I nearly dropped my cup into the punch bowl. Under my loose black velvet tunic, my clamped nipples throbbed with fresh heat. Blood rushed to my cheeks as well as to my steel-pinched clit. Embarrassment and lust mingled until I didn't really know what I was feeling. It was simultaneously awful and delicious.
I didn't dare whirl around to discover who had whispered the taunt in my ear. The tiny silver bells Greg had affixed to the thumbscrews above and below might ring more loudly. Swallowing my moan and gathering the shreds of my dignity, I turned at a stately pace to find Greg's old friend James standing behind me, sporting a naughty grin.
"Did you say something, James?" I managed to hold his gaze with some degree of poise, though I knew my face must be flushed. Wearing my party heels, I was only a few inches shorter than my guest. Behind his wire-framed spectacles, his brown eyes gleamed with mischief. For the hundredth time I wondered how much he knew about the nature of Greg's and my relationship.
"Just that it's a lovely party, Isabella," he replied. Was he laughing at her? "Simultaneously elegant and festive. You're a very talented hostess."
"We're glad you could make it." I was astounded at how cool and in control I sounded. The ache from my tortured nipples and clit was nothing compared to the fear that my perversity might be revealed to the outside world.
"Well, when I found out about the conference here in Manhattan, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Especially since it was close to the holidays. I've been wanting to visit you two for quite a while. Seems like ages since the wedding."
"Just a year and half." James had been Greg's best man. Apparently they'd known each other since college, and kept in touch through grad school. Greg had implied more than once that James had kinky interests that paralleled his own, but I thought it was unlikely he would have shared the thrilling and sordid details of our sex life, even with his closest friend.
My husband was a very private person. We didn't go to clubs or play parties. He enjoyed threatening me with exposure, and we'd occasionally engaged in some semi-public scenes (the sudden recollection of one spanking in Central Park set my pussy flowing), but most of the time he preferred to test and torment me at home. To be honest, I was the one with the exhibitionist fantasies. Greg understood my warped mind only too well. Hence the bells.
"California's quite a ways from New York. And of course, I've been really busy with work." James looked exactly like the Silicon Valley super-nerd he was: unruly black hair too long to be fashionable, geek glasses, a sensitive mouth, penetrating eyes, a complexion without the slightest trace of a California tan. He was well built, though, neither flabby nor too skinny. The company he'd founded must have had a gym. "I've thought about you quite a bit, though."
About me? About us? I didn't have the nerve to ask.
Come back to read the rest of "Silver Bells" after December 1st!