Now was the moment where it all hung in the balance.

Yes or no.

Rather than answering me, Emma reached for the door handle, opened it, and then slid from her seat.

I stared after her, wondering if I’d blown it, but then she looked at me through the open car door with a shy smile that made my cock pulse with need.

“Are we going to talk about it, or not?”

• • •


Rubbing my hands along my upper arms to fight off the chill, I led Gavin inside my neat little home. Once we’d removed our shoes by the door, he followed me into the family room in the back, and I waved him to the cream-colored sofa.

I flipped on the switch for the gas fireplace in front of the sofa and waited as it flickered before it finally came to life. As much as I longed to replace this with a wood-burning fireplace like was originally in the home, the convenience of it couldn’t be beat.

“Are you cold?” Gavin patted the cushion beside him.

“A little.” I joined him on the couch, tucking myself into his side, allowing him to stroke my arms, my hair, warming me and soothing me so sweetly.

“Are you still upset?”

I shook my head. “I feel for Cooper, but I have you now. So . . .” It was hard to feel sad when I was here in Gavin’s arms, as terrible as that sounded.

“You do, you know. Have me.”

“My person, right?” I smiled up at him.

He leaned down and pressed a tender kiss to my lips. “Of course.”

“Dinner was . . . good tonight. Thank you for bringing me.”

“I was happy you came. Quinn’s an excellent cook.”

As much as I loved this softer side of Gavin, and his concern about making sure I felt comfortable with him, I gathered my courage to ask what he meant in the car about needing more from me.

I slid back a fraction from his embrace, wanting to be able to see into his eyes while we spoke. “Can we talk about what you mentioned in the car? Tell me what you want.”

Gavin’s hazel eyes locked on mine, and I had to remember to draw a breath. “I need more, pet.”

“More?” I had no idea what kind of more he was referring to.

“First, you’ll address me as sir.”

He stroked my cheek with his warm fingertip. His breathing was slow and controlled, his movements deliberate. I sensed a crackling in the air between us.

“More, sir?”

“Yes.” He stroked my skin again, and I melted into his touch. “More control. More of you. More of everything.”

Pleased to see his expression was relaxed, playful even, I ventured another question. “Do you desire dominance and submission? Whips and chains?”

“I think you know that I’m dominant, and that I require your submission.”

My brain wandered back to the day in the library where he’d taken me in my office. “Yes, sir.” I did know that, intimately.

“But toys aren’t really my thing. I don’t need more than my body and yours to bring us both to ecstasy, don’t you agree?”

I nodded, careful not to ruin this moment. Anytime Gavin opened up to me was a precious gift, one I cherished.

Gavin stroked my hair again, making me feel so precious and cared for. “Thank you for choosing me tonight.”

I nodded. “It was always you.”

Pressing his lips to mine, he smiled. “That makes me very happy, pet.”

“Do you want me to be your submissive?” I recalled the way he’d said that Ashley was his last submissive.

Gavin shook his head. “You’re so much more than that.”

His words sent warmth straight to my heart. “Is Ashley why you wouldn’t let yourself take me how you wanted?”

He nodded. “Not until you knew everything, until you were the one to decide.”

The meaning behind his words, his sweet gesture, meant more to me than anything. Gavin craved control, but in this moment, he was giving it to me—I alone held the power to say yes to this, to him. In that moment, I accepted him so fully, it hurt. I ached for him and would have given him anything just then.

Feeling stupid, I asked, “So, um, is there some kind of contract, or . . .”

He chuckled at me, his expression amused. “No, we don’t need a contract, Emma.”

Maybe that kind of stuff was only in books. But, seriously, how the heck was I supposed to know? Everything about this man and our rocky relationship was new to me.

“I would like to try,” I murmured.


I rose from the couch, following as he led me to my bedroom. I sensed his entire mood had shifted. Gavin was letting me in—yet again, offering me a piece of himself, and all my senses were humming.

My heart beat wildly in my throat, and my adrenaline soared.

I had no idea what to expect.

I couldn’t help but notice Gavin’s need for extra control came at a time when things outside the bedroom were more tumultuous than ever—the firing of a key member of his staff, the reputation of his company on the line, the quiet heartbreak we both knew Cooper was suffering. I doubted this was a coincidence, and if Gavin needed to work out his demons on me—I was his.

Entering my bedroom, I turned on the small lamp on my dresser as Gavin’s gaze swept around the room. My neatly made bed was dressed simply in white organic-cotton sheets. My bedside table held a huge stack of books, and there was a nearly overflowing laundry basket beside my dresser. There was nothing fancy or elegant about it, but somehow, I knew instinctually that those qualities that made me me were what Gavin adored most.

Unsure what to do, I took a deep breath.

“Kneel,” he said sternly.

Without hesitation, I lowered my body until my knees made contact with the rug. Gavin’s wide stance and his hazel eyes were so sexy as he gazed down on me, and I waited, wondering what might happen next.

Chapter Nine


Emma knelt before me, and predictably, that simple act of obedience sent blood rushing to my groin. Her eyes were wide and locked onto mine, and her breathing was shallow, coming in soft little pants as she waited patiently to see what would happen next.

“You’re flushed. Are you scared?” I asked softly.

She shook her head. “I want to please you, sir.”

I stroked her hair. “That’s good.” As long as she felt safe and comfortable with me, I’d continue pushing her. “Now, take out my cock.”

I wasn’t asking. It was a command.

Without hesitation, Emma tugged and released my belt buckle before I shoved my jeans and black boxer briefs down my thighs, exposing my rigid shaft and my balls. I was ready, heavy, and rock hard for her already.

She gripped me tightly in one hand and brought her mouth to my broad tip, treating it to a slow, wet kiss.

I let out a hiss.

Stroking me with both hands, she closed her mouth around me, earning another murmured grunt of satisfaction that came from deep within my chest.

I stroked her hair, gazing down on my pet with adoring eyes. “Mine.”

“Yes,” she whispered, her mouth full of me. “Yours, my sir.”

“Fuck.” My murmured curse only spurred her on.

Most girls were timid, shy when it came to sucking cock, but not sweet little Emma Bell. She took all nine inches like a champ, her fist pumping my shaft, the fingers of her other hand lightly stroking my balls. Those were usually ignored, women were afraid to hurt them, and yet Emma handled them perfectly. But she needed to slow down or I was going to lose it faster then I wanted to.

It felt so good, I didn’t want to stop her, but I had to. “On your feet,” I said, my voice cool and commanding, but my heartbeat was fucking racing.

Emma lifted herself gracefully from the floor and stood before me. She was so petite in her bare feet, barely clearing my chin, and the dominant side of me enjoyed towering over her.

“Strip for me.”

Without hesitation, Emma released the little gold buttons between her breasts and drew her red silk top over her head, dropping it beside her feet. Next, she shimmied her hips, pushing her jeans down until she stepped out of them, leaving them in a pile with her discarded top.

She stood before me wearing a black lace bra and a matching thong. Reaching behind herself to unclasp her bra, Emma let it fall to the floor.