Roped In [Bondage Ranch 1]
Click on image to enlarge.
by Sindra van Yssel
Category: Erotica/BDSM Erotica
Description: Genre: BDSM Erotic Contemporary
Laera McDougal is lost in the woods when hunky Bruce Merrick finds her, but soon she's lost in her passion as he pulls her into the world of sensual submission. He shows her desires she never knew existed in herself--desires she's eager to have satisfied. She wants more than one hot day and night of sensual exploration, but Bruce never intended to take it further, even for someone who stirs him as much as luscious Laera.
Laera's not sure she can find someone else who will make her feel the same way. She needs Bruce to realize that it's time to break free from of his past so that he can get the woman of his dreams all roped in.
Publisher's Note: This book contains BDSM theme and situations.
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: February 2010
105 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [179 KB]
Reading time: 119-166 min.
Laera McDougal pulled the brambles out of her jeans with a curse. She loved the fresh air of the outdoors, adored working in her tiny vegetable garden, and didn't even mind mowing the lawn that much. But lawn and garden were far away, and she had never really liked camping, not since the time she'd gotten a dozen ticks on her on a family campout when she was ten.
She had, in some fit of boldness, decided to take a hike. The trail had seemed clearly marked, and well used. She had come out all this way on the idea that she might find some measure of peace and direction far away from home. She wasn't the most spiritual person, but the idea that one might find...well, God, Goddess, or whatever might be out there, on a trip alone into the wilderness had more appeal for her than any of the churches that well-meaning door-knockers tried to invite her to. She'd mentioned the idea to her apartment mate and best friend Meagan, not really having any intention of following through on it, and Meagan told her that it wouldn't be safe for a grown woman to go camping by herself, and that she absolutely had to not do it, or take a man with her.
So of course she'd told Meagan she was definitely going, and she was far too stubborn to back down. The thought of saying she went, and going to Atlantic City or something, had occurred to her, but she knew she was a horrible liar. Meagan was a good friend, and Laera knew that she wasn't entirely wrong about the safety issues, but she could take care of herself.
She didn't look like much, maybe. Brown hair, brown eyes. She was of average height, a bit heavy, with thick glasses. But she'd thrown men a lot taller and a lot heavier, men who thought they knew a little judo. Men tended to underestimate her, even when they'd been told what to expect. She wasn't worried about being alone, at least not where human predators were concerned. She'd researched the campground in the northern part of Maryland where she was staying. There were long hikes into the wilderness, streams trickling down from the mountains, not very many campsites--and no bears or wildcats or anything like that. The poisonous snakes were of the water-dwelling kind. She had practically bathed in bug spray. Nothing was going to happen to her.
And nothing had. Except that she was very, very lost.
She had started off with every intention of simply getting away from her new neighbors, their Winnebago, and their loud generator. Camping may not have been her thing, but she really didn't understand people who came all this way only to bring all the annoyances of the city with them.
What had looked like a regular branching trail must have been made by deer, rather than by people, and it got narrower and narrower. At first, Laera thought that might be a good thing. Back to nature, closer to divinity, wherever it might be. When she finally became uncertain enough to start retracing her steps, there were only a couple of hours of daylight left. Of course she had a flashlight with her, but that wasn't nearly as good as having the sun on her side.
She soon realized that she couldn't find the trail back, either. There were probably plenty of people who could spot each little fallen leaf she had stepped on, every branch she had broken as she brushed by. She wasn't one of them. She tried to head in the direction of the setting sun, thinking the campgrounds were to the west somewhere, but it was slow going. Finding west was the easy part. Whether it was actually the right direction to go, she had no idea. At least it wasn't further uphill. She had hiked up more than down, she was sure.
There was a sound ahead, and Laera's first thought was that it was human. But it was such an odd noise for a human in the woods to make; it started off like a shriek, and ended like laughter, but it was far away, barely audible. It sounded like it was coming from in front of her, further to the west. She reminded herself that the animals were nothing to worry about, except for the kind with six and eight legs. Even they had left her alone so far. She forged ahead, crashing through the brush and no doubt frightening off any animals of the four-legged kind.
A vine caught her foot. She fell forward, wrenching her ankle. "Goddammit!" She tried to stand up, and it would barely take her weight. Of all the rotten luck. Unless the campground was coming up very shortly, she wasn't going to make it. The sky was already beginning to dim, the sun just a glow on the horizon now, when she could see it at all through the thick canopy of maples and beeches. She stopped to listen, but there were no sounds, no more of that shrieking and laughing. Even her neighbors' television set would be a welcome sound right now.
She limped along, grabbing onto tree branches when they gave her a chance to take some weight off her ankle. She took the opportunity, since there was no one around, to use every curse word she'd ever heard, most of which no one had ever heard escaping her lips. Why did I come here? She concentrated on continuing to move forward. At the least, she hoped to find a clearing where she could stretch her body out and rest for a while. She was not looking forward to spending the night out here, especially given that the forecast had been for rain early in the morning--like four o'clock early--well before the sun rose. She flicked on her flashlight, spraying its beam around for just a few seconds before turning it off to conserve the battery. It looked like the forest thinned a bit up ahead, or at the very least the underbrush was less thick. She took one more step, fell, and found herself loudly damning any divinity irritating enough to be sought so far from civilization. She hadn't wrenched her ankle any worse, but landing on her bum in a thicket of pricklies was not her idea of fun.
"Hey!" came a voice, deep and masculine, interrupting her stream of invective. A moment later she could see the light of a powerful flashlight as it clicked on and flashed its light through the trees.
There was a clearing ahead, where the light was coming from. "Hey!" she called out, and reached for her own flashlight at her belt. She'd been saving it until she couldn't see even where she was stepping, worried that if she had to spend the night in the wild there wouldn't be enough batteries when she really needed the flashlight.
She had just managed to flick it on when he found her. He was tall, muscular, with an easy, boyish grin, although his face was rugged and his eyes serious. He was wearing black jeans and a thick blue denim shirt, a couple of the top buttons unbuttoned.
Even in these conditions, she couldn't help but think, yummy.
She tried to scramble to her feet, and the brambles refused to cooperate.
"Stop moving," he told her. "I'll get you out; just be patient a second."
She did as she was told, although she really would have much rather stood on her own. The hike hadn't just been frustrating, it had been long. She'd been gone from camp since lunchtime, and that was eight hours ago. She'd packed enough trail mix that she hadn't gotten too hungry, but she was exhausted, and only the need to keep going had stopped her from noticing before. So she let him pull the brambles out, his flashlight playing over her as he removed them, cutting a few of the vines with his pocket knife to stop them from springing back. She watched the knife, warily, even though it was being used for her benefit. A big strong man like that with a knife was dangerous, even for a black belt. As tired as she was, very dangerous. And worse, there was something about him that made her feel perfectly safe, and she didn't trust that. One couldn't throw one's opponent unless one was balanced and prepared. This one could get her off her guard very easily.
"It's a good thing you're wearing relatively sensible clothes," he told her.
She was wearing jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, which she supposed was relatively sensible, but what did he expect for someone out hiking in the woods, a cocktail dress and heels?
"I'm not stupid," she said.
He smiled disarmingly. "Didn't mean to imply you were. But some, well, you know." He handed the flashlight to her. "Hold this, please."
She took it. It was heavier than hers, and probably better made. The sort of thing that would make a good weapon, and she'd only really considered the knife. Hmm.
"And don't shine it in my eyes, please," he said with that same calm.
"Oops, sorry," she said, and pointed it at the ground. It was powerful enough that it still made the area around them gently glow.
The next thing she knew he had lifted her and was carrying her in his strong arms. "I can walk," she said.
"Not very well, not with that ankle," he said. "I can carry you for a while, certainly until we get to clear ground."
How'd he know that her ankle was hurt? Maybe she had winced a little when he pulled a bramble free, but that could have been for a lot of reasons. She remembered her thoughts about how a tracker would sense her presence and wondered if he was picking up on small clues. Only one way to find out.
"How'd you know my ankle was hurt?"
"I think it was when you called it a 'goddamn fucking ankle' earlier. You've got quite a mouth on you," he said. "Where'd you learn to swear like that?"
"I'm sorry, I didn't think anyone was listening," she replied, wondering what he thought of her.
"Not a problem; I've heard worse. Been called worse, on occasion." He laughed. "Good times!" he said.
He stepped out of the underbrush. There were trees here, a little less dense than the forest behind her, but the brush had been cleared. There was even some grass growing, although it was a bit brown, not getting a lot of light through the canopy of leaves above.
"I'm Bruce, by the way. I don't remember seeing you at dinner, or I'd have been sure to introduce myself to such a pretty lady."
"Laera," she said. "I wasn't at dinner; I left after lunch."
"Lunch?" he said, almost as if it were a foreign concept to him. "Are you staying with Dylan and Alex?"
"No, I'm camping." What was he babbling on about?
He chuckled, a rumbling, low sound. He was carrying her with ease, and she wasn't the lightest of women. His breath was nice and easy, his arms unwavering, and his stride long and fast. Even if she'd had a good ankle, she'd have to quicken her steps quite a bit to keep up. There were voices up ahead, and she thought she made out some lights too, and possibly the shape of a building.
"What possessed you to go crashing into the underbrush?" he asked.
She heard a shriek, just like the one she had heard before, but much closer. She turned her head, wriggling in Bruce's grasp to do so. She gasped.
It was a woman's voice, and she could just catch glimpses through the trees, which alternately blocked and revealed as Bruce carried her. The woman had her back to a tree, wearing some sort of beige body stocking. No, she wasn't--she was naked. Now that had to require a lot of bug spray. There was a man with her, dressed in black, with a whip, a rather small, multitailed thing, in his hand. And the strangest thing was when the whip hit, and the woman shrieked again, the woman actually grinned afterwards, and thrust out her chest as if wanting more. On each side of the couple a pair of candles burned at the top of long bamboo poles planted into the ground. The whiff of citronella carried to Bruce and Laera.
She was about to say something, when Bruce spoke. "Curious? We can go over and watch if you like." That chuckle again, low and somehow reassuring, even under these circumstances. "John and Sheila always like an audience."
"He's whipping her! Shouldn't we do something?" Laera hissed, not wanting to be overheard by the strange couple.
"That's hardly a whip, love. Just a little flogger."
She stared, fascinated. The woman--Sheila--was tied to the tree, she realized, with rope around her ankles, and her hands stretched behind her back and around the trunk. The woman was squirming as much as her bonds would let her, thrusting her breasts forward for the next stroke, her knees as far apart as the bonds around her ankles would let her have them, her eyes full of desire.
"Master," said Sheila, loud enough to carry, her voice husky. John flicked the whip--flogger--lightly upward, just a flick of the wrist, and the tails disappeared between Sheila's legs, eliciting a loud moan.
Bruce had quit walking, Laera realized, and was letting her watch. She couldn't deny she was curious. She felt heat rise in her face at the thought, and the fact that the man carrying her, a stranger really, had seen her interest.
"We should keep going," she said firmly.
Bruce chuckled, and continued on. "This is your first time, isn't it?"
"First time for what?" Laera asked. Watching two strangers having kinky sex in the woods?
"First time at Bondage Ranch," Bruce said. He shifted her in his arms and she got a better view of what lay ahead. They were almost to a building, and there were more people there, if her ears were to be trusted.
"Bondage what?" she asked. Was there a whole bunch of people here, playing kinky games in the woods? Apparently so. And this man who'd come to her aid, Bruce, he must be one of them. Suddenly she didn't feel quite so safe.
"Put me down," Laera demanded.
Bruce looked at her for a moment and read the determination in her eyes. Gently, he set her down on her feet. She winced, shifting most of her weight to her good leg.
Bruce stopped. "How exactly did you get here?"
"I hiked," she said. "From the campground. I started out on the path, but it forked and got more confusing, and I think I ended up on a game trail."
Bruce whistled. "That's quite a hike."
She glanced at her watch. "I've been gone eight or nine hours. They'll wonder what happened to me if I'm gone much longer."
He raised an eyebrow at her.
I really am a horrible liar. That one was perfectly plausible, and even so he doesn't believe me for a moment. "So, you're into the whole pain thing," she said, the words spilling out quickly. "That's cool. Not really my thing, but it's cool. Nice place you've got here for it. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone it's here."
He started at her for a moment. "I'm not especially into pain," he said at last, slowly. "Either giving, or receiving, unless my partner really enjoys the receiving part. It's actually the power exchange that I find to be the interesting part."
"The power exchange?"
He smiled. "The act of one partner submitting to another for their mutual pleasure. Pain is nothing new to us, really. We are all, as human beings, suffering some kind of pain, suffering as we try to control everything around us. To give up power, to stop the struggle and let another take care of you, can actually be a way to gain freedom from that pain. To accept that power, from someone who willingly gives it, provides a relief from the struggle as well."
"And which side do you prefer?" she asked, while telling herself she had no reason to care about the answer. It was hard to imagine this big, strong man on his knees before some kinky leather-clad dominatrix. In fact, she realized, she didn't like that idea at all. Not that she was about to take either side of the "power exchange" Bruce had described, but the sort of man who would grovel at her feet was definitely not for her.
"I'm usually a dominant," Bruce said. "I've taken the other side, because I wanted to know what it had to offer. And I'm a firm believer that one shouldn't do to one's partner anything one wouldn't be willing to go through oneself, if the positions were reversed." He smiled. "And which side would you prefer, if you were to take a side?"
She didn't know much about the world of bondage, but she wasn't completely ignorant, and she knew which way her fantasies ran. She'd had dreams of being tied up, helpless, underneath some powerful man.
"None of your business," she said.
To her surprise, he actually looked pleased by her answer. "Not exactly vanilla, are we?"
"Vanilla. A word we use to mean not-kinky. Plain. Into what a friend of mine calls egalitarian sex, although I would say that it's only people who come as equals who have power to truly freely exchange."
Laera spent a few moments sorting out the double negatives in not not-kinky. "I'm not a pervert. Sorry to disappoint you."
Bruce chuckled. "I know plenty of people here who would be proud to be called perverts, so if the term was meant to wound, I'm afraid it didn't. Although I admit, it isn't my favorite word."
"I wasn't trying to be insulting," Laera said. It wasn't entirely true. She felt he was reading her a little too well, and that thought made her want to either run or start fighting. She wasn't worried he would hurt her, exactly. But the familiar fantasy of being tied up was coming back in her head, and the vague male that usually inhabited it had a very definite face right now. He was definitely dangerous, this Bruce.
"Is there a possibility," she asked, when he didn't say anything, "that I could be--that you could drive me back to my campsite?" I just specified that he do the driving because I don't trust a random pervert, she told herself. Her tummy rumbled. A can of Dinty Moore beef stew back at the site was calling to her.
"Hmm. Of course. Under one condition."
"I've already told you I won't tell anyone you people are here," Laera said.
"That's not the condition. We're not actually doing anything illegal, although admittedly most here would prefer to avoid the publicity. But in any case, what would we do to stop you? We're not going to hold you here against your will."
Laera quirked a smile. "I presume it isn't any lack of rope that's stopping you," she said. It wasn't a great idea to goad the man, but she couldn't resist having her bit of fun.
Bruce laughed. "No, it's not. But 'safe, sane, and consensual' is our motto. Which means that I'll only tie you up"--he paused--"when you want me to."
Laera noticed he said "when" and not "if." "Ain't happening," she said. "So what was that condition of yours?"
"You must be starving," he said. "I know a little Mexican restaurant about ten miles away. They have wonderful burritos, and I'm told they even make a nice steak if you like that sort of thing. My condition is that you have dinner with me, and then I'll drive you back to your campsite. My treat."
She smiled. "Now that," she said, "is an offer I really can't refuse."