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By My Side Michele Zurlo 2022/8/3 13:56:58

“Before I let you carry out my orders, we have two things to discuss.” He motioned to the sofa on the far side of her office. She snatched her laptop and notebook from her desk, but he took them from her and put them back. “You don’t need these.”

Marcella sat gingerly on the edge of the center cushion. Normally her mind would be whirling to organize the million phone calls she needed to make, but just now she couldn’t seem to form a coherent thought.

Sean settled in next to her and turned her to face him. “Cella, you said you ended your last relationship because he wanted a full-time submissive. I have to be honest with you and tell you that I want that from you. I’m not saying you can’t continue to work or that I want you to walk around naked or sit at my feet, but things will change from the way they have been.”

That made sense. Things couldn’t stay the same, not with the added element of their sexual relationship. She nodded. “Like last night.” He had demanded her presence at his side, and his hands had been in constant contact with her skin.

He sandwiched her hand between his larger, stronger ones. “Like yesterday. I’ve wanted to get you in my dungeon for a long time. You can expect to spend time there several days a week. I want you by my side unless you have a specific reason not to be. And I want you tied to my bed every night.”

A shiver ran up her spine as she remembered the way he had claimed her last night and the way being cuffed to his bed had made her feel whole and alive.

His caress spread. He rubbed his thumb over the underside of her wrist. “I will love you and cherish you. I will spoil you and pamper you. I’ll reward you when you’ve earned it and punish you when you need it, but I will demand a lot from you in return, Cella. I want your heart and soul.”

She blinked, a little shocked and a lot under the influence of his brand of magic. He wanted her heart and soul? He already had those things. Marcella licked her lips and took a deep breath. She’d never wanted to be a full-time submissive because she didn’t want to give someone else complete control over her life. In her previous relationships, that extra spark and deeper connection always seemed to be missing. It didn’t inspire her to want to do anything other than scenes.

But she knew Sean, and she knew he wasn’t overly controlling or unreasonable. He might be demanding and dominant, but he also possessed a great amount of empathy and flexibility. The terms of their relationship would always be negotiable. He needed the perspective she brought to his life. In return, he made her feel emotionally safe and secure. She knew he meant it when he declared his love for her, and she knew she was the most important person in his life.

Her voice trembled, but her hands stayed steady. “Being a full-time submissive requires an enormous amount of trust. I’ve never trusted anyone the way I trust you. I’ve never had the sense that you want me to be something I’m not. I don’t have the feeling you expect me to let you walk all over me, or that you want me to accept everything you say without argument. You respect me, and I gave you my heart and soul a long time ago.”

He reached into the shopping bag he’d put on the floor. She hadn’t noticed him pick it up from the chair by her desk and bring it over. He extracted a long black velvet box, out of which he pulled a delicate necklace. An odd-shaped heart dangled from the lowest point. Marcella peered closer and read the inscription. Sean’s.

“I want you to wear my collar.” He inserted a tiny key into the back and the heart split in half, revealing that it was actually a lock.

The heart symbolized that she belonged to Sean and that he had given her his heart. A tear fell from the corner of her eye. Fuller had once told her that Sean had never offered his collar to anyone. Unable to form words, she nodded.

He placed the collar around her neck, locked it, and put the key in his pocket. The depth of emotion simmering in his hazel eyes slammed into her gut, and her need to make sure he got everything he wanted reasserted itself.

She’d forgotten to tell him about Fuller’s offer. “Sean, what if Fuller took your place at the benefit? He’s played with Gretchen before.” She held her breath and hoped he didn’t repeat his insistence that she cancel the event.

Sean sighed. “He’s not exactly dominant enough for her. I’m not sure he’s comfortable assuming that kind of role.”

Fuller’s whispered encouragement made her think he knew exactly what it felt like to be in her position. Or he desperately wanted to make someone feel that way about him. Marcella leaned forward and brushed a kiss across Sean’s lips, testing the change in their working relationship. “I already talked to him. We can’t let four months of work go to waste. You can still be the host, and I’ll be by your side for moral support.”