Rattling Chains

This erotic story excerpt by T. Strange from Rattling Chains was originally published by Pride Publishing and is a finalist in the Good Sex Awards Best Kink Category. Show it some love and vote for this story in the Readers' Choice awards by 20 June.

Rattling Chains

“Would you like me to tell you?” Charles asked, softly.

Not sure how else to proceed, Harlan nodded.

“Kneel on the bed, bracing yourself with your forearms,” Charles said, his voice still soothing rather than commanding.

Harlan nodded. He could do that.

“Relax.” Charles’ hands stroked his raised buttocks, drawing back when Harlan tensed. “I’ll let you know before I start, okay?”

Swallowing hard, Harlan nodded again.

Ignoring his backside for the time being, Charles petted and lightly massaged Harlan’s outer thighs, his hips, as far up Harlan’s back as he could reach.

Gradually, fibre by fibre, Harlan eased into the touch, no longer expecting a blow every time Charles lifted his hands.

“I just want to say, once more, that we don’t have to do this. I’m happy to keep things the way they are for as long as you want.”

Harlan shook his head, trying to keep his jaw from tightening. “I want this. I want to try.”

A warm, comforting hand on his side… “This isn’t something you have to prove to me—to anyone. It’s not a rite of passage or something. It’s just supposed to be fun.”

“I know!” Harlan snapped, instantly regretting his tone. He forced himself to take several deep breaths, relieved that Charles hadn’t pulled away. “Sorry. I am a little nervous, but I trust you, and I’ve been thinking about this since the first time I met you.”

“Me too. Well, maybe not the first time. That was more like, ‘Fuck, my club is haunted!’ But for a while now.” Slowly, so slowly, Charles traced his way down to cup Harlan’s cheeks. “Remember your safewords?”

“Yellow if I want to change something, red if I want to stop.”

“Good. Ready?”

Harlan nodded.

Keeping one hand on Harlan’s side, Charles lifted the other and brought it down. Not hard, at least Harlan didn’t think so, but he didn’t have anything to compare it to.

“Still good?”

Harlan nodded, his eyes squeezed shut, his mouth tight. He felt hot and restless, but he didn’t want to use a safeword after only one smack. No matter what Charles had said, that would just be pathetic.

A second stinging blow, and Harlan squirmed forward to get away.

“Too much?”

“I—maybe? Sorry… Sorry, I didn’t mean to move. I just…”

Charles sat on the end of the bed, lightly stroking Harlan’s calf. “This isn’t for everybody, you know. It’s okay if you don’t like it.”

“I want to like it!”

“I know.” Charles laughed. “I want to like opera, but I don’t. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy art. Maybe you’re not into impact play, but there’s so much more than that.”

Harlan nodded. That made sense. Something about this just felt wrong, like the ingredients were there, but not in the right order. His eyes widened, and he rolled over so he could look up at Charles. “Do you ever…?” He sighed. He knew it was important, but it was so difficult having to actually use his words. “I mean, do you like…being spanked, sometimes?”

“I do, and I think I see where you’re going with this. I’d be happy to try.”

“Really? Just like that? I don’t exactly know what I’m doing.”

“I’m not about to hand you a bullwhip and say, ‘Have at ’er,’ but it’s pretty hard to mess up spanking—just slap my butt. I’ll tell you if it’s too much or if I need to stop.”

“Okay. If you’re sure.”

Charles grabbed one of Harlan’s hands, kissing the knuckles. “I am. I want to feel this”—another kiss—“here.” He guided Harlan’s hand beneath him.

If he’d been as hard now as when they’d started, Harlan would have come on the spot, but the interlude of talking had softened him a little. “Get on all fours,” Harlan commanded, a little shocked by how forceful his voice sounded, how easily the order came.

Grinning, Charles rolled over, offering himself.

“So just…like this?” Shifting so he could reach, Harlan swatted Charles.

“That’s a good start,” Charles encouraged.

Once, twice more and Harlan was beginning to enjoy the way his palm stung, the way his handprints appeared on Charles’ ass—first white, then pink when the displaced blood rushed back in. He tried to make a pattern, a sunflower with his palms in the centre, fingertips radiating outward like petals. Hitting harder, he could make the mark go from pink to red. He was breathing fast, hard, rocking his hips forward with each strike. He could hear Charles beneath him, making low, pleasured sounds.

Realizing he’d gotten distracted, caught up in his own sensations, Harlan forced himself to stop and check on his partner. “Is this all right?”

Charles moaned, the sound moving straight to Harlan’s groin. “Definitely! Don’t stop, please!”

Harlan could see the appeal of being spanked and had fantasized about it since he was old enough to have fantasies, but he’d never really understood why the person on the other end would enjoy it. Now… He’d never felt anything like it.

Harlan’s cock was full and throbbing, twitching between his legs every time he struck, his pelvis canted forward to rut against Charles’ thigh whenever he paused between spanks.

Charles laughed. “I hate to break it to you, but—” He was cut off by another spank.

“Mmm?” It took Harlan a moment to realize Charles had spoken, a few more for the words to make sense. He pinched and kneaded the red marks on Charles’ ass while waiting for a reply. The other man’s cheeks were warm, so warm…

“I think you’re a top.”

Harlan froze, reluctantly pulling his hands away from Charles’ skin.

“Oh. Oh, God, I’m so sorry!”

“Hey.” Charles sat up, his eyes fluttering shut when the movement tugged his freshly spanked skin. Sliding down the bed, he sat behind Harlan and wrapped his arms around him. “I’m not mad. I mean, it’s not something I would’ve predicted, either, but it’s okay. I switch.”

Harlan could feel Charles’ erection pressing against him, reinforcing his words.

“In fact…I don’t get to bottom all that often. The way I look, people expect me to be a big, toppy bear. Which is fun—it really is—but it’s nice to be on the receiving end from time to time, too.”

Harlan couldn’t seem to make himself move or speak, sitting still and passive in Charles’ arms. He wasn’t a top. His reaction alone proved that. He wanted—needed—to be told what to do…not like a top at all.

“We can stop now if you want, and try again later…or not.”

Another still, breathless moment, then Harlan was finally able to nod. Tears were prickling the corners of his eyes, and he bowed his head. Whatever spark had filled him while spanking Charles was gone, leaving regular, pathetic, useless Harlan in its place. “Do I have to say the safeword?”

Running a hand through Harlan’s hair, Charles gave him a little hug. “No. We’re both deciding to stop.”

“I’m sorry,” Harlan said, his voice a humiliated whisper.

“It’s okay. It’s a lot for your first time. You got…really into it.”

Releasing Harlan, Charles lay back on the bed, one arm outstretched, patting the mattress beside himself invitingly.

Too embarrassed to even meet Charles’ eyes, but too desperate for comfort to leave, he cuddled against Charles’ side, facing away from him. He was relieved when Charles silently turned off the lamp. He was even relieved when, after Charles thought he’d fallen asleep, he jerked himself off. Good. At least one of them had gotten off after that train wreck.

* * * *

“You might feel… Well, it hits different people differently. You might feel tired or upset for no reason, or irritable—or you might be totally fine. It’s called ‘top drop,’ and it’s important to take care of yourself and monitor how you’re feeling over the next few days. I don’t want you to just disappear, okay? I want to hear from you, make sure you’re doing all right.”

Harlan shrugged, nodding when Charles raised an eyebrow. “If I’m the top, shouldn’t I be taking care of you?”

“We take care of each other. That’s how this works. And I have more experience than you.” Charles gave Harlan’s hand a quick squeeze, then went back to stirring scrambled eggs.

Harlan nodded again, unconvincingly, poking at his coffee with a spoon.

“Need more cream or sugar?”

Harlan shook his head. He tried to force a smile, to stop feeling like such a failure.

“I’d do this again, if you wanted.” Bringing Harlan a plate of breakfast—the eggs and some buttered toast—Charles laughed. “I know you’re feeling bad, but believe me, I’ve had worse.”

Harlan found that hard to believe, but he did feel a little better with food in his stomach. He’d felt adrift since his colossal fuck-up the night before, and now he finally felt like he was anchored in his body again.

Something occurred to Harlan, something he should have thought of much, much sooner. He felt suddenly cold. “Are you…? You said you don’t get to bottom very often. Are you doing this with anyone else? Right now?” he asked, his head bowed so he wouldn’t have to look at Charles.

Charles reached over and lifted his chin, making steady eye contact with Harlan before shaking his head. “No. I’m not. Are you asking because you want this to be exclusive? Just the two of us, no other partners for either of us?” he clarified, likely after seeing Harlan’s obviously confused expression.

“I… Maybe? Yes. Yeah. I think… Yeah. If that’s okay with you.”

Luckily Charles smiled, even though Harlan had sounded like a complete idiot. “That works for me.”

He was glad Charles had warned him about top drop. Over the next few days, he felt lethargic and grouchy.

Charles called, and Harlan ignored it. A few hours later, Charles texted a few links—one about top drop, another about BDSM in general. Harlan read them both, sending Charles a thumbs-up emoji to let him know he’d seen them. A lot of it was material Charles had already told him before they’d played, but it made him feel a little less like a freak, knowing there were other people out there who desired the same things he did. He texted Charles back to let him know he was okay. Charles replied with a smiley face and left him alone. Harlan got the impression that Charles was waiting for him to make the next move. If only he could figure out what he wanted his next move to be.


If you loved this story, vote for it in the Readers’ Choice awards by 20 June or buy the book.

T. Strange didn’t want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn’t stopped reading—or writing—since. She’s been published since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM. T.’s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue. Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She’s very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine.

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