Day three of
class started with Kate diverging from the established routine
in three ways. (1) She tied up all four students, but not
to their posts. (2) She used a different technique for
each student. (3) She tied Jane last, instead of first.
Maura was bound in a box-tie with the shoulder-harness
option. That is, instead of using an
under-the-armpits-and-behind-the neck pass to cinch and anchor
the horizontal, upper-arm pinning bands, Kate passed the rope
across Maura's right shoulder from back to front, took a turn
under the lower horizontal ropes and between Maura's breasts,
then up and back across her left shoulder to the nexus of rope
at the rear. She pulled out the slack and the lower ropes
rose slightly, pinching Maura's boobs between the two horizontal
bands. It was in no way extreme, of course, and didn't
impair Maura's circulation. The fleshy globes retained
their proper pinkish-tan hue.
Jane noted that Maura had gained a somewhat more uniform tan
during their time at the Colony. They all had, with the
exception of Susie, who had arrived with an allover tan.
Ainsley was next, with her fair skin nearly the same slightly
pink shade of white from head to toe. Then came Maura,
with her tan lines nearly faded to nothing. She was no
beach bunny, but did have more color. Jane's tan-lines
were still the most noticeable. She'd enjoyed sunbathing
on the roof of whatever building she'd lived in since she was a
teenager, and being in the city, had always worn a string
bikini, Her breasts and pubic triangle had further to go
to catchup with the rest of her body.
Anyway, Maura's breasts were squeezed, but not by much—and Jane
realized Maura was smiling at her as she stared—meaning
observed with clinical interest—her BFF's rope-compressed
boobs. Jane covered her reaction to being caught leering
quite well, if you didn't count the blush coloring her cheeks.
Susie was next, and Kate employed the reverse-prayer hands
tie. She tied a "limb-loop" around Susie's left wrist,
wound a figure-eight harness around her body, crossing the ropes
just above Susie's breasts, then tied a second limb-loop around
her right wrist. Finally, with her hands pressed
palm-to-palm behind her back and against her spine, Kate took
tight turns around Susie's hands and thumbs, wrapped the
remaining rope around the harness ropes, then tied the final
knot between her shoulder blades and well away from her already
Next it was Ainsley's turn. Kate used the
carrying-the-rifle technique, binding Ainsley's wrists behind
her back, but with her right arm raised. She tied a
limb-loop around Ainsley's right wrist, then took turns around
her right upper arm. She then stretched the rope down and
tied a limb-loop around Ainsley's left wrist, took turns around
her left upper arm, wrapped the remaining rope around the
wrist-to-wrist rope run, and tied the final knot on the far side
of Ainsley's right hand. It was as if the fair-skinned
blonde was trying to scratch her back by reaching up and down
with her right hand and back and up with her left. Her
right and left index and middle fingers could just touch
each other, and all her fingers were free to flutter and grope,
but she could untie nothing.
That left Jane, and true to her vindictive and bitchy nature (in
Jane's crabby opinion) Kate saved the best for last. She
tied Jane's wrists together in front, raised her hands and
pulled her wrists behind her head, then took two tight turn
around both of Jane's upper arms and behind her head. She
anchored the bondage with a chest harness that crisscrossed
between her breasts, then tied the key knot somewhere in back,
above Jane's wrist bonds. Bitch!
All of the students had watched as the others were rendered
helpless. After all, they were there to learn
(supposedly), but in Jane's opinion, Maura took a special
interest in her case, meaning Jane's case. She
couldn't put her finger on anything specific. Maura was
smiling, but her BFF was always smiling, except when she wasn't,
and there was nothing leering, flirtatious, or salacious
about her expression as she watched the conditioned hemp tighten
around Jane's body and dimple her flesh, it was just...
something. Jane felt a blush color her cheeks, again, and
noticed her nipples were slightly more prominent that
usual. The arms raised and pulled back pose had lifted and
flattened her boobs, slightly, and they were compressed by the
chest harness, a little, but she didn't know why that should
make her nipples point. None of the others' nipples were
at attention—not that Jane's were all that erect.
She confirmed this with casual glances in her fellow students'
directions as she tugged on her bonds, testing Kate's
handiwork. She left Maura for last, and—Dammit!—she
was sure Maura noticed her inspecting her boobs. This did
nothing to alleviate Jane's blush.
Mistress appeared at last, saving Jane from further
embarrassment, and the morning instruction began.
With Kate as her visual aid, Mistress demonstrated the ladder
and diamond-hitch methods of binding torsos and limbs, and how
they could be applied to folded legs or arms, to bind legs or
arms together, and in concert, to make intricate and reliably
inescapable patterns. She also demonstrated various knots,
turns, and hitches, as well as "frictions," methods by which
tension could be maintained in a bondage pattern to "hold your
place" while a different part of the subject's anatomy was dealt
It was a lot of information, but it was obvious that Mistress
was an experienced teacher. Jane was sure she'd absorbed
most if not all of the lesson.
The session ended with an hour of meditation for the students
and their instructors. The students settled into their
customary lotus or cross-legged positions, Kate remained in the
contorted ball of limbs and body that had been Mistress' final
demonstration, and Mistress settled into a full lotus.
Jane found she was getting better at entering something that at
least resembled a trance state, especially when she kept
her eyes closed and refrained from stealing glances at Maura's
naked, bound, and helpless body to make sure her BFF was
okay. Yes, Jane had decided she was getting better at not
worrying about how Maura was handling all this naked bondage
stuff. There was no other explanation.
Anyway, Jane found she could meditate, but it was still
|SKIN IN THE GAME
class began with Kate binding all four students in tight
box-ties with their legs crossed, their shins and thighs lashed
together, and their bound ankles linked to their upper bonds,
pulling each of them into a mild crunch.
Mistress made her entrance and the lecture began. First
off, Mistress recapped what she'd already taught them about
simple meditation. Then, she discussed how safe and
properly applied bondage could be used as a harmless enhancement
to the meditative experience.
Yogis of the more ascetic traditions strove to deny and ignore
the body in order to attain spiritual awakening. They
trained themselves to rise above discomfort and pain, to endure
the unendurable, and to transcend the physical world. In
that context, some argued that "Shibari Meditation" was a form
of cheating. At the very least, if the student is
inescapably bound, the voluntary aspect of denial of the body is
compromised. Mistress and her fellow adherents to the use
of the Art of Tight Binding argued that the ropes channelized
the experience. Yes, they added an element of coercion,
but the true challenge had always been internal, and it remained
so. The ropes freed the mind and spirit to search for the
This led to a discussion of suffering and desire, the
impediments to grace.
Japanese bondage techniques had evolved as means for police
officials to restrain bandits and other criminals for transport
to trial. If a long journey was involved, the law required
suspected miscreants to be transferred from the custody of one
prefecture to another until they reached the appropriate
court. Often, the suspect would be untied at the border
and retied in the signature style of the next group of
officers. Organized bandits studied police methods, and
there was a continuing competition between the criminals and the
law, with the prize for the captured criminals being escape and
freedom. The darkest aspect of Japanese methods was their
use as torture. Criminals might be sentenced to hours or
days of tight bondage in contorted positions.
In any case, and as with all aspects of Japanese culture,
aesthetics were important, and binding techniques retained their
utility while they evolved into a recognized art.
Kinbaku or Shibari could cause suffering, either
deliberately or by misuse, thus the emphasis on safety and the
proper application of the ropes. In any case, once simple
immobility was mastered as an enhancement to meditation, more
extreme and difficult to endure methods of binding could be
explored. Once the mind was trained to ignore
rope-enforced immobility, bindings that others would consider
torture could be ignored as well, just as a trained yogi might
recline on a bed of needle-sharp spikes without discomfort.
Mistress emphasized that the present course was basic, and no
truly extreme methods would be employed. Her intent was to
present her students with a path. Further instruction was
required if they wished to continue their journeys on that path.
And that brought Mistress to the topic of desire.
Just as pain and discomfort were challenges to be overcome, so
was pleasure, especially erotic pleasure.
While delivering her lecture, Mistress had been binding
Kate. She'd used a combination reverse-prayer and box-tie
to restrain her assistant's fingers, hands, and wrists against
her spine and to pin her upper-arms to her sides. Then, in
her first use of bamboo in the course, she bound Kate in a full
split with her ankles lashed to opposite ends of a long pole and
ladder-hitches binding her legs to the pole every few
inches. Kate's legs were now splayed as widely as was
physically possible, and they would stay that way until she was
released by her Mistress.
The students watched in wide-eyed wonder as Mistress strolled to
one of the cabinets and returned with a wand-style
vibrator. It was the size of a large flashlight and was
cordless, powered by internal batteries. The business end
was the size and shape of a doorknob, and a sliding switch
allowed for an escalating intensity of stimulation.
Jane stared as Mistress clicked the wand to its lowest setting,
gently placed the knob against Kate's labia, and pressed.
Kate's reaction was—no reaction.
Mistress was babbling about overcoming human frailty and
striving for spiritual... something-or-other, but Jane's
attention was on Kate, and the vibrator, and Kate's pussy.
And Jane noticed that Maura was also staring. They were
all staring. The sight of Mistress buzzing Kaye's pussy
was... mesmerizing. Instructive? Maybe for Maura,
maybe for Susie, less so for Ainsley, but for Jane, it was...
mesmerizing. And it was curious how watching somebody get
her pussy vibrated could cause sympathetic ripples in ones own
pussy. Jane squirmed as a shiver ran between her legs and
up her spine. Yes... curious.
Jane noticed that Maura's gaze had shifted to herself, to Jane,
and her blush returned. Maura's smile was... knowing...
maybe. Jane heaved a sigh and returned her attention to
Mistress' lecture, but she was still finding it difficult to
The final hour of class was another meditation session with the
four students bound as they had been all afternoon and Kate
continuing to endure (and ignore) the vibrator. Mistress'
assistant was still bound with her legs in a full split and
lashed to the bamboo pole, but now the wand's buzzing knob was
lashed against her labia by a web of hemp cord.
Jane found entering a proper meditative trance to be most
difficult, but she succeeded after something like half an hour.
|SKIN IN THE GAME
dinner special was salmon cakes with chili-mayonnaise sauce,
roasted vegetables, garden salad, and fry-bread biscuits.
The vegan specialty was a heaping portion of Jane-didn't-care.
After dinner, Susie and Ainsley retired to their cabin.
The group had agreed that the Canadian cop and American
crime-tech would try hacking the Colony's IT suite to see what,
if anything, they could find that linked Mistress and Kate to
the Boston robberies. Illegal? In a word, yes, but
they'd agreed that they had to try something, and the
detectives agreed that simply flashing their badges and
confronting their teacher and her assistant was a desperate move
sure to lead nowhere. Susie wasn't a world class hacker,
but she was pretty good. Unless she ran into sophisticated
encryption and/or multiple firewalls, they ought to learn
something. In any case, Susie had brought her laptop and a
folder full of the required software tools was on its hard
drive, so she agreed to try. Ainsley would supervise.
Maura and Jane peeled off at the path to cottage #17 while Susie
and Ainsley continued on. They entered their cottage and
Susie made a beeline for the notebook. She was eager to
get started. So far, her biggest contribution to the
investigation had been her knowledge of and contacts in the
naturalist scene. The only problem was... the homework.
Ainsley could tell something was wrong. Susie kept
shifting her attention between the laptop and her course
notebook. Ainsley smiled. "What?"
Susie leaned back in her chair and heaved a sad sigh. "I
can't concentrate when our homework isn't finished."
"The reading won't take that long," Ainsley chuckled.
Susie shook her head. "Not the reading. It's your
turn to tie me up." She nodded at the laptop screen.
"This could take hours."
Ainsley shrugged. "So, we blow it off—the bondage, I
"No, that isn't right," Susie sighed. "We should just do
it and get it over with. I won't be able to fully
concentrate, otherwise. Go get the rope and—"
"Tie me up," Ainsley suggested. "Then you'll be
free to hack."
"But it's your turn to tie me," Susie objected.
Ainsley smiled. "Let me get this straight. Legally
questionable hacking doesn't bother you in the least, but not
following every teeny-tiny detail of a homework assignment is a
Susie gazed at the grinning Detective Constable. Tying her
up two nights in a row was an attractive (and naughty)
idea. "If asked, I suppose we could say we misread the
Ainsley went to the pile of six neatly bundled coils of rope
resting on the seat of one of the easy chairs and returned with
two. "I haven't read the assignment."
Susie smiled. "I have," she said as she closed her
laptop. She stood, took the coils from Ainsley, and
pointed at the carpet. "Kneel, please."
|SKIN IN THE GAME
with feet apart and her arms folded beneath her breasts,
favoring her BFF with a dubious expression. "Any way we
want? That's the assignment?"
Maura nodded, her lips curled in a rather coy smile. "Any
way I want, Jane. It's my turn to bind you."
Jane rolled her eyes. "Have you considered seeking help
for your problem?"
"What problem?" Maura giggled.
"Your OCD," Jane huffed. "The course is our cover.
We don't have to do the homework at all."
Still smiling, Maura shook her head. "No, in order to maintain
our cover, we have to do all our reading and complete all
our homework assignments with meticulous attention to detail."
Jane rolled her eyes, again. "The things I put up with for
you," she sighed, then sat on the floor. "Do your worst,"
Maura knelt before Jane and gathered her frowning BFF's hands in
front. She already had a coil of rope doubled, looped, and
ready for use. "I was intrigued by the way Kate tied you
this morning. Do you mind?" She'd already started
binding Jane's wrists.
"Knock yourself out," Jane huffed.
Maura lifted Jane's bound hands, pulled them behind her head,
and completed the rest of the behind-head two-hand tie with
surprising skill, considering her novice status as a Shibari
practitioner. The tie's chest harness gently squeezed
Jane's breasts together, just a little, and the horizontal bands
were neat and uniformly tight. Next, Maura took another
coil of rope and tied Jane's folded legs, binding her crossed
ankles and lashing her shins to her thighs. She then took
a third coil and tied a diamond-pattern harness around Jane's
torso. This required some lifting, rolling, and turning of
Jane's already helpless body on her part, but she managed.
"There's no need to get carried away," Jane huffed as the the
ropes tightened, the diamonds opened up, and the strands dimpled
her tan skin.
"A job worth doing is worth doing well," Maura stated.
Rather than end the diamond-harness with a between-the-legs
crotch-rope that would have cleaved both Jane's labia and her
butt-crack, she looped the rope around Jane's upper thighs and
leg bonds and left her study-mate's crotch rope-free.
There were varying lengths of free ends remaining from all three
coils of rope, and Maura used them to link Jane's arm, torso,
and leg bonds into a unified whole. The final knots were
tied well away from Jane's fluttering fingers.
"There," Maura said, easing Jane onto her back. "That
should hold you."
Jane glowered at her grinning BFF. "No, ya think?"
She watched as Maura folded one of the Colony's saffron-orange
scarves into a narrow bandage, then crumpled a second scarf into
a tight wad. "Mau-raaa," she whined. "C'mon!
A gag? Mrrrrfh!"
Smiling sweetly, Maura had stuffed the second scarf into Jane's
mouth and was tying the first as a tight cleave-gag.
Jane's raised arms complicated matters a little, but only a
Jane growled through her gag as the cleaving scarf
"That should do it," Maura giggled, smiling down at her naked,
bound, gagged, and very dour BFF.
Jane, in turn, stared the proverbial daggers at her naked,
smiling study-mate and captor.
Just then, there was a knock at the cottage door.
"Mrrrf?" Jane inquired.
"Come in!" Maura called.
The door opened and a grinning Penny, burdened with her usual
towels, mat, and bottle of massage oil, entered the cottage.
"Perfect timing," Maura chuckled.
Jane decided she had more than enough eye-daggers to perforate two
"Not really," Penny purred as she strolled to the center of the
room, placed the towels and oil to one side, and spread her mat
on the carpet next to Jane. "I was watching through the
"You are a puckish scamp, aren't you?" Maura giggled.
"Uh, I guess so," Penny drawled. "Here, help me get her on
Jane squirmed and complained as Penny and Maura lifted her and
placed her on her back on the mat, but she didn't really try and
impede the process. "Mrrrpfh." It was infuriating
being treated like a sack of potatoes.
"Why don't you cradle her head," Penny suggested.
"All right." Maura sat cross-legged at the head of the
mat. Then, with Penny's assistance, she eased Jane's head
and shoulders onto her lap.
Jane continued expending eye-daggers at a prodigious rate.
She shifted her deadly gaze from her smiling BFF to the tiny,
grinning masseuse. Penny was kneeling at her side and was
busily oiling her hands, rubbing them together like a naked,
pink racoon. It was obvious what was about to
happen. Jane concentrated her hostile stare on
Maura. It was also obvious who was behind this unfolding
"Don't look at me like that, Jane," Maura giggled. "This
will help you relax."
"Yeah," Penny agreed. "Relax." She leaned close and
began massaging Jane's upper arms and armpits, her glistening
hands gliding over the ropes dimpling Jane's biceps, shoulders,
and upper torso as required. "So... how was today's
"Oh, very instructive," Maura responded, "especially the
Dr. Smartypants proceeded to deliver a recap of Mistress'
lecture, with special emphasis on the topic of overcoming desire
and the use of erotic stimulation as a meditative challenge.
All the while, Penny's oily hands were gliding over Jane's
helpless body and she continued squirming and complaining—either
that or she was writhing and moaning. In any case, she'd
used up the last of her daggers and her eyes were now
closed. That way she didn't have to stare at her BFF's
smiling face and looming breasts. Just you wait,
Jane thought. She was gonna get even with Maura if it was
the last thing she did.
The massage continued... and reached the area between Jane's
legs... her lower tummy and upper thighs... and her inner
thighs. And all the while Maura droned on about Mistress'
lecture. She also began naming the various muscles and
muscle groups Penny was massaging. Actually, Dr. Isles and
Penny-the-trained-masseuse were comparing notes. The
"puckish scamp," as Maura had put it, already had a fully
developed practical and academic knowledge of human anatomy.
And as for Jane relaxing? That didn't happen.
|SKIN IN THE GAME
her way past the Colony's firewall pretty quickly and found
Giselle's and Kate's subdirectories. The overwhelming bulk
of the business records and e-mail correspondence were in Kate's
folders, as expected. The gossip about her running the
business end of the course appeared to be true. Other than
that, she found nothing suspicious.
"Now this is interesting," Susie muttered under her
breath. She was taking a closer look at Kate's files for
the dates when they took the course to Boston area spas, the
dates correlating with the Bondage Burglar robberies, and she
noticed something interesting. A wholesale supplier in
Boston was the source of the conditioned hemp rope Giselle used
for her course, and early in each visit to the Boston area, Kate
placed a bulk order for new rope, but at the same time, she sold
a roughly corresponding quantity of used rope to an
unnamed address on Mystic Avenue. Obviously, someone ought
to look into that.
Maybe Giselle and Kate's weren't involved in the burglaries at
all, other than as unknowing suppliers of the rope used to bind
the victims. There was still the "coincidence" of the
victims all visiting spas when Giselle and Kate were in town,
but maybe the link was just that, a coincidence.
"Yesssss," Susie purred, staring at the screen. She liked
the idea of Giselle and Kate being innocent, but knew she had to
keep an open mind. Still, it made sense. Mistress
and her assistant didn't seem like criminals, not to Susie
Susie e-mailed the new information to Detective Sergeant Korsak,
Jane's immediate superior, then gracefully retreated from the
Colony's system and shutdown her laptop. She then turned in her
chair, focused on her cottage-mate and study-buddy, and smiled.
Ainsley was exactly as Susie had left her, her arms folded
behind her back and pinned to her sides in a crossed-wrists
box-tie, her legs together and lashed from ankles to waist in a
running ladder-tie with each horizontal band cinched between her
legs. Also, Susie had used a third coil of rope to link
Ainsley's upper body and ankle bonds and pull her into a loose
but very business-like hogtie. Actually, thanks to the
ladder-tie technique she'd used to bind Ainsley's legs, the
ropes were all uniformly tight; but the helpless Detective
Constable's body was bent in a graceful bow, rather than a
compact hogtie. In a final flourish, Susie had used up the
free ends of the bow-hogtie rope by taking two doubled loops
around Ainsley's narrow waist, then anchoring the arrangement
with a pass through her crotch and back to her wrists. A
pair of strands cleaved Ainsley's labia and butt-crack, of
course, but they weren't all that tight... not if she
didn't struggle, anyway.
Susie grinned. Okay, the crotch rope was totally
tight. It was also completely unnecessary, but she really
liked the way it added tension to the pose, and Ainsley hadn't
objected. Of course, Susie had already stuffed Ainsley's
mouth with one scarf, cleave-gagged her with a second, and
blindfolded her with a third before tying the
crotch-rope, but Ainsley hadn't objected.
At least, that was Susie's story, and she was sticking to
it. Ainsley was balanced on her thighs, stomach, and
mildly squashed breasts, with all of the ropes dimpling her fair
skin and enforcing the bow-like pose uniformly taut. Susie
sighed. She's beautiful, breathtakingly beautiful.
Susie glanced at her travel clock and realized Ainsley's hour of
meditation, as prescribed by the homework assignment, had
already expired. In fact, the bound, gagged, and
blindfolded blonde was approaching an hour and a half of
Susie's smile turned wicked. She lifted and folded her
legs, hugging them to her body as she rested her chin on her
knees, and gazed at Ainsley's helpless form. As if of its
own accord, her right hand slid down her shins to her crotch,
and began slowly, gently sliding its fingers and palm up and
down her labia. Susie decided to wait until the full
hour and a half had elapsed before releasing her
study-mate. It fit her sense of proportion, and she was
sure Ainsley wouldn't mind.
|SKIN IN THE GAME
furious! Or not. She wasn't really sure what
she was feeling.
She knew she'd let Susie do this to her. Granted,
once she was box-tied, technically she'd been helpless, but all
she would have had to do was tell the nerdy American crime-tech
to "Knock it off, eh?" and she would have. Even after
Susie had gagged her and added the totally unnecessary
blindfold, Ainsley could have made her displeasure abundantly
clear. And as for the crotch-rope...
Obviously, Susie was enjoying herself, and while the ropes were
tight and inescapable and the crotch-rope was... intimate...
none of the bondage Susie had perpetrated on Ainsley's
unsuspecting self was all that excessive. She
could take it, and as Nietzsche had put it, "What does not kill
Also, the course was interesting, both academically and
practically. That is, she found the feeling of being
simultaneously helpless and safe to be new and
unexpectedly intense. It would take time to sort out
exactly what she found so fascinating about tying up naked women
and being tied up by naked women. It was...
Ainsley fought the urge to squirm and fidget and roll onto her
side. She also fought the urge to doze off. She knew
she was supposed to be meditating, and for a while there, she
had; but now she wanted to think—think about the case, and the
course, and what she had learned so far, both about their
supposed suspects and from Mistress' curriculum—and most
especially she wanted to think about tomorrow night, when it
would be her turn to do the binding and Susie's turn to be
|SKIN IN THE GAME