Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vaaden Warriors 2: Randar by Jessica Coulter Smith

Vaaden Warriors: Randar

by Jessica Coulter Smith
Cover art: ReneƩ George
ISBN: 978-1-60521-580-8
Genre(s): Futuristic, Sci-Fi
Series: Vaaden Warriors
Length: Novella
Page Count: 71
When Rheul convinces Randar to save an abused slave, he finds himself helpless to resist. But once he owns the beautiful Lyssa, he's not sure how to help her. Any man would want her body, but her emotional scars run deep. He knows he needs to gain her trust in order to heal her, and help her become the woman she once was.
When Randar rescues a second woman, a temptress from the harems, one he's visited for the past year, he finds himself owning not one slave, but two. Even more confounding, his new slave is a woman he could easily see himself falling in love with.
With two beautiful women vying for his attention, Randar must choose between his duty to both Lyssa and Sophie, or his love of just one of them?
Vaaden Warriors: Randar
Jessica Coulter Smith
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2011 Jessica Coulter Smith

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My eyes adjusted to the dim interior as I entered the building where all new slaves were kept. I'd never been inside before, as I'd never purchased a slave -- until now.
I had thought of taking a slave for a while, especially after getting to know Susan, my cousin's slave. But I'd been dragging my feet over it. I already owned a unit in the slave quarters, the one where Susan had stayed, and had had it redecorated. Now it was time to actually select a slave of my own.
It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the harems, but there was something more intimate about owning your own slave. I wanted the opportunity to get to know the woman I was with, and as I hadn't thought of taking a wife, I hoped to find someone close to my age, someone who could possibly become more than just a slave at some point in the future. My cousin had come to love his slave, as had several of my friends, and I had to admit that I wanted that for myself.
Rheul had told me about a slave a few days ago. A quiet young woman in the holding cells, purchased and returned for unknown reasons. He didn't know her name, or really anything about her other than what she looked like, but it seemed important to him that she be saved. I'd promised I would take a look at her before I made my selection.
As I entered the holding cells, I nodded to the guards. I studied the occupants of each cell until I spotted a woman matching the description Rheul had given me. She looked like she would barely reach my shoulder, and her honey blonde hair hung halfway down her back.
I stepped into the cell and stood before her. Gently, I reached out and lifted her chin, forcing her to look me in the eye. When her eyes met mine, the brilliant green of them astounded me. The stark terror in her face was nearly my undoing. I had no idea what she'd experienced since being on Vaaden, but it had obviously been bad.
She flinched when I reached to take her hand, but I kept my touch gentle as I grasped it and tugged her closer. With her body a mere inch from mine, I reached out and stroked her hair. She was trembling from what I assumed was fear, and I wished I could take it away.
I nodded to the guard. "I'll take this one."
The guard looked at her. "Is this acceptable, or would you prefer the harems?"
"I'll go with him," she whispered. Her voice was soft and musical, delicate like she was.
Lifting her into my arms, I carried her out of the holding cells and into the light of day. The brightness of the double suns of Vaaden was brutal to someone not of my planet, and she hid her face against my neck.
"It isn't far," I told her.
"I've been there once before," she reminded me.
"Why did your owner return you?"
"I didn't please him," she whispered.
After we entered the slave quarters, I should have set her down and let her walk, but I found that I liked carrying her. Her weight was slight, and it had been a while since I'd felt feminine curves pressed against me -- not including my brief visits to the harems. I went there for a service and nothing more. Being with a slave was going to be more intimate, even more intimate than having a wife.
Not that I had one of those offending creatures. Vaaden wives were horrible things, cruel and vicious, cold and heartless. Not something I planned to inflict upon myself any time soon.
When we reached the apartment Sylon had given me, I put her down and opened the door. She hesitantly stepped inside, and I followed her, making sure the door closed behind us. I watched as she took in her surroundings, trying to see it through her eyes.
I knew it was a simple apartment compared to some of them, but I'd had it redecorated and hoped she liked it. The floor was plush like the fur of Earth rabbits we'd seen on previous raids and was a dark lavender color. The walls were pale lavender, nearly white. The chairs were a soft aqua and lavender print, with a small round table in front of them. I'd made sure there was a bookshelf installed and had filled it to capacity. There were card games and games of chance to keep her occupied when I wasn't around.
She moved toward the bedroom, which had the same color scheme as the main living space. Her fingers trailed across the bed. When she faced the closet, she hesitantly placed her hand over the door and opened it. Inside were several slave garments, but I'd made sure they were the best, all of them made of silk and a little longer than the one she currently wore. I wanted her to be as comfortable as possible in her new home.
"I don't even know your name," I said softly, not wanting to scare her.
"Would you like to shower and change into one of your new tunics, Lyssa?"
She reverently touched one of them and nodded.
I walked up behind her and placed a hand on her shoulder. She tensed under my touch.
"Easy, I won't hurt you."
I took down a pink tunic and handed it to her. "Do you know how to work the showers?"
She shook her head. "My other owner always did it for me."
Slowly, I took her hand and led her into the bathroom. I showed her how to operate the shower and the gel dispenser and made sure she knew where the towels were stored. I could tell she was scared, but she had to get used to me some time or other, so I figured it might as well be now. Baby steps, but this would be the first one.
"I'm not going to hurt you," I assured her as I reached for the hem of her slave garb. Little by little, I raised it, exposing more and more of her body. She was tinier than I had thought, but sweetly curved. It was the bruise on her ribs that infuriated me.
Tossing the offensive garment on the floor, I reached out and softly caressed the black and blue skin. "Who did this to you?"
"My previous owner."
"Once you're clean, I'm taking you to the physician. I want to make sure this bruise is the only damage he caused." I lifted her face so that she would look at me. "What was your owner's name?"
She shook her head, refusing to answer me.
"He deserves to be punished. Tell me who he was."
"No, please... it's all right."
I growled in frustration, but left it alone. Turning on the shower, I nudged her under the water. I quickly stripped out of my clothes and joined her. If she was surprised, she didn't show it. She actually seemed amazingly calm considering her previous abuse. I had expected her to cower against the wall, especially after her aversion to my touch.
I washed her hair and soaped her skin. It turned me on immensely, but I wanted to make sure she was all right before we did anything. I would visit the harems prior to taking her if she wasn't ready yet.
But it seemed my new slave had other ideas. She pressed herself against me and stroked my cock. Grinding my teeth, I eased her hand away from me. I wanted her, but something told me she wasn't really into it. I wanted her to want me before we were intimate. "Lyssa, what are you doing?"
"Isn't this why you joined me in the shower?"
I caressed her cheek. "No. I just wanted to wash you and spend time with you."
She seemed confused. "But I thought... don't you have to... My previous owner said if I didn't take care of him, he'd die."
I nodded. "That can happen, but for me it takes a few days. I went to the harems last night, so there's no rush."
She looked so small and so young... I knew our warriors never took women under nineteen years of age, but this one looked like she barely made the cut-off. It suddenly made me feel rather old at thirty.
"How old are you?" I couldn't help asking.
"Twenty. Does that matter?"
I shook my head, but I found it humorous that when I finally purchased a slave I ended up with one ten years younger than myself. She seemed sweet, even if she did appear a little intimidated by me at times, but I doubted I would ever have the type of relationship I wanted with her. There was too much of an age difference between us, as if there wasn't a big enough obstacle with us being from different worlds. At least I knew she would be safe. I had promised Rheul that I would get her out of the holding cells if she was still there, and I had honored my promise.
But I had to admit I was a little disappointed. I had wanted a more mature woman, someone I could possibly share my life with. I didn't see that happening with Lyssa.
I turned off the water, and we dried off and dressed. In fascination, I watched her braid her hair. I'd never watched a woman get ready before, and I found I liked the intimacy of it. Now that I knew she wore her hair other than hanging down her back, I would have to procure hair combs and such for her. I wanted to give her everything I could that might make her happy. She'd been through enough already according to Rheul, and I wanted to make sure she was happy. Everything but her freedom, for that was one thing I wouldn't be able to give her.

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