“I know a lot! I know how to catch lizards and gut their poison sacs out. I know how to start a fire that can burn all night long. I know how to get a parrot to give me my bra back. I know...”
“I mean of the civilized world, you wild little thing,” Mattias sighs.
“The civilized world, where men take women like they aren’t even people? That world?”
“You are more fortunate than most,” he says. “You are worth a great deal. You will be sold to the highest bidder, the richest man. You may join one of the great harems, bear the offspring of the new kings...”
“Ew, gross, no thanks.”
He looks at me and shakes his head. “You are in dire need of thorough education.”
“I am in dire need of escape.”
“Shackles it shall be,” he declares, pulling a plug at the end of the bath. I watch dirty water swirl down the drain, forever lost. Such a waste.
He fills the bath again, with me in it. I watch the pure, clear liquid flowing around my legs, fascinated. How do they do this? I can’t resist scooping some of it up into my mouth. It’s warm, but it’s so damn good. I haven’t tasted water this clear except for a few rare times.
“Stop. Drinking. The. Water.” Mattias interrupts my joy.
I splash it in his face. Droplets run down over his nose and his chin and his cheeks. The effect is comical, and I can’t help but snort in amusement.
“Someone is getting spanked after her bath,” he says calmly.
Those words make the lower part of my stomach clench. Spanked? With that leather strap? That’s probably going to hurt. I resolve to bite him if he tries to do that to me.
When the bath is filled, he takes soap and begins to bathe me properly. His hands roam my body, spreading soap over my curves. It’s not an unpleasant feeling, though I’m not used to anyone else touching me. Since my father died, I’ve been living on my own in the shack he built in the mountains. It’s remote enough that nobody bothers me out there, if you don’t count wolves and the occasional wild cat.
Mattias is stern and bossy, but his touch relaxes me. I find myself sinking down in the tub, letting him take my weight.
“Good girl,” he praises, his hand slowly drifting up my inner thigh.
I feel that clenching sensation again, this time lower still, between my legs. His hand slides away just before it reaches the apex. I am left wondering if he did that on purpose, before his hand slides under my hip and then down my leg and over again to trace the same path, this time all the way up to the core of me. He presses two fingers against my lower lips, a jolt of pure electricity running through me as our eyes meet.
“What are you doing?”
“Does it feel good?”
It does feel good, but I don’t want to admit that. I am a captive of the sheriff. This man has me to get me ready for sale, whatever that means. This is obviously part of it. Making me feel... things.