The dead, dry leaves on the forest floor crunched beneath my feet as I walked. I questioned the wisdom of going out into the wood in the late evening as the sunlight was waning. At the same time, however, I felt an irresistible pull. I told myself that the rising full moon would make things a bit less questionable for walking. I told myself that I wasn't going that far into the woods. I really should have listened to myself.
For now, I found myself on the verge of lost in the woods. The moonlight shone cold through the barren branches of the trees. The stars were just pinpricks of light and the air was cold enough that it nearly stole my breath. I was attempting to follow my tracks back to where I entered the woods but it was hard to see where I had been. Everything looked entirely different in the half light. I rubbed my arms as I walked. "Stupid," I muttered, "Stupid idea. Stupid execution. Stupid ..." My self depreciation was cut short by a sound that chilled me more than the breeze.
The sound of the howl that came from the north was far too close for comfort. I knew the noises of the dogs that the neighbors had. The basset's howl sounded nothing like what I heard. My gut said wolves. My brain insisted that there were no wolves in my area. Still, I began to move faster to the west. I knew if I kept moving, I'd eventually reach the road. I paused to pick up a stout branch with the vain idea that I could defend myself from the animal that howled with it. Then I heard something moving towards me.
Noting that I had stumbled into a clearing of some sort. I moved to the center and paused. I looked towards where the noise came from and held the stick tightly. A part of me screamed that I had to run as the noises drew closer. Then my pursuer stepped forward from the trees. There was no wolves or dogs there. It was a man dressed in leather clothes came towards me. I didn't recognize him. But, I was hopeful that he could possibly guide me to the road. As he approached me, the moonlight glinted in his copper colored hair.
He smiled at me, a small feral expression of someone anticipating a challenge. "If I were you," he said, "I'd run. He's coming for you." I took a step back away from the red haired man. Again that howl sounded, much closer. And I realized it wasn't a wolf but a man's voice. And that I was too close. I threw the stick at the red haired man, turned on my heel, and began to run. Somehow, I managed to avoid trees. Behind me, the man who met me gave a mocking laugh before a sharp whistle that sounded like a hawk's cry. That howling cry answered it from somewhere off to my left.
I stumbled into a dry stream bed. Thinking only of escape, I ran along the stream bed away from the one pursuing me, going deeper into the forest. I ran until I tripped over a stone that stuck out from the stream bed at an odd angle. I fell to my knees with a cry of shock. Hitting the rocky ground, I felt pain knife into me from my knees and hands. I heard the sounds of something moving behind me and I pushed myself to my feet. As I began to run again, I could have sworn I heard a laugh behind me.
I found myself coming to a place where the ground was open beside the stream bed. As I scrambled up the bank and started running, the sounds of pursuit came closer. I ran through the clearing and hid in a thicket of bushes. Crouched down, I struggled to breathe quietly and not to let my teeth chatter from the cold. As I watched, a man walked up from the stream bed showing no signs of having run after me for what felt to be an eternity. Dressed in clothing that looked black in the dim light, he seemed to blend into the shadows of the trees where they fell in the clearing. His hair shone in the light but I couldn't gauge what color it was from where I had hidden myself because of how far he was from me.
"I'm coming for you, mouse," he said. As he walked towards me, I shivered and hoped that he would overlook me where I was hiding. When he came closer, I tried to extract myself from the bush. Thorns where there had been none grabbed at the sleeves of my shirt and my feet slipped on the suddenly wet leaves. He laughed and I looked over from trying to pull myself free. I couldn't explain it, but he had suddenly moved from standing halfway across the clearing to just the other side of the bush from me. I was too stunned to scream. His familiar face looked down at me with that hungry smile I had seen only a few times before. "I've caught you," he said.
Torn between the terror that came of having been caught by someone who had most assuredly been hunting me, frustration that I had fallen into the trap, and relief that I was with one who meant me no harm, I gave an unintentional whimper. He took hold of my shoulders and pulled me up to standing. As he did so, my shirt where it was snagged pulled hard against the bush. He looked down at where I was caught on the briars and chuckled. "Not funny," I said, deciding that irritation would be the best way to push aside the excitement that came with his laugh and his warm hands taking hold of me. I had my pride at stake, at least in my own mind. That laugh faded and his feral smile returned. "This was a set up," I said, looking down to pull myself free of the thorns.
"Oh yes," he said, "And I'm not done with you yet." I looked over, finding the mixture of alarm and anticipation made me all too aware of how but a mere foot of space separated us from each other. His right hand let go of my shoulder and moved lightly to my neck. As he danced his fingertips over my wildly pounding pulse, I shivered from more than cold. Lightly, he took hold of my chin and raised my face so that I looked him squarely in the face. "Do I frighten you yet?" he asked. I swallowed past a lump in my throat. The smile turned to a grin and I suddenly felt the need to flee slam into me like a physical blow. "Oh good," he said, "I have given you something you wanted. Shall I give you more?"
"I don't know if that would be a good idea," I said quietly, tugging at the snagged cloth a little harder as I tried to look away from his intense gaze. Moonlight fell fully on his face and I once again was struck by the beauty of the line of his jaw, the depth of his gaze, and how perfectly his mouth was formed. For a brief moment, I was distracted from the panic and just stared at him in fascination. The moment was all he really needed. He stepped forward into the bush and seized hold of me even as the thorns let go my clothes. My yelp of surprise turned to a little shriek as he lifted me straight up.
"Now you can't run away," he said to me. I blindly kicked out and caught him in the chest as panic slammed into me again. He laughed and threw me over his shoulder. With one arm, he held my legs firmly against his chest. When his hand fell sharply across my backside, I gasped in shock. "Mmm," he said, "You could fight me but you wouldn't win. But we could do that. Tell me, dear heart, do you want to fight for your pride's sake?"
"I formally protest," I replied. My spouse gave a lusty laugh and proceeded to carry me across the clearing over his shoulder, as I suspected he had other trophies from hunting. He ignored me as I peevishly said, "I can walk, you know. Just put me down." We moved farther away from the bushes where he had caught me. "This isn't funny," I said. He began to whistle the same merry tune that he did when he left me to go out on his earlier hunt. We passed along a path that I hadn't seen before. Soon, I realized we were coming to a place where there was some sort of fire by the light dancing off the trees. I also realized that there were others there.
The sound of men laughing and praising him of the fine 'doe' he had caught made my cheeks burn with embarrassment. We were soon surrounded and several of those rough men peered at me in the face. A few made clownish expressions. Others looked with expressions that I didn't comprehend at first. I was then shocked when I realized that it was envy. And there was amusement. Some asked about how much of a chase I gave him. Others asked if I put up a fight. One or two inquired if I had pinned his ears back for it.
I thought about responding to their playful comments. Just as I found words, I was tossed to the ground. I gave a yelp, expecting to land on the hard earth. It was surprised relief when I landed on to a pile of what could only be pelts, blankets, clothes, and who knows what other goods they carried with them. I looked up at my husband and then around at his hunting party. For a moment, a very brief moment, there was a pregnant silence where I felt their gaze upon me and I was very aware that I was the only female present. Then he began to distract them asking about what they had been cooking. He took a canteen full of some liquid and sat heavily down beside me. As he held it to my lips, he began to tell the story of how he caught me.
I would have laughed at how he embellished my flight from him if it wasn't for the fact that the whiskey would have come out my nose. Taking the canteen back, he took a long pull from it and handed it off to his best friend. The dark haired man with sharp features raised it with a toast in my honor in a language I didn't understand. As the thing was passed around the party, similar toasts were made. Some in my language and others in ones I didn't know. They started out innocent enough but became progressively more bawdy. As I blushed and looked at the ground, my husband wrapped an arm around me.
He whispered in my ear, "I have a sword that needs a sheath tonight." I blushed even more. He moved an errant lock of hair away from my neck before placing a kiss where it had lay. "I have thought of you each night," he said quietly, wrapping an arm around my waist and pulling me into his lap. He buried his face in my hair and took a deep breath. I shivered with delight. I lowered my head and tried to hide my face from his companions with my hair. He laughed. "So demure and yet so wanton," he said, moving his hand up my back. As his fingers snaked through my hair, I couldn't help closing my eyes with pleasure.
I gasped in shock when he closed his hand into a fist and gripped my hair tight. He turned my head so that I faced him. He grinned at me with that wild, hungry light in his eyes, clearly entertained by my response, before kissing me. I trembled and began to try to pull away from him, finding myself suddenly feeling very self conscious. He wrapped his free arm about me and held me hard against his chest as his hungry kiss overwhelmed my ability to think rationally. When he broke the kiss, I stared at him dazedly. Before I had the opportunity to recover from that moment, he pulled my head back and ran his tongue up the column of my neck.
My eyes rolled as I sighed and my efforts to resist were further weakened, with my hands laying lightly on his chest. Holding my head back just far enough that I was forced to arch against him, he muttered something in my ear but I didn't have the mental cohesion to follow it at the feeling of his breath whispering over my neck distracting me. His free hand reached up under my shirt and cupped my right breast as he lightly nipped at my ear. I gave a small noise that was incoherent as he leaned back. The entire time this was unfolding his hunting party talked between themselves. Some commented on how I was responding to him. Others spoke wistfully about their sweethearts.
I, however, didn't have enough awareness outside of what my husband was doing to really comprehend what was happening. When he caressed my side and put my head against his shoulder, I moaned. His now free right hand moved up under the back of my shirt. He set his nails against my skin. When he raked them down my back, I gasped as though cold water was thrown on me and I straightened, throwing my head back. A ripple of silence followed that. I dimly was aware of it but then he dragged his nails up my spine and I couldn't think of anything anymore. I shuddered with pleasure as he laughed softly. He took hold of my shirt and roughly pulled it off over my head. As he threw it away into the dark, I looked at him unable to keep the expression of drugged lust off my face, feeling drunk with it.
He settled me in his lap facing him and lifted me so that my breasts were near his mouth. As he covered them with kisses and love bites, my noises of pleasure grew louder while I cradled his head against me. He laughed and looked up at me before glancing at someone behind me. Next thing I knew, I had my arms pinned behind my back as he resumed his efforts. I shuddered and trembled as I threw my head back. Striking the shoulder of the man holding my arms, I dizzily tried to make sense of what was happening. Warm lips settled on my throat as a masculine voice muttered something I couldn't understand. The sound of his voice and the way his beard rasped against my skin made me groan.
I closed my eyes in pleasure. The feeling of warm hands wandering over my skin and the sound of someone speaking in a low, seductive growl made my breath catch in my throat. By now, there was silence. I started to find my thoughts clearing when hands settled on either side of my face. I opened my eyes and my husband was but a breath away from me. "I know your secrets," he said, "You can not run from them. Not tonight." I confusedly opened my mouth to protest when he kissed me. The hands restraining my wrists let go and moved up my back. As they passed over the scratch marks, the touch was feather light. The feeling was like electricity and I gasped.
Those warm, work hardened hands that ran so lightly over my skin reached under my arms. In a maneuver that defied my confused mind's attempt to understand, the three of us came to our feet. I swayed on my feet and was suddenly grateful for the man that held me up. Those hands moved to wrap about my chest, holding me firmly against him as he kissed my shoulder. I closed my eyes at the sensation of other hands passing over my stomach. I reached up and wrapped an arm blindly about the neck of the man holding me on my feet and against himself. I opened my eyes to look at my husband.
His gaze was brilliant with heat and intensity as he watched me simply melt into the arms that held me. He smiled and began to take off his shirt. I stared at him in fascination until the sensations of hands caressing me brought me back into that state of blind pleasure. I squirmed and the arms about me tightened. Hands divested me of my remaining clothes in such a gentle fashion that it felt as though it was yet more caresses. I shuddered and gave a little cry as the first climax rolled over me. Some one knelt before me and parted my legs. As their mouth settled on my sex, I gasped and would have fallen if it were not for the one holding me up.
They ran their hands up the backs of my legs as they became more vigorous with the way they plied their tongue against me. My second orgasm came with a shuddering, gasping groan. I was soon at the edge of a third when I was carefully lowered to the soft pile of fabric and pelts where I had been sitting earlier. It felt as though many hands set me down, each one pausing to grip me firmly where they had hold of me before slipping away. I squirmed and made noises that were clearly ones of pleasure and lust. Soon, I was laying upon the cool furs with the chill air brushing over me. It felt as though the faintest ghost of a touch and I writhed with little noises, whimpering for more.
I felt someone lay beside me and I opened my eyes. My gloriously nude husband took me into his arms. Where others had been light in their touches, his was firm and demanding. He ran a hand down the side of my face. As he passed it over my neck, I could feel the weight of his hand and I found myself nearly panting with excitement. His left hand joined his right as it made its way down my torso. I sat up and reached for him but he pushed me down with a firm hand squarely on my chest.
"No," he said in a tone that warned me not to argue with him, "Be still." I lifted my hands to grasp at him and he batted them aside. "I said be still," he sternly admonished me. I couldn't help the wordless whine that came from me as I closed my eyes against the frustration building in me. He grasped my left wrist and brought it up to his face. The way his beard prickled against my skin simply fanned the flames of arousal in me. When I felt his lips against the inside of my wrist, I sighed, anticipating merely a kiss. When he bit down on it, my eyes flew open and I gave a cry of surprised ecstasy. I had begun to sit up but his hand was pressing me down hard against the pile of fabric and pelts hard enough that I couldn't. All I could do was strain against him, which I did with a shuddering gasp.
He pressed a knee between my thighs, which I eagerly parted. He looked down at me, his eyes burning with intensity. It was a look that stopped my breath. Utter clarity cut through the arousal as I stared up at him, unable to look away. I realized that he would always pursue me, subdue me, and claim me just as ferociously as he was in chasing me. I shivered beneath that gaze. A part of me yearned to surrender utterly to him. At the same time, another part of me warned that there was danger here. The reckless spark in me, however, delighted in that danger. As these thoughts flashed through me, he watched me with an animalistic intensity that was more predator than a man's lust. When this realization struck me, my eyes widened and I said in a small voice, "Oh my."
A slow, knowing smile curved his lips as he leaned closer to me. Still dizzy with lust, I trembled between the desire to give myself fully over to lust and to bolt. He pinned my left wrist above me. Lowering himself so that his face was just over mine, he said in a tone that was rich with lust and hunger, "Mine. All mine. I've caught you." His hair hung down about his face and formed a curtain that hid my expression from his men. I closed my eyes in an attempt to gain some sort of control over the wildness in my veins. He laughed as he did when he was pursuing me. Lightly, he pressed his lips to my eyelids. Tears of frustration and confused fear slipped down my cheek.
He dipped his head and caught the one on the right side of my face upon his tongue. With maddening gentleness, such that his tongue just barely touched my skin, he traced its path up along my cheek. I found my breath speeding up and heat pooling in my veins. He lifted his head and looked down at me. I lay beneath him, half afraid to move, with my eyes closed. Some how knowing what I desperately yearned for, he kissed me. Where his earlier kissed had been hard, this was a slow gentle kiss. It did more to carve my will to pieces than something more forceful would have.
My body moved of its own volition and I squirmed beneath him. When he broke the kiss and whispered in my ear, I shuddered and would have tossed my head if it weren't for how painfully close he was. "Want to fight me for your pride, little dove?" he said. I gave a small sob. He let go my wrist and slipped his hand beneath my head. Slowly, with irresistible force, he pulled my head back. I gave a high whimpering noise and he laughed. The hand on my chest moved upward and underneath my shoulders. He sat back on his heels, pulling me up with him. "Come on," he said in a tone that made things inside me go molten and soft, "fight me. Or are you willing to give up? Do you surrender? Do you yield?" I gave a strangled groan at the feeling of his hair brushing against my skin. "Answer me, mouse," he said, a laugh barely suppressed.
"I..." I said before my words trailed off into a sigh as the hand at my back added more nail marks to what was there. He smiled at how my eyes rolled. My arms found their way around him and I clung to him as though my very life depended on it. He let go my hair and skimmed both his hands over my back. I gave a liquid sigh, just letting my head loll back. His mouth was at my neck and he bit me hard enough to leave the beginnings of a bruise. I gripped his shoulders harder while I made a pained sound of arousal. Unable to think clearly enough to form words, I just wept softly with frustration as he teased my back.
"Do you surrender?" he sighed, reaching down to drag his nails up the outsides of my thighs. I gave a little keening cry of pleasure and he laughed. He reached up and firmly disentangled himself from my arms. Capturing both my wrists in one hand, he pushed me back. I simply moved as he directed me, too aroused to find words or to think enough to struggle for my pride's sake. He pushed my legs farther apart and I moaned for more. "Tell me," he said, "Or nothing more." I opened my eyes and stared at him pleadingly. He smiled ferociously. My heart hammered at that sight and my mouth went dry.
"Yes," I gasped. The smile turned to an expectant grin. I shivered. "I yield," I said. I thought I was prepared for what he did next. When he lifted my hips and smoothly thrust into me, I felt blinding pleasure roll over me. Lost in a haze of raw lust and carnal delight, I tossed my head and shuddered beneath him. He moved within me, his body pressed to mine. A pressure built up within me. One that made me feel as though I was going to burst with arousal and pleasure. When it reached a point of crisis, I screamed. All turned to that white hot pleasure that blinded me and made me boneless beneath him, that wrenched screams that would have sounded torturous if it weren't for the fact that the listeners knew exactly why I did so. I sobbed and wept when I found myself unable to draw breath enough to scream with my orgasms. As he continued and my will was stripped away, as was my sense of coherent thought, he laughed. At the edge of unconsciousness, shuddering so hard that I could scarcely breathe and gripping his wrists where his hands were to either side of my head hard enough that my nails bit in, we finished with a mutual climax.
He molded my weak body to his as he laid on his side. Pulling something of the warm fabric beneath us over our bodies, he smiled. I blinked owlishly at him, too breathless to say anything and to dazed to think of something to day. "I know you'll run again," he said in my ear with a tone that promised more, "And I will catch you again." I shuddered with a weak orgasm that came from the feeling of his breath against my skin and the promise in his voice. "The day will come where you won't run," he continued, running a hand over my chest and making me shiver beneath the covers over us, "And then I will have truly caught you, mouse." I whimpered and he laughed softly in my ear.
Cradled against him, I found my consciousness slipping away. As I did so, I could hear him talking with his men. The sound of their laughter and quiet voices soothed me even as the warmth of his body did. I dropped down into sleep feeling utterly exhausted and safe. The last thing I was aware of was his lips pressed against my brow.