“Do you think dreams can come true? Literally, I mean, not metaphorically. That what happens in a dream can be real?”
“That’s an odd question, Brennan. Actually, there are cultures that believe dreams can spill over into reality. For example, when someone dies in his dreams, he never wakes up. I don’t know if it’s true, though. I’ve never seen any proof.”
“Do you think someone like Emma could make it happen? A telepath?”
“Maybe. I’m not sure what she can or can’t do. Emma has an immense reservoir of power that she’s barely tapped into yet. Why do you ask? Did something happen with Emma?”
“Oh, no. No reason. Just wondering.”
Rain pattered against the rock of Stormking Mountain in a distant whisper far overhead. The excess water gurgled down the drainage pipes, giving the impression of murmuring voices in the Sanctuary walls. The muted sounds were comforting; they reminded Emma of the rainy Sunday afternoons of her childhood. The DeLauro household possessed neither TV nor radio to provide entertainment. So, whenever the weather forced the family indoors, her father would sit her on his knees and read stories from Grimm’s Fairy Tales. To young Emma, those afternoons were magical. Using different voices, her father made the characters come alive and Emma would shiver in pleasurable fright when the wolf swallowed Little Red Riding Hood, or squeal with joy when Gretel pushed the wicked witch into the oven. Yes, rain usually made her remember her childhood with fondness.
Today, however, was Monday. And it had rained for three days straight. The book of poetry in Emma’s lap —on loan from Brennan’s extensive Walt Whitman collection— failed to hold her attention. And how could it, she thought, nibbling pensively on her lower lip. How could she continue to read when the poet’s words turned real before her very eyes?
She glanced briefly at the page and her lips mouthed the words without making sound:
But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face;
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists;
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees—dress does not hide him;
The strong, sweet, supple quality he has, strikes through the cotton and flannel;
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more;
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.
Oh, did Whitman get it right. Watching was so much better than the best poem in the book. She pulled her chair closer to the second floor railing for a better view and peeked through her lashes down at the dojo where Brennan was working out.
He was performing a series of tai chi forms, each separate move executed in slow motion. Brennan was a big man, yet everything about him was graceful. The way he flexed at the waist, how he shifted from one leg to another, the way he carried himself. Emma’s eyes wandered across his back and the back of his neck and those strong, wide shoulders. Tanned skin rippled over muscles quivering with tension as Brennan ran through his exercises. Emma licked her lips. He had been working out for at least an hour and his bare torso was covered with a tiny sheen of sweat. But instead of putting her off, it made his skin gleam and accentuated the sculpted abs.
While she watched, the rain continued to murmur in the distance. The sound mesmerized her; the soft cushions cradled her body, making her feel secure and comfortable. Emma’s eyes slowly lost focus until her eyelids drooped.
When she opened her eyes, she was standing in the dojo. Except, it no longer was the dojo as she knew it. The walls surrounding her were rough, unpainted concrete. Racks hung on the walls, displaying instruments of torture her subconscious dug up from the deep recesses of her mind, the images half-formed and incomplete. A bare bulb hung from the ceiling, casting everything in a white glare. She noticed several whips and crops, some with numerous strands of thin leather strips. There was a whole rack filled with evil-looking metallic clamps, which Emma wasn’t quite sure what they were for, and she certainly didn’t want to contemplate too much on the subject. The rack disappeared and was replaced with another. Wooden paddles of various sizes lay on the new shelves. And was that… a baseball bat? Emma frowned. What was she supposed to do with a baseball bat? The bat changed shape, shortened and widened until it was transformed into the thin round paddle used to play ping-pong. Satisfied, Emma nodded. She suspected that’s what she had meant it to be in the first place. She never was much good at sports.
She took a deep breath, and found it was difficult to expand her chest. A look down along her body told her why. Her outfit —blouse and skirt— had changed along with her surroundings. Her eyes widened when she took in her new attire. A tight, black leather bustier covered her breasts, pushing them together and up so her gaze landed in the valley of a deep cleavage. On her feet were black boots, covering her legs up to her knees, with pointed toes and spike heels that would have made her totter and lurch if this weren’t a dream. She also wore an indecently short miniskirt that barely covered her butt. Black leather, too, of course.
Emma felt her cheeks heat up when she realized she wore no panties.
A soft whimper behind her made her spin around on the ridiculous boots. Her eyes grew even rounder and she gasped in surprise.
He was struggling to stand on his toes. Not that he had much of a choice: his arms were raised and a long chain ran from the shackles around his wrists through a ring in the ceiling, before going through another ring on the far wall where it was secured tightly. Even as Emma absorbed this, Brennan changed before her eyes. His workout pants disappeared while her gaze feasted on his body, leaving him stark naked. Emma blinked and a slow smile began to spread on her face.
He glanced her way. “Emma? What’s going on?”
“This is a surprise,” she said. “A very pleasant one, I must say.”
“Well…” Brennan tugged on the chains to discover they were sturdy and strong. “I’m not so sure about the pleasant part.”
“Don’t worry,” Emma said. “It’s just a dream. I won’t hurt you.”
She pranced over on her heels, realizing they gave her enough added height that she could look Brennan in the eyes without craning her neck too much. She reached out with one hand and let it travel slowly across his chest, luxuriating in the sensation of hard muscles beneath the skin.
“This is my dream, though. So you will do as I tell you.”
Understanding began to dawn on Brennan’s face. “Emma! I would never have thought you had it in you. But you look great as a dominatrix.”
“Oh, there’s a lot you don’t know about me.” Emma smiled. “First rule, Brennan: you will not call me Emma. In here, my name is Mistress. Understand?” She flicked a nipple with her thumbnail and Brennan flinched with a moan.
Movement in her peripheral vision caught her attention and she glanced down. A chuckle formed in her throat. “I see you liked that.” Brennan’s cock had sprung to attention at her touch and was now demanding more of the same.
“Rule number two,” Emma said slowly, her eyes wandering back up until she met Brennan’s gaze, “you’re not allowed to come until I give you permission. Do you think you can manage that?”
“I don’t know, Mistress,” Brennan admitted.
“Hmm. In that case, I think a little help is in order. I don’t want to have to punish you any more than I like to.” It took a mere thought, drawing on knowledge Emma didn’t even know she possessed (and would have denied vehemently if called on it), and Brennan’s penis was encased in a narrow, leather sheath. He whimpered as it tightened around his erection.
“Yes, Mistress. Thank you.”
“Good. Now I get to play with you.” She again pressed closer and ran her fingers from his elbows down to his armpits, circling his tattoo with a nail. Brennan shivered and Emma relished the sense of power this gave her. She caught a whiff of the scent of his body, pungent with the smell of clean, honest sweat and intoxicating in its Brennan-ness. Emma inhaled deeply, forgetting for a moment about the confining leather bra. But as her lungs expanded, she realized the bra had disappeared and her breasts hung free.
Instinctively, she drew away from Brennan, flushing with embarrassment as she caught the hungry look in his eyes, until she remembered who was in control here. “You like my breasts?” She cupped them in her hands and offered them up for Brennan’s perusal. The nipples were throbbing, hard nubs in the dark center of each areola.
Brennan gulped. “Yes. They are beautiful, Emma.”
She smiled. “Glad to hear you think so. If you’re a good boy, I might let you play with them later on. But first, what did you call me?”
“Em—” Brennan’s eyes widened. “I’m sorry, Mistress. I slipped.”
“You certainly did. I think it’s time for a little punishment, don’t you?” She walked around Brennan to survey the utensils on the racks on the wall. “This should do.” She took down a riding crop of darkened leather and swished it through the air experimentally. It made an angry, hissing sound. “Yes, this will do just fine, I think.”
She walked back to Brennan, who tried to look at her over his shoulder. Without warning, she brought down the riding crop across his buttocks, hard. Brennan’s body swung forward and he let out a long moan. Emma nodded with satisfaction as she watched the red mark glow on Brennan’s ass. She brought the crop down again, this time a little higher, across his back. “What’s my name?”
“Mistress,” he gasped, while she cut another mark across his shoulder blades.
“What did you say?” Emma brought the crop down a fourth time.
“Mistress!” Brennan struggled to get back on his feet. Four thin, long welts marked his back.
“That’s right. And don’t you forget it!” She ran the tip of the crop down along his spine, smiling at the goose bumps it caused. She moved past the crack of his ass and tickled his balls between his legs. Brennan tensed and Emma grinned evilly. The angle was awkward but not impossible. She pulled back the crop and—
At the last moment she decided the infraction didn’t warrant such severe punishment, so she slowed the crop’s ascent until she tapped Brennan’s private parts gently with the tip.
Expecting excruciating pain, Brennan’s body flung forward as far as it could go, and he screamed. He panted, his muscles went slack and the shackles around his wrists took his full weight. Emma laughed at the results of her action.
“Not what you expected, eh?”
Brennan was still trying to get his breath back and wrap his mind around the lack of pain. He shook his head. “No, E—Mistress.”
“I could never really hurt you, Brennan. I love you.” Emma walked back to the wall, put away the riding crop and reached for the chain. “Careful, now,” she warned, “I’m going to let you down.”
She waited until Brennan had his legs firmly beneath him, then loosened the chain. After she returned to his side, she opened the cuffs with the tiny key that had magically appeared in her hand when she needed it. She could get used to this sort of dream, Emma thought. Usually, her dreams ran amok with her, instead of the other way round.
“You’ve been good, Brennan,” she muttered, running a finger down his cheek, the firm jawline, and across his chest. “You took your punishment like a man. I think you deserve a little reward.” She cupped her breasts again and held them up. “Kiss them.”
Obediently, Brennan lowered his head and put his mouth first on the right, then the left breast. Emma whimpered as sparks tingled along her nerve endings. While Brennan’s lips worried a nipple, she became aware for the first time since the dream began of the heavy, hot feeling that had settled deep within her insides. Warm moisture was pooling between her legs and slowly trickling past the curls that covered her mound, until it stained her inner thighs. She could smell her arousal as it hung heavy in the air.
“Get on your knees,” she ordered, her voice a little breathless and she began drawing air in quick, little puffs. “Pleasure me.”
‘Pleasure me?’ a small voice cackled in the back of her mind. ‘Emma, you’re such a prissy girl. Other people call that ‘eat me out’.’
Emma told the voice to shut up. This was her dream, and if she didn’t want to use vulgar language, she wouldn’t. No matter what her id might think appropriate.
It didn’t matter to Brennan anyway. He knew exactly what she expected from him. So as soon as he settled on his knees, he reached around Emma to grab a firm hold of her buttocks and shoved her against his face.
His tongue was magic, Emma decided. This was Brennan’s true power, this knowing exactly how to touch her, when to nip, when to suck, when to lick. The electricity was just an extra feature added to the package that was Brennan Mulwray. She moaned and arched her back, seeking an even closer contact with his skilled mouth.
Tremors began running along her limbs; her knees slowly turning to jelly and she wrapped her fingers in Brennan’s dark hair to seek support. He blew a breath and the draft of air cooled her for a moment. A renewed surge of warm moisture replaced the coolness an instant later and Brennan’s tongue lapped it up. Emma growled deep in the back of her throat, knowing she wouldn’t be able to stand the exquisite torture much longer.
“Brennan, I—” She yelled as the orgasm struck, washing her away on its crest like a tidal wave. “Oo-ooh!”
With a cry and a shudder Emma flew up from the chair, suddenly wide awake. She was gasping for breath, still coming down from the dream-induced orgasm.
“Emma?” Brennan’s voice, slightly strangled, came from the dojo. “What’s going on?”
Emma glanced over, fighting down a sense of deja vu and embarrassed at being caught having a sex dream.
Brennan was on his knees and — Emma’s hands flew up to cover her mouth. There were bruises around his wrists and lash marks glared an angry red on his back. “Oh no. Not again. Oh my god…”
She felt faint and dizzy, her legs trembled, and she feared she was going to lose consciousness any moment. In a way, oblivion would be a blessing. Except she was going to have to wake up and be forced to deal with an angry Brennan. He would be furious, even if he looked more confused than upset right now. That would change as soon as he realized what she’d done. How could he not be angry after the way she invaded his privacy, raped him with her mind? She was no better than Lorna Templeton.
Nausea washed over her and Emma swallowed, taking deep gulps of breath in an attempt to take back control over her limbs.
“Emma…” Brennan shakily climbed to his feet and took a step in her direction.
Emma held out her hands as if to ward him off. “I’m sorry,” she sobbed. “I didn’t mean to— I’m sorry!” She whirled around on her heels and raced away. Her heart was beating in her throat and tears burned her eyes, making it hard to see where she was going. It didn’t matter. Away from here, away from Brennan. Away, away, as if she could outrun the guilt on her conscience.
Her heart skipped a beat and she stumbled when she heard pounding footsteps following her.
Oh shit. He was coming after her. And although she was a fast runner, Brennan was faster, despite his size. He would catch her and he would yell at her that she was a pervert and a rapist and he would be absolutely right and she would have destroyed their friendship and oh god why couldn’t she have kept her power in check?
She dashed around a corner, not caring where she went as long as she could keep running away from Brennan. When she came upon a blank wall, she blinked stupidly until she realized she’d run into one of the storage rooms on the lowest level of the Sanctuary. Her flight had reached a dead end.
She stumbled to a halt, pressing her back against the wall as she waited for the formidable fury of Brennan Mulwray to be unleashed upon her.
Brennan lurched to a stop in front of her. He slammed both hands against the wall on either side, close to her shoulders. He loomed over her and Emma wished for Jesse’s power so she could sink into the ground. She couldn’t breathe, was struggling to get air in her lungs and utter an apology at the same time. “I’m sorry… Brennan, please… Don’t be mad.”
“Did you enjoy that?”
The question was soft, his voice dangerously calm and Emma shivered. She wished he would start with the yelling and recriminations and accusations and get it over with. She deserved everything he would say.
“No!” she cried, shaking her head wildly, hair flying. “I didn’t. I didn’t mean for that to happen. I don’t know what—”
“That’s a shame,” Brennan interrupted, as calmly as before. “Because I did.”
It took Emma’s brain several long seconds to catch up with Brennan’s words.
He chuckled, his breath warm on her heated cheeks. “You heard me.”
Emma risked glancing up for the first time since he caught her and walled her in with his arms. He was close, so very close and his dark eyes bore into hers. They sparkled, and not with anger. Emma relaxed a little, taking another deep breath.
“You did… like it? How could you? What I did—I mean…” She faltered as he removed one hand from the wall and trailed a long finger from her jaw to her throat and the neckline of her blouse. Another shiver ran along her spine, but this time it wasn’t in fear. Tiny butterflies began to flutter in her stomach.
“I admit it was a little unexpected. I don’t know how you did it. Usually, I’m awake during the proceedings. But you see, Emma, I learned a long time ago that it can be fun to let go completely,” Brennan explained in a whisper. “To hand over control to someone else. To find pleasure in pain. I enjoyed it. And I think you did too. After all, it was your dream.”
Emma nodded, at a loss for words.
“There’s so much I could teach you.” He had dipped his head until his lips were brushing her temple, tickling the soft hairs there with his breath. “That is, if you let me.” His mouth found hers and the last word came out as a nearly inaudible whisper. “Mistress.”