Captured! [Celeste's Captivity I] [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Terri Pray
eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
eBook Description: Historical BDSM Romance! Despite the advances of farm hands, the drunken attempts of the local men, and a brief passionate kiss from a mysterious highwayman, proud, confident Cleste has never been touched or even stirred by a man. Then, one day while walking home from the village market, a black carriage swoops down and takes her captive. Soon Cleste finds herself slave to the dark desires of Lord Davien Blood, who rules the local area with an iron fist. Her beauty and innocence combined with her pride have aroused his dark desires. Davien has long enjoyed training women to become his obedient vassals. Under his harsh tutelage, she has but one choice, submit completely or face endless punishments and degradations. Stripped, nameless and reduced to a beast what other choice does she truly have but to obey?
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/PageTurner, Published: 2006
Fictionwise Release Date: February 2006
This eBook is part of the following series:
74 Reader Ratings:
The basket was ready, the small pieces of lace hidden at the bottom under the simple piece of linen. She'd taken the time to dress up in her best boots, good dress, a delicate shawl she'd spent a week or more working on. Turning it from a basic wrap into something a woman of substance would have been proud to wear. The only thing she was missing was a bonnet, with long ribbons, like they wore in the few pictures she'd seen. Still, the wide black velvet ribbon tying her hair in a long tail at the nape of her neck worked just as well. So few women wore their hair this way now, but with so few options, Celeste had taken what she had to work with and turned it into an elegant statement.
Or so she hoped.
She'd pass muster from the village women, and hopefully catch sight of the one man who had left her breathless.
Bah, she wouldn't know him if she walked right into him in the middle of the market square. How could she? The one and only time she'd met him he'd been wearing that mask.
Yet she could remember every small detail about that terrifying encounter. The dark glint in his eyes, the smell of leather and steel that had lingered on his clothing, the feel of his hands clutching her by the arms as he'd pulled her against his chest, lips crushing down on hers with a passionate, desperate need.
Her thighs clenched, a soft jolt working through her hips, heat washing over her body at the memory of the Raven. There was something about him she hadn't been able to forget, not even in the two years since he'd stolen that kiss from her, a strength of will, his insistence they'd never catch him, the whispered promise of more than a single kiss if they should ever meet again.
They'd catch him one day, hang him. The English did that. But outlaw, highwayman or not, he was Irish and for that and the kiss she loved him.
Love, what did she know of such a thing? They were nothing more than the foolish dreams of a young untried maid.
"Where are you going?" Her father called out from the cellar, his voice breaking through her thoughts. "There's work to do. You're always dashing off, trying to avoid work."
Work. There was always work to do--and the last thing she did was avoid the household chores. If her sister had the guts to get off her ass and tend to some of the chores herself, then maybe, just maybe their father wouldn't load all the work on her shoulders. "I'm heading to the village, father. We need some supplies, and I've got a few things to trade with them." Lace work for the most part, but it would be enough to earn a few pennies.
"Then don't be too long, you've got chores to see to here." He walked back into the kitchen, wiping off his hands. "We've got to make sure your sister has enough money for her trip to London. I'm not going to shame the family by sending her off without a proper trousseau. I'll not have those English fools thinking we're scum."
Celeste bit into her bottom lip. London. Why would anyone want to go there? Be amongst all those English men. Hadn't they taken enough from Ireland? Lands, farms, people, now the young men and women called either to serve in the King's army or to become servants to the noble born of England.
How many of her age mates had hurried across the water, seeking opportunity, marriage only to find themselves flat on their backs, whores for the use of any man tossing a coin their way?
Not that it would have mattered to her if that happened to her sister. The woman was a slut of the worst sort. Since her older sister had turned of age, Mystic had slept her way through every man who had so much had looked her way. Yet she could do no wrong. Every spare farthing the family had went toward fulfilling Mystic's whims. Now the trip to London? That money could have helped prepare the family for harder times which Celeste knew had to be just around the corner.
"Are you even listening to me girl?"
"Yes, Father. I'm just going over the list of things we need from the market. Was there anything you wanted me to try to find for you?"
"Tobacco," he growled, barely looking her way, though he shoved a small purse across the kitchen table. "Just a small amount girl, can't go wasting money on fripperies."
Unless they were for Mystic. "Yes, Father, I'll be back before dark."
"Be sure you are, supper won't wait for you."
It would though, unless she had it ready there wouldn't be a supper. Not since her mother had passed on had anyone else taken care of the meals. She doubted Mystic even knew how to set up the basics of a meal for the family. Clean hands, the best clothing, even that damn white pony. Oh she'd never been so glad as the day the beast had been taken by the Raven. Served the bitch right.
"Yes, Father, I'll be back as quickly as I can be." Another few years and she'd have enough money saved to leave. Mystic and her father hadn't found the small stash, of that she was sure. Common sense had led her to hide it well away from the farm house, nothing more than ten pounds so far, the work of close to five years savings, but with that sum she'd be able to find her way to Dublin and set herself up. At least to a limited degree, enough to find lodgings and work. With her skills with lace and cooking she'd be able to find a decent position in a good household. Better that then be traded off to some local stable hand, or end up as a whore for some English soldier.
She darted out of the farmhouse before her father could say anything else, hurrying toward the lane. An hour or more of walking and she'd be at the village. It was time away from the farm, the work and the constant reminders she was second best. One day soon, she'd vanish, then where would they be? Back to eating burned meals no doubt.
Or her father would be picked up by those beating the King's drum. It wouldn't be long before they returned, looking for more bodies to sign up to take the shillings. Wars. There would always be new wars for the English army, and that meant Irish men called to fight.
The warmth of the spring day enfolded her. Blossoms colored the trees, a welcoming sight she revealed in. The walk wouldn't be an easy one, but with the constant work of the farmhouse behind her Celestial Blue O'Byrne picked up her heels and almost ran the first half mile of the trip... * * * *
Laces, ribbons, and pretties filled baskets next to fresh bread and bushels of dried herbs. Scents as exotic as any far away place enticed her from one cart to the next, each one trying to tempt Celeste to part with a penny or two.
Good sense overruled the urge to buy a frippery or three. She needed the money. Her lace work had already added to the small stock of coins she kept separate from the funds her father had given her, and if fortune continued to smile upon her, it would only be another year at most before she'd have the money she needed to leave the farm.
Would she find a husband one day? In time maybe, but she wasn't in any rush there. Unless the Raven came sweeping a path into her life, gathering her up in his arms to claim her in a kiss that would keep her close until the end of her days.
A soft quiver played through her body, a warmth she had no knowledge of, just an insistent presence she couldn't ignore. She could recall the kiss, the feel of his breath, the brief touch of his hand over her waist, sliding upward to cup for a moment at her breast before he'd let her stumble back into the hay, the pitchfork forgotten on the floor.
She tensed at the voice, but managed to paint a smile on her face before turning to face the energetic young man who forced his way through the market place to reach her. "Hello, Donald."
"I wasn't sure I'd see you today, you said you had a lot of work to do." He smiled, soft blue eyes almost glowing as his gaze moved over her form. "Does he know you're here, your father I mean."
"Yes, of course he knows." Did young men loose their ability to think or talk sense the moment they laid eyes on a woman? She couldn't be sure, but so many of them acted as though all the blood ran from their heads when they stood in front of her.
She wasn't sure why. Between Mystic and her father, she'd been made all too aware she was second best of the daughters. No vivid red hair, or dark locks that were so normal for those of her kin, instead a soft white blond waist length mane that brushed over her body when left unbound. Her eyes weren't green or brown, but an ice blue that had sent more than one young man stumbling back from her as if they'd taken the coldness of a harsh winter within their depths. Even with the work she did, her skin was still pale, almost like milk. That at least was a good point with her form, and her breasts were too large, making it uncomfortable to wear the fashions that had invaded from both France and England. The shawl helped cover her breasts from the gaze of the men, and a mock lace insert did the rest, but still she knew they stood out uncomfortably against the soft confines of the light dress.
"I just thought he wouldn't be letting you do the walk alone, not with the talk about the square?" Donald slipped one arm through hers pulling her through the busy square to the side of the well and the stone benches. "He's on the prowl."
He? Her heart sang, did he mean the Raven?
"Who? The Highwayman?"
"No, not him. Blood."
Celeste frowned, her fingers clenching the woven handle of the basket. "Davien Blood, the English Lord?" What was that man doing here? He barely looked over the lands he had claim to, more than a day or so a year.
"Yes, him. He's hunting, or so the rumors say." Donald looked around and then back at her. "He's after a new woman, seems the last one died on him, or ran. It depends on who you listen to."
A small knot formed in the pit of her stomach. "But why would I need to be careful? I'm not about to go looking for him, and he wouldn't just snatch a woman, would he?"
"Why not, he hates us. All of us. No one is sure why, but he likes nothing better than to take one of our women and use them, then toss them aside. I heard he whipped the skin off a whore in Dublin."
Her lips pressed tightly together, hands clenching tight on the basket. "And just how would you know what happens in Dublin of all places, Donald lad?"
"The boys told me, when they came back from there a month ago. That's when Blood was staying there. He's been wasting time in the brothels. He likes hurting them." Donald didn't let go of her arm. "I'm going to walk you home, not about to let that man get a hold of you. English bastard."
She wanted to be angry, to tell him he was fussing over nothing, but there were more rumors about Davien Blood than the rest of the English aristocracy combined. Cruel, evil, uncaring, all those words and more had been linked to the man. Not that she'd ever seen him, or even noticed him driving through the village or local area. So the odds of him seeing her were slim. Still, she'd be a fool not to accept the offer of aid. Even if it did come from a wet behind the ears boy who had only one thing on his mind when it came to her.
"Just as long as you understand there's nothing waiting for you back home. I'm not going to be 'grateful' and let you take liberties with me, Donald lad."
His face turned scarlet in an instant as he shifted on the bench next to her. "I wouldn't dream of ... I mean, well maybe I would. But I know you're not like that--not like your sister."
"Mystic?" The knot in her stomach turned into a writhing pile of snakes, hissing in anger.
"Yes, Mystic. Sweet thing she is, I couldn't believe she'd have anything to do with me, but she did. Right after you turned me down about that kiss last market day." The words spilled from Donald's lips without thought. "Is she going to be home today?"
"I see." Celeste rose slowly, pulling her arm from his grip, smoothing down the full skirts before she folded the shawl across her breasts. "Well, then, if you're going to escort me back just to try and raise my sisters skirts again, you're out of luck. I'll walk home on my own, thank you very much."
"Are you daft?"
"No, I'm not. I'm not about to give you a reason to go hunting for Mystic. She wants you, then she can come and find you herself." The damn woman. If any male, man or boy, so much as looked her way, Mystic had to step in and try to get a piece of the pie. She'd have slept her way through half the army if but one of them smiled her way. The sooner Mystic left for London the better, at least then, the local boys wouldn't assume that just because one daughter was a light skirt, the other one must be also.
"You're foolish, did you know that Celeste. You and your damnable pride! What happens if he or the Raven catch sight of you alone on the road?"
"How did you think I got here? With an escort? No I walked, alone, the same way I've done nigh on every time I've come to market since I was ten years old, Donald. Not once has anything more than a sprained ankle come my way. No highwayman is going to rob a farmer's lass when there are richer pickings on the road. Why would Blood come looking my way when there are willing little sluts around, like my sister?"
Conversation died around them, a dozen sets of eyes fixing on her. Her back tensed, head raising in a self imposed mask of pride. They all knew what Mystic was like, she doubted but a dozen of the men in the village had been denied, not that their father would ever admit it. Oh no, not his precious daughter.
Low whispers, mock shock at her statements. Two faced, they wanted to strike out at her for speaking the truth.
"Oh, don't try and look shocked, you all know what she's like." She took a step forward, the crowd parting before her. Despite how she felt, the anger that still seethed within her, she wasn't about to get into a public argument with them. Her fingers tightened on the basket as she looked around one last time. She already had the tobacco for her father, the lace had been sold and though she would have enjoyed spending a little more time in the market she had no desire to stand there and listen to the whispered outrage.
"Celeste, please. Let me walk you at least part of the way home." Donald hurried after her.
"No, thank you anyway. I'll be fine. I wouldn't want to distract you from matters of greater importance." Her jaw clenched, the words forced between her lips in a low hiss. Men, and their one-track minds. Well, she wasn't going to play the willing maid or excuse for him. Or any other.
Not even if the Raven swooped down and claimed her right now in the middle of the village.