From 'Melt' by Elizabeth Coldwell. It has been reprinted with permission from Cleis Press. 'Melt' was included in Best Bondage Erotica 2015. This excerpt is sponsored by LELO.

It’s the most devilishly frustrating thing he’s ever done to me. I could almost applaud him for his ingenuity, if only my hands weren’t cuffed in place.

The position I’m in is comfortable—to a point. Bryan took the time to ensure I could hold it for as long as is needed. Neither of us knows quite how long that will be, which is the object of this particular exercise. All part of the learning process, as he trains me to be the obedient little submissive he claims he saw lurking beneath the surface the very first time he met me.

I’m standing perfectly still, my movements constrained by my bonds. A translucent plastic collar has been fastened around my neck, and a length of chain passed through the D-ring at its front. Each end of the chain is connected to thick, padded- leather wrist cuffs, and my hands have been arranged so that they are clasped together beneath my bare breasts, in a position of supplication. This also means my forearms offer some support to my tits, keeping the heavy globes thrust upward and out. Bryan has tested my resolve a couple of times by rolling and pinching my nipples, the guitarist’s calluses on his big fingers stimulating them in all the best ways until the tender buds are ripe and red as summer berries.

So far, I’ve held out, but I can’t take much more of this stimulation. It sends hot, urgent need pulsing down to my pussy, which has been stuffed with a thick silicone dildo that’s held snugly in place by a harness. To complete my ordeal, my legs have been shackled to a spreader bar, but not arranged so far apart that I lose the subtle friction of that big, fake cock inside me. Bryan wants me to be aware at every moment that I am full, plugged to his satisfaction.

In those respects, this is really no different from any other session of bondage training he’s put me through. I’ve learned well, or so I’ve always thought, absorbing the message that obedience will be rewarded, and gratification will be sweeter the longer it is delayed. I’ve discovered a place of what I can only call Zen calm in my head, and the longer I stay still and patient, the more a strange, reassuring feeling of well-being permeates my senses. Lost in that secret haven, I can endure all the discomforts of being restrained, punished, frustrated. In the battle of wills between dominant and submissive, it counts as a small victory.

But today he’s raised the stakes, finding the perfect way to taunt me with the promise of release.

I thought nothing was out of the ordinary as he fastened me into the collar and cuffs, and slid the well-lubricated dildo up into my pussy—though in truth I’m always wet enough to take that fat length without too much additional help from the moment he orders me to start undressing.

Only once the spreader bar had been secured in place did he reveal his master stroke. He left me for a minute or two while he went into the kitchen. When he returned, he brought with him the ice-cube tray from the freezer. An involuntary shiver went through me at the sight, my mind already imagining how it would feel to have one of those cubes played over my sensitive skin as I writhed in my bonds, helpless to pull away.

What he had in mind for me was something less predictable and far crueler. He popped a wine-bottle-shaped cube out of the tray and brought it over for me to see. Embedded in the ice were two small silver keys—unmistakably those to the cuffs that hold my wrists and ankles in place.

"I thought we’d play a little game today, Kay." My dismayed reaction must have been evident on my face, and Bryan grinned widely in response. "It’s called 'let’s see how long ice takes to melt.’"

Biting back the groan that threatened to escape from me, I could only watch as he turned the cube this way and that in his fingers, giving me one last lingering look at the keys to my freedom, held suspended in the frozen water. Then he took a double-ended crocodile clip and fed the short length of plastic through one of the loops in my wrist cuffs before clamping each of the toothed clips to the ice cube. This meant that as the ice melted, it would dribble directly into my cleavage, increasing my torment. That’s when I realized he really had thought of everything.

"Don’t worry, I made sure to turn the thermostat right up. The ice will be gone before you know it. Just think of this as a necessary part of the training."

With that, he dropped a soft kiss on my lips and wandered into the kitchen. The noise of the kettle boiling let me know he was making himself coffee, intent on enjoying his usual Sunday routine of reading the papers with a mug of Blue Mountain in hand.

I don’t know how much time has passed since then. He’s positioned me so I’m facing away from the clock on the mantel- piece. I can’t see how much of the ice has melted; all I’m aware of is the slow, relentless trickle of water down the valley between my breasts and lower, toward my belly. I need it to stop and yet, strangely, I don’t want it to end.

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