Vaaden warriors 1 rheul, p.2
Vaaden Warriors 1: Rheul, page 2
My heart constricted at the thought of her being without a home, without the promise of a meal or a roof over her head, and I sat back down. "I promise that you'll never want for anything."
"Don't make me promises you cannot keep. Just because you claimed me doesn't mean you have to keep me. It isn't like we're married."
She had a point, but suddenly I wanted to keep her, if for no other reason than to make sure she didn't have to worry about what would happen to her. It terrified me. "You have 16
my word that I will never get rid of you. This will be your home for as long as you like."
"You would do that for me?"
I nodded and stood. It was time to get the hell out of there. Obviously, I wasn't thinking clearly. When had I grown such a soft heart and a conscience when it came to slaves?
I'd only owned the woman for an hour or so, and already she'd scrambled my brains. True, I'd grown fond of Enid since coming to know her, but that was different. Bastian treated as he would a wife, and I had come to think of her as a sister. I no longer saw her as a slave.
No matter how much I wasn't looking forward to seeing my brother, I needed Bastian's counsel. I wasn't used to dealing with virgins, and I certainly wasn't used to dealing with a heart. Then again, it was probably best if I didn't mention that second part to him. He'd only gloat if he thought I suddenly cared what happened to the slave girl.
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At Bastian's, I paced before the fire, with him sitting in a chair behind me.
"Would you sit down already?" he grumbled. "You're starting to drive me crazy."
"I have a problem."
"So you've said. Now would you tell me what it is already?
Enid is upstairs waiting. Her feet are hurting and I promised her a foot rub."
I snorted and shook my head.
"You. She has you wrapped around her little finger."
"It will happen to you some day."
"Doubtful. I'd have to have a heart in order to lose it."
Bastian shrugged. "I'm sure it's there somewhere."
Yeah, it's there. Now how do I get rid of the damn thing?
"My heart isn't the issue."
"So what is?"
I stopped pacing long enough to look at him. "She's a virgin."
Bastian's eyes widened. "Darcy?"
"Oh? That's all you have to say? I have a bomb like that dropped on me and come to you for help, and you can't give me anything better than 'oh'? What the hell do I do?"
Bastian choked on a laugh. "I should think that would be obvious. You visit the harems often enough, so I doubt you need instruction."
I glared at him. "That isn't what I mean and you damn well know it."
"And you think I know something about this because?"
I shrugged. "You just seem... I don't know..." I wasn't sure what word I was looking for. "Gentle?"
"What does that have to do with anything? It isn't like I go around deflowering virgins!"
"I should hope not!" came an indignant huff from the doorway, and I winced.
"Hello, Enid," I said with a smile.
"What's all the noise about?" she asked.
"It seems my brother has procured a slave who's a virgin, and he's at a loss as to what to do," Bastian said.
"Oh," Enid said with a frown. "Well, it will require some finesse, that's for sure."
"You think?" I asked sarcastically.
"Well, you could start by romancing her," she suggested.
"Excuse me?" I knew I hadn't heard her right. She wanted me to romance my slave? Had pregnancy made her a half-wit?
"You heard me. Romance her."
I snorted. "She's a slave, Enid."
"Yes, and a woman first," she snapped. "Or have you forgotten that I'm one too?"
I winced. Actually, I had forgotten. Not that she was a woman by any means, but that she'd been a slave. Was still a 19
slave. Occasionally it slipped my mind because of the way Bastian treated her. He hadn't treated her like a slave since he'd brought her to his home.
"I'm sorry, Enid. I didn't mean anything by it."
"Whether you meant it or not, it still hurts to be reminded that I can never marry Bastian," she said as tears welled in her eyes. A thousand knives couldn't have hurt me as much as those tears did. She was a gentle soul, and I'd come to care for her as a sister over the past few months. Not that I'd ever admit it to anyone.
Bastian rose and walked to her side, wrapping an arm around her expanding waist. He glared at me. "She's given you your answer, Rheul. If you're going to upset her, I think you need to leave."
"You know I didn't mean to. I'd never hurt Enid on purpose." And it was true, I wouldn't. Hurting Enid was the same as kicking a puppy. "Besides, I have no clue how to romance a woman."
Enid laughed through her tears. "Why am I not surprised?"
"Ouch!" I smiled at her.
"Take flowers to her. Give her compliments. Be nice to her."
"Be nice to her?" What the hell did that mean? I'd been nice to her. I bought her those tunics, had the apartment refurbished...what else did she need from me?
She shook her head. "If you can't figure that one out, there's no hope for you."
"But there has to be more to it than that."
"Well, the first time, you could sprinkle flower petals across the bed and light candles."
I'm sure I looked at her like she'd lost her mind. "You want me to do what?"
She rolled her eyes. "Or you can act like it's just another day and not make it the least bit special for her at all."
"Is that what she meant? She said something about thinking her first time would be different."
Enid beamed at me. "Yes! That's what she meant."
"Oh." Well, hell, I was in trouble. I was fairly certain I didn't have a romantic bone in my body. I'd never had cause to be romantic. But I wanted to do whatever was necessary to make Darcy's first time perfect for her.
"I think she's helped you enough," Bastian said. "She needs her rest."
Enid poked him in the ribs. "I'm pregnant, not made of glass."
He kissed her cheek. "Same difference."
She smiled up at him, love shining in her eyes, and jealousy burned through me. I wondered what it would feel like for someone to love me, or to love someone, for that matter. It was an intense emotion, and I doubted I would ever feel it, not in the romantic sense anyway. I loved my family, but that wasn't the same thing.
Well, I loved my brother. My mother was another story.
I found myself back at Darcy's slave quarters, and I wasn't sure why. I'd meant to go home, or to the harems, but my feet had carried me in the other direction. I stood just inside 21
the door, staring at her uncertainly. She stared back with just as much confusion in her eyes.
"I thought you'd left for the day," she said.
"I went to talk to Bastian and Enid."
"Oh. Did he change his mind about Enid visiting? It would be nice to have company."
I couldn't ignore the hopeful sound in her voice. I wished there was something I could do for her, but there just wasn't a way for anyone to visit with her. Bastian wasn't about to let Enid come to the slave quarters, and I couldn't take her anywhere else. The council would have my head if I took Darcy to visit my brother. Aside from when I'd first received her, taking a slave outside of the slave quarters was expressly forbidden, with exception of medical care and emergencies. And if the other slave women had been claimed, I knew their owners wouldn't agree to social visits. No matter how much I wanted to ease her loneliness, I knew it wasn't meant to be.
And there it was again... why did I care if she was lonely?
Why did I care what she felt at all? None of it should have mattere
She nodded and ducked her head. Moving to the sofa, she sat and curled her legs underneath her. "Did you come back to...?"
"No, I didn't come back for that." At least, I didn't think I had. Honestly, I didn't have a clue why I was there. I should 22
really have been at the harems. I hadn't been with a woman in over a day, and I was starting to weaken a little.
"Just to spend time with you." At least, I thought that was why. It sounded like a good reason, and it would be a reason Enid would approve of. That would count as romancing her, wouldn't it?
She looked as surprised as I felt. I suddenly realized I meant it. I really did want to spend time with her.
"I know it's early, but I've had a long day. I was actually about to go to bed." She bit her lip. "Would you... would you like to lie down with me?"
"I'd love to."
Helping her rise to her feet, I followed her into the bedroom. I pulled the covers down on the bed and watched as she lay down. Pulling my shirt over my head, I dropped it on the floor and watched her eyes go wide. I toed off my boots and slipped into bed on the other side, draping an arm across her waist.
Her soft scent wrapped around me, and I breathed her in.
Kissing the side of her neck, I pulled her back against me, holding her close. She stiffened for a moment, but relaxed when she realized I wasn't going to do anything other than hold her.
"Why are you being so nice?" she asked in a drowsy voice.
"I don't know," I answered honestly.
"Thank you for not pushing me into doing anything today.
It means a lot to me."
"You're welcome." I knew I was going to pay the price for it later. I'd skipped the harems thinking I would be with my slave today, and now I had to abstain. Sex for a Vaaden male was crucial to our physical well-being, and now I'd gone too long without release. Too much longer, and I'd be in trouble.
She turned toward me and looked up at me. "Am I the only slave you own?"
Her question surprised me. I hadn't thought she would be brave enough, or care enough to ask. "Yes, you are."
"While I was waiting to be claimed, I heard from the other women that Vaaden men have to... that is, that if you don't..."
"We have to have sex," I stated.
"Yes," she said with a blush.
"What about it?"
"If you aren't doing that here with me tonight, then where did you go?"
"I didn't go anywhere, not that it's your business."
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean..."
I sighed. "No, it's okay. I'm just a little touchy tonight."
"Why didn't you go to the harems?" she asked softly.
"I don't know." And I honestly didn't. For some reason, the idea hadn't appealed to me. I should have gone before returning to her, and yet I hadn't.
She was quiet for a few minutes before speaking again.
"Are you married?"
I laughed. "No, I'm not married."
"Why is that funny?"
"I'll have to marry eventually, but I'm really not the marrying kind."
She snuggled closer to me and closed her eyes. I felt her exhale against my chest, and my arms tightened around her.
I'd never wanted anyone as much as I wanted her, but I wouldn't take her. I'd given her my word she was safe from me for the night. And if what Enid had said was true, then I had a long road ahead of me before I could do more than sleep beside her. I really didn't want to visit the harems, but it seemed I would have little choice in the matter, unless I wanted to become the beast she thought me to be. I'd always used one specific slave in the harems, and now that I had a slave of my own, it seemed only natural to be with her and only her.
I slipped out of bed the next morning while Darcy was still asleep and left the apartment before she woke. I was beginning to ache and knew I didn't have a choice any longer; I couldn't prolong the inevitable. It was time to visit the public harems. Darcy obviously wasn't ready, and I didn't want to force her.
As I entered the large building, revulsion rolled through me. I'd visited them countless times during my life, but for some reason, I didn't want anything to do with the place today. I wasn't sure why I felt discontented, but I did.
Stopping by the front desk, I smiled at the woman behind the desk. "Hello, Vala."
"Good morning, Rheul. Are you here to see Lira?"
"Yes. Is she available?"
Vala consulted her book a moment. "Yes, she is. You can go up and I'll block off an hour for you."
"Thank you," I replied with a smile, although I doubted I would need an hour. No, today I wasn't planning to stick around for enjoyment. I was merely here because I didn't have any other option. Today I was here for a service and nothing more.
As I climbed the winding staircase, the pain grew worse.
By the time I reached Lira's room, I wasn't sure I would make it much longer. When I walked in the room, I collapsed onto the bed, no longer able to stand.
"I haven't seen you in a days," she said with a sugary smile. "I thought you'd abandoned me."
"I won't be coming here much longer," I told her.
If it weren't for Darcy, I would have continued to see Lira.
She was a beautiful woman and very passionate in bed. She was one of the most sought after females in the harems, but only a select few were able to set appointments with her—
those of us who could afford her. Lira was one of twenty women that Vaadens paid to use in this harem. It was the planet's way of funding the harems. The other women were free, a way to ensure all males stayed healthy. I could use one of the free women, but the paid women were used by fewer men, and it allowed me to have a friendship of sorts with the woman I used without the hassle of owning a slave.
Her smile slipped a little. "Why not?"
"I bought a slave yesterday. I'm giving her some time to adjust to life on Vaaden before I fully claim her."
Lira's smile turned downright brittle. I wondered why she'd care if I had a slave or not. Lira was a harem slave. What did it matter if I visited her?
"So you've come to me one last time then? You plan on using your slave and only her?"
"Yes," I whispered, the pain nearly killing me now.
She moved over me, straddling my hips. I could feel the heat of her pussy through my pants. Before it would have been enough to make me hard, but it wasn't working today. I felt absolutely nothing for her. She reached down between our bodies to stroke me, but that didn't work either. Was it the pain? Had I waited too long? Or was it something else?
Slipping her hand into my pants, she grasped my cock and frowned. "What the hell, Rheul?"
I groaned. I'd never had a problem like this before, so I didn't know how to respond. Apparently Darcy had gotten under my skin more than I'd thought. It was the only explanation I could come up with. Damn it! The woman was going to be the death of me—literally.
"Get Bastian," I said in a strangled voice. I didn't know how much longer I would last. It had been days since I'd had sex with a woman, and I knew that I could die at any moment. I'd been a fool to wait so long. Regardless of what Darcy wanted, I should have taken her yesterday, or at least visited the harems before she arrived.
What felt like forever later, Bastian burst into the room, a worried frown on his face. "What's wrong?"
"It hurts," I gasped.
"Damn it, Rheul! Why did you wait so long?"
"I was giving her time, remember? And before that, I waited for her."
"At the risk of your life?" Bastian asked. "Don't be an idiot.
Even Enid wouldn't have asked that of you! You know she would have wanted you to use the harems until Darcy was ready."
"Two days isn't that long."
"Yes, but you're used to having sex daily. I was only used to visiting the harems every three or
I groaned and grabbed my stomach, wanting to curl into a ball. I felt like I was dying, and quite possibly I was. I'd never felt anything like this before, and I never wanted to feel it again.
"I brought Thale with me. We're going to get you back to Darcy. Just hang on, okay?"
I couldn't even answer and I tried not to cry out in pain as they lifted and carried me out of the building. I must have passed out for a moment because when I opened my eyes again, I was back in Darcy's apartment and she was leaning over me with a worried look on her face.
"What's wrong with him?" she asked them.
"He hasn't been with a woman in days," Thale told her with an accusatory look.
"What do you mean? I thought he was going to the harem today. When I woke up alone, I thought that's where he was."
"He tried to, but it was too late," Bastian said quietly. "I don't know how long he'll last, Darcy."
"What?" she asked in near panic.
"They're trying to tell you that I might be dying," I said softly, pain wracking my body.
"No, you can't be!"
I grinned at her before wincing in pain. "Yes, I'm afraid I can be."
"I won't let you," she said with determination. I would have smiled at the stubborn tilt of her chin if I felt better.
"Out," she said to Bastian and Thale, shooing them from the apartment. Once they'd left, she returned to the bedroom.
"I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm not going to let you die," she said.
"You don't have to do anything, Darcy. I know you aren't ready yet."
She knelt on the bed beside me and tugged off my boots.
Next, she lifted my shirt over my head, making me groan in pain, and then slid my pants down my legs. Her face burned in embarrassment, and I realized she'd probably never seen a naked man before, and I admired her bravery.
by Jessica Coulter Smith / Romance / Young Adult / Science Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes