Up for Air

This erotic story excerpt by Christina Berry from Up for Air (Lost in Austin Book 1) was originally published by Black Rose Writing and is a finalist in the Feminist Sex Category and Winner in the Good Sex Awards Sexiest Consent Category.

Up for Air

“We need to establish a safe word.”

“Okay.”

“It’s important that you have one and you use it if you need to. If at any point this gets to be too much for you, you say that word and we will stop immediately.”

“Oh,” My eyes fall to the pegboard of pain behind him, and a strange little hiccup of fear bubbles up like a shiver.

“Ariana, if this isn’t something you want to do—”

“No,” I stop him. “I want to try it. I’m just a little nervous.”

“Okay,” He nods as he scrutinizes my face. “What would you like for your safe word to be?”

I have absolutely no idea. I try to be clever. “How about…Godot?”

“Godot?” He tries to stifle a laugh, but fails. “No, that’s not a good safe word.”

“Why not?”

“Because it sounds like God and oh. You don’t want a safe word that sounds like a word you might shout out during sex. It could get confusing.”

“Oh. Okay, how about…stegosaurus.”

Alex laughs. “Now I’m imagining you shouting that out during sex.”

I raise an eyebrow.

Alex quells his laughter. “Stegosaurus has a lot of syllables; usually people just go with ‘red’. It’s short and synonymous with stop.”

I shrug.

“Okay, how about this? If at any time you want me to stop, you say either ‘stegosaurus’ or ‘red’, and I will stop immediately.”

I nod.

“You can trust me, Ariana.” He takes my chin in his fingers to force eye contact, “I need to know that I can trust you too. I need you to promise that you will stop me if it gets to be too much. The words ‘stop’ or ‘no’ won’t work. I won’t stop unless you use a safe word, so promise me you’ll use one if you need to.”

I nod again.

“Stop nodding, I need you to say the words.”

“I promise.”

He studies my face, reading the honesty in my expression. When he’s satisfied, he takes a deep breath, straightens up and steps one pace backward away from me.

“Turn around,” he commands.

I’m taken aback by the change in his tone. Gone is the sweet, gentle coaxing voice, replaced by an authoritarian tone that’s both startling and sexy.

I do as I’m told and turn around.

He smooths his hands up my sides and his fingers clasp the zipper of my dress, tugging it down. The dress yawns open.

“Turn to face me,” he commands again.

I do.

He stares, his eyes moving up and down my body. I fidget beneath his gaze. He seems to delight in my nervousness, waiting for what feels like whole minutes before speaking again.

“Take off your dress.”

I do, letting it slide off my shoulders and pool on the floor around my feet. Underneath, I’m wearing a new lingerie set, black satin with red lace. A smile flashes across his lips, but he suppresses it.

“Turn around.”

I quickly oblige and rest my fidgety fingers against my thighs, trying to calm my nerves with deep breaths. For a long time, there is only silence. I imagine him standing perfectly still behind me, staring at my ass in these lacey black and red hip huggers.

Finally, I hear movement and have to stay myself from turning to see what he’s doing. Drawers slide open and shut, items are moved and removed. I hear his slow steps toward me. His fingers brush my neck, and I flinch at his soft touch as he moves my hair to my back.

A cool fabric slides across my shoulder and down my front. It is satin or silk and long. I can’t help but glance down at the black strip of material as he tugs both ends and raises it to my eyes. Oh. Uh. Okay. He gently ties the blindfold behind my head, then turns me to face him and tugs at the fabric, making sure there are no gaps for peeking.

Alex’s fingers trail down my cheeks to my neck, over my front, to finally come to rest on my breasts. He caresses and teases, hardening my nipples through the lacy fabric. I moan, and he’s suddenly against me, his mouth at my ear. He breathes one word, a command, with a long slow hiss. “Hush.”

My breath comes out in a shiver, but I hush. My God, this is fucking hot. Why would I ever want to stop this with my stegosaurus safe word?

Alex’s fingers glide across my stomach and around my ticklish sides. I wiggle, and he presses himself against me again, this time commanding only, “Still.”

I straighten, and he continues. Moving his fingers to my bra, he springs the clasp and pushes the straps off my shoulders to fall down my arms. Next, he hooks his thumbs into the waistband of my underwear and slides them off my hips until they, too, fall to the ground.

Nervous, naked, and blind, I try not to fidget but it’s impossible. Alex glides his fingers back up my ticklish sides, and I can’t help but shiver. When his palms cup the undersides of my breasts, I suck in a sharp breath and almost moan at the pleasure of his delicate touch. His fingers reach my nipples, rolling them gently before he pinches them hard.

“Ouch,” I yelp. He doesn’t stop. Flinching under the blindfold, I squeeze my eyes shut until he releases his grip. I breathe hard and feel the pain subside, replaced by a warm tingle that soothes and comforts me more than I expect it to. Alex’s fingers tenderly massage my breasts until I relax my posture. That’s when he grabs both nipples again, and pulls.

“Fuck!” I hiss and cock my head back. He tugs harder, and I move my hands to stop him.

Alex snaps his grip from me and grabs both of my wrists, shoving my arms behind my back and pressing me flat against his chest. It’s bare. When did he take his shirt off? He whispers in my ear, “If you want to stop me, you know how. No hands.”

I nod slowly.

He releases one of my wrists and turns, guiding me to a new spot in the room. He arranges my hips to stand in a precise place, then circles around me. I feel his bare chest against my back, his mouth at my ear, his breath warm across my cheek, as he commands, “Practice your safe words. Say them for me now.”

I stammer, “Stegosaurus.”

“And?”

“Red.”

“Yell them. Make me hear them.”

I feel silly, but comply, “STEGOSAURUS.”

“And?”

“RED.”

“Don’t forget them.” His words are so calming, even as he slowly lifts my left arm over my head. “Now, stand on your toes.”

I raise my heels off the ground and balance on the balls of my feet. As I do, I feel a leather cuff clasp around my wrist and the tug of his fingers as he fastens the strap high above my head. Okay. Wow.

When he moves away, I remain there, dangling like a cockeyed Christmas ornament. My fingers explore the edges of the thick leather cuff and the heavy gauge chain that pulls taut above. Next, he takes my right wrist and cuffs it over my head too.

I am fully suspended, rendered helpless, completely at his mercy. And this is how I remain for a long time. I’m not sure how long it is—time moves differently when you’re naked, blindfolded, and suspended from the ceiling. It could be minutes or it could be hours that I wait. It feels like it’s been days that he’s not touching me, not moving, not making a sound.

I can’t help but fidget, feeling unnervingly vulnerable and exposed in my new captive state. But I resist the urge to shout a safe word. I don’t want to stop, not before we’ve even started. I want to see this through. I want to know this side of him, and I want to know this side of me.

As if he can hear my thoughts, he touches me, and rewards me with a sweet, soft kiss. Was he expecting me to break? I can feel the relief and joy in his lips as he recognizes in me a willingness to play this game with him. And with that, I am centered, ready, even excited about what is to come.

****

Spanking.

I’ve never thought a spanking could hurt so good. With each whack of his palm, he expresses every ounce of desire he has for me. And between the slaps, he gently runs his fingers over the inflamed flesh. I’m sure there are brilliant red palm prints on each ass cheek, and I warm at the thought of his marks on me.

He develops a rhythm, and before each swipe, I wince with anticipation. Then, always one step ahead, he varies the pattern, and I don’t know when to expect a hard pat or when to expect a gentle pet. My initial winces and yelps turn to moans and purrs as the skin warms, and the sharpness of the slaps is replaced by a tingling thud. Each of my moans is answered by a groan from him. This is the most intensely erotic and intimate act I’ve shared with anyone in—

Smack!

Moan.

Groan.

****

Tickling.

He has something in his hand. It’s cold and metallic, and sounds like a spur ringing in its cradle. He presses it to the flesh of my arm and I flinch. It pricks. With gentle ease, he rolls the spur down my arm and along the sensitive skin of my side. I yelp and try to wiggle, but the restraints are taut and there is nowhere to go. I try to turn away from him, and he stays me with one hand on my neck, while he continues the prickly tickling torture. I gasp and yelp, and finally, I giggle. He presses the metal harder against my skin until it hurts and uses his free hand to smack my ass. My giggling ceases.

****

Teasing.

Between the tickling torture, the spanks and the occasional tug of a nipple, Alex moves his hand down my abdomen, sliding his fingers between my legs to tease me. He massages me in slow circles, always bringing me right to the brink of orgasm before he stops, usually with a hard slap of the ass. I shiver and wiggle and beg, but he won’t let me come.

“Alex, please…”

Alex slips a finger inside me as he purrs in my ear, “Please, what?”

“Fuck me,” I moan and whine and wiggle. “Please.”

“You want me to fuck you while you’re chained to my ceiling?”

I nod slowly, my head lolling like I’m stoned, panting and begging shamelessly. I’m so close to coming, just a moment more—

Alex pulls his fingers away from me and I cry out with the loss. He moves against me, pressing hard into my back so I can feel his erection evident through his jeans, rigid as steel and thrust against my ass. “You want my cock inside you?”

“Yes.”

“No.”

“Alex, please,” I cry. “Please. I want you—”

He spanks me again. Hard. I wince and stop begging.

****

For what seems an eternity, though it could be mere seconds, he leaves me. With the lingering sting of that last spank, he steps away from me. I can’t feel him, can’t hear him, I’m not even sure he’s still in the room. I feel his absence acutely. I turn, as far as my arms will stretch, straining to listen for him. I hold my breath so I can hear his, but there’s only silence. I start to panic. I shiver, suddenly feeling cold, exposed…I whimper, about to cry.

In an instant, Alex slides against me, soothing me with the comfort of his presence. He hugs me tight, one arm wrapped around my waist, one hand cradling my head, his fingers caressing my cheek. His bare chest, pressed up against me, is warm and slick with a sheen of sexy sweat. I sigh with relief.

“I’m here,” he whispers into my ear, his words and the comfort of his nearness warming me all over. “You’ve been a very good girl. You’ve earned a reward.” He slides his hand down my neck, my chest, my abdomen until his fingers are again between my legs. I groan.

Not again. I try to wiggle away, overstimulated and sexually frustrated, not wanting to be denied anymore. He hugs me tighter, holding me in place as his fingers move over me, then inside me.

I pant and groan and wiggle as I feel my orgasm building again. I expect him to stop once more, but this time he only increases his speed as my groans turn to moans.

Alex presses his lips to the shell of my ear. He gives me a soft kiss, then commands, “Come for me, Ariana. Now.”

As if waiting for permission, my body erupts. The orgasm courses through me like hot lava, scorching everything in its path. I scream until my throat goes hoarse. I shake like I’m having a seizure. I see stars where before there was just the black cloth of the blindfold. And when it’s burned through me, I crumble like ash.

Sated and spent, every muscle in my body quits at once. I sink against him, my weight hanging from the wrist cuffs, my hands numb within the restraints.

With one arm wrapped tight around my waist, Alex reaches up and fumbles with the cuff clasps until he releases first one arm, and then the other. He catches my weight as I drop.

I’m floating. No, wait, he’s carrying me. I curl into him, breathing in his scent. I stick out my tongue and lick a bead of sweat off his chest. I moan at the salty, sweet taste of him.

He hisses a curse through his teeth, then asks. “Did you just lick me?”

“Mm hmm,” I mumble.

Alex chuckles as he shifts me in his arms and lays me down on a surface, something soft…his bed. I whimper when I don’t feel him against me anymore, but quickly the surface of the mattress indents near me, and I feel he lie down beside me.

I can see again when he gently tugs the blindfold off. I blink and squint from the light of his bedside lamp, and when I focus my vision I’m treated to a perfect view of Alex’s beautiful, smiling face. His eyes are warm, full of light, affection, adoration.

“That was incredible.” He kisses me, slow and sweet. I relish the contact, so sated I’m nearly unconscious, and yet still wanting more of him, anything I can get. He touches my cheek, running his thumb over my lips, lingering for a moment before speaking again, whispering, “The way you respond to me…it’s fucking incredible.”

Then Alex sits up and starts to rub the reddened skin of my right wrist. It feels amazing. He lifts my hand to his lips and showers gentle kisses over the skin where the cuff had shackled me. Working his firm fingers up my arm, he rubs the strained muscles all the way to my shoulders. God, has anything ever felt this good? When he’s loosened up that side, he moves to the other and repeats his gentle affection.

I’m so overwhelmed with bliss from his touch, I hardly hear when he asks. “How was the experience for you?”

I have trouble forming words. Alex smiles, patiently watching me as I search my mind for what I want to say and the words to express it. It was incredible, to steal his word. I’ve never felt so stripped and vulnerable, yet cared for and safe in my life. I’ve never been more needing of a single person’s touch and nearness, nor felt more brave and independent. In that time, I found myself and I found him. I want to be his, my own self—independent, strong, and brave—yet completely his. Finally, I speak, but all that comes out is, “It was awesome.”

Alex chuckles and a wide smile spreads across his face. After a moment, he slides down the bed to rub my feet. Circling his thumb over my instep, he massages pressure points that affect me elsewhere. I wiggle and grin lazily at him. He does the same for the other foot, then cares for my calf muscles, rubbing them until they loosen. As he does the same to my thighs, he gently parts my legs and slides down to cover every inch of my pelvis with soft kisses. With a sighing moan, I completely surrender to him, letting him have his way with me, any way he wants me.

I feel his tongue teasing me as his fingers press inside, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. Every cell in my body is primed and ready. As tired as I am, my body is fully awake, and I come quickly, bucking my hips, arching my back, twisting my legs around him. He continues, driving me to the brink of madness as orgasm after orgasm surge through me.

When I can’t take any more, I moan his name, and Alex slides up to me, a wide grin on his face as he cradles me in his arms and pulls the covers up around us. I entwine my legs with his and lay my head on his chest, the sound of his heartbeat soothing me to sleep.

My last thought before lights out is sobering and strange, but I don’t have the energy or inclination to question it; not after the exhausting and enlightening bonding experience we’ve just shared. My last thought: I could easily fall in love with this man.

Award-winning author of sex-positive contemporary romance, Christina’s debut novel, Up for Air, won the 2021 Independent Press Award for Romance and was a 2021 Maxy Awards Finalist in Romance. Her second novel (book two of the Lost in Austin series) The Road Home, is coming out in August 2021.

If you loved this story, buy the book.

A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Christina is originally from Oklahoma, and currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and two robot cats.

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