Mina's Heart:Safe Word: Oasis 5:

By: Michele Zurlo


For HB, my rock.

And for Jolo—we miss you rolling around.

Chapter One

Present day

The door slid shut behind her, its hiss warning her of the precariousness of the situation. Mina took two steps into the large room. It was dark. Strange shadows populated the landscape, but the path to the center was clear, as was the single pot light casting a small circle on the floor.

“Stand in the spotlight.”

His voice played over her nerves, simultaneously soothing and alarming. It took her back to simpler times, when she hadn’t minded compromising her goals in order to be loved by a man.

Without speaking, she moved to the center of the room. Her legs felt leaden, as if she were trying to run in a dream, but she forced them to obey. Everything was on the line tonight.

Using the edges of the darkness as a guide, she centered herself in the narrow band of light. It was just wide enough to fit her petite form. Time ticked by as she stood there. With the light cascading directly down her body, the shadows became even darker, less distinct. He was somewhere in the room, and not necessarily where he’d been when he’d spoken last.

She felt his hand on her waist and the pull of his body behind her, and she struggled not to give in to the desire to lean back, to throw her arms around his neck and ask if they could turn back time.

He walked around her, dragging his fingertips over her lower back until the feeling dropped away. She wanted to turn her head, to meet his sea-green eyes so that he could issue silent reassurance. But he’d warned her against doing anything he didn’t specifically command, and besides, she wasn’t sure he had any comfort to give her. She’d asked for this.

“Remove your shoes and stockings.”

Mina crouched to unbuckle the straps of her high heels, mentally berating herself for not wearing slip-on shoes. She’d wanted to impress him, and these heels made her legs look long and sexy. She set the shoes next to her, just out of the spotlight, her stockings folded neatly on top of the shoes.

A scraping sound drew her attention. Thank goodness it was directly in front of her. Everett positioned a conversation chair a few feet away and sank down in it, his lanky frame dwarfing the small piece. He sat back and folded his hands over his stomach, completely at ease in these surroundings that were so alien to her.

“Now the dress.”

Her entire outfit had been designed to impress him. Six years earlier, when she’d known him as her kind and tender boyfriend, she never would have entertained the thought of wearing tight clothes or a short dress. This one was both. It was the little black dress that every woman was reputed to have, only she’d purchased her first one two days ago.

It hugged her form, accenting her slight curves in a way that made them seem more substantial. She hated to take it off just yet, but she couldn’t refuse to follow an order. Even hesitating was grounds for punishment. And she’d voluntarily agreed to those terms. No impact play. Spanking—the duration and severity to be determined by her Master—was to be the primary means of punishment.

She reached behind her, groping for the hidden zipper.

“You’re forgetting something. Slaves with bad manners will be punished.”

She lifted her gaze, searching the darkness, trying to read his expression, but she couldn’t see him well enough. He hadn’t sounded angry. Perhaps he was being tolerant because he knew it was her first time. He’d been so understanding when he’d taken her virginity. “I don’t know what I’ve forgotten.”

“When you’re given an order, you must acknowledge it.”

Then she remembered. Isla had coached her, bullying her half the time and scowling the other half. Mina despaired of getting anything right. Worry had kept her up most of the night before, and now the prophecy was fulfilling itself. “I’m sorry, Ever.”

“Master. You must remember to use my title, little slave. When I tell you to do something, you say, ‘Yes, Master,’ and then you do it.”

She nodded. “Yes, Master. I’m sorry.”

“I accept your apology. Please continue.”

She shrugged out of her dress, catching it as it fell down her body. She folded it carefully and added it to the steadily growing pile next to her.