnt little Beth. The giant security guards pleased greeting made her feel better.

Hey, Ben. How is Anne doing? Is she enjoying working for Galen?

Yeah, she loves it. I swear, listening to the two of them"and Sally"could make a guy paranoid. Never knew there were so many ways to spy on a person.

Beth snorted. Sounds like the beginning of a joke doesnt it? An ex-Fed, an ex-PI, and a hacker walk into a bar No shit. His rough laugh almost matched Sirs. Hey, Nolan left a bag for you. Some clothes. He reached under his big desk and drew out a backpack.

Right. Guess Id better get dressed. She bit her lip. How angry was her Master?

Relax. He didnt act pissed-off. Ben gave her a sympathetic smile before motioning toward the locker room. Get moving now.

A few minutes later, dressed in a boring brown leather skirt and matching halter-top, she walked into the main clubroom. Eyes peeled for Nolan, she crossed to the bar where Master Cullen was serving up drinks, mostly nonalcoholic this early in the evening. Hard drinks were usually a treat indulged in after playtime.

The huge bartender regarded her with a smile. Youre looking healthier, love. Your Master is setting up near the back. He waved his hand, indicating the left rear of the room.

Thank you, Sir. Without stopping, she headed that direction. As the sounds and scents of the club filled the air around her, she felt the familiar sinking sensation, a combination of excitement and submission as her body and mind prepared her for what was to come.

Hey, girlfriend. Rainie, resplendent in a bright blue corset that made the most of her abundant curves and highlighted her flower tats, was sitting on a couch beside Master Jake. Without waiting for her Doms permission, she jumped up to hug Beth. Ive missed seeing you here. Now Master Nolan is back, youll be in more often, right?

I Probably. If the boys left, she and Nolan wouldnt stay at home as much. Her heart ached at the thought and even more at the thought of the boys facing another unfamiliar house and people. If there werent any relatives, maybewould Nolan, maybe, change his mind about adopting a girl first? She put the thought to one side to consider later. But were hoping to adopt one of these days.

So Sally said. Rainie grinned"because Sally was the acknowledged queen of gossip. Some kid will win the jackpot with you and Nolan as parents. The sincerity in her voice couldnt be doubted.

Rainie got a hard hug. I totally needed to hear that right now. Thank you.

Beth. Heads-up, pet. Master Jake pointed toward a nearby scene area. You should get over there before someone loses patience.

Nolan was at the spider web, a shoulder-high bondage device resembling a massive hula-hoop filled with intricate rope webbing. Sirs arms were crossed over his chest. He didnt appear happy.

Oh boy, she said under her breath and heard Jake chuckle.

As she hurried up to her Master, the flutters in her stomach felt like frantic butterflies in a tropical storm. Im sorry, Master. Am I late?

No, sugar. His features gentled. Come and give me a hug before we get started.

Oh, she needed his hug really badly. His arms closed around her, pulling her close, and she melted against him. When shed first met him"this dark Dom with a cruel, scarred face"his big size and muscular body had seemed a terrifying threat. And now? He was still dangerous, no doubt about it, but he was her dangerous Dom.

After not nearly enough time, he stepped back and gripped her shoulders, holding her still as he studied her for a long, uncomfortable moment. You were crying when you left. And you didnt answer your phone.

She swallowed. Im sorry about the way I acted, Sir. I was just having an"she waved her hand in the air"an emotion attack.

Were you now? Nolan put a finger under her chin and lifted, forcing her to meet his razor-sharp gaze. Sugar, Ive made some mistakes over the summer. Starting with leaving you"although Ive already been scolded by my submissive for feeling guilty. His hint of amusement disappeared under determination. Id thought the violence at Annes house was still bothering you, only to learn about the hormone treatments failure. Today, I figured Alyssas bullshit about adoption was what upset you, only Im gettin the feeling Im off base again. Not being able to get pregnant will probably always grieve you, but did you have another reason you ran?

Reluctantly, she nodded. Honesty"this damn honesty was awful hard, especially when her reasons were so ridiculous. Surely, a woman should be past having self-image problems by her age. God, she was such a loser.

Tell me why.

Her mouth opened, butwhat could she say? Hey, Sir, do you still love me even though Im way too skinny and have no breasts to speak of? He did love her. This insecurity had no basis in reality and was her problem. Honestly, its nothing you have to handle. Its somethingpersonal and is my responsibility to deal with and nothing we need to discuss.

I see you believe that. She felt a moment of hope until a corner of his mouth lifted and he added, But I dont agree. His hand tangled in her hair and fisted, trapping her, sending a shiver of need up her center. Do you trust me, Beth?

Her answer was instinctual. Of course. She did, to the bottom of her soul.

Thats good, sugar, because Im going to push you.

She stared up at him as her legs started to tremble. His jaw was hard. Not angry"but with determination. Oh God, what had she let loose?

Strip down, sugar. The clothing I picked out should be quick and easy to remove.

He had chosen boring fetwear because it was easy to take off? Such a guy. Yes, Sir.

Good answer. High protocol begins now.

High protocol. Obedience, respect, silence. Yes, Master. She remembered the first time hed demanded it, right after they met.

If I institute high protocol, you will keep your eyes lowered and speak only when permitted. However, during a scene, I want your eyes on me. He tilted her chin up, met her eyes in a look that seared straight down to her toes. You have pretty eyes, Elizabeth. Keep them on me.

Did he have any idea how much that compliment had meant to her?

Head bowed, she removed her short leather skirt and top, folded the garments, and set them beside his leather bag. Quietly, she knelt to one side of the scene area.

She studied him as he finished setting up. His long, straight hair was pulled back in a tie. He wore his usual Dom clothes"sleeveless, black muscle shirt, black leather pants, black boots. He could still make her mouth go dry.

He glanced over at her, and warmth lit his dark eyes, making her flush. Very nice. I like you naked and kneeling. After pulling a wheeled table into the area, he laid out rolls of short, transparent cling wrap.

Alarm took big bites out of her calm. Cling wrap? The stuff was used for mummification. Hed never done that to her"and she didnt want him to now.

He cleared his throat, and her gaze shot to his stern face. Oops. She lowered her head and stared at the floor.

The minutes passed too slowly. She could feel each beat of her heart, each too-rapid breath. The music of Bella Morte, Where Shadows Lie made it worse. Cries of pain from the adjacent scene area and the sobbing of a slave in a cage ramped her anxiety higher.

Beth, come here.

Almost relieved to begin"and still terrified"she approached.

Im going to wrap you in this. He indicated the transparent film. Head to toe, except for your nose and mouth. She opened her mouth to protest, but he continued. You like tight, rope bondage, darlin. This is just the next level up.

But, but, but. He was right. But, but, but He was waiting for her response.

She gave him a jerky nod.

Pulling her forward, he caressed her cheek. I know youre scared, but a lot of submissives love mummification. It can be very calming.

Shed say he was full of it, but being bound in his ropes sent her to the most tranquil place in the world, and he knew it. A resigned sigh escaped her.

His lips curved. Good girl.

How come, even after being married two years, his approval still filled her with fresh joy?

After backing her closer to the spider web, he wrapped cling around each arm and leg individually. Although the mummification kink had become fairly popular, it had always creeped her out. She even avoided watching those scenes.

Now she regretted her lack of knowledge.

Then he started at her head, beginning the process of turning her into a transparent mummy. At her shoulders, he paused.

Take a deep breath and hold it. As she inhaled, he positioned thick cardboard circles over each nipple and cling-wrapped her chest, pinning her arms to her sides. Layer after layer went around her until the binding sensation was like a corset. Slowly, he moved downward.

When she swayed, he leaned her against the spider web, which was tilted slightly backward to take her weight.

She tried to help, but couldnt move her arms or hands or anything. There was nogive. Her mouth was so dry she could hardly swallow.

After a moment, she realized he was watching her, silently. Monitoring her reactions.

Okay. Okay. She pulled in a breath and forced herself to relax.

He brushed a kiss over her lips and continued.

Another cardboard piece went over her crotch"and, knowing her Master, it wasnt to hide her private parts.

Towels between her knees and ankles padded the bones as he enclosed her from her waist down to her feet. And then he tied her to the spider web and tilted it back to a forty-five degree angle, so it supported most of her weight.

Bracing a hand on the web beside her head, he leaned in close. His perceptive eyes were darker than a moonless night. You doing all right, sugar?

She couldnt even nod. Yes, Master, she whispered.

Good enough. Some people spend hours in this, but this first time, you get no more than thirty minutes. I wont leave you, Beth.

Okay, she could do this. Half an hour. That was nothing.

Her poise disappeared when he blindfolded her and added more cling wrap around her head.

Hey, no, wait. Her arms jerked, testing the limits, telling her she could do nothing. Yellow.

Shhh, baby. Take a slow breath. Breathe, Beth. Im right here. His low gravelly voice was a lifeline of safety, even if he was the one whod done this to her.

A long inhalation brought her his soap-clean, masculine scent. He squeezed her shoulder. Staying close. She couldnt doanythingand she was safe.

Something inside her gave up, and her muscles went lax all at once.

There we go, he murmured and put something over her ears"noise-reducing headphones.

He must have left her ears uncovered so he could reassure her during the preparations. Now the music and noise of the Shadowlands faded to a low murmur, quieter than the internal sound of her pulse.

Slowly, the wrap began to seem less binding and more like a warm, secure hug. There was no sensation on her skin. There was no noise. There was no light. She felt as if she were eternally falling backward. Floating. Rocking in a dark ocean.

NOLAN WATCHED HER go under, pleased to see the tense muscles around her mouth go slack. Gradually, all of her relaxed. Yeah, hed had a feeling shed enjoy this. Mummification often sent submissives into a unique kind of subspace akin to the one many rope bunnies achieved.

With luck, being in subspace would lower her defenses far enough shed tell him what was troubling her. After they talked, hed play with her a bit. Or not. His goal for this scene wasnt for sex, but for understanding.

In his own focused space, he monitored her breathing, her color, and her faint movements. Minute by minute ticked by.

When the time was up, he brushed his fingers over her lips, bringing her back up slowly, one sensation at a time. The sense of feeling came first. Her tongue ran over her lips, and he leaned forward for a kiss.

Chapter end

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