Love's Prisoner (Page 5)

"Shut up," she said thinly, bringing her hand up to push his face away—he went easily, and she had the feeling he went because it pleased him, not because of anything she had done. "Shut up, I hate you, I wish you had died."

"I know," he said sadly. "Your opinion is not about to change." Abruptly, he shifted his full weight on her, and she felt his fingers come up and settle on the junction between her neck and shoulder . . . and start to squeeze. Black roses bloomed in her vision and she felt herself fading, fading, using up precious strength to get him off her rather than trying to drag his fingers away from her neck and what the hell was that, anyway? Was that—

Chapter Four

She woke in an unidentified bedroom . . . and came to consciousness yelling. "What the hell was that! Did you actually use the Vulcan Neck Pinch on me, you freak?"

Then she realized she was alone. The bedroom was small—the bed took up nearly the entire room, and paneled with pastel-striped wallpaper. There were two large windows on each side of the bed, and . . .

And the bedroom was moving. She bounded off the bed, swaying for a long moment as a wave of dizziness swamped her, then lurched to the nearest window.

The bedroom was on a highway. Traveling roughly seventy miles an hour.

There was a short 'rap-rap' on the door, and then Tall, Dark, and Weird stuck his head in. "Are you all right?"

She whirled on him and he grinned as she snapped, "I am so sick of hearing that question from you—usually after you've done something horrible to me! No, I'm not all right! I'm a rape victim and a kidnap victim and a—a pregnancy victim and a Vulcan Neck Pinch Victim and now I'm in some sort of mobile bedroom—"

"It's an RV," he said helpfully, easing into the room, keeping his hands in sight. She felt like a rabbit, easily spooked, like she might bolt any second. Apparently he had the same impression, because his voice was low and very soothing. "I wanted you to be comfortable for the trip."

"How very fucking considerate of you," she said with acid sarcasm. "Why, I don't know when I've been kidnapped by a nicer man."

His smile faded. "Jeannie, I have enemies who would kidnap you and take your baby from you and then kill you, all so they could raise the next pack leader and have a voice of power. How could I let that happen to you?"

She took a deep breath and forced calm. On top of everything else—the physical power, the sexy voice—did he have to be so handsome? If she'd gotten a look at him in the elevator before the lights went out, he probably wouldn't have had to force her. Much. "Look. I'm not saying you're a liar, okay? I'm not saying that. I'm sure you believe all this stuff."

"Thanks," he said dryly.

"But the fact is, you can't force women in elevators and then show up and yank them from their homes and take them who-knows-where. You can't. Don't you know it's wrong? Don't you care?"

He sat on the edge of the bed and nodded soberly. "I do know it's wrong. By your laws."

She threw her hands up in disgust. "Oh, here we go."

"I do care," he continued. "As angry and humiliated as you are, I'm as embarrassed to find myself having to play the villain. But it's far worse to use you for my pleasure and then never give you another thought. Especially when I knew you were ovulating, knew there was an excellent chance I'd made you pregnant. How could I turn my back on you after using you? How could I never look in on you, make sure you were out of danger?"

"Fine!" she shouted, stomping toward the bed. "Look in on me! Tell me you're not dead! You could have apologized for forcing me and scaring me and—and other stuff, and I could have thanked you for saving my life, and then you could have gone your way and I'd have gone mine. Instead you do this," She gestured to the RV bedroom. "I loathe rooms on wheels," she hissed.

"There was the small matter of my enemies finding you," he reminded her calmly.

"Very small—you knew my name and it still took you three weeks to find me."

"Even if there was only a chance in a thousand you were in danger, do you think I'd risk you for an instant?" he asked sharply. "You're angry with me now, but what if I had never come back in your life . . . but my enemies had? You would have died cursing my name. I couldn't have borne that."

"Oh, please." She turned her back on him. "You don't give two shits for me. I was a piece of ass you couldn't resist. That's—aaah!"

He had come up behind her with that liquid, silent speed she had seen before, startling her badly. His hand fell on her shoulder and he turned her toward him. His eyes, locked on hers, were gold and blazing. "Do not say that again," he said with an icy calm that terrified her, even as it fascinated her. "It's disrespectful of me, as well as yourself. I'm not in the habit of forcing unwilling females, despite what you must think."

"Sorry," she said quickly, through numb lips. Then, despising her fear, she added coldly, "Remove the hand."

His hand fell away. "And now I've frightened you," he said with real regret. "Forgive me, Jeannie."

"It's just that, since you don't even know me, I don't see how you can claim to feel anything for me," she said carefully.

His hand came up slowly, carefully, and when she didn't flinch, settled on her cheek like a dove's touch. "I do know you," he murmured. "There is much more to you than beauty."

She flushed; against her hot skin, his hand felt cool. "I'm not beautiful."

He laughed. "With all that curly blonde hair?"

"It's frizzy," she corrected him.

"And all those adorable freckles?"


"And that pale skin, like the richest cream?"

"When I go to the beach I look like a fucking vampire, thanks very much, and could we get off my looks, please?"

"Then we'll just have to talk about your intelligence and courage and razor wit," he said with faux regret. "What a bore."

She laughed; she couldn't help it. And immediately bit off the sound.

"I've never heard you laugh before!" he said, delighted. "Do it again."

"I can't laugh on command. Look," she said briskly, getting back to business, wondering how long he was going to be touching her face, "let's talk facts, here. Facts, not delusions and you're the king of the werewolves and you've got enemies out to get me even though they don't know me—cold hard facts. Where is your home?"

"Barnstable, on Cape Cod," he said, amused.

"Ah, yes, Cape Cod," she said sarcastically, "a hotbed of shape-shifters. I always thought so. The tourists had to be going there for some reason . . ."

He laughed again, and his hand slid down, toward her collarbone. She knocked it away and backed up, so fast that she hit the far wall. Startled, he went after her, politely backing off when she kicked out at him.

"Don't touch me there again. Ever. Ever ever. If you do, I swear I'll—" She couldn't think of something bad enough. "I'll do worse than rack you in the 'nads."

Understanding dawned. "I wasn't going to knock you out again," he said. To her amazement, he actually sounded hurt. "I just like touching you."

"I don't give a shit! You're contemptible, showing up uninvited, pinning me down and pinching me until I was out cold—"

"I had a feeling," he said dryly, marching to her and dragging her, kicking, out of the corner. He shoved her gently to the bed and then walked around it, standing on the far side of the room. "I had a feeling you wouldn't cooperate in your—uh—removal. Steps had to be taken. But think about this—think about the things I could do to you if I didn't cherish your well-being."

She'd been trying not to. She had realized in the elevator he could have killed her, crippled her, as easily as stomping a spider. If he wanted to hurt her, he'd had ample opportunity. Hell, she'd visited upon him the worst pain a man can know . . . and there had been no retaliation.

"It's still wrong," she said firmly.

He shrugged. "You had more questions?"

"What happens when we get to Cape Cod?"

"You'll stay at my family home."


He hesitated. She gritted her teeth and repeated the question.

"Until you accept your destiny and freely agree to stay with me. Us."

"Forever?" she asked, aghast.

He nodded.

"You've kidnapped me forever? Unless I escape or blow the place up or whatever?"

"Yes." He paused. "I don't expect you to agree right—"

She launched herself at him. It was time to take advantage of the fact that he wouldn't hurt her, and do some major damage. Her first punch missed—he caught her wrist in time—but her simultaneous kick hit the mark, and he winced as her foot cracked into his shin.

"I hate you!" she was shouting, raining blows down on him. He held her wrists and took her kicks stoically, only blocking the ones to the groin with his thigh. "You can't do this! It's not my destiny, you weirdo, it was just dumb luck! I won't stay with you, I won't! I have a life! And it does not include hanging out on Cape Cod with a creep who thinks he's a werewolf!"

"Understood. But it doesn't matter; you're staying." At her shriek of rage, he continued. "And while we're talking, I don't like being hit, or kicked," he said calmly, wincing as she brought her foot down on his instep with all her strength, "so there will be consequences in the future."

"Fuck your consequences!" She brought her head forward in a devastating head butt; he jerked his head aside and she ended up banging her forehead into his neck.

"Starting now," he said, and pulled her too him so sharply she lost her breath. Then his mouth was on hers in a bruising kiss that stole the strength from her knees. He pinned her arms to her sides and, when her teeth clacked together in an attempt to bite him, contented himself with gently nibbling her lower lip.