The large Vaaden warrior entered the cell and stopped in front of Sorcha. I could tell she was scared, but I was glad he hadn't noticed me. Then, he continued past her and stopped inches from me. My heart hammered in my chest and my eyes were wide in fear.
He reached out to touch my hair and I flinched. I hadn't meant to, but it wasn't something I could control. I wished I could show Sorcha's bravery.
He frowned at me and I knew I had displeased him.
"Why do you flinch when I try to touch you?"
I opened my mouth, but no sound would come out. It was as if my vocal cords had frozen in my throat. I felt paralyzed with fear.
"She doesn't like to be touched by anyone," Sorcha told him, and I silently thanked her.
The warrior stepped closer, and I forgot to breathe, dots danced in my vision and then blackness overtook me.
I awakened some time later in a lavish bedroom. Looking around at the foreign surroundings, I spotted the warrior in a nearby chair.
"You're awake." His voice was deep and dark, smoky like whiskey.
I trembled, knowing I should speak but I couldn't.
I watched, helpless, as he stood and came closer. He stopped at the edge of the bed and sat beside me. Slowly, he reached a hand toward me and gently stroked a lock of my hair. I felt proud of the fact that I was able to hold still, even though I was terrified and trembling.
"Easy," he murmured, and I realized I was hyperventilating. So much for my bravery. "What's your name?" he asked softly.
I swallowed hard, forcing down the knot in my throat. "Enid."
I stared at him, uncertain of what he wanted. I'd heard Susan tell Sorcha what to expect, but the idea of being intimate with a man petrified me. What would happen when he realized that I wouldn't be able to please him?
"Why are you afraid of me? The woman in the cell said you hate to be touched."
"It... it isn't that I hate being touched. It scares me."
"Why?" I looked away. When his fingers grasped my chin, I jumped and looked at him, wide-eyed and ready to run, not that I had anywhere to go. "Why does my touch scare you?" he persisted.
"Not yours, specifically. Anyone's."
He stared, waiting on my answer. My heart felt like it was going to pound right out of my chest and I wished he would move further away. I felt my palms grow moist and queasiness rolled through me. I only hoped I wouldn't get sick. Even though I'd been stuck in the cell for weeks, I suddenly wished I was back there.
"I... I... On my way home from work one night, a group of men dragged me into an alley... they..." I closed my eyes against the memories. "They held me down and..." I stopped, unable to complete the sentence. The horrors of that night still lived in my mind, but putting voice to the events made them even more real.
"They raped you."
My eyes flew open at the steely tone of his voice. Anger sparked in his violet eyes and a muscle twitched in his jaw. He really was a breathtaking man. Even as terrified as I was, I could appreciate his masculine beauty. Once upon a time, his attention would have flattered me, but not now. "Yes."
"Was that your first time?"
I blushed and nodded, my gaze remaining trained on his face.
Slowly, he reached for me and gently cupped my cheek, his thumb caressing me. Surprisingly, I didn't flinch or pass out. I didn't think he meant me any harm, and while I didn't know for sure, he had been gentle with me so far. At least for the moment.
"I'm sorry for your pain and what you had to endure. No woman should ever go through that."
I stared at him in surprise. "Isn't that what... what you're going to do to me?"
I cringed at the fury I saw in his face and waited for the blow I was sure would follow. When it didn't, I relaxed a little, watching him warily. He didn't seem to be as horrible as the man who had claimed Susan. If anything, he seemed gentle, even if he didn't look it. No, he looked like a god ready to do battle, a man who could command the thunder and lightning.
"I will take my pleasure in your body, but it will be nothing like your previous experience." He grinned. "You may even like it."
I doubted it, but I didn't voice my opinion. I had a feeling it would only anger him, and I knew I didn't want that anger to be directed my way. If anything, I'd prefer that he ignore me all together. It didn't seem that I would get my wish. When the time came, I only hoped I didn't throw up on him.