Valerian (Mine to Take 3), page 1
Valerian (Mine To Take 3)
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Copyright ©2018 Jacquelyn Frank
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Table of Contents
Valerian (Mine To Take 3)
Valerian (Mine To Take 3)
Valerian Jorku is second-born heir to a massive throne overseeing the largest country in many lands, a country that is ever growing, thanks to his power-hungry brother Vicktor, the emperor. But Vicktor is a cruel master, and Valerian grows increasingly restless as he experiences his brother’s brutal nature and its effect on others.
Melena, a newly acquired slave girl Valerian is conditioning to his pleasure, whispers nightly of his responsibilities to the people and how those responsibilities should outweigh his honorable intentions toward a brother who is clearly insane. Should Valerian listen to this woman, sister to a rebel thorn in his side, or should he continue to honor his father’s last wishes and be Vicktor’s silent general, doing whatever he asks, no matter how wrong?
When Vicktor threatens Melena’s life and begins to turn Valerian’s women against him, Melena seizes the opportunity to push Valerian farther in the right direction. But Valerian is not a man to be mastered. He is the one in control, and ultimately it is he who holds all their fates -- and futures -- in his hands.
Valerian Jorku looked down at his newest captive, Melena, and tried to use the sight of her to soothe his troubled mind. And yet she was the cause of some of his troubling thoughts.
She had said some things to him recently… things that plagued him. Comments about the dictatorial ways of his brother. Vicktor was a savage man. Not that he wasn’t intelligent, for he was frighteningly so. His brother had led his armies into wars that had more than doubled the size of the already vast Jorku nation. Although, in all honesty, it had been Valerian who had led the actual armies. It had been Valerian’s tactical know-how in the field that had allowed him victory. But his brother took credit for both his own achievements and Valerian’s. Vicktor was like that with all things. What was his was his… and what was yours was his, as well.
This was to say nothing of how he treated people as a whole in other ways. Vicktor was a cruel man with a vicious streak in him that ran a league wide. He had never met an enemy he couldn’t defeat, and that made him proud and arrogant, regardless of the fact that it was Valerian who had defeated those enemies. As far as Victor was concerned Valerian was simply a tool which he used with mastery.
Valerian had always known his place and had respected it. It had been given to him by his late father along with a plethora of other graces and wisdom. He had stayed true to his father’s desires long after his death. And one of his father’s desires was that Valerian never rise up against his brother. That he dutifully accept his place as second son and do all he could to support Vicktor’s rule.
His father couldn’t have known what a monster his eldest son would become. He couldn’t have known that, by association, by being his brother’s right arm, Valerian had become a monster as well.
But this woman… this slave… she had spoken simple truths to him, and he had listened as if hearing them for the first time.
“Your brother has no honor. You surely must see that,” she had said. “Perhaps by following his dictates you are betraying the people who died at his hand and in his wars. Did you ever think of that?”
He had thought of it. He had thought of it for years. But since she had said as much he had thought of it with constancy he’d never exhibited before. What made her words so special that it was as if he was hearing them for the first time?
Perhaps it was because she herself was a victim of his brother’s wars. Her country had been dominated by Vicktor’s armies, and now she was a slave. Her sisters were slaves. Her brother was forced into hiding and led a small band of rebels that had no hope of ever making a difference in the fight to regain independence from the Jorku nation.
She wasn’t a slave any longer, he argued with himself. She had been elevated to shisha, a woman of Valerian’s royal harem -- an honor among women. And she was also his current favorite… a place of privilege within the harem itself.
From her perspective she was now being made to serve the man who had been the cause of all her family’s misery. Yet she was coming around. She had thought his predilections perverse and cruel at first, but he believed quite strongly that there was great pleasure to be found in pain and more so in the relationship that developed between a master and his shisha. Now she was coming around to his way of thinking. She was beginning to bend to his hand.
It was a war of sorts in and of itself -- a far more personal one. One where he would one day be able to show his vulnerabilities to her and not fear that she would use them against him. He craved such a relationship. He craved a place where he could rest his head and speak of his troubles without fear of his brother hearing about it or fear that others would perceive him as weak for it.
He had trained other women, but he had never reached the point of full trust with any of them. He hoped, as he always did, that this would be different. That she would be different.
He couldn’t escape the feeling that this time he was right. She was special. Very special. He had never seen a creature take so quickly to the rigors of the way he made love. True, he had been moderately gentle with her until now, but neither had he treated her with kid gloves. He had whipped her and spanked her and taken her maidenhead. Now here she was, tied spread-eagle to his bed, awaiting his next level of lovemaking. And yet he was having difficulty beginning.
He was feeling the frustrations of his life keenly. Too keenly. He was afraid of taking those frustrations out on her tender body. It was a rule he never broke. Never make others pay for his emotions. Never react with emotion instead of with clarity of thought and purpose. More lessons learned from his father.
He moved to sit beside Melena on the bed. He had blindfolded her, so she turned her head in his direction. To her he was a wildcard. She never knew what he was thi
She was naked, her pulse throbbing visibly in her throat. He reached out and touched her there, caressing the proof of life, imagining what she would look like with his collar wrapped around her throat. He had had one specially made for her. It would be dazzling and beautiful on her; it would be a profession of his regard for her… and the fact that she was totally his.
He caressed her, starting at the hollow of her throat, down her breastbone between her young, succulent breasts, down the center of her belly where muscles taut from toiling on the farm had developed. He had had her denuded of all her body hair, so there was nothing in his path as he let his fingers drift down from her navel to her sex.
He tested her to see if she was wet in anticipation of him. It was a little soon to expect such a reaction, but he looked, all the same. He was surprised and pleased by what he found there. She was eager. Ready. Ready for whatever he wanted to do to her, which meant she was coming to trust him. Perhaps he should trust her as well.
“I’ve been thinking about what you said,” he said, startling her after he had spent so much time in silence watching her and mulling over his deep thoughts.
“About what?” she asked, her expression genuinely curious.
“About my brother,” he clarified.
“Oh.” The mere mention of his brother had her expression changing to one of fierce defiance. Her chin lifted, and he could just imagine the fire in her eyes. She was magnificent.
“You are right when you say he is a man of little honor. I have known this for some time. You are right when you speak of his cruelty and his avarice. I have known of these as well.”
“And yet you do nothing. You play the part of a faithful lapdog doing whatever he wants.”
It was the truth… and it rubbed him raw. He was not a submissive man by any stretch of the imagination, and he often chafed under his brother’s rule, but his sense of devotion to his father’s memory had kept him from doing anything about it. “Perhaps it is time for that to change,” he said thoughtfully.
“What?” she said in surprise. “You mean you would… seek to overthrow your brother?”
“I didn’t say that. Only that perhaps I should push back harder when I disagree with his methods.”
“That won’t do anything but get you into trouble.”
“And seeking to overthrow him wouldn’t get me into trouble?” He let his touch drift back up her body, stopping between her breasts, taking in their lush weight and pale pink nipples. Her face, arms and shoulders were all suntanned brown from working constantly in the sun, but here, where her clothes covered her, she was pale. It made him aware of how privileged he was to be seeing her like this.
“At least you would be taking a definitive stand. At least you would let him and the rest of the world know that what he does is not right. It isn’t right. I think you would be surprised how many others would be happy to back you in your efforts to bring this nation to a better rule.”
“So now you wish to back me? You think highly of me? Only days ago you thought me no better than my brother. You thought me an animal, and a monster.”
Her features softened. “Perhaps I was wrong,” she allowed. It was a small concession, and he chuckled. She was not willing to give him power over her. Not even the littlest bit… even though he was the one with all the power, while she had none. But she had power over herself. Over her own beliefs and thoughts. He could perhaps alter those over time, but right then he was enjoying the way she pushed back at him. She made him think.
Perhaps too much.
“It is true that there are powerful men who would take my side in a war against my brother, but that would be pitting brother against brother. It would mean civil war… Jorku people taking sides against one another. I do not wish to do that to my people.”
“You said that already. But yet you are willing to risk their lives as they are conscripted into your armies and marched across innocent countries shedding blood just so your brother can claim broader borders. You will risk them then… but not to better their lives? I know the fear your people live under. They know that to cross Vicktor is to court death.”
“And yet you would have me cross him.”
“If anyone can it would be you! You have the loyalty of the men who have fought for you. You have led them to victory. You have. Not Vicktor.”
Valerian fell silent as the argument struggled through his brain for the hundredth time since she had first begun it. Surely his father had not meant for his country to be left in the hands of a despot. When he thought of all his father’s lessons he thought maybe his father had hoped for the best with Vicktor, rather than truly believing he would be the man he wanted him to be. Hadn’t his father also said that a man who wasn’t a fair ruler did not deserve the crown he wore?
“You speak words of treason. My heart speaks them as well. This troubles me greatly.”
“You should follow your heart, wherever it takes you,” she said with feeling.
“And if it should lead me to treat you badly, should I follow it then?”
She swallowed visibly. “You will not do that. You are a man of honor.”
“So you keep telling me. But there is a part of me that wants to strangle the seditious words from your throat. But then I would have to strangle them from my own mind as well.”
He could see the hope blossoming on her face. He didn’t want to crush that hope. He didn’t want to let her down. Somehow that was all-important to him. “Enough!” he said then, surging to his feet. “I will not think on this any longer. I would much rather use your body to my liking.”
He saw the flush that crept over her skin. It was universally charming. She should be afraid of him. Although he had done much to gain her trust in a very short time, she should still be leery of him. Instead she was already craving their time together. He knew it. He could feel it. And that was his responsibility to her. To feel when and what she needed from him. It was an awesome responsibility, but he was more than up for the task.
“Using my body will not stop the thoughts that haunt you,” she said softly.
“No, but it will quiet them for a little while.”
Then, out of sheer indulgence, he bent over the bed and took her left nipple into his mouth. She gasped, having had no warning he was going to do so because her sight had been taken from her. Yet her body curved with unthinking pleasure. He tasted her with strong suction. Very strong. Then as he pulled back he scored her with his teeth, biting her just enough to get her attention. He growled low in his throat in pleasure, but it was the only hint he gave her that she pleased him. She would have to earn the rest.
“Now… I have something special planned for you tonight,” he said.
She tensed, her breath coming quickly. She was off-center, constantly kept guessing. He liked her that way. He didn’t want her to get too comfortable. He didn’t want her to think it would always be easy and gentle.
Not that he had given her all that much gentleness. But for him it had been a great deal. He was taking things slowly for her benefit… but the more she responded to his harsher attentions the harsher he wanted to be. She was perfect in that way, though she didn’t know it yet. He had not seen a woman take to submission quite as quickly and thoroughly as she had. She had come from a simple life, and these were complex pleasures. But she had proved herself more than capable of handling whatever he dished out… so far.
“Please,” she said breathlessly, “I couldn’t bear it if you hurt me.”
It was a very vulnerable statement. Very unlike her. She loathed showing any weakness. It was one of the things that appealed to him about her. He wondered at the change.
“I will hurt you. And more. And you will like it. No. You will love it. You will love me.”
Her chin raised a fraction
“You will love me and be devoted to me. You will give me your loyalty in a way you have never given it to anyone else, including your family.”
She had to. He needed her to.
“My family is everything to me. There is nothing greater than that.”
“I am your family now,” he said, making his tone final.
Her chin quivered a little. “But you said you would bring my sisters here. You said if I pleased you, you would find them and keep them safe.”
“I am a man of my word, Melena,” he said. “Are you doubting me? There are repercussions for questioning me.”
“No! I just… it’s hard to trust… someone else.”
She meant it was hard to trust him. He would allow that. He had done much to upset her life. She had every right to feel unsure of him. But he would teach her to trust him. He would show her he was worthy of her vulnerabilities.
He left her side and slowly paced at the foot of the bed, drinking in her exposed body and the vulnerable state she was in lashed to his bed as she was. She was really quite perfect, from the glorious richness of her pale blonde hair to the soft globes of her proud breasts to the lush width of her hips and the long length of her legs ending in perfect small feet.
She was exquisite, and he realized he was quite enamored of her. But he couldn’t show her that. He had to be the one to maintain the power in their relationship. It was the only way he knew how to function. He was submissive to only one thing in his life, and that was his father’s memory. Some might think he was submissive to his brother, but they did not know how often he battled his brother for what was right. They did not know the effort it took to manage Vicktor and keep him from going completely into the depths of depravity.
However, being submissive to his father’s memory meant that he had to obey Vicktor when he laid down his final word on a matter. But it didn’t mean he had to like it, and it didn’t mean Vicktor held any true power over him. He had the freedom of his thoughts, and he had the freedom to manipulate a situation to the best of his ability.
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