It’s day three of the #ValentinesRewind blog hop! You can check out the full schedule here, as well as the line-up of super awesome prizes. My sexy little snippet here is the second installment of Liam and Miranda’s story from The Missing Piece. I hope you enjoy their version of Valentine’s Day!
The whisky in Liam’s glass tasted like burnt cork.
He cringed on the burning swallow, then took another sip to be sure, but it hadn’t changed. The fire that raced down his throat was just as horrid as when he’d knocked back his first glass decades ago at university.
He’d downed it like the good country lad from Kenmare he was, his mates cheering him on, and despite the strong desire to retch immediately afterward, he’d developed a taste for it over the years.
Liam put the glass down, knowing it wasn’t the drink that was making his tongue feel as if it were coated in ash. Not the drink that made his shoulders slump, his elbows balanced on a bar countertop as he stared at the mirror across from him. It was because of why he was here. What he was about to do.
He was going to meet his wife in a hotel, pretend she wasn’t his wife, and humiliate her. On Valentine’s Day.
It wasn’t as if he and Miranda hadn’t been here before. They’d become frequent guests at this hotel. The weekend getaways that stole them away from their jobs and children, when they took on different roles and became other people…it brought them back to each other when they’d been on the brink of divorce. He’d taken her in ways he’d never dreamed of here—vicious, sweaty encounters that left him panting and satisfied, shocked his wife enjoyed the same twisted games he’d forced out of his head half his life. Now they’d tumbled thoroughly down into this rabbit hole, and each carefully-planned escape was something Liam had begun to crave.
Tonight, however, he was apprehensive, his stomach tightening as he steeled himself against another sip. He was upping the ante, his plans something he’d been itching to do for weeks, ever since Miranda had whispered a confession in their darkened bedroom. He’d shut the light and held her, insisting she divulge the fantasy she’d gotten off to recently, one she’d been too hesitant to admit with the light on.
“You didn’t let me come,” she’d said. “You played with me. Taunted me. Took me to the edge, and then made fun of how turned on you’d made me.”
Orgasm denial. Erotic humiliation. He’d be a liar if he said those things didn’t make him as hard as a randy teenager. But didn’t it seem wrong? That instead of celebrating today with candy hearts, chocolate and flowers, instead of an elaborate dinner or dancing or romance, he was going to tie his wife to a chair, work her into a frenzy and then laugh at her hunger?
Liam studied his reflection in the glass, wondering if he could be that cruel. He certainly had been in the past. He’d been bloody awful to her, but that had been a different kind of vindictiveness. He’d been cold. Distant. Angry. Two decades living on foreign soil had turned him into someone he didn’t recognize.
He’d never planned to leave Ireland, but one night in a pub changed everything. One night when a lass too beautiful for words walked in, and he’d watched her laugh with her friends, waiting for a chance to jump in and offer to buy her a drink. One scarlet blush when Miranda had told him how much she liked his accent.
One kiss on the street, and all Liam could think about was getting to spend another day with her.
Four months later, he was filling out paperwork for a visa and looking for jobs, willing to sacrifice anything to see how much rosier her cheeks would get in America’s winters. To catch the brilliant contrast of her long, dark hair against a blanket of the Midwest’s snow. To feel the span of her waist beneath his palms. To hear the sounds she made when she came.
Abandoning his family and his country to follow her across the Atlantic—they’d seemed inconsequential at the time. He hadn’t counted on how lonely he would become, how he’d feel like an imposter around his American friends and coworkers even after he’d gotten his citizenship. He’d never quite fit in with Miranda’s family, intellectuals who were pleasant and open but nothing like the boisterous Connelly clan he’d left back home. Skype calls to his Mum and Pop barely kept his children connected to them. And when he’d gone home on holiday last year, he’d been told by his siblings that he didn’t even sound Irish anymore.
He’d been in America as many years now as he’d lived in Ireland. He worked for an American company. Had an American wife and was raising American children. It was bound to happen, but still it had felt like he’d lost himself. He’d wanted to explain to Miranda how he was feeling, but he couldn’t. Hearing how unhappy he felt…all it would do was cause her pain.
He couldn’t tell her about his fantasies either. Ideas drilled into him on the proper way to treat a woman had him keeping his desires silent, like a closely-guarded secret. He couldn’t say that their tender lovemaking—sweet sex that had brought their sons into the world—left him wanting. He’d hole himself up in their home office to “work” instead, locking himself in the bathroom ten minutes later with his chubbed-up prick in his hand, beating off with a fist pressed against lips, ashamed that images of women being spanked and flogged turned him on more than it had any right to.
It had all cut him down, until he was going to pubs alone after work and getting right bolloxed. Coming home pissed and having meaningless arguments with Miranda in front of Cole and Max. He couldn’t blame her for shutting down, for reading a book in bed instead of talking to him. He lay awake long after she’d turned out the light, an island of empty sheets between them.
He hadn’t wanted to go to her cousin’s wedding that night months ago. The idea of being cooped up in this hotel and pretending they were happy made him sick. But men were looking at Miranda at the reception, gawking at her lithe body and luscious curves the same way he once had. And when she’d walked away from him after yet another pointless fight over who knows what, he’d followed her into the hotel elevator, his blood chilled with feelings of sadness and frustration, of desire and regret.
He’d kissed her in a matter so ferocious it could only have been called punishment. Each unforgiving pass of his mouth over hers, the tightening of his grip on her wrists as he imprisoned her between his body and the wall—he’d meant them as reminders. Tactile methods of showing her she still belonged to him. He’d never expected that his fierce grip would make her whimper in surrender while he stared down at her in wonder.
“You like this?” he’d asked her. “You want me to treat you as my property? As my little pet?”
Her knees had given out. A soft, high-pitched yes was all she could manage as she’d melted against him, and just like that night in a pub in Dublin, everything changed.
It had fit, being her Master—like a custom-tailored suit or a perfectly-crafted ale. Taking the leg garter she’d been wearing and slipping it around her throat as a collar had felt like more of a commitment than the ring he’d put on her finger. He’d unleashed the needs he’d hidden away in shame and guilt, only to discover she’d yearned for the same thing. Her confession that she’d always wanted him like that blew him away, and they were finally able to talk again, to find some kind of common ground when up until now they’d been on drifting continents.
Twenty years, they’d been keeping this from one another. Twenty. Fucking. Years.
Now he wanted to indulge every impulse. Each time Liam walked into this hotel, he was on fire with the all-consuming need to have her begging on her knees. To become Master and pet, and slip into the roles that had saved them. But tonight, he felt like an imposter again. Because even though he was about to do everything Miranda wanted, keep her on the edge until she was in tears and then take her so brutally she wouldn’t be able to walk tomorrow, he couldn’t help wondering if he’d be able to be harsh with her when this was what had been mending all their broken pieces. Couldn’t help asking himself why they needed to become different people in order to come back to one another.
Couldn’t help thinking, Oh hey, isn’t it fucked up that we’re fixing our marriage this way?
Liam passed his hand over his closely-cropped hair and stared at himself in the mirror. He and Miranda had found each other again. But had he still lost himself?
He pushed the drink away in frustration. Damn it, he needed to get this shit together. He wasn’t supposed to think like this. The Dominant was supposed to be in complete control—of himself, his submissive and everything else.
When he saw Miranda’s reflection in the bar’s mirror, he found the strength he’d been searching for.
Snow White. That was who he’d thought of when he first saw her. Pale skin, dark locks, like something out of a fairy tale. He’d wanted to defile that princess. Lift her skirts, bend her over and plow into her until she begged for mercy.
And tonight, he was going to.
He watched as she handed her bags to the attendant. In a red dress that hugged every sweet slope of her hips and thighs, she sashayed into the bar. Their eyes met in the mirror, and a coy smile lit up her face, one dark eyebrow slanting. A few steps more and she was sliding onto the chair beside him.
“Can I buy you a drink, Sir?” she asked.
A play on their first meeting, when they’d really been two strangers in a bar and not just pretending at it. Liam eyed her carefully. “I already have a drink.”
Her mouth dropped open slightly. She blinked, momentarily unsettled. He could gauge her reactions well enough now—see when she was just playing and when her surprise was legitimate. Tonight was the latter, but she recovered quickly.
“Oh. Well, can I offer you…anything else?”
Cocky. Liam shifted on his stool to take her in. She was still his wife, still the brilliant professor who could quote Shakespeare from memory, still the mother who could both cuddle and discipline their children in a single breath. He needed to take her down a peg.
He took a final sip of his scotch, the taste no longer unpleasant as heat burned through him. He was going to have her obedience. Was going to wipe that brazen grin off her face and make her tremble.
Whatever this was, whatever they’d found here, he wanted it.
“You can.” He leaned in close, close enough that his leg grazed her stocking-clad calf, breaths mixing together, his eyes boring into hers. “You can get off that seat, come with me to my hotel room, and do whatever I bloody tell you to do.”
Her throat worked on a swallow. For a moment, she actually looked a little frightened. Then she lifted her chin, as if to say I’ll see your bet and raise you a hundred.
“I can do that, Mr…” She tilted her head to the side, waiting for an introduction. To meet the person he was pretending to be.
Liam continued to stare her down. “No names. If you’re willing, then all you need to do is get up.”
Miranda slid off her stool, and Liam wasn’t gallant, didn’t take her hand or fit his palm against the small of her back. He simply pulled out his wallet, left some cash on the bar, and walked toward the lobby, expecting her to follow.
When he stopped at the elevators and she was right there next to him, he mastered his pleased reaction. Other times, he’d give her an approving nod, but tonight’s fantasy didn’t include those usual acknowledgements. He remained silent as they crowded into the lift with several other people and stood along the back wall. The door rolled shut, everyone quiet and facing forward.
He was lifting the back of her skirt before they’d reached the second floor.
She wasn’t tall, not compared to him, but in her heels the height difference was easily traversed. He explored her, leisurely stroking the inside of one thigh, then the other, feeling the silkiness of her stockings. The heat he knew the feel and taste of. Two people exited on the third floor, and Liam used the sounds of shuffling footsteps as cover. He slid his middle finger between her legs and pressed up.
Miranda tried to stifle her gasp, quieting her tiny shudder by pinching her lips together. Liam didn’t stop, continuing the rhythmic pressure through thin layers of nylon and satin. His head turned just slightly in her direction, he watched her eyes flutter shut and snap back open, caught the pink of her tongue as it darted out to moisten her lower lip. God it was so illicit, so deliciously wrong to defile her like this without even a kiss, in a small space where anyone could notice.
Liam dropped his hand, slipped it casually back in his pocket, and the grimace that stole across Miranda’s features—a mix of longing from the suddenly-absent sensation and embarrassment over wanting more—dashed through him like lightning.
Oh yes, he could be cruel with her tonight. He was going to be downright pitiless, toying with her every last nerve.
The door opened and closed again, leaving them alone three floors before their stop. Miranda looked up at him expectantly, but Liam kept his expression impassive as he turned to face her. Raising the hand he’d teased her with, he traced a circle around her nipple. It hardened to a taut nub beneath the fabric of her dress and bra. He strummed over it, then brought his thumb to meet his pointer finger. One sharp tweak, and Miranda’s mouth dropped open. Fuck, he’d never get enough of this. The way she lost herself to pleasure. How her eyes went unfocused and the way she struggled to stand.
He dropped his hand and grinned—his first show of emotion since she’d entered the bar. She pouted and looked up at him, longing in those deep, green eyes framed with dark lashes, clearly waiting for one of his compliments. For him to tell her how much he enjoyed her reactions, or how hard he was going to make her come tonight.
He said nothing.
The elevator dinged at the highest floor, and they exited. The hallway rolling out before them was nearly silent, their footsteps muffled with forced air and plush carpet. He’d reserved a different room than their usual one tonight, knowing the change would throw Miranda off that much more. He palmed his key card opened the door. Her suitcase had already been delivered, but she wouldn’t need anything inside it. Not until he was through with her.
“Undress,” he said as the door clicked shut and he went to his own bag in the corner. “Take everything off.”
Liam didn’t turn around at the sound of her clothing chasing over skin. Normally he enjoyed watching her. The striptease she gave him was always quite a show, but she knew how much that turned him on. It wasn’t a mindset he could allow her to be in tonight.
He was still pretending to search for something in his bag when her movements ceased.
“I hope you approve, Sir.”
He glanced over his shoulder. Miranda had followed his orders, but her body was bare in a way that was more than just the absence of her clothes. Her usual strip of closely-cropped pubic hair was gone. Liam took a slow, deep breath through his nostrils. Half of him was furious she’d done that without his knowledge, that she’d come in here with a surprise of her own.
The other half wanted to ravage her.
He removed his hand from the bag, bringing with it the garter, as well several lengths of silk rope. He placed it all on the desk chair, then very calmly took off his tie and unbuttoned his shirt cuffs. Picking up the garter, he stalked toward her. He held it out for her, and she nodded, bending her head with a smug grin. He fit the collar over her until it sat at the base of her throat. Then, in one smooth motion, he grabbed her by the forearms and threw her onto the bed.
She bounced onto it and gazed up at him in shock.
“Understand this,” Liam snarled as he crawled onto the mattress and hovered above her. “You are nothing but an object for me tonight. Nothing more than a toy I’m going to play with.”
Her eyes went wide. Her breathing hitched. He’d bet, if he listened hard enough, he’d be able to hear her quickening heartbeat. He drove her legs apart with his knees, and there was something so satisfying about having her splayed out before him, naked and helpless while he remained fully dressed. The sight brought the brute out from inside him.
“Oh yes,” he mused, moving down her body until he was poised at the apex of her thighs. He nuzzled, then bit just above her bare cleft. Spread her open with his thumbs and breathed hot over her exposed clit. “Nothing but a pretty—” lick “—little—” lick “—toy.”
She arched on a shudder. Her nipples beaded to sharp points. Liam sat up on his haunches and nodded in the direction of the floor.
“On your knees, pet.”
He spat the word instead of saying it lovingly, and the effect on Miranda was noticeable. There was no smile of relief, no signs of her slipping into role, her body going pliant and her face softening. No, tonight she went rigid, moving swiftly to follow his orders. For one brief moment, Liam hesitated—his stomach clenched, mind running with worry that this was pushing the game too far.
She wanted this, he reminded himself. Had asked for it. Made herself come with thoughts about it. Even if she didn’t quite know what has happening, she knew her safeword. She had an out if she wanted it.
Miranda knelt at the foot of the bed, and Liam rid himself of the rest of his clothes. Taking himself in hand, he sat down in front of her, wrapped his hands in her hair and yanked her toward him.
“Open,” he commanded. And when she did, he drove forward, not bothering to hold back his groan as her mouth enveloped him. “Oh, fuck,” he groaned, losing himself to pleasure. To hot and wet and, “Christ, that’s good.”
She moaned around him. Despite the harsh way he was fucking into her mouth, she was enjoying it.
“You like being used. Don’t you, little pet?”
She moaned again in agreement, gazing up at him lust-dazed eyes. With her mouth full and her face in his grasp, she looked completely blissed out. As if she’d been drugged.
Fuck candy. Fuck chocolate and wine. He was going to savor this. Taste her reactions like a delicacy and feast on her body until he’d had his fill.
Liam gave himself over, careful not to choke her as he gave into the slick, soft heat. His orgasm crested, and he shoved her off, keeping her captive with his other hand, wanting her to watch. To see what she couldn’t have yet. Clasping her jaw, he came with a grunt, painting her face with the sticky spurts of his release.
Sated, he unbuttoned his shirt and wiped her face with it, tender enough not to scare her but rough enough to show he was still in charge. When she was clean, he yanked her up and moved her around, bending her over his knee. Anchoring her with one hand in the middle of her back, he watched her limbs go tight as she waited for a spanking.
Silly girl. She wanted to be played with. Not to get what she wanted.
So he teased her instead. Brushed over her lips, avoiding she spots she needed it most.
“I do like my gift,” he drawled, tracing smooth, bare skin. Glancing touches along the contours of her bottom that made her whimper. “Your ass is heart-shaped. Are you my Valentine’s Day present?”
He lifted his palm swiftly, drew it down with a sharp crack on one cheek.
“Maybe that’s all I’ll do with you tonight. Turn this lovely arse from white to pink to red. Or maybe…”
She trembled, waiting for his next strike. Liam dipped his hand lower and slowly thrust a finger inside her before dragging it out. The deep, guttural moan it drew from her was intoxicating.
“So empty now?” he asked, then clucked his tongue when she nodded. “Does it ache?”
Liam slapped her, this time on her other cheek. Miranda jumped, and oh. Oh, did he like this—watching her squirm, her body shift from side to side, unsure what to expect next. He alternated between spanking and fingering, and every sharp gasp was followed by a groan. He felt her nipples chafing his thigh. Felt her trembling.
“You’re all sweaty.” Dragging her up, he unfolded her body. His legs were hot and sticky where her body had been. “I want to play with my toy another way. Go sit in the chair.”
She did as she was told, rising up on shaky legs and wincing slightly as her heated bottom met the seat of the desk chair.
Liam reached for the rope. “Legs up.”
She obeyed, knees raised, painted toes pointing downward as he fastened one ankle, then the other to the chair legs. He tied her calves to her knees next, then secured them around the back of the chair. Her eyes drooped closed as he took his time, and his heart raced with each knot, wanting to see his wife bound up like a prisoner, not caring how messed up that thought was. He saved her hands for last, pinning them to her sides and making bows around the chair back’s slats.
With her finally completely immobile, he took a second to look at her. Her cheeks were flushed, her expression hungry. Liam fanned his knuckles over her cheek, down along her throat and between her breasts. He leaned in to kiss her just as his fingers eased over her clit. A few quick swipes, and he stopped.
Miranda mewled into his mouth.
“Poor pet.” Liam stepped back to his bag once again and retrieved a silver bullet vibe. A glance inside confirmed the presence of the sharp scissors he’d packed, knowing he could free her quickly if she panicked or started to lose feeling. Then he turned around. Miranda’s eyes lit up when he showed her the vibrator and flicked it on.
“You think I’m going to let you come?” he asked, then chuckled, and he knew from the way her gaze snapped to his that she’d finally caught on. “Oh no, pet. I’m going to play with you. Taunt you. Take you to the edge.” He leaned in close and brought the vibe between her legs. “And then I’m going to laugh at how turned on I’ve made you.”
She shuddered as he stared hard at her, his jaw rigid, and Liam was sure something ferocious had flickered in his eyes from the way she cowered. He ran the tiny, buzzing instrument over her, and she jolted, head sinking back onto the chair. Circling, stroking, he took his time, finding the spot he knew drove her crazy, then clicked the vibe off. She coughed out a sob.
“Look at you.” His words came out as a sneer. “So desperate.”
He turned on the toy and touched her with it again, reveling in the way she jumped. In the way her bound legs shook.
Over and over, he tortured her, until the need to come had her practically sobbing. The look of sheer desperation in her eyes when she was about to tip over the edge was a thing of beauty, and it turned him on in ways it shouldn’t have, got him hard all over again, that he could drive this beautiful, confident woman to near madness. Something twisted blazed through him, a dangerous mix of the man who wanted to give his wife everything and the man who still resented the life he’d come to live. The person in the mirror he wasn’t sure he knew.
“That’s right,” he said, robbing her of sensation once more with a short, mean chuckle. “You’re so worked up you’re nearly in tears. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
Panting, she lifted her head. “Say it again, Sir?”
He paused. “Say what again?”
“‘That’s royt.’ I love it, the way you say it. When your accent comes out.” She pinched her eyes shut and shook her head. “You sound like you did when we met.”
Liam stood stock still, dumbfounded.
“I would’ve gotten on my knees for you that night, if you’d asked me to.”
Suddenly, everything that hadn’t made sense before clicked together. They weren’t becoming different people in this room, weren’t pretending to be other people in order to stitch their broken pieces into something whole. They were becoming more themselves. Peeling back layers and letting each other see their deepest kinks, yet they were still the same two people they’d always been. The same Liam and Miranda they’d been when they were just two kids in a bar on another continent.
Liam took in a shaky breath. If the garter around Miranda’s neck was the missing piece that had saved them, this was the missing link he needed to remember who he was: Liam Connelly. Husband. Father. Irishman and American. Dominant. Man.
He clicked the vibe back on and pressed down on her slick skin, kissing her when her mouth opened. He drowned in her moans of pleasure. Took her shivering pulses into himself until he was shaken to the core.
When she slackened, he reached for the scissors. The need to be inside her was too great to care about trivial things like the cost of replacing the rope. He cut her free, tossed aside the ruined twine, then lifted her up and carried her back to the bed. Sliding home in one smooth thrust, Liam lost control. She was so wet and hot, so goddamn smooth, and he buried his face against her neck, forgetting how angry or worried he’d been. Forgetting everything except Miranda, Miranda, Miranda.
Her name was a hoarse gasp on his lips when he came. Still working to catch his breath, he pulled out slowly, moved beside her and wrapped her up in his arms.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Liam. Oh my God.” She laughed against his chest. “Best Valentine’s Day ever.”
He huffed out an amused breath and held her even more tightly. She shifted in his arms and peered up at him.
“The bikini wax wasn’t your gift, you know. I do have an actual present for you.”
He raised an eyebrow, and then she was pulling away from him, crawling to the edge of the bed to reach into her bag. She rummaged around inside it and returned with an envelope.
“What’s this?” he asked as she handed it to him.
The smug grin she so often wore was back, but lessened slightly. Like she was relaxed. Like she’d been good and thoroughly shagged.
He lifted the flap, pulled out the paper inside and started to scan over it. But then something happened and his eyes got misty, and the words got hard to read. “You’ve been invited to teach at University College Dublin?”
“It’s just for a year. One of the professors I’d had when I did my semester abroad offered his classes to me while he goes on sabbatical.” She cuddled into his side. “I know it’s not the same as moving there, but it’s a while. Long enough for the boys to really get to know your family and see where you grew up.”
He was getting choked up. He had to take a breath. Find something solid to focus on. “But what about your classes here?”
“They’ll be covered by adjuncts. It’s an amazing opportunity for me. I just don’t know what we’d do about your job.”
God, this woman. How had he ever been stupid enough to nearly let her go? “I’ll have a talk with my boss. See if there’s something we can work out.”
She ducked her head and kissed his shoulder. “I know it hasn’t always been easy for you here—”
“Shhh.” He reached an arm around until he was cradling her, the crisp paper that whispered promises too wonderful for his heart to handle left quiet on the blanket. He looked into her eyes and brushed several strands of dark hair off her sweaty forehead. “I love you, Miranda Connelly.”
She whispered that she loved him too, and when they closed their eyes, drifting off to sleep, nothing more was missing between them.
Thanks for reading! The next stop on the hop is the lovely Emma Barry! Be sure to comment on each story to be eligible for the massive giveaway at the end. It includes a pile of signed paperbacks, gift cards, and a boatload of ebooks. Thanks for joining us for #ValentinesRewind! ♥