Wednesday, March 19, 2014


“Rule two: Choose a safe word, and understand when to use it.”

We find ourselves standing face-to-face in the submissive’s room just off the dungeon, a space I normally view via closed-circuit TV. I’ve decided to transition Dane here, in this intimate chamber set aside for private pre-scene acts—undressing, showering, grooming, emotional and spiritual preparation, and sleeping. He’s shoeless and shirtless, but I like the tattered jeans, so they can stay—for now.

“Do you have a safe word you normally use?”

A familiar grimace returns. “I was not encouraged to use my voice, Sir. Not for any purpose.”

I pull my left hand behind my back and channel all my loathing for Dane’s previous partner into a tight fist. Fighting to keep the biting hatred from my voice, I ask, “How did you indicate when you were feeling unsafe or approaching a hard limit?”

Dane’s face tilts to the ceiling. Fuck. I’m sure I’d find the beginning of tears if I pressed him. “Master gave me a puppy squeak toy.”

Fingernails bite into the flesh of my palm so I might take on a fraction of his pain.  Dane’s humiliation trumps my anger toward his abuser, draining the bitterness and leaving only gentle words for the boy in front of me. “Dane, there is no shame in using your safe word.”

His head shakes and he pulls his lower lip between his teeth. I step closer so he can take strength from my presence.

“We could use the standard stoplight system, but I’d much rather you choose your own word, something you’d remember in the heat of the moment, something that makes you feel safe. I do not recommend picking something silly, because you are not going to be feeling playful if you need to safe word.”

I pause when he whimpers at what must be a terrible memory, and a lump forms in my throat. I will erase every shadow of this man from your memories.

“Is there a word that comes to mind, Dane?”

With a mighty effort, he returns his gaze to me. Fighting tears and a quivering chin, he presses his lips together and forces out his word. “Mercy.”

“Mercy,” I repeat. “That’s a good word. Say it again, Dane.”


“Louder. Like you mean it.”


I smile because I’m way too close for him to yell so loud, but I asked for it. I’m way too close period. We both need a little space here, and I take a couple steps back.

“That’s good, Dane. Now that you have your word, let’s go over the concept. Invoking your safe word simply means exercising your right to say no.”

He gawps at me. I’ve just told him the moon is made of cheese.

“That’s right; I give you permission to say no. I don’t look down on you; I’m not disappointed in you; I don’t think you’re weak; I don’t like you any less. You should feel comfortable using your safe word without fear of emotional or physical retaliation.”

The boy looks at me with a mixture of disbelief and awe. I’ve already discovered my shortcut to the mind of Dane, and I use it now. “You need to know my safe word, too.”


I thought as much.

“There may come a time—there probably will come a time—when I need to quickly stop the action. I may feel as though you’re taking on too much, or it may be a situation where I’m not able to give you what you need in the heat of the moment . . . I can’t say exactly. It’s rare, but it happens. I will not hesitate to safe word if need be.”

The ops manager of Downstairs turned out to be a pussycat of a guy who walked me through the house rules and gave me the nickel tour of the place, ending outside a heavy wooden door with no windows. Downstairs was the hottest club in the city, and after the parade of creeps I’d met on the internet, I was eager to work with a stable of serious, pre-screened submissives. If I had to audition for management like a poodle at Westminster for the privilege, by golly, I’d sit, stay, and roll over. “Well, kid,” Jenks began, “all that stands between you and a whole lotta kink is Master Aro. You ready?”

I’d practiced thrashing my whips until my shoulder was sore and donned the most impressive all-black uniform I owned, purchased with my overtime earnings from five long-ass tax seasons. I was ready to impress the hell out of this guy. I nodded so enthusiastically, I nearly snapped my neck right off my shoulders. Jenks chuckled and gave the door three hard raps with his fist. “Good luck, buddy,” he said before leaving me there alone.
The door creaked open, haunted house style, and inside was a tall, lanky man dressed in classic leathers. Pale as a ghost, he looked as though he hadn’t seen the light of day in months, and a shudder ran through me when he bared his teeth. “Welcome to Downstairs, Marcus. Please, come in,” said the spider to the fly.

In the middle of the room knelt two submissive boys, one collared and trussed in an intricate metal cock cage. A familiar warm tingle started in the depths of my belly as I gave my eyes a Sunday-afternoon ride down their naked bodies. Don’t fuck this up, Marcus, I told myself, as if more pressure would help.

“Over here,” Aro called, leading me to the whip wall. “You have a favorite?” He spoke almost to the whips, considering each with a loving caress.

Confident in my skill with the cat-o’-nine-tails, I figured I’d impress him with the choice. “I like the way the cat feels in my hand.”

“Mmm,” he hummed with an eerie half-smile. “One of my personal favorites. Let’s see what you’ve got, shall we?”

“Absolutely, Sir,” I responded. Before reaching for the whip, I peeled off my leather coat and set it neatly on the floor by the wall. He appraised my body with greedy eyes, and I puffed out my chest as much as I could without appearing obvious. With an approving nod, Aro signaled for me to stand in front of the kneeling subs while he took his place behind.

“This one is mine,” he announced, grasping a handful of hair from the head of the collared boy and yanking it rather unkindly to one side. The boy grimaced slightly but didn’t respond. “Tell Sir Marcus why you’re being punished today, pet.”

The boy’s frown grew deeper, and his voice dripped with regret. “I put this cock belonging to Master where it didn’t belong.”

Aro scowled and looked over at the other boy. “Indeed, and this little slut was more than eager to take it into his mouth, wasn’t he?”

The other sub maintained his stoic stare straight ahead, but I caught the trickle of sweat rolling down his neck while Aro’s boy responded, “Yes, Master.”

“Tell Sir Marcus your punishment, pet.”

“One week in Master’s cock cage and fifteen lashes.”

Aro nodded behind him. “Administered by Sir Marcus, whom you will thank vigorously for each. Understood?”

The question seemed as much for me as for his sub. I nodded to the man while his pet answered with the appropriate formalities. Aro let go of his boy’s hair with a sneer and moved around in front of the other boy though it was his pet he was addressing when he added, “Your horny little friend here will have his lips where yours belong so I can experience for myself this temptation that caused you to disobey me.” Both boys knew better than to show emotion. “Up you go, pet. Sir Marcus will bind you to the frame while I watch and grow hard for your cock-sucking slut.”

The boy rose and stepped into place, spreading both arms and legs for the bindings. I set the whip down and clipped him into place, painstakingly adjusting the bindings so he could receive the full impact of the whip. While I was careful not to touch the other man’s submissive more than necessary, I did note the smoothness of the boy’s skin and the absence of other markings. This type of punishment was rare for them, which gave me a good indication exactly how much the boy’s behavior had upset his Master.

I drew in and released a deep breath as Aro opened his leathers, stepped close to the other boy’s mouth, and began to stroke himself—his eyes locked on his pet’s the entire time.

“Look, pet. Your friend’s cock is heavy with excitement. Do you think that’s because he’s about to have your Master in his mouth, or is he keen to see you take the whip?”

The bound boy answered, “I don’t know, Master.”

Aro continued, still stroking himself, “As for you, pet, I wouldn’t recommend raising an erection in that contraption. Do try not to get too excited.” Aro turned and gave me the nod to begin just as he pulled the kneeling boy’s mouth to his cock.

A familiar thrum of excitement buzzed through me as I coiled the whip in my left hand and lined up for the first strike.  Eager to impress Aro, I released the appropriate length of leather and snapped the whip onto the boy’s lower back. He jerked forward and let out a grunt. Perfect strike! Out of the corner of my eye, I caught Aro sliding into the boy’s mouth. I was sure his pet saw it too.

“Please, Sir Marcus, may I have a second?”

I drew my shoulders up and rained the second blow on the opposite side. The second bite of the cat is worse than the first, the awful anticipation of the next strike spun with the reality of the first. The boy’s grunt turned into a groan, and a pair of symmetrical red stripes marred his perfect skin. I peeked around the trussed body to see if Aro was concerned, only to find his gaze unfocused and his jaw dropped open with pleasure as he settled into a slow rhythm with the boy’s face.

With all the whipping and sucking and grunting, my own arousal was growing harder to ignore, but I stayed focused on striping the boy’s back, drawing a fresh thrill at each anticipatory swish of the whip. Red welts mapped a trail up the boy’s back; after the sixth blow, he whimpered.

Aro taunted, “Ahh, pet, this boy’s warm, wet mouth is heaven, and the way he uses his tongue . . . I can almost see why you’d risk my wrath. Oh dear, you’ve gone and gotten excited, haven’t you?”

The boy moaned, lifted his head to the scene before him, and gutted out some incomprehensible answer.

Feeling for him, I moved my blows to his thighs. At impact, his knees buckled, but the bindings held him upright while he recovered and asked for more. I thrashed him swiftly on the opposite leg and waited for him to settle. The remainder of the blows belonged on the boy’s ass, but he was fading. Aro’s rhythm picked up, and he shot me a what-are-you-waiting-for glare until I lifted the whip to strike once more.

The boy clenched every muscle in his body and wailed upon impact. As he struggled to recover from the lash, the background grunts of the boy sucking his Master’s cock and Aro’s own maniacal thrusting were simply too much for him to ignore. He moaned anew at the sharp pinch of the cage, and for the second time, I reconsidered the wisdom of continuing to strike the boy.

Aro seemed far less worried, streaming out a constant flow of dirty talk and porn star moans designed to keep his pet painfully hard. I landed the cat twice more while Aro fucked the other boy’s face with renewed vigor, reaching his orgasm at the tenth blow. The boy quivered in his bonds as his Master growled and sent long sprays of thick spunk into the other boy’s hair. Aro’s gaze lifted expectantly to my arm, looking to my blows to usher him through the afterglow.

Dejected, torn up, and humiliated, Aro’s sub was maxed out. I had no stomach to deliver the remaining blows.

If he’d been my own sub, I would’ve switched to a gentler implement or provided some kind of emotional reassurance, but this wasn’t my rodeo. Aro was there, running the scene; I was simply the arm delivering the blows.

“The boy has requested his eleventh stroke,” Aro challenged me.

 “Does he have a safe word?” I asked, risking everything.

“We don’t use safe words for punishments here,” he said, shaking off his dick and tucking it back inside his leathers. “If my pet needs to stop the punishment, he’ll ask to be released from my collar. Is that what you want, pet?”

From behind, all I could see was the bound boy lifting his head and the two making eye contact.

Aro nodded and turned his beady eyes in my direction. “Strike him again, Marcus, or leave my dungeon and my club. You won’t get a second chance.”

I’d waited months for this audience, and I was not about to be derailed, but I knew I couldn’t hit him again.

“Enough!” I cried. Reaching around the boy, I offered the whip handle to Aro, tore off my shirt, and tossed it to the side. Stepping into the bondage frame behind the bloody, sweaty body, I gripped the leather wrist restraints in fisted hands.

Turning my head to Aro, I said, “If it pleases you, Sir Aro, I’ll take the remainder of the strokes at your hand.”

Time stood still for several long moments while Aro fingered the thick braided handle and considered his options—most of which ended quite badly for me. Despite the painful whipping I’d just requested, my cock swelled in response to the heated flesh of Aro’s pet against my bare chest and the raw, rank remains of sex in the air. I could only imagine the unbearable pain the cock cage was inflicting.

When Aro finally delivered his decision, it was accompanied by a respectful nod. “You’ve made an honorable choice, Marcus. Eight out of ten men would’ve continued on with the whipping, and the ninth might have handed me the whip and left, but your decision was extraordinary. Prepare for your lashing.”

As I thanked him and braced both of us for the impact of the cat, I recognized myself for the first time in a moment of perfect clarity: I am a dom.


You have my amazing pre-readers to thank for this delve into Marcus's past. I hope you enjoyed the window into his early days as a dom-in-training. And what do you think about Dane's safe word? Will he need to use it, and will he be able to? Stay tuned! XOXO


  1. Oh my heart! Dane! That BASTARD! I had to re-type my orginal words!
    Marcus is amazing. For so many things: one, to show his care for Dane, by not only explaining the safe word reasoning, but showing him to. Telling him that he too, will have a safe word. The confidence he will build within Dane will be amazing! We will have a completely, amazing, and self assured Dane when Marcus is through with this part of his training.
    Giving us a glimpse into Marcus' past was truly a gift. Thank you. I see how amazing he truly is. Knowing when enough is enough and taking the rest upon himself. Like he said "I am a dom." Such true words!
    And This
    "I will erase every shadow of this man from your memories."
    Yes, yes he will!
    Fabulous Born!
    xoxoxo <3

    1. MWAH! I'm so pleased the chapter affected you, Pates! Thank you for your emotional response and for sharing your insights. xo

  2. Ungh. If Master Marcus will do that for a sub that he just met (and that doesn’t even belong to him), how much more will he do for one that does? *sighs dreamily*

  3. Jeez Dane, please tell me who your ex "master" was so I can kick his arse. The glimpse into Marcus's past let us know that he was born for this. His passion for it only matched by his very understanding of human nature. He really is a smart man and it must be very rewarding for him as a Master to use those smarts to bring himself and his sub their pleasure...or just what they need.

    1. Born for this...YES! I agree with your assessment of Marcus and how satisfying this all must be for him.

  4. I'm not sure my heart could take much more of that scene tonight. GUH! Marcus is such an amazing Dom. Aro should only hope he joins his club. Ugh, no safe word. What idiots! The emotion in this chapter alone could undo the most indifferent readers! I'm still a little weepy, if I'm honest.

    Dane's choice of safe word is very telling, at least to me. By definition it means compassionate or kind actions shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power. Only he wouldn't really be an offender in this case. In any event, it gives me warm fuzzies and makes me wanna hug this man harder.

    LOVED the look back into Marcus' past when he was green and still trying to figure it out. He was always a Dom but the very best definition of one.

    Favorite line... Fighting tears and a quivering chin, he presses his lips together and forces out his word. “Mercy.” ...There's so much humanity and fear in this line. Makes my heart ache in the best way.


    1. Awww Weepy sappy V! MWAH!
      You are spot on with Dane's choice. It's such a deep-seated surrender, a wave of the white flag, begging for the one who holds the power over him to show compassion and heart. As in, Lord, please have mercy on our souls.

      I love that you can compare (and contrast) Marcus's early experience with Edward's. Despite how Marcus respected Edward for submitting to him, I believe that's a feat Marcus never would've done. He trained as a dom from the beginning, never ever ever a sub. And you'll see that play out with Dane.

      Thanks for your beautiful heart.

  5. I LOOVE how Marcus emphasized how Dane should feel free to use his safe word whenever he wants to. (We shall see how well that sinks in for Dane I guess. :/ ) I like to hear it explained that way versus "a way to stop things when you can't take anymore" or something to that effect. To me a safe word can be that, but it can be way more. It's all about consent- you should be able to safe word just when you're upset, when you're 'not feeling it' anymore, OR when you can't take it anymore, etc.

    The insight into Marcus's training was fantastic! For the shortest millisecond ever, I thought maybe he was about to sub for someone, but even for that millisecond, I couldn't picture it. lol He was ready to get in there and show who was boss. and he did. Even by submitting himself for the remainder of the lashings, he kindof bested Master Aro in my eyes. He found a loophole that made sense to him, protected the sub he was working with, and didn't anger Master Aro (in fact, he seems to have impressed him!). So impressed with Marcus's strength and compassion here! "Extraordinary," indeed!

    1. I agree, Digi. I think the safe word is like taking a ski slope you know might be too hard because you want to grow. If not for the fact that you can have that escape hatch, you might not try anything outside your comfort zone.

      I'm happy you're on the same page with me regarding Marcus. As hard as it was to picture Edward on his knees, it worked for me. And in his relationship with Isabella, he was comfortable letting her take charge at times. Marcus doesn't read vanilla to me in any way, and sub just isn't in his vocabulary. So this is how I see him rising thru the ranks of young domhood. AH! YES! Beautiful interpretation of his relationship with Aro, and as you'll see soon, the basis for a continuing respect and admiration on the part of both men!

      MWAH! LOVE LOVE LOVE your insights.

  6. Not just a Dom... a good Dom!

  7. Dane's safe word made me tear up. He doesn't understand that safe wording is not about asking for pity or leniency. But I know that with Marcus' help he will get there and develop a true understanding of what makes for a successful D/s relationship. He will one day realize how important he, as both a submissive and a person, is.

  8. Very emotional chapter. Dane broke my heart with his choice of safeword, and Marcus awed me with his decision on how to carry on with Aro's sub's punishment.
    A. xoxo

    1. Thank you for your lovely words, A. You know how much they mean to me.

  9. Poor Dane - I can't believe what he's endured, but it doesn't surprise me he's not had a safeword or any way of protecting himself from his abuser. Thank goodness for Marcus! Dane has himself one of the most caring Doms out there, a more polar opposite of Dane's master he could not be. To take a blow on behalf of a submissive to save him, admiration for Marcus just ramped up a notch or ten!

    1. Thank you for your sweetness, Lisa. I'm so pleased you're seeing Marcus as a great Master for Dane! ;)

  10. Well, how emotional was that? Poor Dane, I felt all teary in the first part of this chapter. There is a long way to go for Dane obviously, but he must feel so much more confident to have a safe word and be feeling the beginning of confidence in his new master.

    The second part of the chapter made me want to read it hiding behind a cushion. How can there be no safe word in punishment, that breaks the rules surely unless that was a test on Aro's part, a test of Marcus' metal and potential Domness.

    Not liking Aro at all at the moment but loved the chapter.

    Thank you


    1. Fair enough, Jarvis, and thank you very much for sharing your insights. I have to say, the safe wording out of a punishment is really an interesting topic for me. I can really see it both ways and understand how two caring parties might choose either arrangement. An inordinate level of trust and caring would have to be involved. Obviously, Marcus is the hero in this flashback, but I'm not entirely sure I want to cast Aro as a villain- creepy as hell yes, but a villain? I'm not sure. Love to hear readers weighing in on this one!

      THANK YOU!

  11. I wonder if Marcus would hunt down Dane's former Dom and "punish" him. Seems like it would be necessary. Honestly, who treats someone that way? Poor Dane. Makes me want to hug him. Marcus too. What was it that one reader said? Something about a sex Oreo? LOL this: said the spider to the fly. Aro intentionally pushed Marcus to see what he was made see if he was really a Dom. Because a real Dom would know the signs of whether or not a Sub could handle any more of whatever was dished out. And, isn't a Dom's job to take care of his/her Sub? Punishment when necessary, yes. But to go over the line where it is abuse the Sub can't handle, no.

    And, Aro, being the Dom that he is, surely wasn't going to back down from Marcus' offer to take his Sub's punishment. Very interesting chapter indeed.

    1. I wonder that too, Keye. I think Marcus's answer would hinge on one question- What would be best for Dane?
      Interesting question about Aro. I didn't write it with that in mind. I believe there are (probably good) doms who feel this way about a "punishment" and clearly Aro's sub is someone who has been with him a long time and who really hurt him. Maybe Aro was testing the boy, maybe he knew he wasn't strong enough to administer the punishment to someone he cared about so deeply without getting dangerously emotional, or maybe Aro is a jerk! Any way you slice it though, Marcus was heroic in my book!

      So glad it made you think about all that though. I've had some really interesting conversations with readers today over this topic!

  12. Ok I cried at Danes choice of safe word. That was such an interesting and deep choice and show without a doubt how abused Dane was by his former "master". Which induces a more than faint sense of nausea in me that someone could be so cruel with a person under their control.

    The flashback with Aro was....interesting. Parts of that were very disturbing and parts were enlightening regarding both Doms. I can't wait for Marcus to show his colors to Dane further and for Dane to learn to trust that Marcus will step in front of the proverbial bullet if needed.

    1. Thank you for your lovely response.
      YES! SUPERMAN to the rescue! Beautifully put, Allie!!
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with me.

  13. Have you read Tara Sue Me's newest offering? There was s situation where a community dealt with a Dom who crossed the line, and I totally loved the punishment he received. It definitely gave me some ideas for how to deal with Dane's former ma$$ter. Let the punishment fit the crime, so to speak. As you said, though, it needs to be whatever would be best for Dane.

    1. No, I haven't read that! Interesting! I do have a few thoughts...maybe I should wait until after I've written this story! ;)

  14. that was such a graphic scene and I couldn't pull my eyes away even though I wanted to. No safe word for punishment??? that can't be right....seems barbaric. are men that different or was Aro a sadistic mofo....?

    1. If you read some of the other comments, you'll see most readers agreed with you and took Aro to task.

  15. So poignant and thoughtful...and, exactly what Dane needs to experience.

  16. An interesting juxtaposition in this chapter. Poor Dane....He just needs a hug, but probably wouldn't know what to do with it. His choice of safe word is so telling and heartbreaking. I doesn't think it is his right. I wonder if he will eventually change it.

    I wasn't sure how much of Marcus back story we would get. This was so inspired. Marcus thinks outside the box and ends up with the win. This guy is a thinker. Not an over thinker, just a thinker. (that starts to look really weird) .

    I forgot to mention in the last ch. that I loved ST wording of " Spirit is resting easier". It resonated with me on several levels.

    1. Oh well said! I don't think he'd know what to do with that hug quite yet. Yes, Marcus does tend to think...glad you enjoy being inside his head. I'd like you to know a bit more about both characters' pasts, so you'll be seeing pieces slip out as two men get to know each other better. I feel that there are certain building blocks you need to see in order to understand how they fit together so well. :)
      So happy you found that phrase comforting or at least moving. Thank you so much for letting me know. I really love that kind of comment.

  17. The flash back to Marcus using his safe word is one of my favorite scenes (so far) ;-) It gets right to the core of who Marcus is - a Dom first and always by that will not compromise on his principles. His actions and thoughts show how worthy he is to wield those whips.

    1. LOVE LOVE LOVE that Dane chose 'Mercy' as his safe word. And how Marcus took the time to reiterate what the usage of a safe word entails. The flashback hurt me so bad. Aro is a dick and seems like the kind of Master Dane had before. But if Marcus has sacrificed so much for a sub he didn't even know, God knows what he'd do to protect one of his own. *dreamy sigh* He is such a man.

      Also I love that Marcus offered to ensure that Dane knows that he too has a safe word. It not only encourages trust and security between the two but also shows Dane that the relationship is a two way street. He is just as concerned about Dane's pleasure and safety as he is with his own. And believe me, there's not better than feeling safe and regarded and taken care of under the wings of your dom.

      Great chapter. Love the glimpse into Marcus' past and a little window to his vulnerability. Needing to see how Dane reacts to this

    2. Ah yes, Marcus is a very highly evolved man and Dom, to be sure. And Aro definitely has some dickish elements, but don't totally hate on'll see. People can grow and change. *wink* The safe word for master is important as well, everything being consensual. So that was very important to me. Glad you're enjoying.

  18. wow, that was intense! it definitely speaks to the fantastic dom that marcus is. i'm glad aro saw that in him. that poor boy in the cage. i bet it's a long time before he screwed up again!

    but dane, poor dane. never allowed to use his voice. such a shame. i can see that working once in a while with someone who enjoys thst type of humiliation but that's definitely not dane. thank god he's out of that monster's grasp! i can't wait to find out, if it's part of the story, how dane met this asshat and how he got away from him. i hope to god he's no longer a part of ths community!

    the submissive's room is a great place to start and i do hope that dane uses his safe word. he needs to see that it's ok to use it. and i do like mercy, it's a good, strong word.

    in the last chapter, i really liked that marcus had to remind both of them that they were not on a date. it's hard to remember that at this stage they're testing their dom/sub relationship but the pull between them, the apparent affection too, makes it easy to forget. great job at that! xx

    1. Thanks for your kind comments, and I'm loving your insights throughout.
      I totally agree about silencing Dane- such a crime. RRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!