Category Archives: Chapter 3

Chapter Three

His breathing was harsh as he inhaled and exhaled quickly. He looked down at his hands; his knuckles were covered in blood. Beating her until she fell limp made him feel better than he had in a long time. Despite the fact that his manipulations of the heads-of-state were producing the inevitable conclusion he sought, namely to kill Edrich and take the thrown, drawing blood from beautiful women had always given him a secret, unparalleled pleasure.

He took out a rag and wiped the blood off on the white linen and tossed it to the table. He regarded her again. She was quite beautiful. For a moment he considered keeping her to himself. He would have been happy to repeat that afternoon’s performance with her again, and again. His women didn’t usually last long, but that was to be expected considering how much he took from them in their short lives. However, he knew she would be the greatest weapon against Edrich than any others he could create.

Despite his efforts, the girl in front of him had given him no information. She was tough. He knew she worked for that weakling king of Adalynd, obviously a spy. He had been a fool to think that idiot would have taken his word about Edrich moving onto Adalynd territory without any proof. Clearly, the man was wiser than he normally appeared and had sent a spy to confirm or deny his claim. He had overheard enough from the alley to know this spy thought Edrich would be willing to discuss a truce.

From what he had learned about her from his man Philip, the king had taken a keen interest in this young lady. Apparently on the march there, she had saved his life twice, and the king was enamored with her. He heard her voice as she spoke to the older lady; she was enamored with the king as well. Most would have decided attacking and harming her would be treacherous because of the king’s severe protective and possessive nature. But Jenner knew something else about the king. Edrich was extremely confident in his ability to rule and control. Edrich’s ego would not handle the knowledge of being duped because of her charms. He decided to twist that fault until Edrich was so enraged he would kill her himself and then mount arms to obliterate Adalynd.

He decided to leave her bound as she was to the center pole of his tent with her arms behind her back. He retied the gag around her mouth and left to look for Philip again. Of course he found the overweight man at the cook’s tent, chewing on what appeared to be mutton. He signaled for him to follow. Thankfully the tent was on the edge of the encampment and would offer the most privacy. Jenner strode to an old oak some distance away on the edge of a tall grass meadow and leaned against it. “What developments, my lord?” the fat man asked.

“I have decided that we will tell the king of the girl. I need him to think she is a spy intent on manipulating him to surrender to Adalynd, or stealing Edrich’s battle plans. If all else fails, she is committed to killing him. I need you to tell the king she confessed to being sent by the Adalynd king. Her mission was to gain as much military information as she could while trying to seduce the king and manipulate him. I will say that I heard as much from her when she sent her accomplice away.”

“I understand, but what if it isn’t enough?”

“Don’t worry,” he sneered, “I know exactly where to stick the knife to make Edrich hurt the most. Now, I want you to send a scout out to find that woman she sent off.” Jenner had quickly come to regret not stopping the second party the moment he realized what the two were about. “Find out from one of the newly arrived soldiers what she looks like. Bring her back immediately. After you’ve done that, come to the king’s tent. It’s time to reveal our little spy.” He flicked his hand in dismissal. His thin, drawn face slowly eased into a cruel smile. He imagined the amount of pain and then rage Edrich would be in when he told him. Tonight would be fun.

Linus, looking carefully at the clearing, slowly emerged from the tall grass that surrounded the camp. He didn’t know what to make of what he had just heard. Who was the Lord High Marshall talking about? A spy? Though Linus wasn’t sure who the person was, he thought it sounded as though the Lord High Marshall was going to lie to the king, but he wasn’t certain. He mused over the words of the two men as he carried the firewood back to the tent.

“You Highness, may I speak with you a moment?” Jenner appeared at the king’s tent.

“Yes, Jenner, come in.” The king waved him in and offered a chair. He didn’t really like Jenner and had been for some time thinking about how to replace him. A distant cousin of his late father’s, he had held the position as the Lord High Marshall since Edrich could remember. He remembered as a boy being afraid of him in a way he feared no one else. There was something he didn’t trust. He seemed to fit in with the criminal element he was charged with arresting.

His first thoughts when the violence in the borderlands had increased were to fire him. But somehow Jenner had convinced him that it was due to misfits from Adalynd causing trouble. He had suggested the king there was not fit to control the lands and that the borderlands would best be protected by Edrich. That’s what he had been led to believe, and yet, within the last two days, an unknown girl had convinced him otherwise.

He breathed deeply at the thought of Em. She had disappeared before he could find her to ask her to stay. He still didn’t have a plan as what to do with her. He only knew he didn’t want her to leave. But she had disappeared and no one could find her in Clearvalley.

He turned his attentions to the matter at hand. “Tell me, Jenner, what is the state of these lands? My men ran into a small gang of men just yesterday eve. What do you have to report?”

“Sire, my men are spread thin, capturing the outlaws. Though some still remain, the peace increases with our presence,” he offered. Edrich gave a small frown of consideration and nodded for him to continue. “However, Your Majesty, I have something great and pressing to bring to you. I have just this very afternoon captured a spy from Adalynd.”

The king severely frowned at that. “A spy? Who? How?”

Jenner began to lay down his lies. “This spy, Your Majesty, was sent by the king himself to steal your battle information. I heard myself as the spy gave instructions to the accomplice to report to the king your current location, the number of your troops, your weak points.” He said the last more slowly with meaning. “Unfortunately, this spy has been successful in fulfilling the mission. She was also meant to manipulate you and your decisions by whatever means possible. I know I have not travelled with you these past days, but I understand she did just that.” His eyebrows raised in question, perhaps slight accusation.

Edrich had been about to deny any manipulation had taken place. He had only spent the past two days with Em. When Jenner said ‘she’ Edrich’s heart began to slam harder in his chest. He began to shake his head in denial. No, Em is not a spy, he thought.

Jenner knew the king understood who the spy was but was trying to deny the possibility. “Think, Your Majesty, since you have known this girl, has she asked about the camp? Your men or what you are doing?” Edrich knew she had, but had thought it was simple curiosity. She seemed so interested in everything. “Has she given you her opinion on what you should do with Adalynd? Perhaps she has tried to discourage you from war? Did she display any skills or traits that would be remarkable of a normal young lady? As I heard it, Your Majesty, she was traveling alone, deftly used a bow and arrow to save your life, not once, but twice, and allowed herself to become a camp follower when clearly she needed no protection.” Jenner was a master at manipulating the vulnerable emotions he saw in people, pushing, pulling and poking in exactly all the right places. Slowly, all the tiny questions and doubts Edrich ever had about Em, her behavior, talents, and comments all began to come together with meaning. But still his desire for her, and maybe even his heart, were all clashing against the implication. He continued to shake his head, anger at this man for attacking someone he held dear.

Phillip called from just outside the tent. “Your Majesty, my man interrogated the girl. Would you like to hear what he has to report?”

Still unable to believe the beautiful woman that had saved his life and passionately kissed him was a spy, he consented. He needed to hear more proof. “Enter. Tell me,” he said to the kneeling figure before him, “what do you know of this business?”

“Your Majesty, my lord here asked me to question the spy he captured. At first she was reluctant to talk, but then she confessed that she was gleaning military Intel. She took down all the information of your troops and movements and what plans you were making. Apparently she had snuck into some of your officers’ tents and copied maps and plans they had. She also said, my Lord, that she was to manipulate you. Evidently, the skills she excels in are intrigue and seduction. She was to seduce you and either make you act as her king wanted or…” he dramatically stopped, leaving the door open for Jenner.

Edrich waited for the man to finish and then looked to Jenner. “I am sorry to say that before I was able to apprehend her, she also told her accomplice that once you had ordered your troops as she suggested, that she would finish her mission.” Edrich’s painful unease increased, waiting for Jenner to continue. “To kill you, my king.” Jenner answered, the unspoken question.

Some sickening emotion surged through his veins. His stomach clenched as he shook his head. “No,” he said in a voice roughened by emotion, “no, she saved my life. Why would she save me if she planned to…to kill me? It doesn’t make sense.” He was staring at the floor as he tried to make sense of the information.

“Well, of course, Sire, you were no use to her dead at the moment. She needed information, she needed to direct plans, guide your decisions. She couldn’t do that if you were dead,” Jenner’s smooth reply came.

The moments dragged on as conversations and looks and memories of kisses flew through his head. Slowly, the sickening emotion that was probably fear transformed into anger. It built as he thought that everything she said or did had been deception. Rage slammed through him. He was boiling and wanted to see her, to wrap his fingers around her neck. “Bring her to me,” he ground out. He stood and began to pace wildly, raking his fingers through his hair. He would question her personally. Otherwise, he couldn’t accept it. But the rage slammed in his chest over and over.

Jenner gave a small bow and left to fetch the prisoner. During his interrogation of her, he learned she was more stubborn than the king and prideful as well. She was innocent of the duplicitous and malevolent schemes he was accusing her of. He would use that in combination with her pride and stubborn nature against her. He quickly organized his thoughts before entering his tent.

He found that she was awake, though definitely worse-for-wear and in considerable pain. However, her haughty chin told him his manipulations would work. The two idiots would play well into his hand. As he squatted in front of her to study her battered face better, he was becoming rather happy that the dopey old king had sent a spy. Things couldn’t be going better if he had planned them.

“Aren’t you a beautiful sight? Well, let’s just hope it’s enough to satisfy the king. He really wanted you bloodied.” At that, her spine stiffened and she inhaled. He gave a small smile. Perfect reaction. “What do you expect? A man only keeps a woman like you around for one reason? Did you honestly think it was for your conversation?” He could see she was struggling with what he was implying. “Oh, poor dear, you did think that. You thought you were such a good little spy, feeding the king little tid-bits, when all the while he was just think about your tid-bits. You must feel like such a fool knowing he laughed at your use of the bow to his officers.” She shook her. “More than one man has told me how Edrich had to fight his annoyance of your continual insistence that you were fit enough to defend him. Couldn’t fight off two men? Did you really think that you were his only hope of survival?” He harrumphed at that and shook his head. He had begun to slowly pace like a disappointed parent giving a scolding.

“You really were quite blind to what he was about. He told me you actually thought he wasn’t going to make war on Adalynd. He was quite proud of himself for that one. Your king is dumber than we originally thought. Edrich sent me to give that dope of a king information that would play right into our hands. Of course, we hadn’t counted on him sending a spy to check the information, but no matter. We have you, and soon we will have your accomplice, and before all is said and done, Adalynd will fall to Lidio and become less than a memory to those in this land.” His voice dripped with venom and caused Emera to shake. “And all that pretending just so he could fuck you.” He shook his head again and then gave it a noncommittal tilt with a shrug of his shoulders. “Well, now that he knows you’re nothing more than a spy, I’m not sure what he has in mind for you. He had talked about throwing you to some of his more…unsavory soldiers. You know, the ones that can’t even pay to get it. But we’ll see what he decides in the end.”

He reached behind her, untying the restraints. He grabbed her hair gruffly to enjoy her wince. He stood, hauling her up by it. She fought him, trying to wriggle away as he viciously dragged her to the king’s tent.

The king was standing, his back to the tent entrance. Jenner shoved her forward though the flap, causing her to trip and fall, landing at Edrich’s feet. Her fear for her lands and her ruined mission began to give way to hatred at the baleful man staring down at her. Her eyes grew with enraged passion and she stared hatefully up at him.

For Edrich’s part, his heart was torn, not wanting to believe the poisonous words of his men, but not knowing what else to make of the information they presented. The moment he saw the fire raging from her eyes, he knew they spoke the truth. This woman had no feelings of love for him. His heart turned to stone. He would burn her alive. He wanted to face the humiliation of being duped alone, so he gave a dismissing hand to Jenner. The man did not want to leave, but decided to keep an ear open just outside, in case the sparks of mistrust and accusation needing a helping fan.

Emera knew her fate included death. Torture depended upon whether or not she was cooperative and civil. Screw that. “Is this, oh king, how you repay those who have saved your life? Is this treatment indicative of the worth of your life? Truly, this conduct only befits cave men and ruffians, outlaws. But a king?” She huffed indignantly. “You’re not a king. You are a monster! You are a putrid blemish on the face of this earth. There is nothing great or honorable about you. You are worthless.” She was breathing hard in her torrent of rage, watching him as he had begun to pace and then stopped, anger-stricken. Here it comes, she thought. Two steps closer, he would reach down, take her by the neck (the neck she had allowed him to stroke) and snap it like a twig.

“You have no right to speak to me, let alone in such a manner. Because you saved my life is the only reason I haven’t sent for an executioner yet.”

“Why put it off?” The two continued to stare bitterly at each other. “You have no right to treat me like this!” she screamed at last.

He took the two steps then. Reaching down grabbing her by the neck, he pulled her level with him. Her hands were clawing at his, struggling to be free. “No right!” he thundered. “I have every right! I am the king! You, spy, have no rights here. Or do you deny it!” he threw her down at that. She struggled to breathe. She righted herself and looked up at him. He was still staring at her, expecting an answer. “Are you from Adalynd?”

She stood up calmly. She straightened her shoulders and tilted her chin high. She looked him in the eyes. “Yes.”

He turned and raked his hand through his hair again. How he wished she would deny it, explain it away and ease his soul. Without turning around, he continued. “Sent from the king?”

“Yes.”

He stood, silent, calming, thinking. “What information did you send him?” When no reply came, he turned around and gave her an angry, incredulous look. She only softly shook her head. She looked defeated finally, and he wondered what that meant. He strode to her. “What information did you send?”

Emera refused to tell him she was the princess. Firstly, the bastard didn’t deserve to know anything more about her. She had given him so much and he only ended up crushing her in spite of herself. Secondly, if she were to believe Jenner, though she was remiss to do, he had set her father up, making him treacherous and not to be trusted. If she told him she was the princess, and he actually believed her (which was yet another reason she chose to not even start that line of argument), he might use her against her father, either through ransom or threaten with further torture. Her father was too soft to hold out against the threat of his daughter and would gladly sacrifice anything, even Adalynd. No. He thought she was just a spy and a spy she would remain.

“I told the king you said you weren’t interested in Adalynd, that you were only concerned with the peace in the borderlands.”

He grunted at that. “And that’s it?”

“Yes.”

“And why don’t I believe you.”

“Most evil and dubious men find it difficult to trust others,” she sneered.

“Oh, yes, especially when they are duped into trusting their enemies’ spies.”

“You say spy as if there is only one kind. As if the simple fact I am from another country seeking information makes me evil.”

“Doesn’t it? And it’s not just any country. We were…no scratch that, we are on the verge of war. How can you possibly not be a threat?”

She wanted to tell him her reasoning. She wanted to tell him it was her idea, not her father’s, because she wanted to know what sort of man he was first-hand. However, she didn’t think that saying any of these things would make her present predicament better. In all likely cases, he would use the knowledge against her and her country.

Edrich mistakenly took her silence as a yield to his claim that there was nothing honorable in her intent. Finally, he had all the evidence he needed. He convicted her in his heart and was ready to sentence her. He looked at her. In the glow of the candle light, the blood from her nose and mouth was dark. The large amount of dirt that covered her face belied the smooth, youthful skin underneath. Her clothes were also dirty as well as torn. For a moment he acknowledged the small tinge of regret and pain at seeing her like that, maybe even a little anger at Jenner for abusing her so. But when he saw the higher tilt of her chin, he squelched any compassion his previous relationship with her might have instilled. He reacted violently against being made a fool of. Therefore, all that was left in its place was a burning rage at her betrayal. And perhaps, just a little bit of lust. He was then decided. He would punish her alright, and he would make himself feel better in the process. Or rather, she would make him feel better.

“Jenner,” he ground out. The man reappeared quickly, trying his hardest to not seem overly zealous and happy. He needn’t have bothered with hiding anything because Edrich’s eyes never left Emera. He wanted to watch her reaction to his sentencing. “I have decided to take over the punishment of this prisoner. See to it that the other woman is found and brought to me as well. I need to hear everything in the letter she carries.” He waved another dismissing arm. He continued watching her. Her face, though slightly distressed never revealed any internal thoughts. “Robert!”

His valet entered and cast a wary eye at Emera. He had overheard some of what had transpired before when Jenner began accusing the girl. He also heard her defend herself, if it could be called that. He served his king faithfully, but there was something about the girl that he shared his food with that caused him to believe that all was not as it appeared. He bowed slightly to Edrich. “Robert, saddle my horse and bring a second one as well. Bring plenty of rope. Send for my general to be here immediately. Pack a satchel with a day’s worth of food.” He turned to look at Emera. “Make it for one. Get the general here first, and then see to the other things.” He dismissed him.

Emera stood in heavy silence, trying to control her fearful thoughts. She breathed deep, calming breaths and focused on a candle as it flickered in the dark. Was it not just the night before she had sat across from him at that table and felt that her mission was successful? Clearly she was a fool to think that charming man that made her heart ache and flutter could be trusted. Dear god, she had let him hold her on his lap, kiss her passionately, grope her breasts. Her body began to respond to the memories. She tamped down the passion by rubbing her bloody nose. The pain made her eyes water and made her knees weak. That is what he does to me. He puts me in the most unbelievable pain. I have no feelings for him except revulsion and pain. He is the terror of my life. A brute, a monster!, she hissed trying to convince herself.

Edrich ignored her and her silent torment as he quickly gazed over two maps. Before long, his general appeared. At first, the gray man was taken aback when he saw the disheveled and injured state of Emera. He reached out for her and looked to Edrich with concern and questions.

“Leave her. She is a spy for Arnold, the Adalynd King. I’m taking her back with me to Edlebrock.” He gave the general plans for preparing for a potential attack and to ready the men to move on Adalynd. “Let’s let the king think he has the upper hand. I’m pretty sure Arnold hasn’t changed his ways and any number of troops he brings will be wholly insufficient.” At that, Emera sucked in her breath and stiffened. Not only was he insulting her father, though she would have agreed with him, he was planning for attack. And now her only hope for survival was her maid carrying nothing about the danger.

Her thoughts were interrupted when Robert stepped back in the tent, telling Edrich the horses were ready and the food was packed. “Good. Before you gather my things, take her down to the river. Make sure she gets in and washes all that blood off.” He regarded her for a moment. “Clothes stay on.” Robert turned reluctantly to her. He held out his hand to allow her to lead the way. Edrich quickly cut her off and took the rope that bound her wrists roughly. He handed the end of it to Robert with a pointed look. Clearly, she was not an honored guest, rather a dishonored prisoner and should be treated as such.

As they walked down the river, Emera couldn’t help but feel embarrassed. She knew she had done nothing that should be construed as evil or wrong and yet here she was, being dragged around like a prisoner. Forget like a prisoner, I am a prisoner! She momentarily became dejected and her mind numbly began processing her position and her next move.

“Here we are. The king said to get in, so…” Robert refused to look at her. She assumed he was slightly disgusted. Resigned, she walked to the water’s edge. She knew it would be freezing and was thankful that Edrich had extended her the courtesy of allowing her clothes to stay on. She wouldn’t have wanted to expose herself to Robert and the dress buffered her from the frigid water, momentarily at least. Eventually the water encapsulated her and her heart threatened to stop beating it was so cold.

The pain from the cold competed against that of injuries. She remained under the water, willing herself to disappear from there. The water was dark and still and she wanted to be still with it. The discomfort of the frigid waters became consoling, as if manifesting her pain of her betrayal, telling her she had been wronged. Just as peace descended upon her she was forcefully grabbed and hauled out of the water. She was gasping violently as Robert dragged her to shore and let her collapse. She hadn’t noticed her lack of oxygen, calming in her dying reverie.

“Miss, are you okay?” He gently shook her until she responded.

She looked up at his face. It was heavy with concern. He doesn’t hate me, she realized. Suddenly strength and determination returned to her. He gently stroked her face around her injuries. She was shivering in her gown that felt like ice all around her, weighing her down. Edrich had given no consideration for her modesty. He was torturing her without doing it directly, forcing her to stay frozen.

He took his time as he spoke. “Your face is bruised. It will take some time to heal. Are you okay? You can’t give up, Miss. You can’t. I’m not quite sure what is happening, what he will do to you, but I know you’re not what Jenner accuses you of. You have to be strong.”

Clearly, her actions reeked of a coward giving up. “How do you know that I’m not what they say? I am a spy. I am from Adalynd.” It was an effort to talk between the violent shakings that consumed her.

He smiled in pity at her. Honest and brave despite all appearances and circumstances. “That may be true, but you willingly gave up your life for him. If you ever meant him harm, surely you would have let the men have him. But you didn’t. Plus, I have a very good sense for people, and I watched you when you rode with me in the wagon. Your countenance is open and honest. You were plotting no evil. You aren’t evil,” he said with conviction. He pulled her to her feet and commented on her cold state. “I’m sorry, but I can do nothing for you. I am sure by now you realize you are meant to stay in those freezing garbs.”

As he took her slowly back to the tent, he held his hand out at his side and nudged her. She looked down to see he was trying to slip her some meat. She took it and greedily devoured it. She hadn’t eaten since that morning. Robert was loyal and did not want to disobey his king. However, while Edrich had said to pack food for only one, he didn’t outright forbid him from giving her anything to eat immediately. “Thank you,” came the whisper as they approached his tent.

Edrich emerged. “It’s about bloody time. What took so long?” He slowly appraised Emera. He was satisfied to see her shivering almost uncontrollably. “Cold?” he snarked. He enjoyed watching her stand taller and nearly stop her body from shaking.

“No.” He gave a cruel, lopsided smile.

“Since you took so long, I took the liberty of packing my own things.” He gave another pointed look to Robert. He could tell the man had sympathy for her and was giving him a warning to not cross any lines. Robert bowed in resignation to him. Edrich grabbed Emera by the wrists and threw her upon the second horse. “I assume,” he said as he quickly secured the rope to the saddle, “that you are accustomed to riding straddle.” He took the lead rope of the horse and gracefully mounted his own stallion.

He took one quick glance back at Robert. “Gather your things and meet us at Edlebrock.” With no further ado, Edrich charged off into the night, guiding Emera’s horse along at a neck-breaking pace. Though it was spring, it was still very cold at night and Emera had yet to warm up. She grew even more uncomfortable as her wet thighs rubbed against the leather of the saddle. She had to squeeze her thighs tightly to keep them from moving against the animal. When that didn’t work, she used her thighs to move her skirt around them until they were padding her.

He was taking her to Edlebrock. She had only heard stories of the infamous castle stronghold of Lidio. It was supposedly carved out of a mountain of stone that sat imposingly in a vast meadow. She tried to ease her fear by telling herself she could gain valuable information about this country. That, of course, only led her to be saddened at the turn of events. She was no longer a spy. Her mission had failed. She had failed.

Damage control, she told herself. She would take this entirely shitty, unfair situation and make the best out of it. She would survive, she would learn, and she would make Edrich pay. With that determination under her belt she smiled maliciously. Revenge, she breathed. She would live on revenge.

Late the next day they arrived at the mammoth castle. The stories had not been exaggerated. She was thankful to have the traveling behind her. His treatment of her had grown intolerably crueler as they went on. First, at mid morning, stopping to relieve himself, he ate the food Robert had packed, knowing well she was nearly starving. Hell, he could hear her stomach growl from where he was.

Then later he refused to acknowledge her when she said she needed to relieve herself. Stubborn and brave as she was, she was relentless until he skidded his horse to a stop, unbound her from the horse, and holding the rope, trotted his horse on, causing her to run to keep up. When at last the speed was too fast for her weakened state, not to mention her human legs, she tripped and was dragged along. Though he didn’t drag her far, it was enough to make the front of her burn and tatter her clothes beyond repair. He said she had thirty seconds to relieve herself. At first she struggled to even understand him as her body screamed in excruciating pain. She was slightly flabbergasted that he expected her to do so when he was right there, but her bladder demanded to be appeased and so, crouched on the other side of her horse, as much out of his view as possible, she did so.

And here she was, a night and day gone without sleep, little food to speak of, no water, bleeding cuts from being dragged, and near embarrassment while relieving herself. She was to the breaking point. Despite her state, Edrich was still surprised when he reached up for her and threw her onto the ground from the horse. She stumbled to her feet and lifted rage-filled eyes. Before he could react she struck him across the face with bound hands. She was wild, and it took all the discipline he had garnered over his life not to choke the life from her that moment.

He grabbed her by the arms and dragged her along as he entered his gray-stoned keep. Everyone along their path stopped to bow their heads only to stop paralyzed, gaping at the beautiful, albeit dirty prisoner he yanked with him. The rage emanating off him warned everyone to stay back, else he would take it out on their hides at the whipping posts.

He led her along the many hallways until at last they came to a door. He flung it open and she saw that it was a stairwell up a tower. Despite her weakened mental state, she tried hard to pay attention to her surroundings, especially the path they had just taken and any secondary exits out of there. After dragging her up the stairs, he opened a door at the top. The room was scarcely furnished. Only a large bed, a chair and small table with a fire pit in the center, she noted. There were two opposing windows with no coverings over them. It looked as though it hadn’t been occupied for years, as evidenced by the cobwebs and dust.

What Emera had failed to notice were the manacles hanging from the wall. Before she knew his intentions, he cut her wrists free of the rope only to grab one and chain it. She fought as he reached for the other. She screamed and railed against him. However, considering he was 6’4” and full of muscle, her struggles were no more than a nuisance, dissuading him from nothing. He strode to the door and left without saying a word.

Emera was left to gape after him. She screamed out, calling him every vile name she had ever heard. But he didn’t return. Eventually, she gave up her tirade breathing heavily. She took inventory. Her wrists were chained with enough slack they were able to hang at her sides. Her clothing was still damp, but only slightly. Her hair had come unraveled from its braid and fell in big waves down her back. Her face was still extremely sore and her head thrummed in pain with every heart beat. Her legs were shaky and sore from the ride. No one in Adalynd knew where she was. She had no food or water. She was tired. Given everything, the tears that began to stream down her face were well earned. She sank to the floor and emptied her soul.

After descending the stairs, Edrich stalked to his room and called for a dinner and a bath. As he sat soaking in the hot water, steam rising around his body up into the cool room, he contemplated his next move. At the bottom of his slowly evaporating rage, he found a curious emotion. Disappointment. He sighed and sunk lower into the water, eyes closed, thoughts turning off.

In the darkness of his mind a pair of deep blue eyes flashed. Insolent, strong, challenging. Damn. He still wanted her. There was no way around it. Despite who she was and what she had done, he still wanted her. He sighed again. He was restless in the tub, shifting back and forth. He had to settle his mind. Fine. He could just get out of his bath and go up to her and fuck her until he couldn’t stand her, whether or not she wanted him. Overpowering her wouldn’t even be an issue. Making her cry, a tear for each lie seemed reasonable. He was enjoying the thought of her reparation, evidenced by his hardening length.

That was until he imagined the look of repulsion on her face, the feeling of her struggles, all screaming she didn’t want him. Her desire, he realized, was the last thing she held. She had nothing at the moment but her thoughts, her likes and dislikes. He was decided. He would take the last vestige of free will from her by forcing her to want him, her warden, her conqueror. He would subdue her and dominate her body and soul. He would trap her to him, all the while taking pleasure for himself. And in the end, when she had satisfied the last of his desire for her, he would deny her and send her to his men. Resolved, he stood out of the bath.

Emera didn’t know if it was her shivering in the cold dark or the sound of heavy, rusted hinges swinging open that awoke her. She lifted her head from her fallen place. Candlelight shone as a massive figure approached. She slowly slid up the wall, tucking herself in as tightly as she could. She had never played the coward’s part before, but at this moment, she knew she could do nothing to stop the approaching figure she knew so well.

For the time, Edrich seemed content at ignoring her. Instead, he stooped in front of the fire pit and began to set the room aglow with the small fire’s light. The silence grew as he drew nearer to her with a large bowl of steaming water and small satchel. He sat them down. Standing before her, his eyes raked over her taking in her countenance. She was wary of him, fear rumbling in every breath she took. Had he not once thought she would never stand in fear of anyone?

From the satchel he pulled out a leather bottle and uncorked it. He handed it to her. She cautiously took it, lifting it to her nose. It was water. She greedily drank it until it was pouring down the sides of her mouth, running down her throat. Eventually he snatched it away setting it on the edge of the fire pit.

“Are you hungry?” The question was an obvious one.

“Hungry? How could I possibly be hungry, my lord?” she sneered. “I haven’t eaten in over a day. Surely you don’t think I am one of those strange creatures that needs to eat daily, do you?” She stepped away from the wall, hands on her hips.

Ah, there it was, her sparkling wit turned into disdain. He would have been concerned if it hadn’t surfaced eventually. “Oh, well, in that case, I shan’t have anything sent up when we are finished.”

Her breathing increased at that. “Finished? With what?”

He folded his arms and slanted his eyes angrily at her. “Why, meting out your punishment, of course.” His voice was cold and slashed her. Her eyes darted about him, looking for some sort of torture device, but only saw the bowl and bag. Maybe he kept whips or clubs inside the sack. He would beat her. Would he stop before or after she died?

Rightfully, she was afraid. But she was also angered. How dare he? After his duplicitous scheme to provoke her father into war by sending Jenner, he had the nerve to affront her with his hollow self-righteous indignation. The pompous, vicious, monstrous man! Her lip sneered at him. “You cowardly dog.”

He grew more tense. He quietly bit out, “I would be careful what you say.”

“Why? What worse can you do to me? No doubtless this will end in my death, I have nothing to lose.”

“I can make it worse.”

“There, you see that? The fact that you think anything you could do to me in threat to keep me from speaking the truth is what makes you a coward. You may allow such tactics keep you from doing what is right, but I will not be bullied by you or anyone! Do your worst, I am not afraid.”

“Truth? What truth can a liar tell? Your entire being is a forgery, a fiction created to insinuate yourself in situation where you steal what is not yours for evil purposes.”

“There you are wrong. Nothing I did was for evil. But why would you think otherwise when your whole self is consumed with artifice and nefarious dealings? Evil only knows evil and can only suspect others of the means with which it operates.”

“You use your beautiful mouth to spout confabulated reasoning but to no avail; I see through you. And in the end, you will bleed, you will die, and I will obliterate Adalynd for it.” In blind rage she bolted at him to attack, but her chains snapped her back painfully. Pain shot up through her wrists and shoulders. She was breathing heavy again as she stared up at him. He was close enough she could smell his clean skin, see the sparkles of gold in his brown eyes, but not claw them out. With a clenched jaw, she stepped back. Clearly she wanted to fight, he recognized. Her stance said as much, bound though she was.

As much as he enjoyed the ability to rile her, he knew an even pleasanter way to torture her. His eyes dropped to her heaving chest and bodice, with heat and determination.

Her stomach began a slow burn. “What?” she asked, noticing the focus of his gaze

“You are injured and dirty.”

“You think? Perhaps had I not been beaten by your man and dragged by your horse, you might find me in another state. But as it is, our histories only conclude you find me thus.” She knew not where she stood with him, only that she had never wanted an enemy, only an ally. And alas, she had nothing more than a brute for a warden. At least I learned his true nature before it was too late, she lamented.

“As it is, you wounds need attending to, the dirt to be removed.” He reached for the front of her dress then, but she pulled away quickly, the fire still raging in her eyes.

“Why? Why bother treating my wounds when you only intend to inflict more? Don’t waste my time or yours and just get on with it.”

He ground his teeth at that. “Because I decide what happens. And I say your state is unacceptable.” With that, he quickly drew his dagger and sliced the front of the dress, the laces bursting free. She gasped and threw her hands over her chest. “Relax, your dress is too dirty to keep.” But still she resisted as he continued to strategically cut and tear her garments until she stood naked before him, the raggedy material a pool at her feet, the glow of the fire warming her skin.

This was the last. This was the end. He could not possibly take more from her than her visage, her skin, her complete nudity. In shame she had never felt before, she turned her head and hid her face on her shoulder, trying to hold back tears. Edric stood back in pained restraint. Never before had he thought a woman as beautiful as she was. He found perfection in every part of her structure, from her shoulders, to her firm breasts, the curve of her ribs, the taunt navel, the flaring hips. Her thighs were glorious and the length of her legs he imagined wrapped powerfully around him. He imagined the silky texture of her nipples and the erotic taste that lay hidden past the triangle of dark curls. She was sensuality personified. He breathed fire as he looked at her.

But his cruel vengeance tempered the flame in his soul. He would not be undone by this treacherous seditionist. He would make her suffer greatly. He took a rag, wetted it, and began wiping her face. She resisted at first, but the pain she received from fighting stilled her motions. He was surprisingly gentle, removing the dirt and grime softly. She relaxed somewhat, thankful to at least feel clean. She dared a look at his face and was warmed inexplicably by the look in his eyes as he traced his hand over her jaw, down her neck, across her brow.

His movements were caresses, she realized. They were warming and soothing, and strangely erotic. She closed her eyes and for a moment she imagined his touch was that of her lover’s, caring for her, saving her. No! He is nothing so beloved, she screamed at her body. Her face hardened as she stared incredulously at him.

Anger fought with passion as she resisted the sensation of his touch. He continued his way down her neck, over her shoulders and around her arms. She held her hands rigidly at her sides; they were clenched, perhaps in outrage at his touch or in struggle to deny the feelings he aroused. She had never been so thoroughly touched or explored before, and she was fighting to hold on to her sanity, to not feel the seduction in his actions. She clung to who he was, what he had done to her, and the sure fact he would eventually kill her and her people.

Edrich was fighting his own war against his desires she so easily inflamed. She was biting her lip, her increased breathing causing her heavenly chest to rise and fall more quickly. Her responses to him were so natural, so erotic. They spurred him on. He could see the angry brow and her fists opening and clenching at her sides and knew she was trying her damndest to resist the feelings he invoked. He slowly moved over her breasts. Her nipples tightened immediately, almost as if they were thankful for his touch.

He noted the entire front of her was reddened, even a few scratches from where he had dragged her with his horse. As he drew the warm cloth down the front of her, she tried to contain the hiss the escaped her lips, but was powerless against the sensation. Maybe from the stinging pain, maybe from the pleasure. Despite the warmth from the fire pit, the water evaporating off her skin chilled her slightly, causing goose bumps to form over her creamy skin.

Her wet, puckered breast called to him, begging him to suck it into his mouth. He was growing harder and realized he was torturing himself just as much as her. He swathed the breast again and was satisfied to feel her fall into his hand ever so slightly. He glanced back at her face. Her eyes were closed and her scrunched face softened to reveal her arousal. Back and forth her countenance changed as she continued to fight the invading feelings.

He moved to waist and slowly reached around her hips to swipe over one buttock, and then again, before moving onto the other. His pleasure increased as he noticed her small movements of whichever body part he was touching to follow his touch.

He was kneeling before her and was drawn to gaze at the apex between her thighs. He was close enough to get the faintest whiff of her aroma. In a trance his head nodded forward to graze his lips over it. However, she shifted uneasily under his intense study of her, stopping him. When she felt his hand still on her stomach, she looked down to find his eyes fixed to her mound. She immediately lit up and felt unbearably uncomfortable. As she shifted her weight, he pulled back with a slight shake of his head and returned to stroking her skin with the hot, wet rag.

Emera was indeed on fire. She burned from the deepest part of her core out to her flushed skin. Her breathing was deep but quick. She no longer fought his touch and watched with darkened eyes as his hands slid over her hips, around the sides, curved to her inner thighs, and then down to her knees. He lifted her right foot and cleaned it thoroughly. When he placed it down he moved to the back of her leg, rubbing the calf firmly in a glorious massage. He turned his attention to the other leg and repeated the torturous care.

When at last he was finished, he stepped back from her and took in her aroused state. Everything from her breathing, to her eyes, the flush of her skin, the clenching and shifting of her thighs told him his caresses had achieved the desired effect.

Emera was standing on unstable ground. One foot seemed to stand in the solid reality that this was the man that would soon pull down utter destruction on all she held dear. The other was placed firmly in the heat of the moment leaving her heavy and full of desire. She watched him watch her with a mixture of wariness and lust in her eyes. She wanted to hate herself for longing for him, but she couldn’t quite muster it forth enough to control her thoughts.

Edrich could see the fight in her eyes. He wanted her to fully surrender to him. He slowly walked to the bed and turned so Em could watch him. “Em,” he began to unbutton his shirt slowly, watching her reaction to the revelation of his body, “I want to make one thing very clear. Tonight, I am going to fuck you. And before you begin to worry, not only will you enjoy it and want it, but you will be begging me to bring your release.” The entirety of the picture tore her heart. His now bare torso only increased her incredible desire for him. His face, though handsome and full of lust, was also hardened by the venom he held for her.

She was shaking her head. “I will never give myself willingly to you. I will never beg. If you do this thing, you will have no consent from me.” Her face showed her fear and displeasure.

Edrich began to stalk towards her, the heat of his desire darkening his gray eyes until they were almost black. “Oh, little Em, how foolish you are.” His hands reached out to lightly caress her face before taking her glorious brunette hair and twisting it loosely to bring it over her right shoulder. She pulled gently away from his contact and retreated from the heat of his eyes. Her back was against the stone wall, and she tried to bury her face in her shoulder. She quivered with fear with every exhalation. She was trapped. She knew she couldn’t fight him, or dissuade him, or run. She knew he would successfully bed her. Despite the prospect of the forthcoming rape, she more feared her inability to resist the desperate need for him.

He stepped in close, blocking her. “Em,” he whispered in a voice laden with lust as his head dipped. His lips lightly brushed her ears; she could feel his hot breath as it spilled down her neck followed by his grazing lips. The second pass produced soft, open-mouth kisses. The third brought out his tongue to trace the cords of her straining muscles. Her breathing was growing harsh. When his teeth firmly sank into her neck, she slightly arched into him and bit her lip. It did little good to stop the moan from deep in her throat. He kissed and sucked the tender flesh drawing more sounds from her.

When he lifted his head to gaze down at her, she too looked up at him. She hated him. She had to. But dear lord, he made her ache. She wanted to touch him, glide her nails over the firm flesh of his chest and then dig her nails in. She wanted to run her tongue over the smooth skin and sink her teeth into him. As it was, she had given her word to not desire him, to not beg. She was quickly coming to regret her untenable situation.

He began to skim his fingertips over her face, outlining her eyebrows, the bridge of her nose, her lips, her jaw line. Her eyes fluttered closed, and she drew in a ragged breath. He smiled slightly to himself. His soft caresses continued down her sensitive neck. He ran his fingers over her collar bone, out to the curve of her shoulders and back in. When his fingers hovered just above her left breast, he looked into her face. Her eyes opened and looked at him warily. Down the smooth globe a finger traveled, circled her areola once, twice. As he watched her eyes, he took the small peak in his fingers, pinched and pulled. Her pupils dilated. Her eyes changed to painful resistance. She watched as his head dipped to pull the orb into his mouth and clamp down. She involuntarily arched into him and let out a small cry of pleasure.

His touch caused electricity to shoot from her nipple to her core. The ache that had been slowly building was now thrumming painfully through her pussy. Her lower lips felt swollen and achy. When she clenched her inner muscles to relieve it, she could feel the slick walls sliding against each other. She momentarily panicked when she realized she was excessively wet. She cursed her body for so easily responding to this monster she tried desperately to hate.

She felt him flatten his tongue, turning it into a silky blade lathing her breast and then focus on her nipple before taking it between his teeth to clamp gently. Pulling on it slightly, he brushed his pointed tongue over it again and again. He was rewarded with a desperate moan. Not to neglect the other, he switched sides and began to soothingly knead the breast he just left. She was arching into him more forcefully now. Satisfied she was thoroughly aroused, he stood fully to look down into her face again.

This time, he stepped into her, pressing himself fully against her body. She never would have thought the touch of skin against skin would have been so erotic. Her breasts her touching his abdomen and his pant-clad erection hit just above her mound, digging into the soft flesh of her stomach. He nestled a thigh between hers and took her face into his hands. She tried to draw back, but the wall and his irresistible gaze held her in place.

His lips stopped to just an inch above hers, his eyes piercing her. Her eyes lit up with question coupled with requests. Before she began to struggle against the increasing intimacy, his mouth claimed hers. It wasn’t overwhelming or ravaging, simply comforting and thorough. When his tongue grazed across her lips, they opened magically allowing him to deepen the kiss.

Slowly he began to thrust his tongue in and out of her mouth, sensuously rubbing it against hers until she was responding in kind. His hands slid down her neck, one stopping at her nape to thread his fingers into her hair, the other traveling slowly down, pausing at her breasts, tweaking them to keep them firm and achingly aware of him.

His kiss continued until she moaned and pressed into him. Wanting to draw her out, he relented his actions slightly to see if she would continue and seek him out. When one of her hands slowly drew up his body to clasp his shoulder, pulling herself closer, he moaned. She had access to his mouth and thrust her tongue into it, stroking his tongue as he had hers. She found his taste to be arousing and hungrily sought out more of it, flicking her tongue over his teeth, pulling his bottom lip into her mouth and sucking it.

Despite the plan to make her the aggressor, her kiss ignited a deep hunger in him and provoked the beast within. He took over the kiss again, slanting his mouth over hers, dominating her. His hand left her breast to wrap possessively around her, crushing her into him even more. His lips broke from hers to blaze a heated trail down her face and her neck before returning again.

The sensation of being eaten alive was intoxicating. Emera struggled to form a thought, let alone keep one. She allowed her body to slowly undulate against his heavenly body. Unconsciously, her body sought to relieve itself against him, rubbing her crotch against his thigh. Edrich complied to the unspoken need by hiking her left leg to wrap around his hip. He leaned into and ground himself into her. She cried out at that and quickly sought to escape the heat and suggestive position she was in. Edrich would allow none of it, grabbing her ass with both hands, holding her to him tightly. He continued his assault on her mouth while he stroked himself roughly against her sopping wet cunt.

Her breathing began to grow shallow and she tore her mouth from his, her head shaking back and forth as she felt a wave bring her entire being up and then…he stepped back from her, breathing raggedly, looking at her with black eyes. Her head was swimming and she fought to focus on his awesome figure. Though his body no longer touched hers, he leaned forward on his hands placed on the wall at either side of her head. Having no idea what was raging through her, but knowing only he had the power to finish it, she looked at him questioningly. Her breathing stopped when she saw the cruel smile turn up the corners of his mouth.

It took Edrich a moment to speak, composing his strength. “Tell me, Em, tell me what you want.”

Of course the innocent girl was clueless. She shook her head. “I-I don’t know. I feel dizzy and boiling.”

He reached out a hand to stroke her brow and trail the finger down her jaw. “And my touch felt good, when I kissed you, or shaped your breast in my hand, or rubbed your cunt with my cock.” His voice was smooth and nonthreatening. Though she blushed at hearing not only the words he spoke but also the reminder of the physical intimacies they just shared, she could only agree.

“Yes, it felt good. Though I think it was your touch that makes me ache now.” She sought to accuse him, but somehow her words sounded like praise.

“Yes,” his lips were just grazing her face, not really kisses, more like caresses. “As you say, my touch made you ache, and it is my touch that can bring about the pleasure to cease it.” She was leaning into him again. “But before I do, I have to hear your voice ask me. Ask me to fuck you, to make you cum, and I will happily comply.”

He was right. He was maneuvering her into a position where her only option was to beg him. The bastard used her body and its special responses against her honor. She stiffened when she saw his plan. Her breathing increased from the developing anger. He will not control me, she fumed.

When Edrich saw she understood his game he stepped away and picked up the satchel, pulling out two long ribbons of silk. He walked to the bed and tied each to either post at the head of the bed. He then threw back the bed linens so that only the bottom sheet remained.

He unlocked her shackles and led her to the bed. Though she knew there were no alternatives, she couldn’t stop the desperate fear that arose; she began to struggle and whimper. “That will get you nowhere,” he gruffed, hauling her to him, stilling her movements. “Just relax, and before you know it, your body will be alight with pleasure. And you will beg me, make no mistake.” He threw her down on the bed, only to reach out and capture her as she tried to scurry away. He deftly tied a wrist and then swiftly moved to the other side of the bed to do the same.

He continued his taunt as he finished undressing. “Em, I will never understand your reluctance. It’s not as if you don’t find overwhelming pleasure in my arms. You are obviously very passionate. What is it that makes you resist this?” he asked the last as he sat on the bed, gliding his fingers up the inside of her leg coming to the silken curls dampened by her lust. His eyes shut momentarily as he fought the irresistible urge to plunge his fingers into her heat.

In terror at being so intimately stroked, so close to the sum of her virtue, Emera twisted her hips away. Before she could defend her position, Edrich had pulled her to lay back again, her leg near him now forcibly held in place by his hand with indomitable strength. “I can feel your passion for me,” the fingers of his other hand slowly running over her engorged lips, a finger trailing at the slick opening. “Stop trying to deny it.”

She closed her eyes and turned her head away as two fingers slowly delved in between her outer lips, spreading them wide. His touch was gentle but firm, like an erotic massage. His touch explored every fold, pulling and pushing. At last his fingers slid to the top of her slit to flick across her sensitive nub. Her hips bucked at that. But she quickly fought to regain control of her responses. Edrich pushed back the flesh laying over it back with his middle finger while he used his thumbnail to scrape it until she burned. Her face was reddening from the fire building through her. He flattened her clit with his thumb, and then rolled it around over and over.

The delicious smell of her arousal wafted through his nose promising a glorious taste, but yet he held off. Slowly he slid his middle finger into her opening gently. She was so incredibly tight. The feel of her snug flesh made him question the claim that she was experienced in sexual intrigue. She hissed as his finger went further. It felt as though her liquid heat would burn it off. Slowly he withdrew it, letting it slide along the top, hitting the rough ridge, drawing a powerful, ragged breath from her. He repeated, slowly in, deliciously out until he felt her hips begin to move with his. When he felt her passage ease around him, he slid in a second finger, stretching her more.

She was moaning erotically, causing his strained cock to jump against his thigh. He could feel her heat rise and was just about to stop his ministration when he heard her whisper. “Yes, please.” Her eyes were still closed, and despite the words from her mouth, he knew she still fought to overcome the pleasure he made her take.

“Em, open your eyes,” he commanded. The breath caught in his chest when the deepest blue hit him with such open lust and desire. “Em, tell me, tell me to make you cum. I want to hear your voice. Tell me,” he soothed. “Please, Em, let me make you cum.”

She hesitated only a second. “Yes, Edrich, please, please, please…” she trailed off, her hips working with his fingers. He watched in open lust as her hips undulated, rhythmically fucking his fingers. With the two fingers in her, scraping along her g-spot and stretching her, his thumb rubbed simultaneously over her clit. Just before her walls began to clench around him, he withdrew. With wild breathing, she opened her eyes at him in question.

“Tell me Em, beg me.” His face was dark, though not altogether malicious or angry.

“Please, Edrich, make me cum.” Because of her beautiful obedience, she didn’t have to wait long. Edrich was between her legs, his tongue a flat blade running over her opening. Then he dove in as deeply as possible, gathering her juices with his tongue, drinking her in.

She had the most erotic flavor he had ever known. He wanted all of it. In desperation to release more, he planted his mouth around her clit, sucking it in between his teeth, flicking his tongue over it roughly. His two fingers returned to their previous location, tapping at her g-spot. Within moments Emera’s stomach began to quake, her pussy lifted up, smashing into his face. Her thighs tightened and she screamed his name. He suckled the bit of flesh, dragging the orgasm roughly from her body. He then returned to her slickened tunnel to lap up his reward.

He continued to stroke and kiss her cunt lovingly as she descended from the precipice he had flung her to. When at last he felt her body cease shaking and her breathing slow, he left that favorite spot to crawl predatorily up her body. His head dipped occasionally to lick or nip her skin. He watched the entire time, wanting nothing more than to see those darkened blue eyes flame with desire for him. He settled himself so his mouth had easy access to her flushed tits. He slowly began to devour them, sucking them into his mouth, taking in as much flesh as possible, and then drawing back until he suckled just the nipple. Over and over his mouth worked to rekindle the embers deep within her.

Emera finally returned to a semi-normal state. Her head no longer flew past the stars, the built-up, demanding ache in her loins had subsided, and her thoughts slowly settled in her conscious mind, allowing her to use words. She never knew such bliss existed. The reality of what her body just experienced was beyond her comprehension and she suddenly wanted it again. She knew that she was losing this game Edrich had set up; she couldn’t win. A curious smile formed at the corners of her mouth. Why did losing feel so wonderful? She would willingly lose again, given the chance.

She slowly began to focus on Edrich, his mouth, and his body. He was at it again, building a fire in her. Now attuned to him, she began to arch into him, a moan slipping from her lips. When he felt her participation, her increased arousal, he slid up until he was over her entirely. Her spread thighs gripped him encouragingly and her hooded eyes told him she was conquered.

“And how are you, my sweet little Em?” He was stroking her brow, tracing the exquisite lines of her face.

“Alive, my Lord.”

He smiled at that. “More alive than you have ever been?”

Her heart fluttered at his sweet ease. “Perhaps.”

“Only perhaps? I must work on that. It is very fitting then, is it not, that we are not yet finished. I intend for you to be very alive when I am through with you.” Before she could further question his meaning, he dipped down to claim her mouth in a kiss meant to light her up again. His hands roamed over her, arousing her. She was so well attuned to his touch and the pleasure he could bring that her body immediately flushed and prepared itself. She was moaning into his mouth as he sucked her tongue and nipped her lips. Her hips, in seeking to find relief, began to rub against him.

She was faintly aware the new heaviness that lied on her thigh, occasionally touching her mound was what would join them, but she was too intent on seeking that bliss he blew into her to care. Edrich used the sensual grinding of her hips against him to position himself so her lips coated him with her own lubrication. Emera adjusted well to the feel of his thick shaft slide up and down her slit. She quickly learned to dip her pelvis so he grazed over her clit, heightening her arousal even more. She tugged at her restraints, desperate to feel her arms around him.

When he knew she was ready, Edrich pulled back and looked into her desire-laden eyes, his damp forehead against hers. “Tell me, Em. I need to hear you say the words.”

She almost cried at that. “I can’t, Edrich. I won’t. Isn’t it enough for you to know the truth by the way my body responds. Please, don’t make me say it.”

He growled at her resistance and leaned down to angrily kiss her, to dominate her. “Say it,” he ground out. She overtly shut her mouth, biting her lips closed. She shook her head. He growled even more ferociously and reached up to release her right hand. He took it and brought it to grasp his hot, thick member. He led her to stroke him once and then twice. He knew she could feel her slickness on him. “Say it, demand it, and then guide me in.”

Her breathing was almost out of control. She was in pain with need and knew nothing could cure it except what she held in her hand. The monstrous hardness felt glorious and she knew it would be divine inside her. “Okay. Edrich, please, I don’t want to breathe if you don’t fuck me right now. So please, stop teasing me and fuck me.” He plunged his tongue into her mouth, promising her what was about to come. He watched her eyes and she stared back into his as she took the head of his cock and slowly slid it up until it touched her engorged clit. Then, she guided it back to her entrance. Her eyes burned with desire but flickered slightly with uncertainty. She placed the fat head just inside her lips, slowly stretching the space his fingers had previously stroked. She lifted her legs to wrap around him and pull him into her. “Please,” she whispered.

He was unleashed. With one thrust, he tore into with all the violence his soul felt. She threw her head back as she cried out. Edrich stilled, knowing she had been a virgin. He had felt the ripping as he entered and her tight walls clamored as they struggled to adjust to the uncommon thickness. In awe, he stared at her beautiful face, marred by a scowl of pain. She attempted to control her breathing, slowing it by taking deep breaths. He had never been more compelled by anything before. “Shh,” he whispered, drawing tender kiss down her temple. “Give it a moment and the pain will go.” He kissed her mouth gently at first, seeking to soothe her. Without much prompting, she began to respond more passionately to his lips and tongue. As before, his kiss was a powerful aphrodisiac; it had Emera moaning and leaning up into him. When he felt her hips move tentatively at first, he slowly withdrew and then plunged in again.

The pain was less and the pleasure was more. Emera was quickly adjusting to the rhythm he created. He propped himself up on his forearms to look down at her as his hips stroked in. Emera loved the movement of his hips. He seemed to curl them around and down as he entered her, and then dragged his cock out at a higher angle, hitting that sensitive nub. She had remnants of embarrassment as he watched her while he entered her, but it evaporated as the delicious tension in her cunt grew. She closed her eyes and let her head fall back; she gasped in delight when his searing mouth kissed and licked her exposed neck.

Her free arm found his shoulder and then wound around to his back. She faintly acknowledged how powerful and sensual his muscled contours felt as they glided under her hand. “Em,” he began to slowly chant. “Em, I want to hear you say it. I need to hear you say it.”

His voice, raw from his sexual need, stabbed at her heart and her pussy. She responded to it with a series of lusty cries. His voice had threatened to send her over the edge. The only thought she managed to have during the entire consummation was the realization if his voice did that to her, hers would probably have the same effect on him. “Please,” she whispered. “Please, Edrich, fuck me. Make me cum.” She knew she was right when his thrusts grew in power, drawing out even further and sinking in with an almost vicious force. “Please! Please, I need you. Please, I’m almost…” but she couldn’t finish when he thrust in brutally, causing her to scream in a mixture of fevered agony and sparkling bliss. She was faintly aware that in two or three more thrust Edrich came, the pressure of his seed spurting into her causing her muscles to continue their torturous contractions around his shaft.

He had called her name. She remembered that too. His voice had been full of his satisfaction and his desperate need for her. She tightened her free arm around his neck, clinging to him while she drowned in the river of their desire.

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