This is an excerpt "Redrawing the Lines" by Bren Emile, a story from "Hungry for More: Romantic Fantasies for Women," which is edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. It has been reprinted with permission from Cleis Press. This excerpt is sponsored by LELO.

Are you sure about this?" They’re nearing the point of no return, and the palm she has wrapped around the crop’s handle is sweaty.

He rolls his eyes at her. "Yes. And just so you know, the next time you ask? My answer is still going to be yes. Just like it was the last three times."

He shifts on the bed, moving into as comfortable a position as he can manage. She resettles herself, sitting astride his narrow hips, staring down at him. She’s wearing her black lace panties and a red bra; both are favorites of Brandon’s. She’s got her hair down; it tumbles in tangles down her back. She knows that he likes her hair; he’s told her that he likes feeling it slide through his fingers, likes tugging on it as if they were back in kindergarten when love was as simple as a pulled pigtail.

He can’t tug on her hair now; she let it down just to tease him.



He can’t tug on it now, because she’s tied his hands and legs to the corners of the bed and strapped him tight. Their double bed is old, but at least it doesn’t creak. They bought the under-the-bed bondage straps two weeks before and they’ve been tucked away in her closet since then, like a Christmas present waiting to be unwrapped. Her lace panties rub against the hard line of his cock when she shifts her hips. It’s obvious he’s enjoying this—enjoying the view, enjoying the sensation, enjoying the anticipation. Her own enjoyment is tinged with apprehension. She’s probably more afraid than he is. She adjusts her grip on the riding crop. It’s brand new; she’d taken the tag off right before climbing on the bed. She runs it through the fingers of her free hand. Brandon’s wide eyes follow her movements. She watches his Adam’s apple bob as he swallows.

"Ready?" she asks. He nods.

She’s nervous the first time she hits him. She worried about the angle and the force and the timing, but when his body jolts underneath her—an involuntary reaction to pain—her cunt clenches. There is something automatic in her pleasure, something instinctual in her response. An ache she’s never felt before has settled itself inside of her.

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"How did it feel?" She hadn’t hit hard enough to leave a mark, but she hadn’t expected to yet. On their one-year anniversary, he’d asked her to leave a hickey on him, and she’d sucked on his collarbone until she felt like a vampire, just to give him a mark that would last longer than a day. His eyes are open wide and she thinks that if she bites him now, hard, it would leave a deeper, lasting bruise; she wonders how hard she’d have to hit him so that the marks will be there when the sun rises.

"You already know how it feels," he says. And he’s right, she does know, kind of. She’d tried the crop on herself in the store and again at home, learning the feel of it, adjusting the force. But theory is one thing; the two of them actually playing this out is different. She slaps him again and this time she leaves a line that almost lands over his nipple. When her aim improves, that’s where she’s going to concentrate the pain.

"Did I ask you how I felt?"

He opens his mouth, then closes it again. She holds herself very still. Because it’s not about the crop, not really; it’s not about the black leather of the handle or the graceful way it curves at the end; it’s not about the handcuffs on his wrists or the lingerie that makes her feel desirable and strong.

"No," he says, then adds, "Ma’am." She bites back a gasp. She wants to call him a good boy, her good boy, but in the silence that fills the space between them, with the air echoing from her crop slapping his skin and his low voice, she doesn’t know if it would sound right.

"How did it feel to you?" she asks again.

He doesn’t respond until she raises the crop again. "I don’t know," he says hastily. "It hurt? But not that badly, I guess; it was more of a surprise than anything. You can hit me harder. Swing it like you swing a flyswatter. That’s what the guy at the store said. Just—"

She’s tired of listening to him talk. She’s tired of his answers, which he always stretches out too long. She’s tired of letting him set the pace of their conversations, tired of him talking to her like he’s the benevolent teacher and she the constant pupil. She’s tired but underneath that familiar, humble fatigue, there’s a new kind of fire. She takes a good look at him—his handsome face, the stretched-out muscles of his long, tan arms—and hits him again. And then again. That’s four strikes, she thinks, as she grinds against his hard cock. She hits his left nipple with the fifth hit, and then hits it again and again until he starts swearing.

"If you want me to stop," she says, "then say 'red.’" Her voice is sweet and strange as she drags the crop in a line from his neck to his navel. She feels like some other woman—some ancient queen of old—has taken over her body and mind and heart and is using it in the way she’s always wanted to. She traces the crop up her torso, from her oversensitive clit to her hardened nipples. She feels more comfortable in her own body than she can ever remember being. She feels proud of the faint stretch marks on her breasts and her off-center nose, proud of her teeth and scars. She smiles and loves the wrinkles that are beginning to show around the corners of her eyes.

Underneath her, her beautiful boyfriend is gasping for breath. Red patches are beginning to show on his chest. She lets him catch his breath, watching his rib cage expand. Eventually she realizes he’s not going to ask her to stop. "Good boy," she says, suddenly breathless herself, suddenly in control of the silence. "Say 'thank you’ if you want me to keep going."

It takes him a few seconds to work up the courage to say it. His jaw clenches, his lips going white with tension, before he lets the words out. "Thank you," he says, and then a second later, as if the word’s a surprise to him as well, he adds, "Ma’am."

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