The Power Exchange: Dark Waters

Chapter One

Sara looked up from the gelid mess in the acrylic box, and for the third time that night, gave a harsh sigh. Normally this was the part of a murder case that stole her entire attention; the process of solving the puzzle, of eliminating false leads until only a few were left, and following those few until one became the clear evidence, the key piece that led to a conviction.

But she couldn’t focus. The neat little rows of vials, labeled and waiting stood in their rack silently accusing her of less than her full concentration, and not only were they right, it irritated her further. Sara sat up on her stool and pulled her latex gloves off with loud snapping sounds, feeling a flare of rebelliousness rise within her at the childish noise.

Stupid gloves. Stupid lab, stupid case, stupid murder, stupid fucking WORLD, she inwardly growled to herself. Nothing was going right, least of all the fact that Grissom was out of town, and in his absence Catherine had been smugly lording over the nightshift for the past week, flirting with Warrick and passing the scutwork off to the rest of the CSIs. Greg had taken the slight with a grain of salt, and Sara herself normally would have shouldered the favoritism shown Warrick without too much complaint, but it had been a bad week and the further frustration of not being out in the field chafed at her.

Absently Sara reached to her throat and tugged gently on the knotted cord necklace, finding a moment of comfort in the heavy weight of the stone pendant there. She remembered how cool it had been when Grissom laid it against her flushed skin, dragging the chunk of jade playfully between her bare breasts, making it circle her stiff nipples before settling it under her collarbones as she lay under him in the tangled sweaty sheets.

Jade stands for beauty, grace and purity, Zara—all that you embody to me. Wear it until I return, as a symbol of my authority over you,” he’d murmured in her ear as he tied it around her neck.

Sara briefly smiled at the memory; while Grissom might be casual, Sir was always a bit more—formal. Almost courtly at times, despite the passionate demands he made of her time, attention and body. And the reassurance his lovely token lent her was almost enough to get her through this infuriating week.


Out of habit, Sara looked towards Grissom’s office, wishing he was there, and knowing he wasn’t. It was depressing to see it dark and locked up, and even though she knew he would be flying in from Montana within a day or two, her restlessness wasn’t appeased by that knowledge. She missed him and his calming presence and wondered if he longed for her as much.

It wasn’t that she wasn’t strong; Sara knew she was; that she had a backbone of steel. Years on the job looking at things that made the average person cry or throw up or scream at had tempered her into one of the best CSIs in the state. Her solve rate was impressive and the tenacity and intelligence she brought to every case stood out even among her peers; no one knew that better than she did.

Part of that strength was her own personality, feisty and unbowed; the self-assurance and uncompromising bluntness that made people respect the hell out of her. Sara Sidle was now and always, her own woman.

But another, intimate part of the strength came from . . . training. The deliberate discipline of loving someone beyond the limits of her own personality. Submission didn’t come easily to Sara, and some nights it took all the patience she and Grissom possessed to hold the line. Giving up control and responsibility still required effort on her part; the rituals and formality of their bond definitely helped. Over the last year Sara had come to appreciate the work it took to be Zara.

To belong to Sir and relish her power under him.

With a shiver, Sara blinked away her anticipation and tossed the gloves into the trash just as a flicker caught her eye at the doorway. Ecklie looked in and frowned. “I thought you’d be done processing those samples by now, Sidle.”

I’ve been getting them done.”

At a snail’s pace. Come ON, Sidle—a lot of other cases are backing up while you drag this out. Catherine assured me you’d be done by end of shift. What’s the hold up?”

The hold up,” Sara began in an irritated tone, “Is that I’m one person here. Catherine could be helping me and we’d finished by now.”

Catherine has her own work,” Ecklie snapped back. “And just because Grissom’s not here is no excuse for you to slack off.”

I’m not slacking off; this is time-consuming and precise work and I resent your implication.”

And there’s that attitude again. Honest to God, we all have processing we don’t like to do, but I think Grissom spoils you. Everyone at this lab does whatever the case requires, Sidle. We don’t get to pick and choose, and just because you’re not thrilled to the core to be on scoop and bottle duty doesn’t give you the right to drag your feet.”

Sara glared at Ecklie, locking gazes with him as she lifted her chin higher. “You talk a big management game, but I don’t see YOU pulling on the latex and helping me out here. In the time it took for you to chew my ass we could have processed three vials.”

Ecklie went red-faced and his already thin lips narrowed even further as he stared at Sara. “Oh that’s IT, Sidle, no more Mr. Nice Guy. Your insubordination has just cost you two days of leave without pay starting tonight at the end of shift.”

Sara rose off her stool, moving towards him, but the sudden sight of Grissom stepping slowly around the corner froze her in her tracks. Ecklie looked over at him in irritation, then turned his contemptuous gaze back at Sara. “I hope you heard that, Gil.”

I heard all of it. Sara’s my responsibility; I’ll handle disciplining her, Conrad,” came Grissom’s quiet comment. His mild tone took some of the heat out of the moment, and Ecklie gave an annoyed sigh.

Fine. Whatever—but the two day leave stands, and we still need that evidence processed.” He strode off huffily, leaving Sara to stare at Grissom. She blinked, fighting the rush of mingled emotions rising up in her throat, making it ache.

Grissom moved to the wall and took out a pair of latex gloves. He turned, and looked at Sara. She stepped closer, and slowly, wordlessly began to slip them onto his hands.

*** *** ***

The soft, lush strains of William Glass filled the townhouse, the gentle classical etude drifting around the room like smoke. Grissom turned the page of the journal he was engrossed in, resting it carefully against Sara’s naked ass. Absently he shifted a little; her warm weight over his lap was both arousing and soothing to him. He reached under the journal to stroke the rounded swell of her cheeks and was rewarded with her tiny uncontrollable shiver as his cool fingers caressed the hot red stripes throbbing there.

He read on for several minutes, but only part of his mind was on the subject of plant decay rates; the other part was mulling over the invitation sitting in his briefcase by the door. His body was far more interested in the half-naked, cuffed woman draped across his lap, but long ago Grissom had learned to draw out the pleasure by merely waiting, and this was no exception. Sara had transgressed and been punished; it was time to let the lesson sink in a bit deeper.

Grissom shifted his hand, letting it rest on her cuffed ones locked at the small of her back. The bonds were padded, soft but secure and quite well-worn now. He slid his fingers down and felt her grip them, squeezing once before opening up again. Grissom sighed and gently turned Sara, pulling her up and setting her off to the side of him on the loveseat as he set his journal down and rubbed his eyes.

She looked enchanting. Sara lay there, her green shirt hiked over her bare breasts, her black panties pushed down to her knees. Other than those she was naked and the air conditioning in the townhouse had pebbled her skin, leaving her nipples erect. Grissom loved the dusky rose color of them in the lamplight. He reached out and stroked her wet cheek. “Feel better?”

Ye-yes Sir. Much better,” came her throaty sigh. Sara’s voice was husky and clearly her crying had done her good. Grissom let his hand slide down to one breast, and teased the nipple a little, making her arch and moan.

Good. I wasn’t anticipating the necessity for correction tonight, but I’m glad we could attend to your need. You look marvelously naughty on my sofa this way . . . very erotic. If Ecklie had any idea that you’d be sprawled here cuffed, with your moist panties down I think he’d have a stroke.”

Sara smiled at that, heat glowing in the whisky depths of her eyes. Her tongue came out and she licked away a tear from the corner of her mouth, then gave a soft sigh. Grissom reached down to the coffee table and gripped the rosewood handle of the rod lying there.

It was a conductor’s baton, a beautiful piece of work made of finely tooled and glazed birch, fourteen inches of slender flex, all too capable of delivering a quick sting when wielded in Grissom’s expert hands. Sara squirmed as he brought it to her, and with a sigh of relief she pressed her lips to the engraved shaft as ritual demanded. Yes it stung, and the heat of her six stripes from the baton radiated along her ass with a sullen throb that would make it a little painful to sit for a day. But it was worth it. Under the smart of her stripes lay the comfort of correction; her conscience was clean now.

Grissom carefully packed the baton into its purple felt-lined rosewood carrying case, then turned back to Sara. She looked at him through half-closed lids, aware the entire mood of the moment had shifted to something more languid and sensual. He was clearly as aroused as she was, and his blue eyes glittered when he smiled at her. Sara sighed.

Thank you . . . “ she breathed gently, rolling her hips a little. “I feel much better, Sir.”

You’re welcome. Shall we make this a proper homecoming?” Grissom asked in a low voice full of desire. Sara’s lashes fluttered for a moment and she nodded quickly, her pulse accelerating as Grissom gently swung her bare feet to the floor and tugged her panties off completely. Sara slipped down to the carpet and knelt, the ability to balance with her hands bound behind her coming naturally now. It had taken a while to learn the knack, but she knew how much it turned Grissom on to see her do it, and tonight was no exception. He watched her intently, his breathing a little louder over the etude playing around them. Sara lifted her head, meeting his molten gaze. He sighed, leaning back against the cushions, parting his knees so that she could settle between them, resting her cheek on one thigh.

Roses or thorns, Zara?”

Oh I’ve been bad, Sir,” she purred. “I need thorns tonight.”

Grissom didn’t blink. Very deliberately, he cupped a hand under her chin, lifting her face up and leaned forward to breathe into it. “Suck my cock then, you sweet little bitch.”

Sara shivered, the thrill of that crude command coming from her quiet, intelligent, unfailingly polite boss surging through her. Grissom didn’t talk like this, but Sir did, and it always made her squirm. She lifted her head and pressed her face against his bulging fly, nosing to find the little metal tab of his zipper. He made no move to help her, and when Sara finally found the sliver of metal, she nipped it with her teeth, tugging it with some difficulty.

It was hard to get the fly down with no hands, especially over the thick ridge straining against Grissom’s jeans, but Sara loved both the challenge and the power. Against her mouth he throbbed, and the heat of him rose through the cloth, hinting at very basic sensuality. She rubbed her cheek along his groin, and used her teeth to pull open the jeans after the zipper was down.

Grissom fought a low groan at the sight between his thighs. Sara on her knees was always intoxicating, but seeing her bound and submissive, eager to get his prick into her mouth was enough to make every nerve sing with delight. Added to that was the nasty delight of indulging in the crudest of language. They didn’t do it often; neither of them being particularly foul-mouthed, so the occasional descent into blue always heated the moment.

Sara slid her tongue under the heavy heft of Grissom’s cock, licking it. He hissed a little at the sensation and she renewed her effort, stroking wetly along the bottom of his shaft.

Yesss, slower. Show me you love my taste . . .” he growled, finally reaching out a hand to brace her shoulder. Leaning into it, Sara relaxed, and brushed her lips over the thick springy fur along the base of Grissom’s shaft, toying happily with him. She gave a little hum, letting the vibrations tease against the thick fluff.

You’re very hard—does it ache?” Sara muttered solicitously, hiding her smile when the Grissom’s fingers tightened on her shoulder.

You know it does,” he rumbled, “I’ve waited for you, Zara, held back to feed you, inch by inch deep in that hot mouth of yours . . .”

Sara squirmed again, and began licking once more, long elegant sweeps of her wet tongue from base to weeping head, thoroughly bathing Grissom’s flexing cock as it thickened under her lips. The thrill of pulling his focus right onto this tight throbbing instant sent waves of pleasure through her, and she drew out the moment before finally letting the taut mauve head slip between her slick lips.

Grissom growled, fingers digging into her shoulder a little as his other hand slid into Sara’s silky mane. His hips bucked a little, and the loveseat creaked. “Eat it all . . .”

She did, moving in deliberate bobs, letting the veiny muscle slide easily over her lips, adding a suckle when she reached the top again. It was a skill, and Sara took her time savoring not only the clean musky taste of Grissom, but also the sensual joy of feeling him begin to lose control.

In so many ways he was a man of passion, an aspect he kept reigned in and under control most of the time. But when he was with her, when the sweet and wild moments were upon them like this then Sara felt awed at his capacity for sheer animal response. Grissom was a man, and a big one at that; his strength and desire still overwhelmed her at times.

Deeper, Zara, suck me harder—“ he growled, fingers tightening in her hair, tugging just enough to excite her. “Make me come—“

His voice was rough-edged now, and the continual creak of the cushions told her Grissom was building up steadily. Sara felt him throbbing in the circle of her slick lips, and his breathing had gone deep, ragged. Sara closed her eyes, aware that his orgasm was imminent. She gave a happy hum.

Grissom tensed, fingers of one hand squeezing her shoulder, the others tightening in her hair as he groaned with deep, wild pleasure. “Oh yess, love this, unnngh! So fucking good---“

The searing pulses of his semen sprayed over her palate, and Sara swallowed quickly, drinking the bitterness down, her tongue caressing the underside of his shaft in a coaxing way that she knew would milk the last of his ejaculation along. There was a lot, which touched her; Grissom had indeed abstained, and his had been voluntary.

Sara held his softening cock in her mouth tenderly, her mood tempered with smugness and aching desire. The whipping had purged and warmed her; the blowjob certainly had kicked up her arousal to an almost painful simmer, but even now, she was happy.

Grissom’s hand on her shoulder softened to a caress, and he slipped his fingers free of her hair, stroking it before he shifted his grip to under her armpits. He lifted.

Sara limply allowed him to pull her back onto the loveseat, still amazed at how much strength he had a times. Grissom tucked one of the cushions behind the small of her back, and shifted, folding her legs up, pressing her knees nearly to her shoulders. Sara winced a little as the pressure on her bound hands increased.

So rosy and slick--and mine,” Grissom murmured softly. “I love you for your mind and spirit, but I can’t deny that sometimes I’m consumed foremost by the lusciousness of your pussy—“ Gently he slid a hand down the inside of one slender thigh to tease the fluffy curls. His fingers slid along the puffy cleft, parting the gleaming petals of her sex, and Sara moaned, feeling open and naked under his eyes.

Grissom bent forward and scraped his beard along the inside of her knee. “Cuffed and at my mercy, Zara. My naughty plaything. My sensual slave. My pretty, pretty piece of pussy. I’m going to kiss it. Do you think I should?”

Yes. Please yeessssss---“ came her low cry even as her hips rose hungrily towards him. Grissom smiled, watching Sara writhe in the helpless little dance of arousal, and moving gently, he kissed his way down the inside of her thigh, tasting that sensitive flesh. He felt her muscles tense and could see how pebbled her flesh was, how hard her nipples stood up.

Grissom blew a hot breath over the glistening layers between Sara’s legs. “You smell like you want to come, honey. Do you want to come on my tongue?”

Please---“ Sara whimpered, swallowing hard. “Please!”

He opened his mouth and warmly dropped it to meld against the lips of her sex, his tongue sliding along the slick valley to nudge the underside of her hot little bud. Grissom inhaled sharply; the rich flavor of Sara’s sex sent a fresh surge of lust through his stomach and down between his own legs, but he kept his lips wide and gentle as he deliberately sucked, letting Sara wriggle under his mouth.

God yes, I love you, I love you, oh I’m so clooooosseee—“ she whimpered.

He loved the sight and taste of Sara this way, hands cuffed behind her, desperately rubbing herself against his teasing tongue, her hips rocking in a quickening rhythm. Grissom slid his hands under her striped ass to lift her wet pussy against his face.

Sara cried out, her muscled stomach tensing and her knees pressing hard against the outside of Grissom’s shoulders as her orgasm exploded through her in long rolling waves that seemed to go on and on. Grissom kept still, feeling the pulse of her sex against his mouth, the heat of her thighs against his bearded cheeks. The pink, hot cradle of his lover’s body around his face left Grissom breathless, and he turned his head to kiss her thighs, feeling a trickle of tears smearing between his cheeks and her lovely legs.

*** *** ***

Have you thought about what you’re going to do for your two days off?” Grissom asked gently. They were curled up on his bed, propped against the headboard, sharing an apple-brie cheese omelet and toast points. Sara shook her head, not wanting to speak with her mouth full, and Grissom thoughtfully studied the plate in his hand. “Hmmm. I have a suggestion . . .”

Sara swallowed and looked at him, her gaze both wary and amused; Grissom’s ferocious intellect covered a lot of ground, and certainly his off-duty pursuits astonished her at times. Once he’d taken her along to collect insects off of the front grilles of 18 wheelers at a truck stop in Henderson. Another time they’d done the tour of Hoover Dam and ended up discussing how it could be hypothetically used as a body dump. Yet another time he’d sent her on a quest to every chocolate maker in Las Vegas, requesting she return with only a single sample from the top three.

No bugs, bodies or bon-bons—“ came her soft tease. Grissom smiled, and scooped up a forkful of fluffy egg, downing it quickly before speaking again.

No, none of those. I’ve received a request from a friend of mine. She’s hosting a fundraiser for recovery efforts in Louisiana and wants me—us, actually-- to attend.”

A friend?” Sara tried to keep her tone neutral but it took some effort, and hearing it, Grissom set the plate on the nightstand before turning to face her, his expression calm.

A friend. I’ve bragged about you and she’s both impressed and intrigued by how far you’ve come. She’s offered me the opportunity to send you to her for some training, but—“ He paused, keeping his gaze on hers, “--Only if you want it.”

Oh,” Sara squeaked, her eyes widening. Her shoulders relaxed against the pillow and she drew in a breath, lost in a flood of thoughts racing through her mind at breakneck speed, hurried on by a sense of relief. The friend could only be Lady Heather, and although Sara had never met her, Grissom had spoken kindly of her more than once.

No. No, I can’t. I mean, I’m yours, mind and body—I just can’t be . . . our way . . . around a stranger,” Sara protested, feeling warmth in her stomach just the same. Grissom gave her a soft smile.

We’re not in session now, Sara; it’s okay to speak your mind. And yes, I understand. That’s why I was hesitant to mention it—I know you’re not ready to be seen. We don’t ever have to go public, honey.”

She shifted uneasily, feeling guilty and slightly exasperated at his soothing tone. He wasn’t condescending; that was never Grissom’s style, but nonetheless Sara still felt as if she was being humored a bit and it rankled. She frowned a little.

So what does the training have to do with the fundraiser anyway?” she demanded with a hint of petulance. Grissom gestured to the plate, and Sara nodded; he fed her a forkful as he spoke again.

She’s holding a Pirate Cotillion. A costume party, with dancing,” Grissom explained, his expression skeptically amused. “And the invitees are from the more . . . private associations and groups . . . throughout the Southwest. Quite a number of the members are in the upper income bracket.”

I remember,” Sara murmured, thinking back to the gathering in San Francisco almost a year ago, when she’d first come to learn of both Grissom’s past, and her own intrigue with his darker side. It had been a heady time, full of uncertainty and epiphany; risks taken and truths revealed. Sara shivered a little, and Grissom slid and arm around her shoulders, pulling her closer to him. She rested her cheek on his collarbone.

He spoke again. “Lady Heather wants both of us to attend, but she’s sensitive to privacy.”

Couldn’t we go as . . . you know . . . guests?” Sara murmured against his skin. Grissom’s big body was warm and comfortable; he often held her until she fell asleep, curling protectively around her long spine, spooning against her.

I’m sure we could, but it might make a few folks uncomfortable. This sort of private party is specific to the lifestyle and the prevailing mood will be that if you’re not participating, you don’t belong.” Grissom let his lips brush Sara’s forehead. “I’ve attended a few events like this a long time ago, so I understand the exclusivity. Lady Heather caters to a pretty elite clientele.”

Hmmmm,” Sara replied, feeling a little sleepy. “Do you know how big a party it would be?” Somehow it didn’t sound quite as frightening now. Not that she was thinking of going, no—but she was curious. Grissom offered her the final mouthful of egg and she accepted it gently.

I doubt it would be more than thirty guests altogether, and I assume Lady Heather would like the chance to lavish some attention on the submissive attendees. Sort of like giving a beloved toy some new luster,” Grissom mused. “Train them in some new games and techniques.”

Against her will Sara was a little further intrigued. She lifted her head and looked at Grissom, studying his profile in the low light of the nightstand lamp. He met her look squarely, the warmth in his eyes deep and sweet; under the sheet Sara stroked her toes down his shin, tickling it lightly.

Do you want me to go?” she asked, very slowly, each word like a heavy pearl sliding on a silk cord. Grissom lifted his chin a little, and his expression shifted to reveal a hint of hunger; a glimpse into the dark part of him that both frightened and excited her.

I don’t want you to go. I want you to want to go,” he admitted in a tight low voice. “You will always have the right to say no, honey.”

Sara felt a jumble of emotions at that. Pique, mostly, but a sense of rebellion too, and under that an inkling of control that felt very sweet since she knew what it had cost Grissom to phrase his offer as he did. She yawned a little. “When do I need to decide?”

By Thursday. The Cotillion is on Saturday and I need to RSVP by then so she can have a working headcount.” Grissom set the now empty plate aside and reached for the little chain on the bedside light, tugging it and darkening the bedroom. Sara settled against him. For a moment neither of them spoke as they basked in the muted light of the coming day held back by the heavy curtains.

I’d . . . like to think about it,” She finally whispered, and he tightened his arm around her in acknowledgement.

*** *** ***

She was driving along the highway; it should have been the Fifteen, but the hills were wrong, all covered with houses like parts of Marin, and suddenly it WAS Marin and Sara knew she was heading for Sausalito. The car was moving fast; she knew the way, but the signs were hard to read, and a little panic was starting. She KNEW the way, but the exit, where was the exit and she didn’t WANT to go this way and the Golden Gate was always just there on the horizon, no closer than it had been before . . . she gripped the wheel, realizing there were eggs on the passenger seat, cartons and cartons of eggs. Some of them were moving, almost hatching. She looked up and the tollbooth was in sight, she pulled up and the man in it had an eye patch and a hook. You look like a pirate, Sara told him and then he turned into Greg, laughing and waving a plastic hook at her. When she drove onto the bridge it now had trees on it, and yet it was still the bridge and the eggs were moving again . . . .

Muzzily Sara woke, the images melting away as consciousness rose through her. She shifted, smiling as she felt Grissom along her spine, his heavy arm over her waist, his slow heavy breathing against the hair at the back of her head. He anchored her, both physically and emotionally, and here in the warm cocoon of his bed Sara felt the rare and beautiful peacefulness that eluded her in other parts of her life.

It was good, she decided. Grissom not only loved her, but he also understood her. Not completely—no, they each still had private and unexplored depths—but enough to know she needed challenges, puzzles, tests. And the sweet glory of THAT, Sara knew, was that to challenge her was to challenge himself.

Grissom didn’t always like that. He preferred the roles he knew best, and played them well both in life and in bed. Sara thought of him as a brilliant maestro, able to conduct her like a fiery piece of music. But now and then the baton would switch hands, and Sara loved the moments when she had the chance to lead Grissom along in a symphony of passion he hadn’t known was in him. Those were nights of equal splendor, performances rewardingly memorable.

Shaking her head at this flight of fancy, Sara sighed, turning her thoughts again to the invitation. She knew Grissom was torn—that much was clear. He wasn’t a social sort at all, often passing on events and parties at work. Nobody minded; they understood his solitary habits and personality. But this invitation was different. Sara sensed he didn’t want to attend so much as he wanted her to do so, and the puzzle lay in figuring out why.

Pride? She rejected that thought quickly. Certainly Grissom was proud of her, and had often said so, but he wasn’t the sort to flaunt their relationship to anyone. Since returning to Las Vegas, she and Grissom had spent their private time focused on each other in a tête-à-tête that worked very well for them.

Boredom? That thought hurt a little, but after a moment Sara discarded that too. The intensity of their morning session made it clear that Grissom was far from through with her, adored her as much as ever. No, she decided, boredom was the least likely reason.

Behind her Grissom stirred, pressing close, as if reading her doubts and wanting to reassure her. Sara smiled into the pillow under her cheek and pressed back, feeling the inquisitive press of his cock along the small of her back. She thought again about the conversation of the night before; about the emphasis of his words and insight dawned on her mid-yawn.


Grissom was relaying this offer of Lady Heather’s to see if she would take the upper hand and be willing to learn from someone new. To test her commitment to her education. To her sensual intellect. Sara shivered, but not out of fear and for the first time she mulled over the proposal seriously.

She was still lost in thought through her shower and over breakfast; so much so that Grissom had to wave a hand in front of her face to catch her attention. He smiled at her preoccupation. “A lot on your mind?”

Always,” she replied lightly, moving to clear the dishes. Grissom slipped his jacket on, and filled his pockets with his cell phone, badge and car keys before turning back to her and taking her into his arms.

All right, I’m heading in. You’re free to stay here if you like, but if you go, give me a call or leave a note. I’m sorry Ecklie’s being a hard ass about this, but given how the last week has been, you deserve the time off. I’ll finish up the processing and sign off on it.”

K’, thank you,” Sara murmured in reply, slipping her arms around him as well. Grissom sighed.

How is your--?”

“—My ass is fine,” she assured him with a crooked grin. He arched an eyebrow at that, and his hands dropped to stroke the rounded globes in question.

My thoughts precisely.”

Grissom—“ she smiled again, then grew serious. “I’ve considered what you said last night, and although the whole idea is VERY scary to me, least on a personal level—I want to try.”

There. She’d said it, and from the stunned look on Grissom’s face it was worth it. He was speechless, his blue eyes very intent, studying her carefully. Finally he spoke. “Are you sure?”

Sara bit her lips and nodded. The anticipation bloomed in her stomach now, making her giddy but she refused to show it. Grissom pulled her more tightly against him and for a moment she clung to his big broad strength, feeling a flow of pride and quiet delight radiating from his smile. Carefully he pulled out of the hug and gripped her shoulders. “All right. After work tonight I’ll pick you up and we’ll go. I’ll remit you into Lady Heather’s care.” He hesitated, and for a moment Sara saw a hint of unease in his eyes.


It’s just—well I won’t see you again until the cotillion. You’ll be asked to stay in the guest seraglio until then.”

Ah. Really—“ Sara mused. “So it would be like a dorm, for freshmen submissives?”

Grissom smiled a little at that, but nodded. “Something like that I suppose, although I’m not exactly privy to all the secrets of the Dominion.” He hesitated and squeezed her shoulders once more. “Sara—I hope you’re not doing this for me.”

She pursed her wide mouth slightly, her exasperation clear. “Well of course I am. I’m doing it for both of us, and because there isn’t anything I can’t learn,” she announced, then added, “I think.”

Grissom kissed her forehead. “I know.”

Dark Waters 2

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