“Taui?” Claire said, then, “Ohff!”

The first sound was her love-name for her Mistress, Tauimatogi Schwartzkopf. The second sound was forced from her by a thirteenth stroke of the salu, a whip made from the hard central spines of coconut leaves, tightly bunched. The stroke wasn’t hard, but it reminded her: Claire wasn’t allowed to call Taui anything but “Mistress” when she was being punished, and discipline wasn’t over until Mistress said so. She was still naked and bent over their bed, feet apart, arms spread wide. Her bottom, usually pale – when Taui left it alone – was glowing red and warm. She could feel the heat of that last stroke, fierce, slowly fading. She said, “Sorry, Mistress.”

At last, after letting Claire wait nearly two minutes, Taui applied another, fourteenth, stroke. Claire knew it was the last, since it was far harder than the others. When she had her breath back she said, “Thank you, Mistress. I’m sorry, Mistress.”

Taui kissed her, her fingers spread on Claire’s face, then ran her hand down to feel the heat of her bottom. She squeezed and smacked lightly. Claire was in that sweetly floating mood when anything that Taui did felt wonderful. She moaned quietly. Taui smiled at her. “I’ve finished whipping your ass, fluff. Even though it’s the cutest ass in Oakune.”

Oakune was a small town in the shadow of New Zealand’s Mt Ruapehu, where Taui ran a ski shop. A year ago they’d met and fallen for each other. After just two months they’d moved in together, into an apartment that had a mountain view. Except when, as now, the curtain was closed.

Claire, moon-tanned with longish auburn hair, had come with her parents to New Zealand from Scotland. She walked, though not briskly, for exercise. She worked in Oakune’s Department of Conservation office. Claire, still bent over the bed, grinned. “I know at least one hotter ass in this town. In this bedroom, actually.”

Taui, who’d grown up in New Zealand though her parents were from Samoa, had a shining black cap of close-cropped hair, and her ass was sculpted by skiing and working out. Claire expected a slap on the second cutest ass in Oakune for that and enjoyed it when it came. Taui’s palm tingled and comforted, all at once. “Mistress! I’ll be a very good girl.”

Taui kissed her again. “Well, mind you are. What were you going to ask me?”

“Mistress, when you punish me – or we’re playing – do you think you could tie me up? Sometimes?”

Taui sighed. “We’ve talked about this, Claire.”

Claire, still bending over the bed, had learned that Taui caned her when she felt Claire was still begging or arguing after an issue was closed. Taui hadn’t declared this issue closed, but Claire knew she’d have to take care. She said, “I want to feel held down. By ropes. If you put them on me, it’d be like a caress.”

“You don’t have trouble staying in position. Even when I cane you.” There was warning emphasis on those last words.

“No, I don’t. Even when it hurts. I want to obey you.”

“And I love that, fluff. When you stay in place and there’s nothing stopping you getting up but your love and submission, that’s so beautiful to me. Beautiful and incredibly sexy.”

“Mistress, I love that too. It’s just that sometimes–”

Taui said, “Enough!”

Claire closed her mouth, instantly.

Taui continued, “I love your self-discipline, little girl.” She was an inch taller than Claire, but she made sure Claire was always aware of that inch. “If I tied you, I’d take that away. You’d have no choice, so you couldn’t show me your obedience.”

Claire nodded. This issue wouldn’t go away, though she’d certainly be caned the next time she raised it. For now she said, “Yes, Mistress.”

“I was going to do you with my face, but I think we’ll have something stronger. Stand up, girl.”

“Yes, Mistress.” Claire stood. She watched Taui the way a dog watches a human about to throw a stick.

“Fetch the cane, Claire. You haven’t earned it, not quite. But it’ll do you good to know it’s in reach. Put it on the bed.” Claire obeyed, her heart beating hard. There was an enormous weight, a tightening ball of need in her lower belly. She hoped she’d guessed what was to come.

Taui said, “I want you on the bed too. Ass in the air, knees well apart. Your face, shoulders and tits touching the duvet. Arms down, holding your knees. If you let go of your knees, girl, I’ll remind you what the cane feels like.”

Claire felt people would think she was crazy if they could see how happy she felt at that moment. But she loved Taui even more when she was in this mood. Taui stripped then, her body strong and dark, and took out a strap-on. It had a vibrating gel pack just beneath that artificial cock, so that when they closed with each other it felt incandescent for both of them.

Taui climbed onto the bed. She smacked Claire again, then ran her finger delicately between Claire’s buttocks. Claire moaned. Taui held her fingers, slick with Claire’s desire, to her girl’s mouth. As she slid the strap-on into her girl she said, as if conversationally, “Actually, you are going to get the cane tonight, fluff. Among other things. Would you like that?”

And that weight of balled-up desire inside her seemed to shift, finding a new, deeper, level. Claire wanted to say, “Yes, yes please, Mistress.” But she could only nod. Taui took things, took her, from there.

*

Two months later Claire went to stay with her parents in Paihiatua, a farming town two hours south of Oakune. Her father had had a bad week, and her mother had called her. On the fifth day she went with him to hospital, where a doctor ran tests and said he wouldn’t die that week. Or month. It was a too-specific bill of health, but it was still a victory over death. Claire hugged her parents at the hospital gates. She felt them wanting time together, so she drove home that afternoon.

It was Wednesday. She expected Taui had picked up some skiing boys in her five-day absence. Taui always said men were junk food, sexually, but she needed a hit about once a month. But while Claire was quite capable of desiring men, just then she needed only Taui and all her lust was woman-focused. Claire had given Taui permission to indulge when she needed, except that she wasn’t to dominate anyone else: Mistress Taui was hers.

So sometimes Taui came home showered and shampooed but smelling of male. Claire had been surprised, then amused, to realize that at those times Taui was especially delicious to her. Best of both worlds, pheromonally. She expected that Taui would have left a trail of exhausted boys in her wake and be very ready for her girl. Her girl was very ready for Taui.

So she ran up the path when she’d parked her car, and the door opened before she’d reached it. Taui shouted, “Fluff! You got here!” She held and kissed Claire when she reached the porch, smacking her bottom for going away, and laughing. Claire leant against her. She could smell male arousal on her lover, sweetish, gamey and vanilla.

Claire said, “Bed! Now! I mean, bed please, Mistress?”

Instead of play-punishing her, as she’d expected, Taui looked shy. It only lasted a second, then Taui took her hand and led her down the passage to the bedroom. She stopped at the open bedroom door, ushering Claire in. That was odd, too. Warily she entered. Their old bed was gone. Instead there was a huge canopied bed, sturdy dark wood with white silken drapery.

Claire stared at it. Taui raised her brows. Claire realized she was nervous. She said, “Mistress, you know this is the most romantic thing anyone’s ever done for me, in my life. It’s beautiful! I love you.”

So they kissed and hurriedly undressed each other. Taui backed her against the bed and pushed her. She landed, sprawling, beside a white box with a gold ribbon. Taui said, “Open it.”

It held four shining maroon strips of leather, fur-lined, with buckles. And straps. Claire looked at Taui, awed. Taui had regained some of her imperiousness. “Those are for you. Put them on.” Claire put the two larger cuffs on her ankles, and the other two on her wrists, doing them up tight so her hands couldn’t slip out.

Without being told, she lay facedown on the bed, arms and legs outstretched. Taui attached the ankle cuffs to the straps and attached them to links set into the bedposts. Claire wriggled, because that always made Taui happy, and to test if she could move. She couldn’t, except in ways that Taui would like. There were similar links at the bedhead, but Taui climbed up beside her, kissed her neck and took her wrists and clipped them together behind her back.

Claire flinched, then relaxed, as cool oil landed on her bottom and thighs. It was the lotion Taui used after Claire’s real punishments, to reduce pain and aid healing. The pain from the marks Taui had given her five nights ago, before she left, was long gone, but Claire relaxed and focused on her Mistress’s fingers digging into her buttocks and thighs, relaxing knotted, bunched muscles.

Taui, as always, found and healed tensions and needs she’d forgotten or not noticed she had. Occasionally Claire moaned, then grunted. She thought it was an ugly noise, but she knew that Taui liked it.

“Aftercare. It’s belated, but that’s your fault for going away.” Taui had stopped massaging her, and only stroked the sensitive skin between her buttocks.

Claire said, “Mmm.” She had no words. Nor had Taui, who lowered herself between her parted legs and kissed her sensitive center, then pushed her tongue into her, her hands caressing her buttocks and back, then reaching under her to cup and squeeze her breasts. Claire, bound for the first time, had no choice but to let her Mistress do as she wished.

But Taui was gentle. She was seldom gentle when she pleasured Claire or made her serve, and Claire wondered if this care was because of her bonds. She hoped not. She hoped one day Taui would tie her like a stowaway to a mast, and whip her mercilessly. The thought made her moan again, and Taui sank her face between her thighs and sucked and bit and tongued her.

She writhed around Taui’s tongue; she was her Mistress’s creature, past words, beyond thought. She pulled against the bonds that held her wrists behind her back, and raised her head as far as she could. Her inner thighs and soft sensitive skin glowed against her Mistress’s tongue; they were not in her control.

That tight ball of need, gathered below her buttocks, below her lower belly, took her over. She writhed against Taui’s face, and since her toes were free to curl they curled, and her hands tightened into fists, and she stared intently ahead although she saw nothing. She made a sound, “Ernn…”, and it felt as though she was leaking pleasure, the way a dam will let some water through its cracks before it breaks. Then she screamed, helpless, and only her body, thrashing in response to needs that had no words and no memory, knew what happened while she came.

It was perhaps an hour before they talked. Taui was solicitous and awe-struck, love-struck. Eventually she released Claire’s wrists, though not her ankles. She lay on her side, an arm over Claire’s back, looking into Claire’s eyes. “I’m so sorry, little one. I do love your submission, and the way you give it continuously when you’re free to move. But… honestly?”

“You can tell me anything. Even honestly.”

“I know it’s pathetic. I’m ashamed of it. But the truth is, I resisted binding you because I can’t do knots. You want rope wrapped round you, and clever knots like, oh, macramé. I just don’t have the skills.” That nervousness crossed Taui’s face again. “Those leather cuffs and straps: they worked, didn’t they?”

“Mistress.” Claire could only smile.

“But you want more, even if I don’t know how to give it to you. Neglecting your needs is absolutely not my job. I’m going to have to learn.”

Taui was oddly shy at moments like that. Claire turned to her Mistress and helped her find her courage. And her lust.

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