“Please,” I whisper, “please, Julian, I’m sorry.” I don’t know what I’m sorry for, but I will say anything right now to avoid this training, whatever it may be.

He smiles at me. “It’s not a punishment, my pet. I just have certain needs, that’s all—and I want you to be able to satisfy them.”

“What needs?” My words are barely audible. I don’t want to know, I truly don’t, yet I can’t seem to stop myself from asking.

“You’ll see,” he says, wrapping his fingers around my upper arm and leading me toward the bed. When we get there, he reaches for the blindfold and ties it around my eyes. My hands automatically try to go to my face, but he pulls them down, so that they’re hanging by my sides.

I hear rustling sounds, as though he’s searching for something in that bag. Terror rips through me again, and I make a convulsive movement to free my eyes, but he catches my wrists. Then I feel him binding them behind my back.

At this point I start to cry. I don’t make a sound, but I can feel the blindfold getting wet from the moisture escaping my eyes. I know I was helpless before, even without being blindfolded and tied up, but the sense of vulnerability is a thousand times worse now. I know there are women who are into this, who play these types of games with their partners, but Julian is not my partner. I’ve read enough books that I know the rules—and I know that he’s not following them. There’s nothing safe, sane, or consensual about what’s going on here.

And yet, when Julian reaches between my legs and strokes me there, I’m horrified to realize that I’m wet.

That pleases him. He doesn’t say anything, but I can feel the satisfaction emanating from him as he begins to play with my clit, occasionally dipping the tip of one finger inside me to monitor my physical response to his stimulation. His movements are sure, not the least bit hesitant. He knows exactly what to do to enhance my arousal, how to touch me to make me come.

I hate that, his expertise in bringing me pleasure. How many women has he done this to? Surely it takes practice to get so good at making a woman orgasm despite her fear and reluctance.

None of this matters to my body, of course. With each stroke of his skilled fingers, the tension inside me builds and intensifies, the insidious pressure starting to gather low in my belly. I moan, my hips involuntarily pushing toward him as he continues to play with my sex. He’s not touching me anywhere else, just there, but it seems to be enough to drive me insane.

“Oh yes,” he murmurs, bending down to kiss my neck. “Come for me, my pet.”

As though obeying his command, my inner muscles contract . . . and then the climax rushes through me with the force of a freight train. I forget to be afraid; I forget everything in that moment except the pleasure exploding through my nerve endings.

Before I can recover, he pushes me onto the bed, face down. I hear him moving, doing something, and then he lifts me and arranges me on top of a mound of pillows, elevating my hips. Now I’m lying on my stomach with my ass sticking out and my hands tied behind my back, even more exposed and vulnerable than before. I turn my head sideways, so I don’t suffocate in the mattress.

My tears, which had almost stopped before, begin again. I have a terrible suspicion I know what he’s going to do to me now.

When I feel something cool and wet between my butt cheeks, my suspicion is confirmed. He’s spreading lube on me, preparing me for what’s to come.

“Please, don’t.” The words are wrenched out of me. I know that begging is useless. I know that he has no mercy, that it turns him on to see me like this—but I can’t help it. I can’t accept that additional violation. I just can’t. “Please.”

“Hush, baby,” he murmurs, stroking the curve of my buttocks with his large palm. “I’ll teach you to enjoy this too.”

I hear more sounds, and then I feel something pushing into me, into that other opening. I tense, clenching my muscles with all my might, but the pressure is too much to resist and the thing begins to penetrate me.

“Stop,” I moan as a burning pain begins, and Julian actually listens this time, pausing for a second.

“Relax, my pet,” he says softly, caressing my leg with one of his hands. “It’ll go much better if you relax.”

“Take it out,” I beg. “Please take it out.”

“Nora,” he says, his tone suddenly harsh. “I told you to relax. It’s nothing but a small toy. It won’t hurt you if you relax.”

“Isn’t hurting me the whole point?” I ask bitterly. “Isn’t that what gets your rocks off?”

“Do you want me to hurt you?” His voice is soft, almost hypnotic. “It would get my rocks off, you’re right . . . Is that what you want, my pet? For me to hurt you?”

No, I don’t. I don’t want that at all. I give an almost imperceptible shake of my head and do my best to relax. I don’t think I’m successful at it. It’s just too wrong, the feeling of something pushing in there from the outside.

Nonetheless, Julian seems pleased with my efforts. “Good,” he croons. “Good girl, there we go . . .” He applies steady pressure, and the thing goes deeper into me, past the resistance of my sphincter, inch by slow inch. When it’s all the way in, he pauses, letting me get used to the sensation.

The burning pain is still there, as is the almost nauseating feeling of fullness. I focus on taking small, even breaths and not moving. After about a minute, the pain begins to subside, leaving only the disorienting sensation of a foreign object lodged inside my body.