Start at the Beginning
Bannon found her, still in the temple's library, later in the afternoon. With little else to do, she remained there in hiding from her keepers, poring over old books. She knew when Bannon arrived without ever taking her eyes from the pages. The instant he entered the room, he sent an odd frisson through her skin—the sense of chasing away the echoing feeling of seclusion.
She didn't look up right away, but snuck a glance in his direction as he approached. Her guards stood behind him, but at his direction they remained just outside the entryway.
"Reading?" he asked.
Sadira's eyes flickered up to him, then back down to the book of tales on the table in front of her. She didn't smile.
"Well," he muttered. "Of course...you would be reading. In a library, I mean."
With some interest, she closed her book and watched him as he took a seat across from her. Silence stretched between them. Bannon's eyes flicked down, taking in the sight of the winding, lunging serpent fashioned into a crest on the leather cover under her fingers.
"The god Akolet," she explained, idly tapping the embossed scales. "To whom this temple is consecrated. Many believed Set himself carried the soul of the god within him."
She pondered the cover, then shrugged. "Now you've taken his head and claimed his temple...maybe they'll call you the God-king, having eaten up his power."
"Is it what you believe?" he asked. Sadira gave a little snort.
"I saw Set at all hours, in all seasons. I had the pleasure of cleaning up after him when he took sick, so no one else would discover their precious ruler caught the sweats and the fits and had to race for the chamber pot like any commoner." She idly pushed the tome aside. "I never saw any god in him at all."
"You loathe him so deeply. Yet he somehow kept a hold on you."
She held up her wrists, reminding him of the shackles his own men chained on her. "I told you ropes were not the worst of it."
"What am I going to do with you?" Bannon asked in a weary sigh.
Sadira clasped her hands before her on the table and gazed at them. "I am the enemy's soldier and his loyal pet. I know what he would do, were he you."
"Never believe I will do the things he's done!" the barbarian snarled. Sadira cocked an eyebrow, still keeping her eyes on her hands.
"Oh, don't give me such a sardonic look," Bannon muttered. "You said yourself I'm not like him."
"No," she agreed. "But you are a warlord. And until you decide otherwise, I am your prisoner."
When she brought her eyes up again, he gazed at her with a mixture of anger and puzzlement on his face.
"Are you always so conflicted when you win a war?" she asked.
He made an effort to compose himself. After taking a breath, he reached out to touch her cheek. "I wish I hadn't... done it to you. Hadn't...claimed you."
Sadira frowned and sat up straighter.
"Done it to me?" she scoffed. "Barbarian, if you had not claimed me as you did, we both know Set's people would still be fighting you, and you would lose more of your people than you rescued. I told you, they believed him a dark god, and as long as you claim all he once claimed with the same predatory entitlement, they see you as rightful inheritor in the eyes of Akolet. The desert people fear you now, and their fear is their loyalty. At your command, the prisoners of decades are being released."
She fixed him with an oblique stare.
"If you had not acted like their master—and mine—you would not have this victory. More likely another of his followers would take what you did not, and the war would continue. And I would've been bound and fucked either way."
She watched him flinch, then gave him an easy gesture. "At least I wanted to fuck you, by the time you got your cock in me."
"How can you be so blithe about such a thing?"
She shrugged again. "You did not rape me, Bannon," she told him again. "I told you my conditions to yield. You satisfied them."
A sigh escaped her, and she ran a hand over the serpent's brass head. "You made it very clear I could deny you if I cared to. I wanted to see exactly how hungry you were, underneath all your tender manners."
He glowered down at the table. Sadira leaned across it to take his hand in hers.
"You are hungry," she said in a conspiring whisper. "Are you not? I do not doubt you are an honorable man, and I have seen a kindness in your heart. Bears are primal creatures, though...and there is a reason your people have named you for one."
His gaze flicked up to her and amber eyes flashed with heat.
"I felt it in you," she said. "The way you touched me...held me beneath you...the iron heat of your cock inside me..."
"Goddess, the mouth on you," he muttered, glancing askance.
"Yes," she purred. "My mouth. You melted when I asked if I could suck your cock. You trembled. You even checked to see I swallowed the seed you gave me. Not so tender then, were you, barbarian? You were needful, and ravenous, and it stiffened your beautiful tawny shaft to have a soft, willing mouth to receive you."
Straightening once more, she smiled. "I like the way my new Master fucks me."
"Why do you still call me Master?" he demanded. "I don't have any intention of keeping you enslaved."
She pondered him, bringing up a finger to tap her lips. "Barbarian, may I show you something?"
She stood and crossed to the bookshelves. It didn't take long to locate the book she wanted: a leather-bound tome of mottled black and scandalous ruby red. The spine had been adorned with a silver charm which might not have been recognizable to the average eye, but to Sadira it had become a familiar secret. An ancient glyph, a pictograph of the old desert language, which—she'd learned from this very book—meant "bound". The lines of the symbol suggested delicately arching limbs, a tangle of two figures. She'd always imagined it to be an embrace: one figure holding the other captive, in a sultry, primeval passion.
There were no markings on the cover but when she laid it open in front of Bannon, he gazed at it as if he could guess what he would see in it. Sadira opened it to the first page, which simply read—in a more modern language—The Mastery of Pets and Consorts.
"I discovered this years ago," she explained. "I'd never realized Set's training derived from a practice studied in such a way. Creatures like me—pets—are not what you think."
She turned to the first section—The Practice of Sensual Mastery—and showed him the elegant plate which accompanied the title. A man, perhaps one of the ancient desert nobility, stood over a naked girl, who lay at his feet gazing up at him. Rather than fear or awe, however, her expression glowed with languid, almost feline satisfaction. Sadira privately imagined it to be the expression of a woman recently well-fucked.
The man held a chain in one hand, connected to the collar about the woman's throat. Though he wore a short sarong around his waist, the artist had given shade and highlight to give suggestion of a massive, rigid erection straining against the cloth.
"There," she said softly into Bannon's ear. With delicate care, she moved her finger from one figure to the other. "You, barbarian, are the man. I would happily be the woman."
Bannon still said nothing, but she watched his eyes roam over the image with interest.
"This," he finally murmured, "You...want this?"
She recognized the husky tone in his voice, the same one he'd had when she'd taken his cock in her mouth. "It is who I am," she told him as together they turned pages.
The book was mostly made up of illustrations, with instruction accompanying. The second set of images depicted a lady Mistress taking a whip to her pet, a male. Opposite, two women shared a third whose arms were bound behind her.
"And you?" he asked. "Does it mean you, also, would take me as your pet?"
He tapped a picture of a black-haired Mistress straddling her blindfolded slave. The woman threw her head back in ecstasy, arching her spine, breasts jutting. she peered through heavily-kohled eyes half-lidded in lust, and the beads of a golden headdress bounced around her shoulders with the force of her fucking.
Like Sadira, the woman's body bore tattoos and paint, and piercings through her nose, nipples, eyebrows. Perhaps she would have them decorating her pussy, as well, if the illustration gave a different view of it. Besides her dark features where Sadira's were fair, though, the woman did appear very similar to her.
Sadira gazed at it, and shook her head.
"No. I am no Master. I have no desire for it. I delight in feeding your hungers, my barbarian. My pleasure comes from satisfying you."
"It's true!" Sadira insisted. Then she ducked in close to whisper in his ear. "And when I say it comes...I mean I will come. And come...and come..."
Bannon sucked in a breath and took her by the wrist. Forgetting the book for a moment, he drew her nearer so he could take her chin in his hand. Almost obliged to, Sadira slid down onto his lap, never breaking the gaze.
"You are hard," she whispered. "I can feel it."
"Say it again," he rumbled.
"What, that I will come?" She pulled closer, spreading her legs to straddle him so he could feel the heat of her yearning for him. "Something you ought to understand ahead of time, Master..." Lightly, she ground against him, and her lips brushed the cup of his ear. "I am a wanton slut, at heart. For a brute like you, a man who can conquer me so utterly... fuck me with such savage demand...oh, I will come hard for you. The touch of your beautiful cock...the taste of it...you could fuck me an entire night and make me come so hard I lose my mind in the desire for more of you."
"Shameless girl," he marveled in a harsh whisper. Then, "Show me."
Sadira grinned. Without another word, she looped her shackled wrists around his neck and pressed her hot sex—naked, under her sarong—against the rigid shape of his cock straining under his breeches. Even such simple contact electrified her and made her nipples tingle. Falling into a leisurely, gyrating motion, she let out a moan. She wanted him to feel her slick, sweet arousal through the leather.
"Tell me what to do," she whispered. "Your barbarian body makes me desperate for it. You smell like sex to me, and—ah!—oh, I could come for you for days..."
His hands crept up her thighs to cup her ass, and fingers dug deep into soft flesh. Nails bit into skin; he forced her harder against the heft of his erection.
"Yes, my Master," she breathed. "I like that."
"Why?" he puzzled. "Why do you like pain?"
Because it is my poison, she almost said. Because the sacred serpent has envenomed me, to the very core.
"I know not," was what she told him, though, riding, rocking, pressing her naked breasts with their winking gold rings and fine gold chain against his own broad, bare chest. "I always have. Pain is beauty."
She gasped, arching close, and panted, "It brings such delightful pleasure...such aching, needful release. It heightens everything."
"Are you going to?" His voice came hushed and full of heat. Through his trews, his cock gave an eager throb.
"If you desire..."
"Do it," he commanded. "Come, Sadira. Show me how much you really want this."
"Yes, Master!" She rode against him harder. "Oh...oh! Yes!"
Her thighs tightened around him as she reached the tipping point, and, shuddering, she clung to him, coming, gasping as her body seized. She pressed herself to him, trembling, twitching, and making soft, sweet sounds of pleasure.
"See?" she asked him, breathless. "I am such an easy slut to please. I long to satisfy you, barbarian."
He searched her eyes. His grip on her soft flesh eased; warm palms caressed tender flesh, gently soothing away the sting his grasping fingers left behind.
"This...practice," he murmured. "I want to understand."
Sadira—still panting—gazed at him. Unlooping her arms from him, she brought up one hand to touch his face.
"You have given me freedom. Do you see that, barbarian?"
"Yes," he replied. "But—"
"No," she interrupted him. "No, Bannon...no but. You have made me free. How I choose to use my freedom is up to me, isn't it?"
"And if I choose to will it to you? If I want to be with you, to be yours? To give you all of me, at least as long as these circumstances hold us together. Is it unworthy?"
"I will not have you assume I am damaged," she said evenly. "Or that my desires are evidence of damage, something to be doctored and restrained. Whether Set may have harmed me in some way, it doesn't matter to me, not when I submit myself to you. When you claimed me, you treated me to a passion which undid every link in the chain Set forged to leash me. I cannot—will not—find fault in it."
"I made you bleed," he retorted. "I left marks on you, bruises—"
"Which thrill me," she replied. "Each time I feel the ghost of pain which comes because of a mark you made on my body in the heat of your passion, I become more eager for when I will be captive to you once more."
"But how can you desire to be subjected to such violence, after what Set did to you? You told me yourself you hated the man and would have put the sword through him with your own hands if you could. Am I to victimize you until you feel the same of me?"
"Violence did not make me hate Set," she said. "I would be lying if I told you there had not been physical pleasure in my servitude to him. There was. A lot. Perhaps because in the depths of my hatred, there existed some lovely addictive ecstasy in indulging his…"
"…vices. Like a man who drinks himself to the brink of death. Set filled my veins with the promise of gluttonous, dangerous, carnal hedonism. The very knowledge I shouldn't feel pleasure, brought me to the verge of climax. So no...the violent lust is not what made me hate him."
"Then what?" Bannon asked. "What turned his loyal pet against him?"
She mulled over it, dropping her hands to her lap.
"Set didn't want me tamed," she said. "He didn't seek to master me through the promise of fulfillment, an exchange of my power for the reward of pleasure. Set..." A sigh escaped her. "Set liked to hurt me. He derived his pleasure from terrorizing me. From making me fear him."
She met Bannon's gaze again, holding it with earnest. "I submit to you because I want you. We both know I've been trained as a soldier as much as a pet. To submit my body is pleasure because I am a creature of strength, only trading it for the enticement of yours. Laying down my will is a relief in light of the satisfaction you give me. With Set, pleasure—his pleasure—came derived out of my fear. But I would have a man whose desire for me drives him to the very limits of passion, and one whose stamina for primal indulgence matches my appetite for the same. If you do want me, I want to know how insatiable it makes you, so you would be like a bear fighting to mate, to demand a creature his to possess, his to command. If you can give me such a lustful passion, I will wear your marks with pride. Can you understand my hunger for such violence then, barbarian?"
She thought perhaps he did; a warm flush colored his throat and cheeks, and if she wasn't mistaken his erection, having briefly subsided, grew rigid and adamant again.
"I want a lover to bind me and hold me down," she said in an insistent little growl. "For I fear I will shatter to pieces if someone does not. I want you to crave me and need me and possess me, jealously, and best me with your strength so there is no question I am yours, and yours alone. I want you to ravish my body with the fury and ardor you did on the night we met, when I wouldn't simply give myself to you but made you win what you needed. I want you to command me, speaking no words and taking what belongs to you, what you make yours through sheer strength of will. I want you to own me."
Sliding from his lap, she sunk to her knees and rested her hands plaintively on his knees, leaning close. Close enough to brush his rigid cock with the tips of her fingers, trace the shape of it, once more very evident under his leggings.
"In fact," she murmured, sultry. "Now I have grown so wet trying to explain myself, I find I want all of those things...right…now."
She stood, letting him see the languid movement, vividly aware of the broad swaths of amber sunshine bathing the room. The links binding her shackles rang softly against each other; the bright arches of the window casements and the wide-open doors tickled her with a sense of exposure, and she knew Bannon's guards still waited outside. Those men would have heard all she'd said, and if any of them looked in at just that moment they would see her slip the sarong from her hips, letting it cascade from her body and puddle shimmering at her feet. The pleasant afternoon breeze buffeted her bare flesh, just cool enough to raise goosebumps on her arms and her flush, stiffened nipples. In the slant of the light the gold ring through each pink bud winked and gleamed for him.
Bannon's gaze roamed over her, appreciative of her strong, lissome body scrolled with tattoos, scarred by ligature marks of past bondage. He stood, and brought his hand up to run it through her hair. Instead of combing all the way through it with his callused fingers, though, he tightened his grip, leading her into a turn to show him the back of her neck.
She felt his thumb press down on her collar. Not painful, but with a gentle purpose. She knew what he must have found: Set's mark. The delicate hieroglyph stamped into the collar, declaring her forever his slave.
But she was not his slave now. Not with him dead. The mark was nothing but a mark, with no bearing or meaning left in it. Still, though, she heard the rumble of a growl in Bannon's throat as he ran his thumb over it.
He twisted his fingers more tightly in her hair and jerked her closer to him. Burying his face in blonde tresses, running his other hand slowly down her side, he inhaled the scent of her with a soft mutter.
"Sadira," he growled against her skin.
"How long has it been, barbarian?" she sighed. "How long since you had a woman?"
"Too long," he murmured. "Since my wife died."
The weight of his erection pressed eagerly against her naked bottom and his hand slid down to cup the roundness of her bare pink cheek.
"You have a loyal heart," she said. "I would belong to you, Bannon… I would be utterly yours, more than a prize carried away from battle. At least as long as we are together here, in this place, let us make each other happy. There is only one thing I would ask in return."
"What is that?" he rumbled.
She turned in his grasp, meeting his eyes with soft pleading. "Set traded me to others," she said, very quietly. "He shared me among his male allies like a flask of drink. I… if I am to be yours, I beg you not to do the same."
It seemed a tremendous thing to ask of a man she intended to give over total control of her. "I… only desire you, barbarian."
Bannon actually laughed, though it was a good-natured sound, warm and endearing.
"You will never have to worry about that, Sadira." He kissed her, twining his arms around her waist and pressing her whole body to his. When he spoke again, though, his voice came out in a hungry snarl. "I don't share my women."
With one smooth, powerful motion he lifted her up and against him, forcing her to wrap her legs around his waist as his hand slid down to her sex, sliding his fingertips down the length of her slick folds.
"Oh," he murmured. "You weren't lying about making yourself wet, were you?"
"It's not something I would lie about," she said.
"Now what was it you said you wanted?" He hoisted her up onto the table alongside the books. "Hold you down, was it?"
Grabbing the chains of her manacles, he lifted her hands above her head and pushed her onto her back. Then he pinned her there, one hand firmly around her throat. With his other hand he unclasped the heavy iron belt around his waist, prying open the front of his breeches to free his ready cock.
"Ravish you, as I did on that first night?" he mused. "I'd enjoy reliving the pleasure… but I think it requires a little motivation from you, prisoner."
"What's that?" she whispered. Already the sensation of his fingers around her throat—not quite choking, but forceful, certainly capable of hurting if he only exerted more pressure—thrilled her.
Bannon leaned down, looming over her, his urgent, straining erection pressed close against the softness of her pussy. Savage with yearning, he whispered in her ear, harsh and rough. "Make me earn it."
Sadira grinned. She couldn't think of anything he could have demanded that would have excited her more.
She pushed up, against the hand on her throat, just enough to kiss him.
"Yes, my master," she whispered.
Then, drawing in a heavy, ragged breath, she let out a wild cry and arched savagely against him, thrusting him back, pressing her thighs protectively together as she twisted under his grip. Bannon fought back, forcing himself down on top of her.
"It's a pity I don't have any rope to tie you down, you little masochist," he hissed in her ear. "You seemed to quite like it last time we did this dance. The way I could twist it tight against your skin…"
His hand on her neck tightened, making her swallow in reflex, a painful, breathless gulp bringing tears to her eyes.
"All those rope burns it left…"
The rough knuckles of his free hand ran down the side of one lovely breast, down her ribs and to her tightly resisting thighs. He shoved his hand, like a spade, between her legs, grabbing hungrily for her wet mound.
"I suppose those shackles will hold you well enough. Spread those legs, woman."
"Spread them yourself," she spat. The chain between her cuffs rang as she seized his wrist, prying at the hand that held her down, thrashing back and forth to keep him from his prize. "Are you a barbarian or aren't you?"
To this he gave a short roar of fury. He took a grip on her thigh and shoved it aside. His fingers dug into her skin like a potter's into clay and she screamed, half in pain and half in joy. That would bruise, she could feel it already in the sharp, brutal twinge deep under her skin. Still she fought to deny him but he forced her knees apart, crushing her under his weight, giving her no leverage.
The press of his body on hers was exhilarating: his broad strength on top, holding her down powerless under his need. Everywhere their skin touched she grew hot with fever, electrified, flush with satisfaction. Her heart raced, her breaths frantic and sweet in their desperate rush. She dug her nails into the hand around her throat and in response, Bannon sunk his teeth into her neck just below her ear.
She screamed again, a shriek of lovely pain and deeper satisfaction.
"Ah, fuck," she panted. "Aaah, fuck!"
Bannon hoisted her leg over his shoulder and landed a hard, stinging slap on her ass.
"Ah!" she cried with a jump.
"My slave has a dirty mouth," he mused. "Let me in, Sadira. Let me have your hungry pussy. It aches for my cock, I can see it does."
His hand slid to her slick entrance. She was so wet she thought she might come the instant he touched her. He slid two big fingers into her and she sucked in a tight breath, trying to shift away. One hand released its grip on his arm to slap uselessly at his chest—the chain on the manacles caught her up short.
When he withdrew his fingers, he replaced them with his cock. She threw her head back and cried out as he drove himself into her, hard and deliciously demanding. Dropping her attempt to wrest free the hand on her neck, she raised both hands to his chest and her nails dug furrows in dark skin, drawing scarlet blood.
"Oh, yes," he grunted, pounding himself hard against her. "Yes, that's a good girl."
She couldn't resist any longer. Instead of digging she grabbed at him. She couldn't wrap her arms around his neck this time, not with the manacles impeding her, but she seized his hard-muscled shoulder instead. She struggled to arch her back, pressing the hard and excited tips of her nipples against the heat of his body. Her nails dug into his arm. She grew lightheaded and gloriously intoxicated with the smell of him, strong and delicious and darkly compelling, like fire and liquor and the height of burning autumn, a virile and sexual smell, the scent of wild pheromones, like a drug on his skin.
She moaned, long and lusty and loud. Every thrust of his cock filled her whole body with tight, sweet bliss, swelling up from her loins to her core in warm, wet pleasure gilded by just the faintest, most beautiful hint of pain. He plunged himself in, over and over in hungry, lustful abandon, and she knew she would come for him very, very soon.
"This cunt," he grunted as he thrust, "belongs to me, slave. Say it."
"Yes," she replied happily, breathlessly. His hand around her throat made words precious, and her head spun. "It is yours… my cunt is yours…"
"If I tell you I want to fuck your cunt, you will give it to me."
"Yes—ah! … yes, Master…"
"And… your ass," he grunted, punctuating the demand with a harder, deeper thrust. "And your mouth. Any part of you that can be fucked belongs to me. Say it."
"Any part of me—ah!—that can be—ah!, fucked… Oh, Bannon, I think I'm about to—"
"No!" he snarled, and he tightened his grip on her ass, digging in his fingers until the sharp, demanding pain made her squeak in delighted hurt. "Say it, Sadira!"
"Any part of me that can be fucked is yours!" she cried out desperately.
"You are mine," he grunted. Finally releasing his grip on her throat, he instead slid his hand under her chin to make her look him in the eyes. "All of you."
"I am yours!" she agreed. Drawing in a huge, heady, clean breath, she moaned, "Oh, Bannon…I want to be yours!"
"If I tell you I want to fuck you, what will you do?"
"I will make myself—ah, ready for you, master!"
"If you wish to come, you will find me first," he demanded. "So that I can decide whether to make you myself… or to watch you pleasure your own body for my entertainment."
"Oh, oh," she groaned—the teasing edge of her climax was so close: she gave a long moan of pure bliss as the smooth waves of increasing sweetness tantalized her. "Yes, Bannon anything! I...Master, you would ask me to pleasure myself?"
"Yes," he growled lustfully. "So I may watch."
"No one has ever allowed me to do that before."
He laughed, a good, hearty sound. "Oh, I like to see a woman play with herself. I want to see you writhe at the touch of your own hands, bring yourself to climax while I get to enjoy the beauty of your body in ecstasy."
"Oh," she gasped. "Bannon, please…"
"I'm not done," he growled playfully. "You will not come unless I am there to see to you, understood?"
"If you play with yourself when I cannot watch, you are forbidden to come. You may bring yourself as close as you can, but not to climax. You cannot come until you've told me every… naughty…detail of what you did."
She smiled up at him. "You like that?"
"Very much," he grinned. "Are we agreed, slave?"
"Yes!" she gasped. "Yes, please!"
"Are you ready to come for me?"
"More than you know," she groaned.
He released his digging grip on her flesh and shifted his body to slide deliciously deeper inside her. The tension of pain released and Sadira felt only the smooth, sweet flood of rapture in its place. Bannon took her chin in his hand, staring her in the eyes.
"Come for me, Sadira," he commanded. She moaned in response.
"Look me in the eye and come," he said. "And it better be one of the wettest orgasms you've ever had, or I'm going to start over and do this all again."
"Oh… oh, Bannon," she moaned, and there: the rush of powerful, naughty, shamefully good feeling, her whole pussy quivering and full of beautiful tension, the gorgeous blushing fear—
And she cried out in ecstasy with the steady rush of orgasm. Her pussy tightened, a gush of wet juices spurting around the cock filling her, urgent and deeply satisfying, and then again, drenching both their bodies where they joined.
After some seconds Bannon withdrew, a little smile on his face, still nursing his cock and watching her. She groaned for him, pressing her thighs together to try and contain the climax, but he pried her knees apart again and watched the bucking, shuddering show of her body in bliss.
"Oh …" she breathed, twitching, quivering with the dizzy pleasure. "But… but you didn't…"
He grinned and grabbed her by the arm, sliding her roughly off the table and to her knees on the floor. Before she could say anything he thrust his cock in to her mouth, salty and bitter and sticky with the wetness of her own pussy. He thrust only a few quick times before he himself spilled thick, sweet semen into her mouth. He came so hard she was forced to start swallowing before he finished, drinking it down eagerly, happily, satisfied anew by the carnal pleasure of his domination.
Once she swallowed down every last drop, he allowed her to relax back onto her heels. The encounter left her delightfully drunk, pleasantly light and trembling all over from pleasure. Without being asked, she opened her mouth to show him nothing remained, as she expected he'd want her to do. She glowed. Utterly satisfied. He left her sated in a way she'd rarely had the luxury to feel.
Bannon knelt down beside her and wrapped her in his arms. He cradled her against his chest, and he was warm.
"Sadira," he murmured softly. "Are you satisfied with this decision?"
"Oh, yes," she murmured. "I am, Bannon."
"I can't say I understand these customs you embrace. But... I do want you. Goddess, I want you. And I want...more."
Yes, more. The serpent's poison is ecstasy, in the beginning. But what will you do, Red Bear, when you see how deep it runs in me?
A thought for later. If such a time ever came. For now, their union might only last the length of his occupation. Perhaps soon, he would return to his land, and she must explore her options for a life after Set.
Later, though. Later.
"Did we come to an agreement, just now?" She rested her head on his shoulder, listening to his heart beat. The steady rhythm filled her with a tiny, childlike joy.
"Yes. I suppose we did."
"Those things you demanded," she asked. "Do you wish for them to be our compact? My new master's rules?"
"I suppose I do." He glanced up at the book still lying on the table. "I'll have to take this with me and study your ways in depth. We have some interesting conversations ahead of us, Sadira."
"I would like to make the journey with you. To show you more of my world."
"You are a good girl, Sadira." He stroked her hair with one strong, gentle hand. "A very, very good girl."
Perhaps at the same time, they remembered where they were. The bright, easy light had grown a deeper ochre; the evening birds chattered quiet welcome back to the world. She and Bannon glanced at each other with sheepish grins as they recalled the doors to the library were still open, the guards still stationed just outside.
"I take it back," Bannon muttered, rocking her in his arms. "You're a terrible influence. Now I'm going to have to ply those men with liquor or else never hear the end of it."
"Would you like me to take care of the mess?" she murmured.
"No, I'll manage it," he said. Reaching for his belt, he retrieved a key and popped her manacles free. Sadira started, dumbfounded, at the gesture.
"What I want you to do is put your skirt back on, return to your bedchambers, and enjoy a long bath. Refresh yourself and then wait for me. I expect I'll be an hour or so in meeting with the last of my people to discuss the details of our conquest."
"Can I do anything else, master?" she asked.
He kissed her.
"Make yourself wet once more for me, love," he rumbled pleasantly. "I mean to have another taste of you before I put you to bed… perhaps several tastes."
She blinked at him. He gave her a lusty smile and helped her to her feet, re-arranged himself, and then turned to leave the hall, leaving her staring after him.
He had called her love.
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