Authors: Tori Minard
Tags: #bdsm romance, #nobility, #bad boy romance, #slave romance, #warrior romance, #rescue romance, #bad girl romance, #aristocratic hero, #aristocratic romance
It was a lie, of course; even in her
opium-addled state, she knew that. There was no safety, would never
be safety for her where Dario Saturnios was concerned.
No Concordian woman could be safe with
a Saturnian. In Saturnios, the natural order was reversed, with
males ruling and women cast down as slaves. That was the fate Dario
had reserved for her. She would be the same as all those sad little
Saturnian whores she and her sister Concordians had so pitied and
The worst of it was,
she suspected she would enjoy being Dario Saturnios’s woman. If she
hadn’t been so intoxicated, she might have screamed in rage at the
thought. Instead, she sighed and closed her eyes.
By the time they made it to the
Saturnios encampment, the sun rode high and the opium had
completely worn off for Tariza. She roused from her drug-induced
stupor in time to see the encampment spread in red and black across
the rocky, scrub-shrouded hillside above them. Men, tiny like
insects, bustled around the tents. Armor glinted in the hard
morning sun and smoke drifted down from numerous cooking
The loose, safe feeling dissipated as
if it had never been, leaving her with a dry mouth and a churning
stomach. The Saturnians were close. Much closer to the Concordian
border than her scouts had reported. Had they moved that quickly,
or were the reports inaccurate?
Welcome to Saturnios,” her
captor murmured, urging his mount up the hillside.
This is contested
Since we’re currently in
possession, and we have no intention of letting it go, I consider
it part of our kingdom. No pack of little girls playing at soldiers
is going to steal it from us.”
None of you are a match
for a male soldier. I defeated you easily. I can’t understand why
my ancestors didn’t put a stop to your ridiculous experiment
You only think it’s
ridiculous because you’re too stupid to know any better. Males
haven’t the brains to govern effectively.”
He chuckled. “We’ve done
well enough for time immemorial.”
Well enough? You call war,
poverty and famine doing well enough?”
Concordia suffers from
those ills just as we do.”
That’s because we’re
surrounded by brutish male-dominated neighbors, who nonetheless are
more than willing to trade with us because of the superiority of
our textiles. No-one on Argelia produces better silk yardage and
That is true. Your
textiles are incomparable.”
He’d agreed with her? He’d
agreed with her. She’d expected him to boast of Saturnian designs,
even though they were crude compared to the elegance achieved by
Have I shocked you into
silence?” he said.
I’m amazed you would admit
we Concordians are superior in anything.”
I’m never afraid to speak
the truth. Concordian textiles are better than anything else I’ve
ever seen. That doesn’t mean I approve of the way you Amazons
humiliate and degrade men.”
She gave a snort. “Men
require the guiding hand of the female. If they’re allowed to have
full freedom, they make a mess of things. They’re brutish and
violent and ruled by passing sexual urges.”
He laughed. “You really
Oh, Tariza. You have so
much to learn.”
He bent his head to her
neck, bared by her long, tight braid. His lips brushed her skin,
making her shiver. “So impatient. I planned to wait until we got to
my tent to have you again.”
She jerked forward, out of
range of those lips. “You know that’s not what I meant.”
He took the reins in one
hand, leaving the other free to clasp her just beneath her breasts.
“I’ve been thinking all night of the things I’d like to do to
His thumb stroked the underside of one
breast, lazily rubbing back and forth along the curve. Her whole
body flooded with heat.
He nuzzled her neck.
“You’re mine now. I can do anything I like. In fact, it’s my solemn
duty as your master to use you well and often.”
me? You barbarian! Stop
touching me. Stop it this instant.”
He only laughed again. “As
I said, you have a lot to learn.” His hand closed fully over her
With her hands bound in
front of her and her legs strapped to the horse, she couldn’t fight
him. She had no choice but to endure his mauling.
He gently squeezed her
flesh, molding it with his palm. The power of his touch went right
through the woolen dress he’d given her, rousing a hot wet
throbbing in her pussy. She pressed her lips together, clamping
down on the gasp that tried to escape her throat.
You like that.” His deep
voice rumbled in her ear.
He rubbed his thumb across
her aching nipple. “Your body says otherwise.”
Her body was an idiot.
His thumb continued rubbing,
mercilessly arousing her. She bit down hard on her lip, trying not
to squirm or moan. But her back arched in spite of her best
intentions and her hips pressed back into his groin.
That’s it, Tariza. That’s
it.” He pinched the nipple, drawing it out and releasing it
Her breath came in little
gusts as she fought against the sharp pleasure arrowing from her
breast to her pussy. “No. Please.”
Don’t be ashamed of your
response to me. It’s natural and good. It’s as it should
It would be natural and
good to have him on his knees before her, bound with chains, while
she plied an old-fashioned riding crop over his naked ass. He
wouldn’t see it that way, but it would give her tremendous
satisfaction. Tariza cuddled the image of a humbled Dario in her
mind as he guided his stallion into the encampment.
The horses walked slowly between the
first rank of tents and a whoop went up from the men, shouts of
encouragement. She pinched her eyes shut, face flaming.
No. I’m showing my great
appreciation for you. If I refused to touch you, then I would shame
She wanted to claim that
she didn’t understand. Except she did. A similar tradition existed
in Concordia, where a woman showed affection and appreciation for a
male slave by fondling him in public.
Besides,” he said, “it’s
important for the men to see how much I enjoyed you last night. You
don’t want them questioning my claim on you.”
He was right, the swine. If his men
contested his claim, she could end up being passed around like a
communal cup at a banquet.
Don’t you have better
control of your men than that?” she said acidly.
Yes. I do. But you’re
special.” He bit her earlobe. “You’re Tariza Concordia. The usual
rules don’t necessarily apply.”
That was hard to believe. A competent
commander should be able to keep his men in line regardless of the
She lost her train of thought as they
entered more deeply into the camp. It was surprisingly
well-ordered, considering it had was designed and run by males. Men
in red and black uniforms lined the road into the center of the
temporary village, shouting and cheering as they stared at
Tariza kept her head high, her jaw
set. She gazed forward, letting her eyes rest now and then on the
yelling, jostling males. She was Tariza Concordia, heir to
Concordia, and she would not cower or try to hide
They halted at the center of the camp,
before a large red tent with black piping along the seams. Men
crowded around their mount, almost close enough to touch her. She
could see it in their eyes, the desire to touch her
Dario took her by the chin, urged her
head around and captured her mouth. He kissed her like a conqueror,
all plunging tongue, while his other hand brazenly cupped her
breast. The cheers of the soldiers roared in her ears.
He broke off the kiss and
lifted her bandaged arm high. “Tariza Concordia is mine, marked as
my slave. Any man who touches her without my leave will lose his
Another roar went up. It seemed the
men approved of his actions.
Paolo dismounted and came
around to release her ankles from the strap that kept her on
Dario’s horse. The gathered men watched with avid faces. What were
they hoping to see?
Maybe it was enough for them to
witness their enemy brought low.
Other Concordian women –
soldiers all – had been captured by Saturnios. Had all of them been
enslaved? They probably had. Perhaps she would come across them, if
she could tell them apart from the native Saturnian
Seeing her a captive would
do terrible things to their morale. Although surely they weren’t
living in the hope they’d be rescued.
If – no, when – she
escaped, she would have to arrange for some kind of prisoner
exchange. And if Concordia won this war, there would be reparation.
She would see to it personally.
Dario swung off the horse. He set his
hands at her waist and lifted her down, pulling her tight against
his body. Perversely, the solid wall of muscle at her back made her
It’s an illusion. You’re
not safe with him. Never forget that.
his new possession from the back of his horse.
After weeks of waiting, dreaming, planning, he finally had her. She
He let her body slide down
his, the contact making his cock hard and his heart pound. Taking
her hadn’t dimmed his desire at all. If anything, getting inside
her had only made him want her more. He gazed down at her,
wondering what made this woman different from all the
There had been countless
women in his life, and while he’d been fond of many, he’d never
felt driven to possess any particular one. Until now. Looking at
her, touching her, feeling the warmth of her body through her thin
dress all made him quiver with lust in spite of his
He’d been up since sunrise
the day before, and weariness lay on him like a blanket of stone.
Sex could wait. He needed nothing more than to stretch out on his
camp bed, Tariza tucked close by his side, and sleep.
First, though, he had business to
Baso, his aide-de-camp,
detached himself from the circle of men with a salute. “Welcome
back, Prince Dario, and congratulations.” His eyes flicked toward
Thank you. Have a bath
prepared and a meal for two delivered to my tent.”
Have the surveyors
Baso nodded. “They took
their final measurements yesterday just before the sun went
He ignored her to clap Baso
on the shoulder. “Excellent. They can start excavations this
Dario urged Tariza in the direction of
She hung back, looking over
her shoulder at Baso. “What excavations? What are you doing
She had a lot to learn
about the proper behavior of a Saturnian female. She dragged her
feet, like a child who didn’t want a nap. Dario gave her arm a
sharp tug as he kicked the tent flap open. Tariza sent him a
searching look, just the kind of look he might receive from a male
cohort. Her boldness made him grind his teeth, especially with Baso
looking on to witness her impudence.
But what did he expect? What did any
of them expect from a woman raised in such an unnatural environment
as Concordia? It was up to Dario now to instruct her in feminine
comportment and obedience.
If she learned her lessons,
she’d have a good chance at happiness. If she resisted too
vigorously, her behavior would make her unsafe. There were many
other men in Saturnios who were far stricter than he. Brutal men,
some of them closer to him than he liked, who would delight in
harming the former heir to Concordia and would use her disobedience
as an excuse to do so. Her safety rested on Dario’s ability to
Saturnios, what’s going on
here?” she said as he let the tent flap close. “What are you
He brought her to his table, where he
poured a generous cup of wine. He took a long swallow of the
Tariza’s dark eyes widened.
“You’re building a fortification, aren’t you? To guard this valley
and the pass so you can hold onto this land against us.”
Questions of this kind are
inappropriate for a woman to ask.” He offered her the
Horseshit.” She tossed
back a gulp, just like a man. “I have a right to know what’s