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Freedom
by JM Stewart

Note from the author:

Hi there!

I wanted to give a little head’s up, for readers who might not like certain heat levels. I originally wrote this story as part of a flash fiction contest called The Last Author Standing. We were given prompts and challenged to write a small piece (romance, of course) between 800-1000 words. One of the requirements of these challenges was the heat level had to be at least a two. With one being sweet and four being erotic.

This particular piece is a solid three. There’s a fully described intimate scene here and I use a word or two that I don’t normally use. I kind of let myself go with this one. That being said, I’m never vulgar or graphic. I write sensual, with a gear towards the emotional connection between my characters. I’d label this one hot, but as per my usual style, it also has a sweet quality to it.

I should also warn that the subject matter is a little dark, for those who might not like that kind of story. The heroine was raped in her past and struggles with her inner demons as she attempts intimacy for the first time with the man she loves. Again, I’m never vulgar or graphic. I give only enough details that the reader can (hopefully) empathize with the character and understand what she’s going through. I will note that this particular story is very personal for me. As a survivor of long term child sexual abuse, I was never raped, per say, but I put a lot of myself into this piece.

I hope you enjoy.

***

“Can you see anything?” The warmth of Nick’s body filled her back, but he didn’t otherwise touch her, and every inch of Anna came alive with the powerful press of him behind her.

They stood just inside the foyer of his apartment. He’d brought her here after their date tonight. Said he had a surprise for her. The sight of his living room had taken her breath away. Candles illuminated every available surface, filling the tiny living room with flickering, golden light. Pink and red rose petals scattered the floor.

Then he’d asked if she trusted him. The somber edge in his tone made her heart take off running. The same look in his eyes made her knees tremble. When she nodded, he tied a blindfold around her head, cutting off her vision. Nick would never hurt her. She knew that. But she was already shaking. Her stomach tied itself into a knot, and acid rose up the back of her throat.

“No.” She reached up, touching the strip of soft cloth around her eyes with trembling fingers. He told her it was a scarf. It had a buttery texture, soft like fur. Velvet, perhaps.

She and Nick had been seeing each other for six months now. She was fairly certain she was in love with him. But their relationship so far lacked intimacy. Of the physical variety. Making out on his couch like horny teenagers had become a regular occurrence for them. She wasn’t certain she’d ever get enough of his mouth on hers.

But it had taken her five months to work up to that point, and that was as far as they ever went. They hadn’t made love even once. Or anything resembling it. She yearned to. She craved him. To feel the soft heat of his bare skin against hers. To know the expression on his face when he fell apart in her hands.

To know the freedom of falling apart in his.

The minute his hands moved south, the terror rose all over again. The nightmare that had kept her as celibate as a nun. Five years ago, she was raped in the middle of Central Park in broad daylight. On her run early one morning, a guy in a ski mask slipped his hand over her mouth and dragged her into a dark bush. He held her down with a large knife to her throat while he raped her. When she struggled, he punched her in the face, and pushed the knife’s edge closer to her throat. So hard he’d left a scar on her skin. When he finished, he knocked her out cold and left her for dead.

Five years of therapy later, she still hadn’t been able to put it behind her. It still had a hold on her life. She no longer ran in the park. Instead, she’d joined a gym, and she ran on a treadmill. On a path that went nowhere while staring out the window. And she never went out after dark.

Any day now she expected Nick to get tired of waiting and move on. Most of the men she dated had. Except every time he touched her, no matter how gentle his touch, or how much she told herself he would never hurt her, the terror rose.

Nick’s hands slid onto her shoulders, dragging her from the pain of the past. Their warmth seeped through the fabric of her t-shirt, and his stubbled cheek scraped hers as he leaned his head down beside her ear.

“Do you trust me?” His lips brushed her sensitive earlobe and a heated shiver rocketed down spine, awakening every nerve ending along the way. Even her nipples pebbled. But his somber tone captured her attention.

“Of course.” She reached back and stroked a hand over his cheek, relishing the prickly, soft skin beneath her palm. “But why do I need a blindfold?”

His arms came around her. For a moment, he held her tight against him. “I want you to know what it’s like to feel safe. It only goes as far as you want it to. You say the word, and I’ll stop. But I’m asking you to give it—me—a chance.” He turned his head, whispering in her ear. “You can’t live in fear forever, baby. I hate seeing you shake, watching the tears fill your eyes. God, I want to kill him with my bare hands for what he did to you.”

Tears welled in her eyes, and a lump rose in her throat. This was all for her. Nick wanted to help her get over the past. She didn’t deserve him.

Unable to form a more coherent thought, she tightened her arms around his and nodded. She had to try. She wanted to try. Because he was right. She couldn’t live like this forever. Someway, somehow, she had to put this behind her. “Okay.”

“Good.” His hands slid over her shoulders and down her back, his touch so light goose bumps shivered across the surface of her skin. A ragged breath whispered across her cheek. “Don’t think, baby. Tell me everything you feel.”

“You.” She whispered the word, her voice already trembling as the fear crept in. She hated not being able to see him. When they sat kissing on the couch, his blue eyes anchored her. But she couldn’t see him now.

His fingers stroked over the small of her back, lightly, soothing, yet distracting her worrisome thoughts. More of those delicious little goose bumps popped up along her skin. “What about me? Describe it.”

She drew in a shaky breath. “I feel your chest against my back, firm and solid and warm. Your hands on my shoulders, and your belly against my lower back.”

“Can you feel how hard you’ve made me, baby?” His words provoked the image. Coupled with the press of his erection against her butt, he sent liquid heat shooting straight to her core.

“Yes.” She drew in a ragged breath and dropped her head back against his chest. Every inch of her trembled, this time with need. It was always this way. She ached for him. Wanted him to touch her. Needed to feel his hands on her body. Her panties were soaked already. She could feel them. Every time his erection pressed into her, her body had the same reaction. She wanted him. Desperately.

But it always came peppered with fear. She couldn’t stop her limbs from trembling. “I hate not seeing you.”

“I’m right here, baby.” He rocked his hips every so lightly into her, only enough that his erection nudged further into the cleft. “How does that make you feel, Anna, to feel my cock, to know I’m hard just for you?”

“Aroused.” Despite the fear pounding in her chest, those words from his mouth sent another hot little shiver down her spine. She gasped, and blindly reached back, desperate to touch him. She came in contact with his solid thighs, hard beneath her hands beneath the softness of his jeans. Her fingers ached to explore, but she couldn’t bring herself to actually venture any further.

“Go on, baby.” His lips skimmed the top of her shoulder, his teeth occasionally pulling at the fabric of her shirt. “Tell me how I make you feel. Describe it. Do I make you wet, Anna? Do I make you acahe?”

She sagged back against him, a shuddering exhalation leaving her mouth. “God, yes.” The heat of embarrassment climbed into her cheeks. She’d never talked this way with anyone. It was so…naughty. So…freeing.

“Tell me. I want to hear you say it.” This time he kissed the side of her neck, right below her earlobe. “It’s such a turn-on to hear you tell me you want me, Anna.”

Her fingers tightened around his thigh. “My panties are so wet.”

“And?” His hands moved from her hips up under the hem of her t-shirt. Fear closed around her throat, and the tremors shook her so badly she wasn’t certain what held her up. She squeezed her eyes closed, her voice shaking. “A-and I’m throbbing.”

His fingers stopped moving, his voice somber and concerned in her ear. “Do you want me to stop? Should I stop?”

She opened her eyes. “No!” Anger rose hot in her stomach, coupled with the same, overwhelming helplessness. Another sob left her mouth, more hot tears welling in her eyes, a couple dripping down her cheeks. “No. Dammit, no. He can’t take this from me.”

His arms tightened around her, reassuring, stemming the shakes. “I won’t stop then. But if you need me to stop, I will, okay?” When she nodded again, he skimmed his lips down her neck to her shoulder. Light. Electrifying. “Tell me what you want, baby. Tell me what you want me to do.”

“Touch me.” She closed her eyes, let his presence, his soft voice calm the storm. “God, Nick, I want you to touch me. I ache for you. It’s not you I’m afraid of. You know that, don’t you?”

“I know.” He kissed her cheek, his lips soft, tender. Then her jaw. Then the side of her mouth. His lips and teeth skimmed the underside of her jaw. “Where do you want me to touch you? Take my hands and show me.”

She did as he bade, taking his hands in her own, where they rested at her waist. She let them skim the surface of her body, delighting in the warm, tender friction as they glided up her stomach. When they skimmed over her breasts, she curled his fingers into her soft flesh. Her nipples strained against the fabric of her bra, desperate for the sweet friction he could give her. “Here.”

His warm palms slid over her breasts, cupping them, massaging them, stroking them. Slowly, gently, giving her room to object, his thumbs flicked over the tight tips. She forgot how to breathe let alone think about why she was supposed to be afraid. Pleasure rippled through her, but the memory inserted itself, unwelcome. Her shivering increased as the man’s ugly voice that long ago night resounded in her head. Fucking bitch!

She gripped his thighs hard.“Nick…”

“I’m right here with you.” His soft lips skimmed her cheek, her jaw bone, tantalizing her skin. Setting fire to her nerve endings. Meanwhile his fingers never stopped stroking and plucking at her extended nipples, slowly driving her out of her mind. Slowly driving the demons from her mind, until, once again, she lost herself in his touch.

She gasped, and dropped her head back, arching into his expert fingers, a soft moan leaving her mouth. “Oh God, don’t stop. Please don’t stop.”

He raked his teeth over her earlobe. “Where else, baby? Tell me where you want me to touch you.”

She took his right hand in her own, sliding it down her body, down past the zipper on her jeans, to cup it around her. The most intimate part of her, and the one place he’d never touched before. The feel of his hand, even through the thick material of her jeans, was too much and not enough. Her thighs shook, and she pressed the heel of his palm into her, riding the delicious pressure it provided. “Here.”

She released his hand and reached behind her, stroking his firm thighs, needing contact with him, to anchor her. Wanting to touch him, to feel his body beneath her hands, but still afraid to venture too far.

His fingers plucked open the button on her jeans and paused. She bit her lip and nodded, and he slid beneath the waistband and into her panties. He cupped her, his palm hot against her sensitive flesh, but ventured no further.

The tremors increased, leaving her caught between arousal and fear. Her body went taught as a bowstring. Her fingers curled into his skin. “Nick…”

“Don’t think. Feel.” His fingers moved, sliding into her curls, and over the tight bundle of nerves, stroking her gently.

She gasped, arching her back and pushing into his hand. Pleasure burst through her. Every inch of her went up in flames and the last remnants of her fear deserted her. Until only mind numbing pleasure existed. Only the delicious slide of his fingers over her sensitive flesh, pleasuring her, circling, flicking, rubbing.

With a quiet gasp, she burst, forgetting everything but the feel of him. His harsh breathing in her ear. His erection rocking against her butt. He whispered encouragements, but she couldn’t register the actual words. Only his hot breath on her neck as she came apart in his hands. Finally free.

She sagged back against him, limp and exhausted. He shifted from behind her. She opened her eyes, registering the bereft feeling as his heat left her, then a sudden weightlessness as he scooped her off her feet. He kissed her, gently sipping at her lips, and carried her through the living room into his bedroom. There he laid her on the soft quilt and crawled over her.

The hard press of his body on top of her registered, but the fear refused to come. Instead, she found herself lost in his blue eyes. In the gentle stroke of his hands as he brushed her hair back off face. “I love you, Anna.”

Tears welled in her eyes. For the first time in five years she was finally free. All because of him. “I love you, too.”

 

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