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A NineStar Press Publication


Sum of the Whole

Copyright © 2017 Brenda Murphy

Cover Art by Natasha Snow ©Copyright 2017

Edited by: Elizabeth Coldwell

Published in 2017 by NineStar Press, New Mexico, USA.

This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, NineStar Press, LLC.


This book contains sexually explicit content, which is only suitable for mature readers, mentions of past familial abuse, past abuse within a D/s relationship, scenes of violence and attempted rape.

Sum of the Whole

Brenda Murphy

Table of Contents


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

About the Author

To C, Always


As a writer, you spend a lot of time alone; thanks to my writing pals, I never feel lonely. Megan, Fiona, Teresa, Marcy, and Jennifer: Thank you for your love and wise counsel. I heart you guys. Thank you to Allison, Stuart, and Tamra for the gallons of hot tea and dozens of sweet treats that make Templeton’s the best auxiliary office ever.

Chapter One

Jaya scrolled through the messages on her phone, rereading the instructions from the owner of the house. Her palms were sweaty in spite of the air conditioning. She shifted her hips, trying to find a comfortable spot on the broad leather seats.

“Do you wish to stop, Mistress? It’ll be at least an hour before we reach the house.” The driver’s husky voice matched her stocky build and ruddy face. Jaya appraised the thick hands wrapped around the wheel and the way the chauffeur’s livery draped her broad shoulders and considered it. The woman made eye contact with Jaya in the rearview mirror, one eyebrow raised and lips in a closed-mouth smile. Jaya imagined saying, “Yes, let us stop somewhere and I’ll flog you until we’re both satisfied,” but the instructions from Rowan House were explicit and interactions with the staff were not permitted outside the house.

“No.” Jaya kept her voice soft and let her gaze rest on the woman’s face in the mirror. “I’m tired of people staring at me.”

“You’re a sight, Ma’am, if you don’t mind me saying so.”

“You’d think they’d never seen a woman in a suit before.” Jaya left out the word “dark-skinned.”

“It’s your height, Ma’am. And you’re fetching in that suit. I imagine out of it as well.”

Jaya looked down. She had not flirted like this in years and it was wonderful, even if she knew it was not going to lead to anything more.

“Do you always flirt with your guests?” She relaxed her shoulders and sat back in the seat.

“Only the ones I find—” The driver looked at Jaya in the mirror. “Stunning.” She turned on the radio and went back to piloting the long, black town car through roundabouts as they left Armadale. As they traveled farther from the city, she was occupied dodging rough spots and the occasional mud-splattered sheep wandering along the edge of the single-track road.

Jaya sank into the soft leather seats, grateful for the distraction of the driver’s banter and the tinted windows, dark enough to hide her face from anyone who might try to catch a glimpse of the car’s passengers. On the ferry to Skye, she had caught more than one mother reminding her children not to stare. The curious faces of the children were better than the hard looks she got from the men on the ship. Half of them looked like they wanted to fuck her; the other half looked like they wanted to kill her. Some probably wanted to do both.

She had not anticipated how angry she would feel under the gaze of the other passengers. She had almost wished one of the rude men would start something so she could finish it. She had worn this suit to her father’s funeral, to her brother’s dismay. An orphan again at thirty-five. The high from the banter with the driver wore off and she slumped in her seat. She sifted through her memories of the last two years. Her father’s illness and slow death, her brother’s anger, and Deidre’s departure blended into an oppressing melancholy. What the hell was I thinking? Why am I looking for comfort here?

She could have chosen another venue for her adventure, but Jaya wanted to experience this house. The house Deidre spoke of as her home. She lied to herself, telling herself she chose this house because it was highly recommended as a discreet, old-school establishment dedicated to unique and personalized experiences.

Deidre. The woman of sorrows. Never was a woman more truly named. Jaya scrolled through the photos of Deidre on her phone. Brutal memories of their life together filled the emptiness of the ride. As they traveled farther into the country, the battery on her phone quietly expired. Jaya tucked it into her bag and let the rocking of the car soothe her as they drove past rough stone walls and rocky pastures.

The car stopped in front of a towering white stone house. Jaya waited for the driver to open her door. The house was perfectly landscaped, with a circular drive. Two rows of women stood on either side of the steps.

“Welcome to Rowan House,” a large woman almost as tall as Jaya called from the top step. Jaya walked forward. As she passed, each of the women curtseyed, their greeting perfectly timed and executed with an effortless grace. Their starched and pressed black-and-white uniforms crackled with their movements as the women on either side of Jaya moved as one, each mirroring the other.

“I’m Martha. Please come in and leave the world behind.” The woman smiled and took Jaya’s arm as she escorted her into the house. Heavy oak doors, the wood black with age, lined the hallway on both sides. Dark blue velvet curtains covered the windows, shutting out what little light remained of the day. The soft glow of gas lamps lit the hallway. The driver followed with Jaya’s bags.

“Millie will unpack for you while you change, Mistress.” Martha tugged a tapestry bell pull before she opened one of the hallway doors and ushered Jaya into a large room. A partially filled claw-foot tub rested in the center of the room. Steam hung above the water and the soft scent of lavender filled the air. To the left of the tub was a silk changing screen. A blood-red dragon and dark blue phoenix battled on the silk, and the gold threads of the intricate embroidery glittered in the gaslight.

Martha turned to look into Jaya’s eyes. “You’ve read the contract?”

“Yes.” Jaya held out the briefcase containing her cell phone and her laptop.

“No cameras? No other recording devices?” Martha’s voice was stern; her eyes flinty.

Jaya chewed her lip. She slept with her phone under her pillow. You signed up for this. Don’t give up now.

“No. That’s everything.”

“They will be returned to you when you arrive at the ferry after your adventure is over.” Martha smiled as she took the bag from Jaya. “You’ll find your experience so much more enjoyable without the distractions of the outside world.”

Right. Because it is so great to feel alone and not be able to contact anyone. Jaya lifted her shoulders and let them fall, straightening her posture. No one to call anyway.

Martha patted her arm and smiled at Jaya. “I’ll leave you to your transition. Anyone you see is yours to command. They’re all well trained in the arts. A formal salon will commence after dinner so you may choose your submissive—one, or more as you wish. If you find you do not care for your choice, you may choose another at any time. I’m in charge of the house, but feel free to punish any infractions you encounter. Your room is equipped as you requested. If you find you require anything more, we will secure it for you.”

She left, and Jaya watched as her connection to the outside world disappeared with Martha through the heavy door they had entered.

She let out the breath she had been holding. With a hard click, another door opened and seven women entered, each wearing a red leather collar and nothing else. They carried steaming pitchers of water which they emptied into the tub. Jaya admired their forms, letting her gaze settle on each of the women for as long as it took for them to empty their pitcher.

“Let’s get you out of those things, Mistress. If it pleases you.” The honeyed voice at her elbow flowed over Jaya. She turned to look at the speaker. The soothing voice belonged to a small woman who had not been one of those bearing the pitchers. A dusting of freckles across her nose and cheeks set off her delicate features. She was naked except for a white collar gracing her neck. The number zero was etched on a small brass tag dangling from her collar, centered above sublime breasts with pert nipples. She stood with her chin tipped up at Jaya, her hands resting on her full hips. Her lips were pulled into an easy smile that reached her eyes. Jaya could not stop herself from noticing the neatly trimmed triangle of red-gold hair lower down and her well-shaped, thick thighs.

“It pleases me.” Jaya let the woman guide her behind the silk screen. She undressed Jaya expertly, her small hands working fast and skimming Jaya’s skin as she removed her clothing. Her touch was light, and Jaya heard a soft gasp as the woman slid her shirt from her shoulders and her stunning back tattoo came into view. Devi, goddess of life and death, eyes fierce. The tattoo had taken six months to complete and Jaya loved every second of the pain that had come with the beauty that marked her forever. It hid most of the scars from her childhood—at least the ones on the outside. It was the first gift she had given herself after Deidre left. Rowan House was the second.

“I’ll see your shirt is cleaned and pressed, Mistress.”

“Do you have a name?”

“Sarah, Mistress.”

“Extra starch in my shirt, Sarah.”

“Yes, Mistress.”

The scent of lavender was stronger now and Jaya heard water splashing as the other submissives worked to fill the tub. She stepped out from behind the screen. Unlike some of her friends who always kept their clothes on with submissives, Jaya reveled in her naked form. Thick-framed, and just over six one in her bare feet, arms and legs hard with muscle from years of physical training, she did not need clothes to be imposing. She drew her power from the greater and lesser scars that marked her, and from the tattoos covering her body. Intricate script circled her arms and incised charms of protection topped both of her shoulders. The Devi tattoo on her back completed her look. She was powerful, dangerously beautiful, and she owned it.

Seven women knelt along the wall, awaiting her orders. She dipped her fingers in the tub, swirling them through the scented water. Stepping into the tub, she motioned for the first submissive to step forward. She was a dark-haired woman wearing a faded red leather collar. Her tag had a blue-green patina and the engraving was illegible. Head high, she approached the tub with sure steps, her hips swaying.

She stood in front of Jaya and lowered her head before she clasped her hands behind her back. Jaya grabbed the woman’s chin, loving the way the skin blanched under her grip. She forced the woman to look up. Jaya reached down and pulled the submissive’s nipples into hard points, watching the effect in the woman’s eyes. She noted the way her pupils dilated as her nipples responded to her touch.

“Wash me.” Jaya lowered her body into the tub. The woman set about her work silently, starting with Jaya’s shoulders. She lingered at her task, her soap-slicked fingers soothing as she washed Jaya’s skin. Anger and tension from the trip drained out of Jaya as the woman soaped and scrubbed her body. She worked her fingers over Jaya’s shoulders, massaging away hard knots of tension, pushing her fingers in and kneading the muscles.

Jaya closed her eyes and leaned back in the tub. She let out a soft moan as the woman’s soft hands traveled over her breasts and worked their way down. She relaxed under her hands and the nearness of the woman washing her, opening herself to her touch. The woman stopped short of touching her in the way Jaya had hoped she would. She opened her eyes. The woman stood waiting for Jaya to command her. No initiative. She waved the woman away.

She surveyed the others, kneeling with their hands palms up resting on their thighs, waiting for her orders. She snapped her fingers and the next woman in the line stepped forward with a towel. Jaya stood, water cascading from her skin. She stepped from the tub. This one was younger. Her collar still had some shine; the number eight on her tag distinct. She was dark-haired and dark-skinned with blue-green eyes. Her arms were thickly muscled. Tattooed vines dripped and twined around her body. As she knelt to dry Jaya’s feet, Jaya gripped her hair and tugged it back and turning her face up. Her full lips pulled back in a challenging smile. Jaya studied her eyes, looking for fear and recognition. Seeing none she released her, letting her finish her task. She called the others one at a time—this one to oil her skin, that one to help her dress. She searched each face, looking for the spark she sought, but in the end she dismissed them all.

Jaya stretched. The bath had soothed her travel-weary body but did nothing to relieve her desire, nor her restless urge to cause pain. She ached with a bone-deep want and need to have a woman under her. She unpinned her hair, letting the weight of it fall. She ran her hand over her breasts and down her stomach. The late-summer heat had faded and she lingered by the window, enjoying the sensation of the cool evening breeze blowing across her skin. Her nipples hardened and she turned to watch herself in the dressing table mirror. She spread her legs, exposing herself. She dipped her fingers inside and slowly smeared the wetness over her clit.

Jaya had wearied of the shallow attempts of the submissives to impress her at the salon. They had all been too practiced, too whorish for her tastes. Even if she was in a whorehouse she liked to pretend otherwise. She had decided on Sarah after watching her as she served the evening meal. Her nearness combined with the scent of her fear had Jaya squirming through most of dinner. A soft tap at the door made her reach for her robe. “Come in.”

“Oh.” Sarah looked down. A blush spread across her cheeks. She was dressed simply, in a white blouse open at the neck to display her collar and delicate cleavage. The short black skirt she wore accentuated her hips exquisitely. The silver tray trembled in her hands, rattling the brandy snifter and splashing a bit over the side of the glass as she stepped into the room.

“Close the door.” Jaya finished slipping the silk robe over her shoulders and pulled it closed.

“I didn’t expect you to be, um, so—” She dropped her voice to a whisper. “Naked.” Sarah’s blush deepened, as her skin reddened from her collarbones to her hairline.

Exquisite. Endearing. Enticing. Jaya gave no quarter, pinning Sarah with her eyes.

“Come here.” Jaya stood in the center of the room. Sarah placed the tray on the nightstand and approached her. She stopped a step away from Jaya with her hands clasped in front of her waist, and lowered her head. Jaya let the robe fall open and stepped closer to her. Clearly forgetting her role, Sarah looked up at Jaya. She slid her hand under Sarah’s hair and cupped the back of her neck.

“You spilled my brandy.” Jaya traced a finger over Sarah’s lips.

“Mistress. Please.” She lowered her head as tears slipped down her cheeks. “I’ve never…”

Jaya trembled, basking in Sarah’s apprehension and desire. She gripped her chin and forced Sarah to look up. She stared into Sarah’s eyes. Ah, there it is, the passion, the want. Jaya held Sarah’s gaze as she quivered under Jaya’s touch. The delicate features that defined Sarah’s face were contorted in a delicious blend of passion and fear.

“You’ve never what? Never carried a tray? You wear a collar. I know you serve. What is it you haven’t done?”

“I’ve trained in the arts, Mistress, but I’ve not been requested to serve anyone before tonight.”

“Is that why your collar tag is zero?” Jaya flicked the tag with her finger.

“No, Mistress. We choose our numbers. I choose zero because it is the nothing that is.”


“I exist as I am because you exist. I exist for you to empty yourself into me. I exist for your desires and your pleasure. I am the nothing that is.” Sarah’s voice was steady.

“A philosopher.” She held Sarah’s gaze. “Do you wish to serve me, Sarah?”

Sarah met Jaya’s gaze, the fear in her eyes replaced by boldness and want. “Yes.”

The earnest tone of her voice sent tendrils of desire curling through Jaya. “Strip.”

Jaya stepped back to watch as Sarah’s fingers flew to unbutton her blouse. Once she had removed it, she folded it carefully and then slipped out of her skirt. She toed off her shoes. Grabbing the hem, she pulled her camisole over her head before stepping out of the matching underwear. She made a neat pile of her clothes on the chair, placing her shoes underneath. She stood before Jaya naked, her body trembling, her eyes wide. The scent of her excitement filled the space between them. She wants. She needs.

“We shall see if you meant your pretty speech or if it is all for naught before we’re through. When you attend me from now on, I prefer you to be naked when we are alone.”

“Yes, Mistress.” Shoulders square, she presented herself, no longer blushing, and a calm expression on her face. Lips parted, her breath steady, she waited, eyes down.

Jaya bent her head to Sarah’s neck. She wrapped her hand in her hair, pulling her head back and arching her neck in a delicate bow. She trailed kisses along her throat. Sarah groaned, the sound soft and small as she relaxed into Jaya’s arms. Releasing Sarah’s hair, Jaya melded her length along the smaller woman’s body. She gripped Sarah’s arms as she scattered nips among the kisses, savoring the feel of flesh between her teeth. Little gasps escaped Sarah as Jaya dug her sharp nails into the flesh of her arms. Sarah pushed into Jaya, jutting her hips forward. She let her head fall back, exposing more of her neck to Jaya’s hungry mouth. Bound by Jaya’s embrace, unbound by desire, Sarah softened, opening her mouth when Jaya pressed a kiss to her lips.

Jaya’s fierce teeth bit down and the coppery taste of Sarah’s blood tinged their kisses. Searing pain shot through Jaya as Sarah’s teeth pulled at her shoulders. She dug her hard thumbs deeper into the flesh of Sarah’s arms, pinning her in a harsh embrace. Pain for pain, pleasure for pleasure. She knows how to push back. Sarah swayed on her feet. Jaya was wet with need, her clit hard. She thrust her hand into the wet heat between Sarah’s legs. Moaning into Jaya’s mouth, Sarah ran her hands over Jaya’s full breasts and pulled at her nipples. Jaya caught Sarah’s wrists and twisted them behind her back, denying her touch.

Jaya broke their kiss. “Greedy.” She wrenched her arms higher, letting menace fill her voice. Sarah trembled. “You’ve not earned the right to touch me yet.” Releasing her grip, she pushed Sarah down to her knees and stepped back. “End of the bed. Hands on the foot rail.”

Sarah rushed to obey. Jaya slowed her breathing to regain her control. She opened the armoire. Pegs held a variety of floggers, whips, and canes. It had been years since Jaya had used a cane on anyone. She ran her fingers along her favorite instrument of pain. It’s been too long. Don’t want to damage her. At least not permanently. She settled on a well-used riding crop. Lovely. The braided leather of the crop was dark brown with age, and it was stiff with a small amount of flex. Perfect for Jaya’s intentions, the crop had a wide keeper to prevent her from breaking Sarah’s skin.

Sarah bent over at the foot of the bed, her hands white-knuckled on the rail, feet wide, back flat, full hips jutting out at the perfect angle. Beautiful. Her heavy breasts swung with her breaths. Nipple clamps? Another time. Jaya walked around Sarah to take in the display. Exquisite.

“Do you have a safe word?” She rested her hand on Sarah’s head.

“No, Mistress. They pay us extra if we agree to play without one.” The resigned fear in Sarah’s voice made Jaya frown. Not with me.

Jaya turned Sarah’s head to look in her eyes. “I’ve never played without one and I’m not going to start now. Pick one.” She bent down and brought her lips close to Sarah’s ear. “It will be between us.”

“Zero, Mistress.” Sarah shifted her hands on the bed rail, relaxing her grip.

“Very good.” She pinched Sarah’s nipple hard, drawing a sharp cry from her lips. “I look forward to hearing it.”

Jaya ran her hands over Sarah’s unmarked beauty. Her skin was pale. Small freckles spilled everywhere. She landed the first caress of the short whip with a light touch, warming up to the flex of the crop and delighting in the popping sound of leather on skin and Sarah’s slight intake of breath. She landed five more blows in quick succession, creating red marks evenly spaced over Sarah’s ass. Sarah’s breathing had shifted. Jaya ran her hand between Sarah’s legs, pinching her flesh and gathering the wetness there on her fingers. Lovely. Willing. Pain slut. Pulling Sarah’s head up, she showed her the wetness on her hand. Sarah licked it clean. The sensation of her mouth on her fingers made Jaya gasp. Yes.

“Good girl.” Jaya dragged her nails down Sarah’s back and over the welts, enjoying the moan that escaped from Sarah. “Remember your word.”

Jaya rained down blow after blow. In the quiet of the room, the crop thudded now instead of popped. She listened, gauging Sarah’s reaction to the crop, to the pain, to Jaya’s silence. She heard Sarah’s breathing as it shifted again, as she melted into the pain, letting herself get lost in the haze of endorphins. Sarah’s moans grew throaty and the scent of her desire filled the air. Her thighs glistened in the soft light of the gas lamps. Jaya increased the force of her blows, spreading them over Sarah’s flanks and thighs evenly. In the warmth of the room, sweat trickled down Jaya’s back. Say it. Say it. Let me hear you surrender.

Jaya walked the razor’s edge of desire. Close to the abyss, she focused on controlling her urge to push Sarah over the edge. She basked in reflected pain, longing to hear surrender and desire in a single word. Jaya’s breathing was ragged, her thighs wet with desire, and small cries escaped her lips with some of the blows. Sarah’s skin was dark red with raised welts. Stop. Now. Sarah’s breathing was rough and she sagged as she clutched the bed rail. Her thighs were wet from her core to her knees.

She stepped behind Sarah. She placed the handle of the crop between Sarah’s legs, teasing, shifting it, and bringing Sarah to the edge of pleasure. Sobs now mixed with groans as Jaya entered her with the crop, thrusting and twirling it in one motion. Her body shaking, unable to keep her hips still, Sarah pressed back, trying to take more of the crop.

“Please. Mistress, please,” Sarah whispered. “Please let me come for you.”

“Wait.” She pulled the crop from Sarah and ran her hands over the submissive’s bent form, the heat from the welts on Sarah’s bottom and thighs warming her hands. Reaching under Sarah, she gathered her breasts in her hands before pulling Sarah’s nipples to hard points. Sarah’s breath hitched and she sighed and moaned under Jaya’s caresses. She swept the smaller woman up in her arms and dropped her on the bed. I need. I want. She caressed Sarah’s curves and pushed her fingers through red-gold curling hair, slick and wet, before plunging them deep inside Sarah’s softness.

“Please. Please let me touch you, Mistress.” Sarah’s eyes were wide. She gripped the sheets, her knuckles white.


Sarah lifted Jaya’s breasts to her mouth and bent her head to lick and suck Jaya’s nipples. Jaya trembled as Sarah pulled them each in turn deep into her mouth, grazing them with her teeth. I need. I want. Jaya moaned, a low rumble from the depths of her longing. Sarah suckled and teased. Jaya thrust into Sarah harder. Sarah lifted her hands and raked Jaya’s back with her nails. Yes. Hurt me. Harder. Push back. I need. I want. Sharp spikes of pain pulsed through Jaya and she dripped her excitement on Sarah’s thigh.

Sarah’s hips bucked and she opened her legs wider, striving to take more. Jaya lowered her head, savaging Sarah’s mouth as she ground herself against Sarah’s thigh. She pulled back to look into Sarah’s face. Pleasure played out over Sarah’s features. I need. I want.

“May I, Mistress? Please. Now. Please. Please let me come for you? Please?” Sarah’s nails dug deeper into Jaya’s skin. I need. I want.

“Come for me.” Jaya covered Sarah’s mouth with her own. Now. Now. Now.

She raked her nails down Jaya’s arms and screamed her climax into her mouth. Jaya ground out her pleasure on Sarah’s thigh. Pain and pleasure melding into one, they shook and clung to each other.

Jaya collapsed next to Sarah, sliding her fingers out gently. Sarah’s head rested against Jaya’s shoulder. She smoothed her hand over Jaya’s brown skin laced with dark tattoos in a language few could read. Saying nothing, she trailed her fingers down Jaya’s sweat-slicked body, stopping above the dark tangle of hair between her legs. Jaya shifted her hips and opened herself, anxious for Sarah to explore her body. More.

“Yes.” Jaya answered Sarah’s silent question. Sarah pressed gentle fingers into Jaya. She grabbed Sarah’s wrist and forced more of her hand hard inside her body. Sarah trembled and raised her eyes to meet Jaya’s gaze.

“Do. Not. Tease.”

A feral smile spread across Sarah’s face. Her eyes locked on Jaya’s face, she thrust harder. Oh yes. Yes. Pain and pleasure rolled through Jaya and she let her head fall back. Her breasts rocked and her body shook with each deep thrust. More. More. All of you. Jaya arched her hips and Sarah lowered her mouth to Jaya’s mound of tight, dark curls. She sucked at the hardness there.

“More.” Jaya shifted, opening her legs wider. Sarah thrust another finger inside and pushed, her strokes fierce and deep, sweeping over Jaya’s sweet spot. She sucked on Jaya’s clit until pain and pleasure fused and Jaya shook as she came again with a low moan. Jaya wrapped her hands in Sarah’s hair, holding her in place as she finished riding out the last of her pleasure on Sarah’s face. Sated, she released her grip on Sarah’s hair. She lay curled on her side with her head on Jaya’s thigh, and Jaya carded her fingers through her hair. Sarah shivered. She moved up and tucked herself into Jaya’s side. Jaya pulled the duvet over her. She rose and poured a glass of water for Sarah.

“Have some water.”

Sarah took a drink and placed the glass on the bedside table. “I can’t stay, Mistress.”

Jaya’s slap came so quickly Sarah’s head snapped with the blow.

“Presumptuous girl. I didn’t ask you to stay. Do not mistake my concern for the well-being of the house’s property for something more.”

Sarah cast her eyes down, her face scarlet. She crawled off the bed and lowered her head to the floor. “Forgive me, Mistress.”

“Go. Now.”

Sarah stopped to collect her clothes before scurrying from the room. Her body sated, the ache within gone, Jaya smiled as she finished her brandy. Yes. She was the right choice.

Chapter Two

Why is this so hard? Jaya sat at the small table by the window, letting the north light fall across her paper. Settling herself into her chair, she took a breath. She picked up her pencil and her father’s harsh voice echoed in her head. “Stop wasting your time.” Sweat trickled down her back, and she placed the pencil on the table and pressed her hands to her eyes. Flashes of her father’s face, eyes full of disappointment and reproach as he tossed her drawings into the fire wormed their way into her brain. She had watched as the paper turned in on itself, yellow and blue flames consuming her work. Her mother had understood her need to draw and create, but her mother had been gone five years by then and her father had no patience for such things.

Just do it. Start anywhere. Drawing had been like breathing when she was a little girl. She always had a pencil in her hand. Memories of sitting on the end of her mother’s bed, wrapped in the warmth of her mother’s love as she drew pictures of all the things they would do when her mother came home from the hospital, bubbled up, filling her mind. Her mother had taped each drawing on the wall of her hospital room until she was too weak to get out of bed. No tears. Then or now.

She refused to remember the pain of losing her mother, the look of anger on her father’s face when he found her drawings, or the smirk on her brother’s face when he admitted he had been the one to tell her father where to look. She had taken a beating that night. Not the first or the last but the one that hurt the most because of her father’s words.

She went to the washroom and splashed icy water from the tap on her face to ease the burn of bad memories. I can do this. For me. She dried her hands.

Jaya started drawing, the scratch of her pencil loud in the quiet of the room. She sketched loosely, letting her hand remember how to draw. She closed her eyes, remembering Sarah’s face contorted in pleasure and pain, envisioning the way the dark red marks from the crop highlighted the beauty of the submissive’s pale skin. The sensation of being lost in her world of paper and pencil was familiar and strange at the same time. A loud tap at her door startled her and she flipped her drawing pad over. Still hiding your drawings. No. Not anymore. She flipped the pad back over and answered the door.

“Yes.” Jaya snatched the door open, trying to keep angry impatience from her voice. The frightened look on the face of the woman in the hall let her know she had failed miserably.

“Will you be joining us for dinner tonight, Mistress, or would you like to eat in your room?” The woman smoothed her hands down the front of her skirt. “I could serve you here.” She met Jaya’s eyes with a wide smile on her lips. Willing. So willing and so not who I want. Jaya calculated the time it would take to change for dinner. She was comfortable in her tank top and jeans. “I’ll have dinner in my room tonight.” She glanced at her sketchpad and the partially completed drawing of Sarah. Her mouth watered and she did nothing to hide her smile. “Have Sarah bring it, please.”

The woman’s smile disappeared. “As you wish, Mistress.”

The smell of properly spiced biryani filtered in from the hall. Jaya heard the creak of the serving cart as it neared her door. She tucked her pencil away and closed her sketchbook. The hours she had spent drawing seemed like minutes. She opened the door before the knock came.

Hands on her hips, Sarah quirked her mouth at Jaya. “Your meal, Mistress.” She wheeled the cart into the room. Jaya had thought to simply see Sarah, tease her, and then let her leave. I need. I want. Seeing Sarah’s impatience, she decided she was not letting her go back to the kitchen. She watched as Sarah set the plates out and arranged the covered platters of food.

“Have you eaten?” Jaya pulled her chair up to the table.

“No, Mistress.”

Jaya frowned. “Why not?”

“I was studying, Mistress. I lost track of time and missed staff dinner.” Sarah fidgeted with her uniform buttons, avoiding Jaya’s eyes.

“Eat with me.” Jaya gestured towards the heaping platters. “This is more than I can manage.”

Sarah glanced up and quickly looked down again. She chewed her lip. “I’m supposed to return. I have other meals to deliver.”

Not tonight you don’t. Jaya knew there were other guests present in the house. Even she had not been able to afford an exclusive stay.

She tipped her chin at Sarah. “I could order you to stay.” She stood up and cupped Sarah’s face in her hands. She kissed her softly, letting her tongue explore, teasing and nibbling. Sarah opened to her mouth, returning Jaya’s kiss. Her hands settled on Jaya’s waist. She pulled back, breaking their kiss.

“True, Mistress.” A wicked smile played over her lips. “I couldn’t refuse.” She nuzzled Jaya’s neck, her lips hot on Jaya’s skin.

Jaya’s tension melted under Sarah’s touch and her words. Sarah uncovered the serving dishes while Jaya made the call to the kitchen. She ignored the huffy sound of the woman’s voice on the other end of the line and hung up the receiver on the antique phone when the woman began to offer other servers.

“And now—” Jaya brought a chair over and placed it next to her own. “We have the whole night ahead of us. Sit.” She pointed at the chair.

“With you?” Sarah did not move. She raised her eyes to Jaya’s face, her brow furrowed.

“That is generally how people eat dinner together. At least where I’m from.” She patted the chair cushion.

Her shoulders rigid, Sarah perched on the edge of the chair.

“You’re never going to be able to enjoy dinner unless you relax.” She smiled at Sarah even though some people had told her she looked more menacing when she did. Sarah flushed scarlet. “Eat. No games. No roles. And then after—” She picked up Sarah’s hand and kissed the back of it. “We can play.”

Sarah lowered her shoulders and picked up the serving spoon. “Tell me, what dish do you want to start?”

“It all smells so good. A bit of everything, please.” Jaya sat back in her chair.

Sarah arranged two plates, heaping the white dishes high with food, placing naan around the edges. Jaya’s hunger melted away as she tucked into the curry and biryani. From under her lashes, she watched Sarah as she ate.

“What are you studying that is so fascinating you miss meals?” Jaya rested her fork on her plate.

“I’m taking my graduate record exams in January. Not so tremendously fascinating but necessary. With my duties, I don’t have much time for studying.”

Duties. Jaya wiped her mouth. Including me. Sarah ate steadily, comfortable in the silence.

“This is excellent. I’ve not had food like this in a long time.” Jaya sat back, one appetite sated, another appetite building with Sarah’s nearness. Duties.

Sarah put her fork down and looked into Jaya’s eyes. “Thank you. I was hungry.”

“You’re welcome.” Jaya pushed back from the table.

Sarah wiped her mouth with her napkin before she cleared the table, placing the dishes on the serving cart. She sat back down and took a sip of the beer Jaya had poured for her.

“Would you have more time to study if I didn’t ask for you to serve me?”

“What?” Sarah’s mouth turned down and she lowered her chin to her chest. “Have I displeased you already?”

“No. You said you didn’t have much time to study because of your duties. I wondered if it’s because of me.”

Sarah looked up and held Jaya’s gaze. “I don’t think of serving you as a duty. I have housekeeping and kitchen duties that keep me busy.”

“What if you studied here?”

“What? Now?” Sarah raised both eyebrows.

Jaya laughed. “Maybe not right now. I could request you serve me afternoon tea while I’m here. You could use that time to study.”

“Study.” Sarah quirked her mouth. “And what else?”

Jaya leaned back in her chair. “Whatever happens when you need a study break.”

Sarah chewed her lip. “Cook will lose her shit.”

“If that is the imperious woman I spoke to on the phone, it makes me want to do it no matter what you say.”

Sarah sat back and looked into Jaya’s eyes. “Why do you want to help me?”

“Why not?”

“Because people don’t come to Rowan House to help the staff.”

“Maybe I have a thing for college girls.” Jaya held Sarah’s gaze. “Maybe I want to give you something no one else can.”

“And what is that?” Sarah’s mouth was a hard line, her brow furrowed.

“A chance.”

Sarah looked down at her hands. “I don’t know what to say.”

“You don’t have to say anything.”

Chapter Three

Jaya stood in the courtyard in front of the stable. The soft sounds of birds interrupted the morning quiet. Perfect, so utterly perfect. She had been up most of the night thinking about the ride she had planned. A woman led a large bay, fully tacked out for Jaya. What was her name? Jaya had considered her before settling on Sarah. The faded jeans fit her like a second skin, showing off her curves. She had the sleeves rolled back on her loose chambray shirt to reveal the exquisite vine tattoos accentuating the defined muscles in her arms.

“I didn’t get your name.” Jaya tugged her black kidskin riding gloves on.

“Octavia.” The woman met Jaya’s appraising gaze with one of her own. “Mistress.” A switch or a bold submissive. Enticed by the woman’s boldness, Jaya considered altering her plan for the morning.

Octavia held the reins and ran a hand down the horse’s neck. “He’s a real gentleman, Mistress, all seventeen hands of him. A real goer but he won’t leave you if you don’t make a fence.” She did nothing to hide the amusement in her eyes. Jaya supposed many people who came to Rowan House imagined themselves as better riders than they were. It had been years since Jaya had taken the time to ride.

“I’m not planning on riding a steeplechase.” She climbed the mounting block and settled into the saddle. She checked the fit of her stirrups and adjusted the length.

“He’s a good fit for you.” The woman frowned as she caught sight of the crop Jaya had in her hand. She raised her chin and pointed to it. “You’ll not be needing that, Ma’am.” Her voice was loud.

Jaya rubbed the bay’s neck. “Rest easy. I would never use a crop on…” She raised the crop and traced the edge of Octavia’s cheek with it, looking in the woman’s eyes. “Any horse. This is a pleasure ride this morning.”

“Do you fancy company, Mistress?” Octavia rested her hand on Jaya’s boot, her eyes full of hope. “I could show you some sights.” Her generous mouth spread wide in a smile. Jaya wanted to dismount and kiss the cheeky grin right off her face. She cupped the woman’s cheek and traced her thumb over her full lower lip.

“Maybe tomorrow.” A purposeful scuff of boots on gravel made her look up. Sarah stood in the courtyard in tan jodhpurs and a white shirt. Her brow was furrowed and her mouth set in a thin line. She stood with her hands on her hips. After releasing the stable woman Jaya waved for Sarah to come over.

“Good morning.” She patted the saddle in front of her. “Climb up.”

Sarah hesitated. Octavia grinned. She took Sarah’s hand and led her to the mounting block. Jaya slid back on the saddle and Sarah sat in front of her. The horse sidestepped and tossed his head. Sarah clutched the pommel.

“Lucky you.” Octavia patted Sarah’s leg and gave Jaya a wink before she headed back to the stable.

“You’ll have to use your thighs to hold your seat.” Jaya urged the horse on at an easy walk.

“We all start here in the stables, Mistress. It’s not my first time on a horse.” Sarah leaned back into her.

“How long have you worked here?”

“I started the summer after I graduated college, Mistress.”

“And how long is that?”

“Three years, Mistress.” Sarah’s voice was flat and her clipped delivery made Jaya leave off asking any more questions. She focused on the feel of Sarah’s body caught within her arms and the press of her hips against her thighs. Her ass pressed against Jaya with every step the horse took. Her nipples were hard from the contact with Sarah and the thought of what was to come.

The lush grass surrounding the house was wet with dew and the air was cool. The sensation of the controlled power between Jaya’s thighs, the bunch and flex of the horse’s muscles as she increased his pace, increased her excitement. She held him back, letting him warm up. The horse snorted and tossed his head, working out his muscles. His energy filled Jaya, his desire to run as great as her own. They crested a low hill and a flat plain spread out before them. A small copse of trees marked the end of the field.

“Hold on,” she whispered to Sarah. Jaya gathered herself and urged the horse forward. She held him to a canter until they reached the flat, and then she gave him his head and they charged on at a full gallop. The wind rushed past them and Sarah clung tightly to the pommel, leaning down as Jaya did. They stretched out as one over the horse’s neck. They rushed on across the field until the edge of the woods came into view, and Jaya slowed him, easing his pace until he was walking when they entered the trail through the woods.

The woods were dark and chill after the bright morning sun. Sarah shivered and squirmed against Jaya. She inhaled the warm scent of Sarah’s skin, a delicious combination of sandalwood and citrus intertwined with the smell of her excitement. They traveled deeper into the quiet woods, letting the horse cool down until they reached a clearing. Thick stumps circled a stone fire ring. A small fenced area with a turnout shed stood off to the side.

Jaya dismounted and helped Sarah down from the saddle. Her nipples stiffened with the drag of Sarah’s body against her own. When her feet touched the ground, Jaya kissed her, taking time to explore the soft regions of Sarah’s mouth. She had been too impatient the night before, but now she went at a slower pace. The horse shifted, tugging the reins, and Jaya broke their kiss.

“Give me a minute.” She walked the horse to the fenced area and closed the gate. She loosened the bridle and slipped it over his head. The shed was equipped with racks and pegs to hold the tack. She unbuckled the girth and pulled the saddle and the pad off him. Jaya placed the equipment on the saddle rack. The horse pushed his nose into her hand. I didn’t even ask your name. Jaya rubbed his neck, her thoughts going back to the horse she had owned as a girl. A persnickety red mare she had loved. Her father had sold her as soon as Jaya left for college.

She leaned her head against the horse’s neck.

“He likes you.” Sarah’s quiet voice brought her back from the melancholy thoughts threatening to derail her plans for this morning.

“He’s wonderful.” Jaya turned. Sarah stood naked, her clothes piled neatly beside her boots. “And so are you.” No fear. In the middle of a forest, far from any rescue. No fear of me or of my desires.

Jaya left the horse to his hay and water, locking the gate behind her. She eased her shirt off. Her nipples hardened in the cool air. Jaya allowed her dark side to surface with Sarah; the part of her that thrilled in giving and receiving pain, the beast within she kept on a short leash.

She made a show of pulling her riding gloves off before tucking them into her pocket. Jaya walked around Sarah. She stopped behind her and scraped her nails over the marks she had made last night. A shiver shook Sarah’s small frame. Reaching around her, she pressed her breasts into Sarah’s back, trapping her arms at her side. She tugged her nipples into thick, hard points, wrenching a small gasp from her. She dug her fingers into the soft flesh of Sarah’s breasts and pinched harder, to be rewarded with a deep groan.

The scent of Sarah’s arousal and her gasps of pain filled Jaya with desire. She wrapped her hand in Sarah’s hair and slid the other over her stomach, down through the soft curls, to dip her fingers into the wetness between her legs. She pushed in deep, fucking her fingers in and out roughly. Sarah’s moans filled the air and she leaned back and shifted her legs, spreading them, offering herself to Jaya.

“Oh, yes, Mistress, please.” Sarah squirmed against Jaya as she begged for release. Jaya pulled her hand away and turned Sarah to face her. Perfect. So ready. She removed her gloves from her pocket. Fingers wet with Sarah’s juices, she slapped the gloves against her palm, the soft pop of leather against skin loud in the quiet of the woods. She snapped them out quickly, striking Sarah’s breasts hard. Sarah’s eyes went wide and her mouth opened in a perfect O. She closed her eyes and swayed on her feet. Jaya placed her hand on her shoulder to steady her.

“Open your eyes and spread your legs.” Sarah did not move. Jaya caught her chin in her hand and lifted her face. “Look at me. Use your word if you need to.” Sarah shook her head a silent no and lowered her eyes.

“Legs wider. Stand for me.” Sarah raised her eyes and held Jaya’s gaze. She planted her feet wide and tilted her chin in challenge. A shiver of need passed through Jaya. She struck Sarah with the gloves, falling into a rhythm. The soft leather brought a rosy color to her breasts, and her nipples darkened to a deep ruby red under the assault of Jaya’s gloves.

Striking harder, Jaya whipped the gloves over the rest of Sarah’s body. Soft leather slapped the skin over her hips and thighs. A soft intake of breath and a moan escaped her lips with each blow and Sarah’s thighs gleamed with wetness. Jaya’s clit was hard and each moan, each gasp from Sarah made her harder. She stepped close and pushed her fingers between the submissive’s legs. So wet. So willing. So honest. Any woman could moan and groan and pretend to enjoy pain, but the silky evidence of Sarah’s excitement pushed every one of Jaya’s buttons and wetness soaked through her pants.

Eager to test Sarah’s limits and her own, Jaya tossed the gloves aside and picked up the crop from where it lay across her shirt. Sarah’s breathing deepened as she stared at the crop in Jaya’s hand. She trembled. Squaring her shoulders, she looked into Jaya’s eyes and raised her chin. There it is. Challenge. Fear. Hunger. She drew the keeper up Sarah’s thigh, stopping to tease her clit. She pushed the crop between her legs then drew it back. The soft, braided leather was wet with Sarah’s excitement. A deep groan shuddered through Sarah, sending a rolling wave of desire through Jaya. I need. I want. She slid the crop along Sarah’s folds again as she tugged Sarah’s nipples. Sarah stood her ground as soft moans and whimpers escaped her.

Jaya paced herself, keeping Sarah on the edge of pleasure, giving her enough and yet not enough friction, wanting her to beg for release. She watched her face as she drove the crop back and forth. Sarah’s eyes were heavy-lidded, her face blissful. Keeping the pressure light, Jaya slid the short whip forward and back. Sarah’s wetness made the crop glide between her legs. The slow push drove the braided leather against Sarah’s hard clit and the even slower drag of the pull stroke caused her to whimper.

“Please, Mistress.” Her legs shook as she struggled to stay upright. “Please. Let me. I don’t know if I can hold back.” Her eyes welled with tears and her voice trembled.

Beg. Plead. Let me hear your desire. Let me hear your misery. Jaya remained silent, waiting for Sarah to beg, wanting to hear her come, unable to stop herself. She kept stroking, pushing harder on the forward thrust and slowing the pull back. She drew out Sarah’s pleasure, but was careful to not push her over the edge. Beg me. Beg for release. Sarah’s thighs were wet and the crop was covered in her slickness.

“Aah. Please. Mercy.” Real tears now. Jaya reached up and wiped Sarah’s cheeks with her fingertips. The despair on Sarah’s face fed her soul, and she brought her fingers to her lips to taste the bitter salt of Sarah’s tears. I need. I want. Sarah shook with her effort to stand still, and her hips rocked as a keening sound rose from deep in her chest. Jaya moved closer until their bodies touched. Surrender to me. I need. I want. Sarah’s flesh was hot and delicious as she let her hand butt against her mound on the push stroke, thrusting harder now. She scattered small nips and bites over Sarah’s body.

The feel of Sarah’s flesh in her mouth made Jaya want to devour her. She rolled the soft skin in her teeth, marking Sarah. She wanted to break her skin and feed on the salty copper taste that would well up and flavor their kisses. Her own snarls and groans matched Sarah’s loud cries and moans of pleasure. Deeper groans filled the clearing as Sarah melted under Jaya’s bites.

“Please, Mistress, mercy. Let me come for you, please, Mistress, please.” Sarah’s voice was ragged as she begged, her hips bucking in her struggle to stand under the assault of Jaya’s mouth and hands.

Jaya was aching and wet. I need. I want. She consumed Sarah’s desire and her willing flesh. Her harsh breathing and rumbling growls mixed with Sarah’s sharp cries of pain and pleasure. I need. I want. Give it to me. Each moment she grew more desperate, desperate for Sarah’s pleasure, desperate for her own pleasure, desperate for the sound and sensation of Sarah’s surrender.

Sucking Sarah’s breast into her mouth driven on by Sarah’s moans of pleasure, she bit hard. She dropped the crop and, replaced it with her hand, unable to resist the desire to bury herself inside Sarah. Soft velvet heat encased her. She drove her fingers in, stroking hard as she pushed in deep. Thrusting harder, she wrapped her hand in Sarah’s hair, crushing her against her body. She lowered her mouth to her nipple and sucked fiercely as she buried her fingers in Sarah.

The lush sounds of Sarah’s wetness filled Jaya’s ears. Four fingers wide, she thrust deep, the heel of her hand grinding into Sarah. I need. I want. Pure. Animal. Raw. I need. She fucked her remorselessly, burying her sadness, her loneliness, and her pain in Sarah’s willing body. She drank in her pleasure and her pain. Jaya’s arm ached. Her pants were soaked and sweat poured from her. Their bodies were slick with sweat and liquid excitement.

A ragged “please” from Sarah and Jaya increased her speed. Her mouth close to Sarah’s mouth, she gorged herself on her pain and pleasure.

“Come for me. Now.” Jaya bit down, clamping her teeth into the soft skin of Sarah’s neck. Sarah screamed as she came, her whole body shaking, the sounds of her pleasure loud in Jaya’s ears. With incoherent sounds and tears, Sarah broke. She rolled her hips, holding on to Jaya’s shoulders and grinding herself on Jaya’s hand. Wrapping her leg around Jaya’s hip so she could pull her closer, she came, shaking and groaning.

Sarah went slack and Jaya swept her up and gathered her in an embrace. She held her close. Hot tears wet her chest and she pulled her closer. She sat on her shirt with Sarah in her arms, her body warm against her, cherishing the feel of her surrender. She kissed the marks her teeth had made on Sarah’s shoulder. Her heart cracked open as she held Sarah. Everything. Sarah’s tears melted the ice that had filled Jaya’s heart after Deidre. Everything. She gives everything. She smoothed Sarah’s hair, twining her fingers through the soft curls. She took it. All of the pain, held it, and gave it back to me. A gift.

Deidre had taken the pain, but it came at a price Jaya had become unwilling to pay. Deidre. She shook her head to clear her gloomy thoughts, wanting to hold on to the moment.

Sarah nuzzled Jaya’s neck. “Let me please you, Mistress.” She rested her fingers on the fly of Jaya’s trousers. Without waiting for an answer, she unzipped Jaya’s pants and slipped her small hand inside. Yes, please now. Silent, Jaya shifted her position and lay back. She closed her eyes as Sarah rubbed her clit with one finger. Sharp pleasure shot through her. One, two, three touches and a slow orgasm crashed over her in heavy, pulsing waves of pleasure. A rumbling groan rattled her chest and she held on to Sarah as she shook, riding the sensation that rippled through her body.

Sarah stopped stroking and pressed her hand against Jaya. “More, Mistress?” She teased her fingers along Jaya’s folds and pushed two slick fingers inside, stroking softly.

“Greedy girl.” Jaya groaned and shifted her hips, giving Sarah access. She gripped Sarah’s wrist. “Slow.”

She filled her hand with Sarah’s breast, kneading and pinching her thick nipple. Sarah rose up on her knees and Jaya lifted her hips, letting Sarah ease her pants down. Sarah’s steady thrusts filled her as she worked her fingers over Jaya’s sweet spot. Soft moans from Sarah blended with her own as she thrust her fingers in and out, making Jaya squirm. She pinched and pulled Sarah’s nipples, and was rewarded with small gasps as Sarah pushed her clit against Jaya’s leg. She lifted her hips, meeting Sarah’s hand and taking her deeper. I need. I want. The sweet pain of Sarah’s fingers thrusting deep burned through her as pleasure and pain became one and she came again, savoring Sarah’s pain and her own.

Chapter Four

Jaya set her pencil aside and watched as Sarah closed her book and stretched. She took off the glasses she wore when she studied and set them on top of the book. It had become an unspoken signal between them. Jaya liked the anticipation, the waiting, the masquerade of the chase even if it did not exist.

Slow. Slow and sweet tonight. Torture her with pleasure. She rested her head in her hand as she contemplated Sarah’s body. Where to start? Jaya let her gaze drift over Sarah, appraising her. Relaxed now. Off guard. Jaya slipped her hand behind Sarah’s neck and cupped it, pulling her into a kiss while she worked the buttons of her uniform open. Sarah leaned into the kiss. Jaya finished with the small buttons and eased her hand inside. The soft white camisole Sarah wore beneath her uniform did nothing to hide the way her nipples hardened with Jaya’s kiss. She thumbed Sarah’s nipple through the fabric and Sarah moaned, shifting in her seat. Jaya turned and pulled Sarah into her lap, continuing their kiss and her attention to Sarah’s breasts. She tweaked each nipple in turn.

She stopped her assault on Sarah’s mouth. “Stand for me.” Sarah eased off her lap, picking up her role perfectly. “Take off your blouse.”

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