In the fifth erotically charged installment of Jeffe Kennedy's scorching Master of the Opera, a daring young woman follows her reckless desire for the perfect lover—to the point of no return. . . He is more than just the man of her dreams. He is the master of her destiny. A mysterious masked stranger who haunts the darkened tunnels beneath the Sante Fe Opera House, the Master is like no other lover Christy has ever known. He has lured the beautiful intern to the very brink of ecstacy—and beyond. He has pushed the boundaries of her sensuality and tested the limits of her passion. But now the Master wants more. If Christy accepts his challenge, she must be willing to go further than she's ever gone. She must surrender to his every desire. She must submit to his every command. She must expose herself body and soul—or bear the scars of a broken heart forever. . . Tonight is the night she must make a choice: to free herself from one man's obsession. . .or bind herself to him for life. 15,700 Words
March 6, 2014
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When the Master said “welcome home,” she felt the truth of it. However impossible the reality might be. She belonged here, to him. That was all that mattered anymore.
It helped that she’d moved beyond thought into pure sensation. Now that she’d given herself over to him, she felt consumed by the need to be taken. With her hands bound, she couldn’t seize him and urge him into her aching core.
But she would have.
He untied her hands, as if answering the thought, but held her wrists in a tight grip, ice-blue eyes sparkling in the candlelight.
“I would have stripped you naked at this moment, except for my promise to you. But the rules remain the same—you must submit to me, understand?”
She nodded mutely. She did understand, in a way she hadn’t before. To free the bear was to make him the master. He inclined his head toward one of the dock pilings. They weren’t wood but seemingly carved from polished rock. Obsidian, perhaps. Draped over one was a sheer white gown.
“I shall turn my back while you undress and put that on. It will cover your scars, but little else.”
“Thank you, Master.”
“As you respect my scars, so I respect yours.” His lips feathered a kiss over her forehead, a kind of benediction. Of absolution.
True to his word, he turned his back, staring off over the mirrored black lake. She toed off her sneakers and wriggled out of her clothes. The ridged scars across her abdomen caught the light, silver lines that, strangely, were not that ugly. In a way, they were her own battle scars.
She pulled the gown over her head, the sheer silk falling over her in a cloud. A wide belt of gold fabric gathered it at her waist, holding tight against her midsection. Above it, the bodice parted, falling open in loose sweeps that ran over her shoulders but left her breasts bare. The skirt was really two slim triangles of cloth, gliding along the outsides of her thighs, completely revealing her front and back.
A concession only to her scars. Otherwise, she might as well have been naked. Nervous, she stared at the black-cloaked figure waiting for her to finish. It would have been easier, she realized with dawning perception, if he’d stripped her with her hands bound. She could have relinquished this uncertainty. It seemed unthinkable to tell him to turn, to see her. On impulse she knelt on the glassy black surface and waited, hands clasped in her lap.
His gloved hand drifted over her hair, smoothing it with tenderness. “I feel that I’ve waited forever for this,” he mused in a soft voice.
She looked up at his forbidding figure. “Have you?”
“Pain, I think, has no time. Its impact is infinite, but we also have no memory for it. Once it ceases, we forget the intensity. Over time, we lose it entirely.”
“That’s physical pain—not emotional.”
“True. Grief lessens, but never disappears entirely. Are you ready?”
He offered his hand and she rose to her feet. The ice-blue eyes glimmered in the light of the thousands of candles as they traveled over her, his gaze palpable as a touch. Her nipples peaked and her sex dampened. His lips curved in a smile.
Telling her to turn, he once again bound her wrists behind her back and then roped her ankles tightly together. As if the binding of the ropes on her body somehow set her inner self free, her mind drifted once more into that dream state. The world where no thoughts mattered, only feeling.
He swept her up, one arm under her shoulders and the other under her knees, carrying her like a bouquet of roses up the walkway. She let her head fall back, pliant and relaxed, her breasts upthrust, the transparent silk scarves trailing around them. The candlelight felt warm on her eyelids, the air cool on her naked skin. Supported only by the Master’s strong grip, she floated through the air to her fate, yielding to it—and to him—without reservation.
She opened her eyes when he laid her on a polished slab, warm, as if heated from within. They were inside the stone circle she’d seen from below. Around her, obelisks carved of the same rock towered. The Master untied her hands, then bound them again above her head. He also anchored her roped feet to the bottom of the slab, so she was stretched between the two poles, like a sacrifice. . .
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