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A mercenary for hire, her sexy, dominant captor Jarrod's job is to deliver her to the king - and to keep his hands off her. But soon the pull of desire to both rescue and enslave her is as powerful as the chains that bind Hanna. Although their passion is forbidden, he can't resist showing her the erotic ways of master and slave, pain and pleasure, spankings and strict obedience.
Hanna vows to find a way to make the best of her new situation, but when she falls for Jarrod, how could any other master ever be enough? And now that Jarrod is as much a captive to the feisty Hanna as she is to him, he knows he has to find a way to break her free.
Hanna's morning started out the same as every other boring day in the palace. She quickly completed her housekeeping chores and then searched for a way to spend the rest of her time. She wandered around in the garden, trying to ease her restlessness with fresh air and sunshine. The other ladies seemed happy to spend their idle time stitching and reading until the princess needed them.
Hanna wanted more.
She was sitting on a bench, daydreaming amid the colorful flowerbeds when Princess Serena came and sat down beside her. They sat for a moment in an easy silence before the princess spoke.
"Are you unhappy, Hanna?"
"Of course not, Your Highness." Hanna turned to look at her princess, forced a smile and swiftly changed the subject. "Done with your royal obligations for today?"
"Yes, I thought I'd never get away." She tilted her head as she looked at Hanna. "Why do you look so sad then? Please tell me."
Her princess was stubborn and smart. Not one to be distracted by a feeble attempt to change the subject. Hanna sighed and tried to make it sound thoughtful instead of melancholy. "Who could be sad in this wonderful place?" she asked. "Beautiful sunshine, lovely flowers, good friends." She made her smile even wider. "I'm fine."
"Hmm." Serena didn't appear convinced. "I'd like to go down to the lake with you and the other ladies. Would you dance for us?"
Hanna's mood lifted at the thought. "Of course, Princess."
"Good. Let's change our robes and get the others."
The lake was a far distance from the castle. Hanna was quiet, listening to the other women's chatter as they walked along the worn pathway. Once they'd reached the sunny meadow at the edge of the tranquil lake, only the tips of the spires were visible. Hanna breathed a little easier.
"Hanna will dance for us today," Serena announced.
The six women sat in a circle around Hanna on the soft verdant grass. The sun beat down warmly on her cheeks as she raised her face to the sky. Arms outstretched, she closed her eyes and began to move her hips in lazy circles. The silky fabric of the skirt caressed her legs as she swayed. Sensual music played in her head, nothing like the dark, plodding songs preferred by the royal family of Vanya. She moved her body to rich notes that slid sensuously from one to another. It was a melody only she could hear, running through her mind, leading her body in the dance.
As her muscles warmed, Hanna moved more freely. Her limbs loosened as she swayed to the music in her head. She combed her fingers through her heavy hair and lifted it off her damp skin. She arched her back when she dropped her hair and the curls brushed against her bottom.
Hanna had been yearning for more lately. So much more. Did she dare hope for a life of her own, a life apart from serving the princess? Would she ever have the chance to see other countries? Other worlds, even? Other people than the small circle of women and men in the palace?
Would she ever have a chance to know love? To experience the touch of a man's hand along her skin? She poured out all her restless energy into the dance. When a bead of sweat rolled down her chest, she could almost imagine a masculine finger tracing the line between her breasts.
She'd never known a man's touch. Oh certainly a hug from her father years ago. A pat on the shoulder by the king in passing. But nothing to match the imaginary finger along her skin. She was past the age of consent, but when would she ever have the opportunity to meet a man? She'd been trained since her early years to serve Princess Serena. She would have no chance for a life of her own.
The music and the man continued to play in her mind. She crossed her arms in front of her. Her hands became a lover's hands, stroking the damp skin on her upper arms. Her breasts seemed fuller and her sensitive nipples brushed against the silky fabric that swayed with her body. She continued to roll her hips in a rhythm that increased her restlessness. Her woman's spot between her legs ached with a longing she'd been experiencing more often in the past few months. Her sex grew damp as the man in her imagination continued to sweep his hands along her body. What would it feel like for him to slide his hands between her legs?
Her breath caught in her throat at the thought and she almost moaned out loud.
Suddenly the music in her head was replaced by terrified screams.
Hanna's eyes flew open and she froze. At least a dozen tall men, clad in heavy black body armor, surrounded them. Where had they come from? They held weapons as large and powerful as the warriors themselves.
The women tried to scatter, but the men grabbed them before they could get far. A compact man with icy blue eyes stepped up to Hanna as her heart beat frantically against her ribs. The weapon he pointed at her looked huge and lethal. "Princess Serena. Control your women." He glanced at the mayhem around them. "Otherwise I cannot guarantee what my men will do to subdue them."
She straightened her shoulders and forced herself not to look at her princess. Hanna's entire body trembled. Was this truly happening? She'd been raised to wear the red that signified Vanyan royalty and to serve as a royal decoy, but she never thought she'd truly be called upon to serve in this way. Hanna glanced around at the terrified women struggling in the warriors' grasps. When she finally looked at the princess, her eyes were wide with fear as she met Hanna's gaze.
"What is the meaning of this?" Hanna demanded, doing her best to sound royal. And royally upset.
The soldier grabbed her arm, his fingers easily spanning her flesh, and yanked her to his side. His body was hard and unyielding. He rubbed the barrel of his weapon across her breasts and she shivered with dread. "My men won't hesitate to use their weapons. Wouldn't you rather be a live slave than a dead princess?"
Terrified screams rose around her. Slave? No one on Vanya really believed the stories of slave ships that took away bad little girls and boys.
"Captain, we must go before the screams bring their guards." Another soldier stepped up, taller, broader, with a deep, warm voice that sent a different kind of shiver along her skin. She'd never seen anyone with skin as dark as his. She looked into his eyes, but saw no compassion there.
The captain rubbed the tip of his weapon against Hanna's cheek and she shuddered. "What do you say, Princess? Do we leave dead bodies behind or will you and your women come quietly?"
Hanna had no idea if the stories she'd heard of sex slaves were true. If they were, maybe she'd rather be dead. But as long as she was alive, as long as all of them were alive, there was still hope. She nodded and the women quieted. They had been trained to obey her as they would the princess.
The princess! Hanna gasped as the men herded them all into a small circle. She hadn't protected the princess, after all. As she frantically searched the crowd for Serena, a burst of bright light engulfed them and a surge of pain turned everything black.
* * * * *
Jarrod stood guard outside the cell which held their royal captive. While the rest of the women they captured were held together in a large cell below decks, the princess had been secured in an empty stateroom not far from the captain's own room. She was important, that much Jarrod knew. She was bringing them all a great deal of money.
He didn't know much about the planet they'd teleported to in order snatch the new slaves. Knew even less about princess. But he knew plenty about having money and not having it. His share of her price would go a long way toward getting him off this ship and back on one of his own.
The image of her dancing as they surrounded the women was burned into Jarrod's brain. He'd not seen many women as sensual as this one. His cock had instantly hardened, which had not been comfortable inside the form-fitting body armor. He hadn't been able to drag his eyes away from her supple body, her hips swaying, her breasts gently bouncing. Her arms had been raised to the heavens as if asking for her heart's desire.
Her eyes had been closed, a serene expression on her face until the screams started. He'd hated seeing the fear in her wide, green eyes. Pain lanced his chest as he recalled his part in the capture, then he pushed his guilt away. Slavery was the way of the universe. He knew better than most that it was true. Slaves served a purpose in every society he'd ever encountered.
A cookboy appeared with a plate of food. "For the prisoner."
"I'll take it to her." Jarrod reached for the plate, the savory aroma reminding him he'd not had supper yet.
"Be careful," the boy said. "She pitched the food at the last guard who brought her food."
Jarrod shrugged. "Then she should be hungry."
"She tried to brain him with the plate," the boy went on, obviously excited to be passing on the juicy tale. "Crock said he chained her up good."
Jarrod nodded, trying to imagine the slender woman attacking the mammoth Crock. Jarrod opened the door with his handprint. After he stepped into the room, the solid door slid closed behind him.
This was the first time he'd seen her since they'd returned to the ship. She must have really angered Crock. He'd stripped her naked before he chained her to the far wall of the room. Jarrod froze as he took in the naked beauty, chained and helpless before him. The beast he kept locked inside him struggled to break free. His cock turned to iron and lunged against the front of his trousers.
�Her eyes flashed as she watched him stand and stare at her. Thick metal cuffs encircled her wrists and ankles. Chains attached the cuffs to the wall behind her, her arms and legs spread wide. Her heavy breaths made her full breasts rise and fall. His gaze dropped to the golden curls that didn't quite hide the pink lips between her legs.
He had to swallow before he could speak. Had to ignore the dark needs roiling within him.
"You've been a bad girl, Princess." He set the plate on the table beside the door and then lifted the strap of his weapon over his head, propping it up against the wall. More than one guard had been killed by his own gun. He slowly crossed the room until he was close enough to touch her. Close enough to smell her spicy scent. He noticed the red marks on her wrists and shook his head. "If you're not careful, you'll break that soft skin."
The chains rattled as she lunged toward him. The harsh jangle called up desires he'd worked hard to bury deep inside. He winced as she pulled against her unyielding restraints and the metal rubbed against her tender skin. He admired her spirit, though he knew that would only make things tougher for her in the long run.
"Go to hell!" she shouted, rattling the chains again.
"I've no doubt I will," he replied dryly. "But not today." He ran a finger across the red skin on her wrist. "Today you and I get to spend some time together."
His body hardened further at the thought of spending his shift in this room with this willful woman, bending her to his command. Her breasts were full and round. They would be heavy in his hand and firm beneath his fingers. Her legs were long and his eyes were drawn again to the soft curls between her thighs. His cock throbbed as he imagined burying himself in her wet heat.�
But she was not here for his pleasure. He had to remember that. He dragged his attention from her body.
When he met her fearful gaze, she looked away. He cupped her chin in his hand and forced her to look at him. "You are a slave now. You must accept that. Your life will never be the same again. You are a slave."
"No!" Her voice was soft now, barely a whisper.
He dropped his hand. "Have they told you anything?" She shook her head. Of course not. As a slave, she didn't have the right to know a damn thing.
Her expression was still wary as she stared at him. After all, why should she expect him to tell her the truth? Jarrod understood that. Understood that she'd never trust again. But she deserved to know her fate.
"We are headed to the planet Noria. Have you heard of it?"
She shook her head slowly.
There was no good way to say it, so Jarrod stated it as plainly as possible. "You are to be the personal sex slave of King Barrus of Noria." She gasped and backed away from him. The damn chains clattered again and he fought for self-control. "The other women will be sold to private buyers or to public brothels. There is an enormous market for sex slaves on Noria. Your women will bring a healthy price." And he'd get a share of that money too.
She lunged toward him again. "You had no right to take us from our home. We are not property to be bought and sold. Not animals to be chained �" Her voice broke, but she jerked her chin up and glared at him. Unshed tears glittered in her eyes.
He let his gaze lazily sweep across her body, so she wouldn't see how her words affected him. He'd stopped feeling guilty long ago for what he'd had to do to survive. He couldn't help her escape her fate, even if he wanted to. All he could do was help her to survive.
"I hear you attacked the last guard. That's why you're chained up like an animal." He shook his head. "Not a good idea, Princess." No point in telling her now that most sex slaves wore cuffs and collars and chains for the rest of their days.
He crossed the room to get the food. As he turned back to her, he saw her quickly lick her lips. "Hungry?"
She lifted her chin. "I don't want your food."
He set the plate down on a table just out of her reach. "I understand pride. But not when it's foolish. You won't be able to do anything if you don't eat." She glanced quickly to the plate of food and then pressed her lips together. "Believe me, Princess, if you are too weak to perform your duties, your master will be extremely angry." Jarrod slid his hand across her throat and let it rest there. "And it would be a very bad idea to anger the man who holds your life in his hands."
* * * * *
Hanna swallowed and felt the pressure of the guard's hand on her throat. A chill ran through her body. She fought the panic that scrambled inside her. She had to think. Had to stay calm.
It went against everything inside her to accept any part of this situation. Her mind told her to keep fighting, but instinct told her to back off at this moment. The guard was right. She had to keep up her strength. Later she might have a chance to escape. Get out of here and find the real princess and the other women.
And then do what? Despair washed over her. They were on a spaceship. Surrounded by guards with guns. How would they ever get back home even if they did escape?
�She stared into the guard's dark eyes. His hand was still at her throat but he didn't have to squeeze. He'd made his point. She nodded and he dropped his hand and stepped away.
"All right," she said. "Unchain me and I'll eat." Whatever was on that plate smelled delicious and her stomach was growling with hunger. Her wrists were sore and her shoulders and hips ached from the humiliating position she'd been put in. She couldn't wait to get those heavy cuffs off and her arms down.
He raised one eyebrow and she wasn't surprised by his skepticism. He crossed his muscled arms over his sculpted chest.
"I promise not to attack you," she added.
He laughed, surprising her. It was a delicious laugh, deep and full, and Hanna couldn't help but wish they'd met some other place and time. "It's too late for that, Princess."
"I can't eat?" Now that she'd made up her mind to eat, she was starving.
He took a step toward her. He was so tall and broad and dark it felt as if his body cast a shadow over her. "You can eat. You will eat. But only because I want you to eat." She shivered at his words. "I'm going to feed you."
What? That was ridiculous. "I don't want you to feed me."
"It doesn't matter what you want," he said smoothly. "You have to get that through that gorgeous head of yours." He ran a calloused finger down her cheek. "You will do what you're told to do for the rest of your life."
A chill ran over her skin. This couldn't be happening. She stared at his handsome face and tried to reconcile the matter-of-fact tone of his voice with his horrifying words.
He turned from her and speared something on the end of a fork. Her stomach rolled. She'd lost her appetite. "I don't want to eat anything."
A slow smile spread across his face. "Oh you're going to eat. I want you to, remember?"
She shook her head slowly as he stepped in front of her. Her heartbeat kicked up again when she saw the strong set of his jaw. He reached out with his free hand and she jerked back, but he just brushed her wayward curls out of her face.
"Being stubborn won't help you," he murmured.
Still, she refused to open her mouth when he raised the fork holding some sort of fruit she didn't recognize.
He leaned close and grabbed the back of her head, so she couldn't turn her face away. He rubbed the bite-sized piece of red fruit across her closed lips. The sweet scent made her mouth water. Juice dribbled down her chin and caught the tip of her breast. And regardless of her best intentions, some of the succulent juice slid through her lips. The sweet flavor burst on her tongue and her lips parted slightly when she gasped.
And the guard shoved the fruit into her mouth.
She should have spit it back into his face. She thought about it for a split second. But her rumbling stomach and her needy tongue over-rode her brain. She bit into the morsel and almost sighed with delight as the sugar hit her system.
"Another piece?" she found herself begging.
Hanna gave him credit for not sporting a look of triumph. Shame for giving in so quickly made her blush, but she knew she had to eat or she'd be too weak to take advantage of any opportunity to escape that might present itself. She nodded.
He released his grip on her hair and brought another piece of fruit to her lips. She opened her mouth, but he paused before he placed it on her tongue. Instead, he rubbed it along her lips again. More juice ran down her chin and across her breasts before he slipped it past her lips. She barely chewed that piece before she swallowed. "More." His eyes flashed from her demand and she quickly looked away. "Please."
"Your stomach is empty. You must eat slowly. I don't want you getting sick on my watch." He stepped a little closer to her as he speared a piece of meat. As he turned, his chest brushed against the inside of the arm which was stretched out in front of him. The heat from his body warmed her more than the cooked meat he fed her next. It was a little chewy, but the sauce was tangy and delicious. Its sharp scent prickled her nostrils. She ran her tongue along her lips to lick off some of the sauce that lingered there. The guard quickly turned away and speared another piece of meat.
As he stood before her, she had a good chance to study him as she chewed the food he slid past her lips. She could tell he was strong and well trained. His well-sculpted muscles bulged beneath his tight black shirt as he moved. His skin was as dark and shiny as the hortnuts on Vanya. His eyes were nearly black and while she studied them for warmth, she never saw any signs.
His hand were wide, his fingers long and strong. Rough and calloused. He wore a wide leather cuff on his left wrist. She knew he could strangle her if he wanted, but he was almost gentle as he fed her. His musky scent grew stronger than that of the food remaining on the plate.
Finally, she was full and told him so. He must have been pleased with the amount of food she'd eaten because he didn't try to force her to eat any more. He nodded and set the plate aside. He reached for the weapon he'd propped by the door. Hanna realized she didn't want him to leave. She didn't want to be all alone in this sterile room, even if her only choice for company was a surly guard.
"How long will it take to get to Noria?" she asked. How long would she be locked up in this room? How soon before she would be delivered to the King of Noria?
* * * * *
Jarrod reluctantly turned around. "Another day and night." He'd hoped to get away where her scent wouldn't call to him. Where her chained body didn't tempt him with dark desires he tried to forget. But one look at her and he knew he couldn't leave yet.
He'd never fed a woman in chains before and didn't realize what a mess he'd make.
Trails of sunberry juice ran across her luscious breasts. Her nipples were nearly the same deep shade of pink as the juice. He knew he should get a wet cloth to clean her, but his mouth watered with the need to taste her. To find out if she was as sweet as his favorite fruit.
How would she react if he simply lowered her head and swept his tongue along those full breasts? Hell, she was chained. A slave. He could do anything he wanted and she couldn't stop him. Arousal surged through him at the thought. He'd lick the juice from her succulent skin. Pop that nipple into his mouth and suck until he had his fill.
But she wasn't his slave. King Barrus had offered a small fortune to have her snatched and brought to him. No one would be allowed to enjoy this slave without the king's permission. She wasn't worth getting his throat slit.
He had to get out of here before he started thinking she was. He'd be safer back on the other side of that solid door where he wouldn't be tempted by dark pink nipples, long firm thighs and wide green eyes. His cock wasn't happy with the thought, aching with its displeasure, but for now, his brain had the final say.
He wet a cloth at the sink and slowly approached her. He knew he should release her from her chains and let her take care of the cleanup herself, but selfishly, he knew this might be his only chance to touch her.
Her breasts were as firm as he thought they would be. He rubbed the cloth gently across her skin, wiping away the streaks of juice from her pale skin. Stroke after stroke, he traced the contours of her flesh with the soft cloth. Her nipples beaded beneath his touch and he couldn't resist roughly brushing over them with the edge of the cloth.
Her soft gasp made his already hard cock twitch. Her parted lips were wet and shiny from the fruit he'd rubbed on them. What would they taste like? What would those lips feel like rubbed against his skin? Going down on his throbbing cock?
Her eyes were closed, her head dropped back, her back arched so she pressed her breasts into his hand.
He kneaded the firm flesh of her breasts, not even pretending any longer to be washing her. The cloth may still have been between his skin and hers, but the fruit juice had long since disappeared. He was close to dropping the cloth altogether. Why pretend? His cock was straining against his trousers, beginning to talk louder than the voice in his brain telling him to back off.
Back off? Why would he do that when he had access to this perfect body, spread out for his enjoyment? And hell, she was enjoying it too. If she was this responsive, she'd make a great sex slave. Why did the thought make his stomach clench?
He tossed the cloth into the sink and turned back to her. His cock urged him on.
Just then the door slid open and Leoh strode in. "Shift change, Jarrod." The brawny bald guard stopped and openly raked his gaze over the prisoner. "She give you any trouble?"
"No trouble." Jarrod ground his teeth and he glared at the temptress strung out before him. What had he almost done? He'd almost forgotten his plan. Almost messed up big time. "She just ate, so we can leave her alone for a while. Let her contemplate her future."
He grabbed his weapon and opened the door. Leoh went out into the hallway ahead of him.
"Jarrod?" Her soft voice caught him at the door.
Shit, why hadn't Leoh kept his mouth shut? Now she knew his name. Would he never get out of here?
He whirled around, pointing his weapon at her. "What?"
Her eyes grew wide, but it didn't stop her from putting a little pleading tone in her voice. "Can't you let me down? My shoulders are aching."
"Get used to it," he growled before he stepped out and let the door close behind him.