This short story comes from the collection "Bound by Lust: Romantic Stories of Submission and Sensuality," edited by Shanna Germain. It is reprinted here with permission from Cleis Press. This excerpt is sponsored by LELO.

It was that final puddle and the short slurping slide through the mud that did it. I stomped into the house and skidded into the kitchen.

"Problem?" Anthony asked, chopping onions. Something boiled on the stove, and the windows were fogged from steam inside and cold air out.

"I hate spring," I seethed.

"Come on, now. Hate?"

A rage so swift and big flared up in me I bit my tongue. I pried off one orange rain boot and threw it at the small mat we kept by the kitchen door. What felt like tears pricked my eyes, and my throat narrowed with mystery emotion.

"Yes, hate."

"You don’t hate spring," he said softly and continued his meticulous chopping.

"I do," I said. Angry that he would counter me on my own feelings. Livid that I had to explain my feelings to him - to anyone.

"No you don’t."

"Anthony—"

He turned to me full-on. His hulking frame and dark hair shot with bits of silver filled my field of vision.

"You don’t hate spring."

The anger was so big in me - out of nowhere - it had teeth and claws, and it raged at his calm, even tone.

"I do hate spring!" I spat. Thinking somewhere in me that this was possibly the most asinine fight we’d ever had. But even as I pondered it, my hand acted of its own accord, and the other orange rain boot went flying. Right at him.

He plucked it from the steamy air with one big hand, and his face barely changed. He simply set the boot down on the yellow tile floor and said, "Get downstairs, Kate."

"I -"

"Move," he said. He made a shooing motion with his hands like I was a mouse in his kitchen or a dust bunny on his dirty floor.

"No."

"Go, Kate. Downstairs. Now."

"No. I won’t go downstairs now. This isn’t the bedroom. You don’t get to tell me what to do or paddle me or any of that shit. You don’t get to tell me I don’t hate spring or that my feelings are wrong or that I’m not having them!" I roared, and for the first time in 10 years of marriage, I took a swing at my husband.

And there he was, unflappable Anthony, catching my hand, dipping his big body and coming up under my torso to lift me off my feet. He caught me up in that firm fireman’s carry, turned the stovetop burner to simmer, and waltzed me across the kitchen floor.

"Put me down," I growled.

"You don’t hate spring, Kate. You hate what it stands for. That’s when you ended things with him." And then he was clomping down the basement steps with me over his shoulder - dumbfounded and still with the force of his words.

I was grieving for Kevin. For the end of an affair.

There had been a bad patch for our marriage. A year of turmoil - an inability to conceive and start the family we wanted. And then we turned on each other as if blaming the other would soothe the ache. Anthony had picked his poison - crowded bars and too much beer and booze. Mine had been the cool white sheets of another man. But there had come a point when we needed to decide - marriage or divorce. Choose one. Choose now.

We’d chosen each other, and I had ended it.

I was mourning Kevin, I thought again, and when Anthony opened the back door to our tiny fenced-in back yard, my head rapped the lip of the doorway. The blow was short and not too hard at all, but tears sprang to my eyes instantly as if waiting for an excuse.

I started to cry for real.

"It’s OK. We’ll fix it." Anthony always saw things as linear. We would fix my pain over having lost my lover. I had cheated on him with a man; he had cheated on me with booze. But we would fix it. There was no question.

"I’m crying because you hit my head."

"No you’re not," he said and set me on the picnic table like his overgrown doll.

"Yes, I am," I said with no real heat.

He put his finger under my chin and tilted my head so I had to look at him. "No. You’re not. Now put your arms up over your head, Kate."

"What? Why?"

"Because, my wife, we are reclaiming spring."

"I … what?"

I felt off-kilter and out of control and I didn’t like that. We had our little sex games. Paddles and bondage here and there, power plays and some teeth marks on occasion. But this was in our backyard, and I had real anger, real sadness. He should be jealous and enraged. Instead he said again, "Put your arms up over your head."

I stared into his stormy eyes - the gray of an overcast October day - and I decided to listen. I put my arms up over my head.

He nodded once, and bent and kissed me on the lips. Not a peck, but not a proper kiss either. I sat, transfixed, confused, exhausted as he tied my hands with laundry line looped over the beams of our deck that hung over our heads. This was the little shielded bit of the yard, under the deck but looking out over the expanse of the yard. We sat here at the picnic table in the summer and watched the rabbits come out hesitantly from under the shed.

Once he had me tied so that my arms had a bit of slack but not enough to put them down, he unbuttoned the top four buttons of my blue thermal T and popped my bra open. My breasts bounced free, pink nipples pebbled from the chilly air.

"Now you stay here while I finish the soup. And think about what you want. Do you want to let it go, or do you want to keep that anger and hurt and our mistakes alive?" Then he dipped his head and sucked first one nipple and then the other.

I felt the tug and thump of arousal mixed with some melancholy flex in my belly. For once I kept my mouth shut as he went back inside, the door banging and his bare feet whispering on the red linoleum stairs as he went back up to his pot of soup.

"Well, fuck," I said to the misty rain.

I looked at the grass - so green it seemed neon - and tried to remember the very brief goodbye that I had shared with Kevin. More of a dismissal if you had to know. But it had hurt, more than I had realized, until I found myself crying for no fucking reason. Or yelling. Or a combo deal that scared everyone but me. Kevin and his cock and the sweet dirty way he talked to me when he fucked me had been a lifesaver during my pain. His arms around me while my husband drank away his pain at some crowded bar had been solace - false solace - but at that point I’d have taken any kind of solace at all.

"This is stupid," I said, coiled there on the picnic table with my arms tied. Some blonde bird of prey who couldn’t take flight but couldn’t fully roost.

I didn’t want to be aroused. And I didn’t want to admit he was right. I certainly didn’t want him to come and fix this for me - with me. But as I sat there, waiting, heart pounding - I realized I was wet. And not just from the misty rain. I was wet between my legs with the tight swollen feel of arousal.

"Damn."

"Who ya talking to, babe?"

I gasped, sounding stupid and girlish, but even I could hear the lust in that one little sound.

"You know," Anthony said, advancing on me. "It really gets me hot, the thought of you twisting here in the wind like this. At my mercy."

I made a sound in my throat I wasn’t anticipating, and he smiled at me.

"Let’s see if you like it too." He unbuttoned my jeans and dragged down the zipper. I watched his hands as if I’d never seen them before. Anthony pushed my waistband down just a bit so that he could slide his fingers into my panties. His fingertip found me, parted me, entered me. "Yep, you like it too. Don’t you?"

I refused to answer, biting my lip. He kissed me and turned his back to go.

"Where are you going!" I blurted, ashamed to hear how eager I was. But now my pussy was truly humming with arousal, and he was leaving me?

"Gotta get the carrots in or they won’t get soft. And nothing ruins a good rainy-day soup faster than hard carrots."

"I … oh." I would not beg. I clenched my jaw and kept my mouth shut as he went back in the house.

Fuck.

I remembered the good-bye fuck. Kevin had cried. I had hated him for crying. His tears had sealed my guilt deep inside of me, and for that I’d never forgive him. I didn’t wish him ill, but I wanted him excised from my fucking mind - cut out of my memory like a tumor.

I tested my ties, and my arms sang with the pain of immobility. An ache that thumped in time with my heart had taken up residence just below my shoulder blade. It felt like someone had inserted a blade in there and was twisting it.

I moved a bit to the left, wishing without realizing it that Anthony could pull this off. That melting snow and misty rain and mud wouldn’t make me feel rage and guilt and sadness. That when I listened to the drip-drip-drip of melting snowbanks I would only think of him - of him fucking me - of us.

The backdoor squeaked and I froze. "How is she? Is she simmering?" he asked over my shoulder, pressing his lips to the back of my neck, cupping my goose bump-studded breasts in his hands.

"Lift your hips."

Because I wanted him to succeed, I obeyed. I rose up on my knees a bit and let him shimmy my jeans down over my hips. He tugged my legs back so that they came off the picnic table and I had to stand. Belly pressed to the wooden lip of the table, arms tied to the beam overhead, husband crowding in on my back. He gripped my hips, pushed the silken head of his cock to my hole, and waited.

I wanted to beg, but that guilt flashed in me again. The guilt of hurting not one man, but two, so I didn’t deserve to beg.

"You have to let it go," he said, picking through my mind, it seemed. And then he thrust and entered me.

My toes hovered over the concrete patio, my shoulders screamed, and I embraced the pain. My penance. The pain would wipe the slate clean. The pleasure would bond me and Anthony again so that nothing would come between us again. Even our own grief.

He thrust, and I sighed and surrendered. And then he pulled out, kissed the back of my neck, and left.

OK, this time I started to cry.

"He says I have to let it go," I told the laundry line conversationally. I watched rain whip the dogwood in the back of the yard. Tiny buds had started to appear on her branches. New life. New chances.

I remembered the goodbye fuck again and how Kevin had held me while I cried. How he hadn’t held my desertion against me. And then how I had simply dismissed him. As if it didn’t matter. It had mattered, though, and it had hurt ever since.

"I let you go. I wish you well. I’m sorry," I said to the greengreen grass. "I fucked up and so did Anthony but we can fix it. We can."

I heard the back door slip open and felt him there, but I didn’t turn. I waited to see what he would do, what he would say. His touched my shoulder, still warm under cotton thermal because only my breasts were exposed, and then he bent me just a bit at the waist so my belly brushed the ragged edge of the picnic table. He slipped back into me, holding my hips with his big hands like they were made of glass.

"I love you, Katie." He moved and my body responded, plump and swollen with arousal.

I could only nod, unable to speak from the unshed tears clogging my throat.

He moved a bit faster, and my body rode up to meet him, my upper thighs scraping the table lip, my mouth working but no sound coming out.

"Say you love me, too," Anthony said, reaching around me, finding my clit and giving it firm wet rubs with his rough fingertip.

"I love you. I do." And then the sob broke free, but Anthony drove into me and the sob became a cry as I came, my body flickering around him. The rain picked up, beating down out of the leaden sky. Drips snaked through the cracks of the deck and baptized us with cool wetness.

I pushed back to him, opening for him, wanting him to come too. He held me in his hands and stilled my hips as he disengaged.

"Oh, come on - "

"Hush," he said and walked to the front of me. Anthony nudged the picnic table away with a bump of his hip, and it groaned across the concrete as it slid.

He palmed my ass and lifted me a few inches. I wrapped my legs to his waist as his cock found me, slid home - spearing the wet slit of my pussy. My fingers found the overhead beam, and I wrapped my hands around it to hold myself up a bit, the biting clothesline no longer gnawing at my flesh.

We were face to face, lips to lips, his breath on my cheek. His eyes half-open and startling grey, his face set in a determined way. I held on tight to him with my thighs as he fucked me, driving deep, his mouth pressed to mine. His cock nudged all the places deep inside that made me shiver and say silent prayers to go faster, deeper, harder.

"You’re mine again. All mine and no one else’s."

"Yes."

"And I’m all yours, baby. Like it or not."

"Yes."

A fat drop of rain hit my forehead, streaked a cold trail over my eyelid, and fell away. More rain slipped through the deck as the storm raged out in the open, crashing into the new grass, making mud. Making a mess. Washing away the old.

"Spring is good." He grinned, leaned in, and bit my throat.

I nodded and felt my body grow tight around him.

"Spring is really good." His voice a soft murmur.

I leaned in and licked him, kissed him, put my mouth on him wherever I could. One of his hands broke free from my ass and found my nipple, pinching hard the way I liked, driving a tiny spike of pain through my body. My fingers sang from holding me up, my pussy thumped with a fresh need for release, and when my husband pinched me once more I tossed my head back and cried out under the steady hiss of rain - coming hard. Surrendering.

Anthony came with a small grunt and then uncoiled the rope that held me. He sat back on the picnic table with me still wrapped around him - my arms around his neck, my legs around his waist. God, I hope no one could see us down here. But if they could - fuck it.

I felt his heartbeat slow, and mine followed suit. He stroked my hair.

"There’s soup."

I shivered.

"It’s warm inside."

"I know."

A huge drop of rain fell and smacked me in the forehead, but my gaze was trapped on the bright green lawn and the falling rain. Anthony chuckled and brushed it away. "That one got you good."

"It’s OK," I said, squeezing him with my whole body. "I like it."

Want to read the rest? Check out this and more sexy stories in "Bound by Lust."