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Enid by Jessica Coulter Smith

Vaaden Captives, Book 2
by Jessica Coulter Smith

Changeling Press

eBook ISBN: 06794-02187

Having been abused by men, Enid doesn’t trust easily and cannot stand to be touched. When she’s claimed as a sex slave on another planet, she fears what will happen to her. Bastian is a pleasant surprise — patient and caring, he’s not what she expected in an owner. As she gets to know him, she finds herself doing the unthinkable — falling in love.

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Changeling Press

Chapter One

The large Vaaden warrior entered the cell and stopped in front of Sorcha. I could tell she was scared, but I was glad he hadn’t noticed me. Then, he continued past her and stopped inches from me. My heart hammered in my chest and my eyes were wide in fear.
He reached out to touch my hair and I flinched. I hadn’t meant to, but it wasn’t something I could control. I wished I could show Sorcha’s bravery.
He frowned at me and I knew I had displeased him.
“Why do you flinch when I try to touch you?”
I opened my mouth, but no sound would come out. It was as if my vocal cords had frozen in my throat. I felt paralyzed with fear.
“She doesn’t like to be touched by anyone,” Sorcha told him, and I silently thanked her.
The warrior stepped closer, and I forgot to breathe, dots danced in my vision and then blackness overtook me.
* * *
I awakened some time later in a lavish bedroom. Looking around at the foreign surroundings, I spotted the warrior in a nearby chair.
“You’re awake.” His voice was deep and dark, smoky like whiskey.
I trembled, knowing I should speak but I couldn’t.
I watched, helpless, as he stood and came closer. He stopped at the edge of the bed and sat beside me. Slowly, he reached a hand toward me and gently stroked a lock of my hair. I felt proud of the fact that I was able to hold still, even though I was terrified and trembling.
“Easy,” he murmured, and I realized I was hyperventilating. So much for my bravery.  “What’s your name?” he asked softly.
I swallowed hard, forcing down the knot in my throat. “Enid.”
“I’m Bastian.”
I stared at him, uncertain of what he wanted. I’d heard Susan tell Sorcha what to expect, but the idea of being intimate with a man petrified me. What would happen when he realized that I wouldn’t be able to please him?
“Why are you afraid of me? The woman in the cell said you hate to be touched.”
“It… it isn’t that I hate being touched. It scares me.”
“Why?” I looked away. When his fingers grasped my chin, I jumped and looked at him, wide-eyed and ready to run, not that I had anywhere to go. “Why does my touch scare you?” he persisted.
“Not yours, specifically. Anyone’s.”
He stared, waiting on my answer. My heart felt like it was going to pound right out of my chest and I wished he would move further away. I felt my palms grow moist and queasiness rolled through me. I only hoped I wouldn’t get sick. Even though I’d been stuck in the cell for weeks, I suddenly wished I was back there.
“I… I… On my way home from work one night, a group of men dragged me into an alley… they…” I closed my eyes against the memories. “They held me down and…” I stopped, unable to complete the sentence. The horrors of that night still lived in my mind, but putting voice to the events made them even more real.
“They raped you.”
My eyes flew open at the steely tone of his voice. Anger sparked in his violet eyes and a muscle twitched in his jaw. He really was a breathtaking man. Even as terrified as I was, I could appreciate his masculine beauty. Once upon a time, his attention would have flattered me, but not now. “Yes.”
“Was that your first time?”
I blushed and nodded, my gaze remaining trained on his face.
Slowly, he reached for me and gently cupped my cheek, his thumb caressing me. Surprisingly, I didn’t flinch or pass out. I didn’t think he meant me any harm, and while I didn’t know for sure, he had been gentle with me so far. At least for the moment.
“I’m sorry for your pain and what you had to endure. No woman should ever go through that.”
I stared at him in surprise. “Isn’t that what… what you’re going to do to me?”
I cringed at the fury I saw in his face and waited for the blow I was sure would follow. When it didn’t, I relaxed a little, watching him warily. He didn’t seem to be as horrible as the man who had claimed Susan. If anything, he seemed gentle, even if he didn’t look it. No, he looked like a god ready to do battle, a man who could command the thunder and lightning.
“I will take my pleasure in your body, but it will be nothing like your previous experience.” He grinned. “You may even like it.”
I doubted it, but I didn’t voice my opinion. I had a feeling it would only anger him, and I knew I didn’t want that anger to be directed my way. If anything, I’d prefer that he ignore me all together. It didn’t seem that I would get my wish. When the time came, I only hoped I didn’t throw up on him.
“It’s late and I’m sure you’re tired. While you wash, I’ll get something for you to wear.”
I looked down at the tattered, grimy dress I wore. Anything had to be better than this, I thought ruefully. It was little more than a sack that hung from my shoulders to the tops of my thighs, covering very little of me. I had been embarrassed when I’d first woken to discover myself clothed in such an item. Now I wasn’t embarrassed, but I was very aware of the man staring at me. “I’d like that,” I replied softly.
He stood and walked to a metal door. After placing his palm against the center of it, it whooshed open, sliding into the wall. After walking into the pristine white chamber, he reached over and started what appeared to be a shower. Water emerged from jets in the ceiling and floor of the sunken area.
Rising unsteadily to my feet, I slowly walked into the small room. Steam rolled out of the shower area and I nearly sighed in pleasure. It had been ages since I’d had a hot shower and I was looking forward to it.
As Bastian walked out, I stared at the open bathroom door. I wanted a shower, but not with the door open. Uncertain what to do, I waited.
When Bastian returned, he was carrying a shirt, which I assumed to be his. After setting the shirt down on a long counter, he then removed a towel from a cabinet on the opposite wall.
Bastian walked to my side and stared down at me a moment before slowly reaching for me. “I won’t hurt you,” he whispered.
I held my breath, my body tense, as I watched his fingers curled into the hem of my dress and began to lift it in small increments. I stood frozen like a statue, wanting to cover myself but unable to move. My chest rose and fell, and I felt unable to get enough air.
He pulled the dress over my head and dropped it on the floor. Slowly turning my body, he gave me a gentle nudge into the shower, never touching me anywhere intimate.
Even with my back to him, I could feel his eyes boring into me, making the hair at the base of my skull prickle. Was he going to watch me the entire time, I wondered? If so, it was going to make bathing a nightmare. I couldn’t imagine him watching me as I washed my body. Considering what I’d heard of Vaaden males, though, it was possible he got off on that kind of thing.
A moment later, I knew he no longer stood a few feet away. As I glanced over my shoulder, I looked up into a pair of violet eyes and my breath left me, as did my courage and strength. My knees weakened and I sank to the shower floor, huddled against the wall.
“Easy, Enid. I promise I won’t hurt you,” he crooned as he crouched before me, his hands turning my face to his.
My eyes focused on his chest. Broad and heavily muscled, it made my mouth run dry. If I hadn’t been terrified, I might have gladly welcomed him into my bed. He was definitely the best looking man I’d ever laid eyes on.
Bastian tipped my chin up so I was looking him in the eye once more. With his fingers, he traced my cheekbones and jaw, a caress as light as a butterfly’s wings. “Let me wash you, little one.”
I made a strangled sound in my throat and knew if my eyes opened any wider, they’d pop out of my head. After what I’d told him, surely he had to be joking. It had taken everything in me to allow him to undress me and touch my arms and back. The thought of his hands caressing my body was enough to make me pass out. “I… I can’t.”
His jaw tensed a moment, but he watched me silently. He pulled me closer, and with our bodies nearly touching, I once more sank into oblivion.

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Changeling Press

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