Saturday, December 6, 2008

Captive of Love by Wendy Stone

His head rolled against his shoulders, a loud moan coming from his lips as consciousness beckoned him with bright lights and noises whose meaning he didn’t want to know. Opening his eyes, Ryder squinted, lifting his head to take his bearings.

His body hurt all over, a fact that he ignored for the moment as he took stock of his situation. And it wasn’t good. He was naked. The chilly breeze blowing across his chest and loins discerned that fact quicker than his eyes did. His arms were pulled above his head, held securely so that his body was almost hanging by his wrists. His feet barely touched the ground, leaving him stretched in one long line.

Glancing around through the thick tangled locks of dark hair that fell in his face, he saw the rest of the men from the hunting party he’d headed. They were in similar or worse predicaments. Across from him, his older brother was strung up in the same manner, his chest crisscrossed with wide welts that bespoke of a beating from a belt.

“Trace?” he whispered huskily, his throat raw from thirst and disuse.

There was no movement, but Ryder took comfort in the rise and fall of his brother’s chest.

“He’s awake,” said a decidedly feminine voice.

“Katrina will be pleased. She’s been anxious over this one, though I told her his wounds were superficial. She’s worried about him recovering from the drug.”

Ryder turned, his eyes seeking the owners of the voices. Standing near the door, he found them and stared with shock. Two women, dressed as warriors with chain mail specially fitted to their trim and supple forms, stood staring back at him. Their eyes of gold seemed to almost gleam in the light. Helmets rested upon dark heads and their hands rested upon swords, sheathed for the moment.

“He finds us amazing, sister,” one said, doffing her helmet and exposing intricately braided hair that hugged her head.

“As do most men, sister,” the other woman answered, laughing and stroking a hand down the fitted mail of her armor.

“Too true. I should let Katrina know her new slave has awakened and is ready to begin his training. She’ll wish to be present for the initiation.” She started to push from the wall she leaned against when her sister stopped her.

“Katrina plans on doing all this one’s training. She’s taken a special interest. I think she means to keep him to herself.”

Ryder had heard enough. His head hurt and for the life of him, he couldn’t think of how they had gotten here. The last thing he remembered was leaving the hall, passing through the massive gates of his father’s kingdom with Hunter, his favored hawk, on his arm.

“Release me!” he commanded in his most royal tone. His mother, Raven was a healer of her people, a Chee of the West, and royalty in that aspect. His father was Damien, Lord of Daring Castle and the surrounding areas. He was used to giving orders and being obeyed without question. He would take control now.

“Ah,” the woman sat her helm down and strode forward to stand before Ryder, a smile upon her face. “The mighty one speaks.”

Ryder became outraged at the laughter in her voice. No one but family was allowed to laugh at a son of the Lord. “Let me loose and you’ll see just how mighty I am. Release me now and I might allow you to live when my father takes this place apart stone by stone.”

“Your father has no idea where you are or how to find you, Ryder of Daring Castle.” The other woman stepped forward, her voice less amused and more formal. “Nor will he know how to find you until Princess Katrina is ready for him to.”

“How do you know who I am? Where in the hell am I?” He twisted against the heavy leather thongs that bound his wrists to the post above his head.

“I have known who you were for months, Ryder,” another feminine voice said. He turned his head to watch the new woman walk towards him. She was dressed differently than the other two, in a gown of pale gold. Her body was curved and lush with breasts that strained against the fabric holding them bound. Her hair was loose, fiery red with deep highlights that drew his eyes like an insect to flame.

“Who are you?” he asked, more curious than anything else.

“She is your mistress, man,” the last word spit as if it were the worst of curses. “Show some respect!”

Ryder jerked against his bindings as a blow slashed across his chest, leaving a bright red welt on his tanned skin. He glared at the woman holding the wide leather belt in her hands, not noting how the woman in the golden gown glared also, reacting as if she felt his pain.

“Hold!” she commanded. “He is mine to punish. You are not to touch him unless I order it so, Dahlia. Is that understood?”

The woman nodded, bowing before her. “Yes, Princess,” she said.

“Good. Now release his bonds and take him to my chamber. I wish to get to know this pet of mine a bit better.” Her green eyes, large and cat shaped, gazed at him, taking in every bit of his muscled form. From his mussed dark hair, which showed tiny highlights of red as the sun hit it, to the tips of his elegant feet. He was magnificent.

Katrina reached up, tracing a thin white scar that bisected his abdomen. It wasn’t an old wound but it had healed nicely, the scar adding a touch of ruggedness to his masculine beauty. His eyes were amazing against his tawny tanned skin, a blue the color of the sea where it meets pale sand. A hint of green turned them turquoise, a color not found amongst her people. They flashed in anger now as she ran her hands across his body with a seeming familiarity he scarcely felt.

“You shall get used to my hands, pet. Before we are through, you shall even come to beg for my touch.” She said it with a false bravado that had him narrowing his gaze at her. As if to prove her words, she let her palm lie flat against his hard lower stomach, stroking the line of hair that ran down from his navel to where it widen at his groin, brushing over the soft flesh of his cock.

It stirred against his will, twitching as if coming awake. Ryder jerked, trying to dislodge her hand from his body.

“I am no woman’s pet,” he hissed. That this woman could make him feel desire while tied naked to a post in the most humiliating of ways added anger and a surge of hatred to his tone. .

“You doubt me now, Ryder of Daring Castle. But once you are trained, you shall become Ryder, favored pet of Princess Katrina, a high rank that many men would give one of these for.” She reached out and cupped his balls, squeezing gently even as he tried once more to jerk away.