Love's Prisoner (Page 7)

He laughed shortly, and left the room. The pillow smacked into the door and fell to the floor with a fat thump.

Chapter Six

Since Wyndham, the sadistic cretin, was panting at the thought of her escape, and since he'd alerted the household she was an unwilling guest, Jeannie decided to stay put for a while, provided her situation didn't change (read: Wyndham didn't decide she was in heat again, or Moira didn't spike her milk with broken glass).

So she took lunch with Wyndham and his staff, who were obviously more friends than employees, in a dining room that had more windows than a solarium. Sunlight splashed across the table and gleamed from the blonde wood floors. She sat in the finest dining room she'd ever seen and commented on how delicious everything tasted. They had all been watching her expectantly, and seemed disappointed when she didn't throw things or leap across the table through the French doors that led to the beach.

"How long have you known you were expecting our leader's child?" Derik asked, sliding the bread basket toward her.

She helped herself to another piece of the sun-dried tomato and basil loaf and looked at her watch. "About six hours and fourteen minutes."

Wyndham looked up from his soup. "You did one of those home tests? You haven't seen a doctor?"

"I had an appointment for this afternoon. Which I missed. Guess why, King Psycho."

He remained unruffled, though she saw a few of the staff hiding smiles. "Well, then, you need a doctor. Moira, see to it." He glanced at Jeannie with a frown, then added, "A female physician, if you please."

"Yes, sir."

"Like there are so many werewolf doctors to choose from?" Jeannie interrupted sarcastically. "What, is there a directory or something?" As the others laughed, she had a sudden thought. "Oh, will we have to go to town for that?"

Derik, seated at Wyndham's left (she was at his right), snickered. "Nice try. The doctor will come here."

"Well, goody for him."

"Her," Michael corrected sharply.

Jeannie raised her eyebrows, said nothing, and ate her chicken. Wyndham was jealous? Of a male doctor? Ridiculous. Still, that might be a handy button to push. She filed the thought away.

"Are you mad because you think we're all crazy, or because you're here against your will?" Jon asked curiously.

"I don't think that's a fair question," Michael said reproachfully.

"Yeah, I mean, there's so many reasons for me to be furious at all of you, how can I pick just one?"

"I meant," Jon said, flushing a little, "the full moon is in three days. And you could watch some of us change, or even one of us change, and then you wouldn't think we were crazy anymore, so it might be easier to accept—um—are you okay?"

She could actually feel the color draining from her face, could feel the trembling in her hands. She dropped her spoon in her soup and fled the table, running, running, for her rooms.

Michael caught up with her on the stairs. She wrenched away from him and kept going. Never one to take a hint, he followed her into her bedroom.

"The full moon?" she asked, hating the shrill, panicky note in her voice. He shut the door to assure some privacy; she barely noticed. "The full moon again? I can't go through that again! I can't go through that craziness with you again! Don't you touch me!"

He had been reaching for her, ignored her shriek and pulled her, struggling, into a firm embrace. "It's all right," he said into her hair. "I had planned to leave the grounds when my change came. I wouldn't have forced you again. I promised you I wouldn't force you, except as punishment."

"What good is a promise from you?" she choked, resting her forehead against his shoulder. He smelled so good. It was as comforting as it was irritating.

"I've done many things to you, Jeannie, but when have I broken a promise?"

She shrugged sullenly. Then stiffened, remembering. She leaned back to look at him. "But what about the others? They all think they're werewolves, too, they all—"

"You have nothing to fear from the females, because as my mate, you're alpha female. No, listen, Jeannie—if it's a delusion, at least we all have to follow the same rules, right? And the males won't—can't—touch you without my permission." His voice hardened. "And I won't give it. Ever. So you have nothing to fear."

She choked on a laugh.

"You really don't," he said, pressing a warm kiss to her brow. "Now come back and finish your lunch. You don't want the baby to starve, do you?"

"No," she sighed. She glanced at him again; he had put an arm around her shoulder and was steering her out the door, back to the dining room. A thought struck her—late, but her thought process was continually being thwarted by shock upon shock. "What do you think? About my being pregnant, I mean? I never got a chance to ask you. Not that I care either way," she added hastily.

"I'm thrilled," he said simply, giving her a warm smile. He leaned close and she had the sense he wanted very much to kiss her. Something—belated concern for her feelings?—held him back. "I love children. The pack needs the continuity of succession. And I get to keep you now, don't I?"

His voice ended on a teasing note, but she wasn't amused. "For a minute there, I was almost liking you," she said evenly, pushing his arm away. "Thanks for turning back into a creep."

At the dining table, the other werewolves—people—were still glaring at Jon, who was miserably embarrassed. "I'm really sorry," he said at once upon seeing Jeannie. "I shouldn't have reminded you about the full moon. I forgot that—" He paused, glanced at Michael, blushed harder. "I have no excuse. I'm so sorr—"

"Please stop," she said, rolling her eyes and sitting back down. "I'm the one who should apologize. I can assure you it's not my usual M.O. to drop cutlery and flee for the bedroom when the word 'moon' is introduced into the conversation."

The others laughed, Michael harder than anyone. Jon smiled at her with pure gratitude. And Derik forked another chicken breast onto her plate.


"How about a tour, Moira?" she asked briskly, after the lunch dishes had been cleared away. "Might as well check out my new home."

"She'll try to escape," Derik warned, finishing the last of his peach sorbet.

"I know," Moira said defensively. "You don't have to tell me everything, Mr. Right Hand Man."

"Bring her to me once you've found her again," Michael said casually, but his eyes were gleaming in a way Jeannie didn't much care for.

"Hello!" she shouted. "Prisoner still in the room, here! Can you have this conversation where I can't hear you?"

Moira giggled, and extended a hand. Surprised, Jeannie took it. "Come on," she said. "We'll start with the gardens. If you cosh me over the head to escape, try not to muss my hair."

"For God's sake," she muttered, but obediently followed Moira out the door.

She had, in fact, decided to escape in the next day or so—well before the full moon. Michael's assurances aside, she had no intention of sharing a home, however sprawlingly luxurious, with twenty people all sharing the same delusion. And she didn't plan to be in the same state with Wyndham when he went through that again. She wasn't afraid of being forced, so much as being forced to pleasure. Her cheeks burned with humiliation every time she remembered how he had made her scream in ecstasy. In a flash she was back in the warm, dark elevator, Michael's cock surging between her thighs, her fingers digging into his skin, wordlessly urging more, more . . .

She shook herself, and concentrated on the tour. Now was no time for daydreaming. Now was the time to plot and plan and eventually escape these crazies.

In the rose garden, Moira said in a low voice, "We don't blame you. For being upset, I mean. It must have been . . ." She trailed off, then asked timidly, "Was it very awful?"

"Huh? You mean being stuck in the elevator with your boss? Well, the lights went out, so we couldn't read my Glamour . . ."

"It's kind of you to joke, but . . . I can't imagine how it must have been for you—a pure human, and an unbeliever, besides. Tearing clothes and scratches and bites, and being forced on your knees and taken without so much as a 'please' . . . I suppose you had to see a doctor." She looked as though she was going to burst into tears. "I suppose you—you tore and . . . and—no wonder you hate him. Us."

"Uh . . . yeah. Yeah, it was an unending torment. What's that building over there?"

As Moira obediently showed her the gardener's shed, Jeannie's mind whirled. What Moira imagined hadn't been at all what happened. Michael had gone out of his way to soothe her, to bring her pleasure, to make sure she was ready for him. He'd had that much control, at least. What would sympathetic Moira think if she told her it had been the most exciting, pleasurable sexual experience of her life? What did that mean, that he'd been nearly out of control, but cared for her enough to do his best not to hurt her, even to bring her pleasure?

In a flash, she was back in the warm, dark elevator—

Jeannie pushed the thought away with a firmness she didn't feel.

"You can't leave the grounds," Moira was saying casually, "until we kill Gerald. But after that, it should be all right."

"What?" She nearly fell into a rose bush. "Now you're talking about killing someone so I can leave?"

"Didn't our leader explain about Gerald?"

"Frankly, I tend to tune him out when he's babbling about all the reasons it's okay for him to break the law where I'm concerned."

"Your law," Moira pointed out calmly, "not ours."

Jeannie bent to sniff a rose so gray it was almost silver. "Okay, I'll bite. What is your law?"