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Prologue and Ch 1 of Held for Ransom – Historical Spanking Story

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Please enjoy this free spanking story section from Renee Rose’s newest medieval spanking romance Held for Ransom

Held-for-Ransom-Final

 

650 AD England

Prologue

In retrospect, she should have known. She had seen no fewer than four crows that day, a sure sign from the Goddess.

And yet, nothing penetrated her dulled outlook. Sitting on the dais next to her brother, the king, she watched the tournament with little interest. A grand affair, it brought men from several kingdoms to sparcompete. The prize: a hefty bag of gold. The purpose: entertaining idle troops.

The men competed in battles of strength, heaving rocks the size of boulders. They tested their aim in archery. They raced by foot and by horse. She hardly noticed the winners, though the ladies-in-waiting were all a-twitter over a certain contestant who had won every match.

In the two months since her abduction and rescue, she had lived as if underwater–everything muted, far away. Her emotions numbed, nothing and no one interested her.

The crowd roared and her brother Broderick stood. “The champion of the tournament! Come forward for your prize!”

She watched as a large, broad-shouldered man strode to the dais and ascended the stairs to the platform.

“What is your name?” Broderick asked, his voice jovial.

“Gorran.”

The deep sound of the contestant’s answer caused her head to jerk up in shock. The sound had haunted her sleepless nights since the day of her rescue. His eyes lifted at the same moment as hers and their gazes locked. Her breath stilled as she rose to her feet. There could be no doubt–even without the mask and beard, the scar where she had stabbed him marked his face.

Broderick heard her gasp of recognition and whirled, drawing his sword, but Crow–Gorran–had already turned, leaping the side rail to drop ten feet to the ground, running for his life.

“Stop him!” Broderick bellowed, dashing down the stairs. “But bring him back alive–his head is mine!”

She rushed for the rail, leaning over to watch the chase. Crow shoved through the throng, but as her brother’s words registered, the crowd tightened, soldiers drawing swords and challenging the fugitive.

Unarmed as a requisite of the competition, he still held his own against a dozen men for what seemed

like ages, though probably no more than a few moments. In the end, he went down, and when he stood, it was in surrender. He gave no fight as they marched him back to the dais. Broderick returned, standing beside her.

“Are you well?”

She nodded, though she could not speak.

The soldiers escorted their prisoner to the platform, where he dropped to his knees and lowered his head, offering his neck in surrender.

“So, you are the mighty Crow,” Broderick said, laying his sword blade along the prisoner’s nape.

She should not have flinched, but she did. Broderick flicked his glance to her, acknowledging her reaction. The twins kept very few secrets, especially in a family long-rumored to have the blood of the fey.

“They say you cannot be killed, but I do not think it is true. Shall we find out today?”

Crow said nothing. She held her breath, trembling.

Broderick lifted his eyes to her. “Ariana?”

Sweat dripped down her ribs. “No,” she whispered, shocked but grateful he asked her.

“Why not?”

“He still has a role to play. He is a piece of the puzzle.”

“My puzzle or yours?”

She shook her head. “I cannot see.”

“Then it must be yours.” He raised his voice, stepping back from the prisoner. “Take him to the dungeons.”

Chapter One

Two months earlier

The moon was nearly full, beckoning her out to the lake to gaze in the water. Every hair stood on end, a sure sign of the presence of spirits. She sensed they had something to tell her, would show something in the reflecting pool, or speak to her on the wind.

She stood at the water’s edge, watching as the images swirled, waiting for them to still into something recognizable. As a high priestess of Avalon, she received messages from the Goddess, the devic realm, and spirits willing to guide England and its king, because her brother understood he served for the good of his people and the honor of the Goddess. She expected a message for her brother–usually when spirit called it was for him, though sometimes it concerned the maintenance and peace at Avalon–changes they needed to make for the good of all or work required to bring harmony to the land for abundant crop yields.

Yet tonight nothing appeared in the swirling images. Still, her nape prickled.the hairs stood on the nape of her neck.

A hand clamped over her mouth and a huge arm snaked around her waist.

She screamed and tried to bite into the flesh of the hand over her mouth, but the hold was far too firm for her to even open her jaw.

“Easy, your highness. I mean you no harm, but I must take you with me for a short time. I beg you not to struggle, as I have no wish to injure you.”

She felt no blade at her throat, but her captor’s voice held every confidence she would do as he commanded. He lifted her feet off the ground, carrying her easily, as if she were no more than a child. She

reached out to the Goddess for guidance and felt no answer.

His long strides conveyed her to a waiting barge where he set her down and covered her head with a burlap sack.

No.

She struggled against his hold. Panicking, she bucked against him, twisting and turning to free herself, tossing her head to rid the covering.

“Shh. Easy, Princess. I cannot have you seeing where I take you, though I know you may know well enough with your second sight. The sack stays on.”

He pulled her wrists together behind her and she felt the rough fiber of a rope wind around them.

“Ouch! You are hurting me,” she protested.

“I regret it, my lady.”

He may have sounded regretful, but he did nothing to ease the pain. He pushed her to sit and she sensed the barge moving swiftly through the water, crossing the lake to shore. He lifted her off the float and his huge hands gripped her waist, tossing her into a saddle. His body arrived behind hers just seconds later and she felt his arms around her taking hold of the reins. He made a soft clicking sound with his tongue and the horse moved, its steps seeming as silent as her captor’s had been.

She paid attention to the route, listening for clues and trying to sense their direction. She followed it for a time, but became muddled–not hearing water when she thought they should be nearing the river. Where was he taking her? And what did he want? Clearly he knew who she was–it was not a random capture of a maiden or priestess. He had called her Princess.

“What do you want with me?”

“Do not speak.”

“Where are you taking me?”

He answered her with silence.

She twisted her neck, trying to catch hold of the sack over her head with her teeth so she might get it off. Her captor pulled it down more snugly around her neck.

“The hood stays on until we reach our destination.”

Something about the sack and riding in the darkness to an unknown destination distorted her perception. She thought she had entered spirit world and cast about to feel for helpers, but sensed none.

Please help me, she begged the Goddess.

You are safe, came the answer, as reassuring as it was maddening.

Safe? With this man? How could she be safe?

Yet, she trusted, as she always relied on the guidance she received. The Avalon priestesses had taught them not to doubt spirit, else it stop speaking.

“Who are you?”

Again, he answered her with silence.

They rode a long time, though she could not be sure he did not just ride in circles to confuse her. In truth, she had given up all attempts at tracking their whereabouts. If she learned their location, it would be through her second sight, as he said.

At last they stopped. She felt him dismounting and lunged off the horse in the opposite direction, throwing her head forward to get her leg to the other side of the animal.

He caught her by the calf, spilling her headlong over the side of the stallion. Giving a low curse he grabbed the worsted wool of her dress, yanking her back upright, then over the side in his direction to fall into his arms. The sack had toppled from her head when she was upside down and she blinked to adjust to seeing again.

“What was your plan, exactly, highness? To land on your head and, if you were lucky enough, to run from me? How many paces do you think it would take for me to catch you?”

She looked up at him. He wore a mask over his eyes with holes cut in the fabric to see. His light brown hair fell to the top of his broad shoulders.

She shrugged. “I do not know.”

“I admire your courage, but your attempt lacked logic.”

His critique of her escape irritated her and she drew her foot back and kicked him, not gaining even the smallest reaction, and sending a shard of pain through her toes and into her foot.

He took her arm, leading her to a small cottage. They were in the thick of a wood. The moonlight barely filtered through the treetops to light the way. She smelled wood smoke, as if someone awaited them.

He opened the door where two Saxon warriors stood, hands on the hilts of their swords. They smiled when they saw her, and spoke to him in their language. He answered in the same guttural speech, urging her forward and closing the door behind her.

“Come,” he said, leading her past the main room and hearth, into the sleeping quarters, where a single pallet lay on the floor. “Give me something to prove I have you–a piece of jewelry.”

She shook her head. “I do not adorn myself.”

He looked at her in disbelief. “A ring? Anything your brother might recognize as yours.”

“No. I have nothing. When I am at Avalon, I am as any of the priestesses.”

He rubbed his mask, blowing out his breath. He turned her around, loosening the knotted rope around her wrists.

“I assure you, I speak the truth.”

“I believe you, highness. Which leaves me with no choice but to send the dress you are wearing.”

It took several seconds for her to comprehend his words. “What?” she gasped.

“Forgive me, but if you have nothing else, it is my only choice.”

The ropes came loose from her wrists and she pulled away from him, stumbling forward. “No.”

He tilted his head to the side. “Remember what I told you at Avalon? It is not my wish to harm you, but if you resist me, you may be accidentally injured. I do not wish to wrestle you out of that dress. Take it off and hand it to me.”

She folded her arms across her chest. “Find me something else to wear.”

He cast his gaze about the room and seeing nothing, shrugged, pulling off his tunic. “Here,” he offered it. “Now give me the dress.”

She took the tunic, doubtful at how much of her it would cover much. Turning her back on him, she pulled off her dress, grateful for the chemise she wore underneath, thin though it was. She tugged his huge tunic over her head, turning and tossing the dress at him, unwilling to simply hand it over.

He caught it easily, and beckoned her forward. When she did not come, he closed the distance between them with surprising swiftness, capturing her two hands and holding her wrists together. He paused when he saw the angry red marks on her skin. He glanced at her face, then dropped his eyes to the marks, rubbing at them with his thumb.

“The rope is rough for such delicate skin,” he muttered. He reached his hand to his belt where he carried a seax–the small Saxon daggers the people were named for–and used it to sever a length of fabric from the bottom of his undershirt. He used the fabric to bind her wrists instead, testing it by twisting her hands in various directions.

“You are hurting me,” she complained.

“Forgive me. I am only trying to keep you from further discomfort from the rope.”

His words held logic, she admitted grudgingly.

“Stay here,” he ordered. “Do not make another foolish attempt at escape,” he said, taking her dress and walking out of the room, leaving the door to the front room open. He spoke to the Saxons, then walked out of the cottage.

She stood in the doorway between the two rooms, shivering at his leaving. As frightened as she was, she found something reassuring about the man, and considering the message she received from the Goddess, she had to believe he spoke the truth when he said he did not wish to harm her. The way the Saxons eyed her now, though, made her question whether they felt the same.

They spoke to each other, chuckling, and both rose to walk in her direction. She backed into the sleeping quarters, looking for an exit, but it held no window or door.

They spoke to her in their language, seeming to demand a reply, a leering menace in their manner. She held up her bound hands, palms out. “I do not know what you want,” she said. “I do not understand you.”

One of them grabbed her, pushing her down on the pallet so she landed on her bottom. He crawled over her and thrust her torso back. Her captor’s tunic only reached her mid-thigh, and it rode up to her waist now, taking the chemise with it and revealing her bare sex. She snapped her knees together, but the Saxon shoved them apart, his strength overpowering her. He grasped the tunic and the hem of her chemise and yanked them both up to her armpits, baring her for their view.

She screamed, squirming to free herself, panic cresting.

At Avalon she had learned love conquers all; and when in danger, one should simply project it toward the aggressor, be it a wild boar, wolf, serpent, or man. Yet she projected nothing but terror now, and could only believe it was the stronger of the two emotions, paralyzing her so she lay vulnerable to the excited men waiting to have her. She squeezed her eyes shut, screaming.

By Woden. The sound of the Princess’s screams sent him flying back in the cottage. He had only left to send young Elric to carry the dress to King Broderick. A plague on Alwin and Denby if they laid one hand on the priestess.

He slammed open the door just in time to see Alwin pulling his cock out, ready to thrust it into her. Fury caused a rushing sound in his ears as he leaped forward. He yanked Alwin back so hard the man flew into the wall and toppled a chair.

“What in Saxnot’s name do you think you are doing?” he demanded in the Saxon tongue.

Alwin shrugged, looking sheepish as he shoved his cock back in his hose.

“I am holding her for ransom,” he explained, speaking slowly as if they were both thick. “That means, if I wish for our prisoners to be freed, no harm–no harm–can come to her. On top of that, she is a high priestess. How do you think Freya would take to the defiling of one of her priestesses?”

“She does not worship Freya,” Denby mumbled sullenly.

“Her Goddess may have a different name but she’s Freya, just the same. You do not molest those who serve the gods.”

“What are you doing, then?”

“I am risking the vengeance of the Goddess and king because my sister is missing. But I will not be trying to shove my cock in the captive like a rutting goat. Now, you two stay in the front room. Do not speak to her. Do not look at her. You guard the cabin and keep watch. Understood?”

“Yes, sir,” they both mumbled, slinking out of the room.

He shut the door behind them, still angry. He said nothing for a moment, picking up the chair that had

fallen when he had thrown Alwin backward. He considered his prisoner. She stood on the pallet, her back pressed against the wall, her expression terrorized. He crossed to her and held out his hand. She blinked a moment before placing her delicate bound hands over his, accepting his help to step down from her bed, her pale face tight.

“I am very sorry. I assure you that will not happen again.”

“If you expect my thanks for the rescue, you will not receive it.” She withdrew her trembling fingers and paced away, standing with her back to him.

“No,” he said. “I do not expect thanks for doing what I pledged to you when we met.”

“Met. Interesting choice of words.”

He walked behind her, wanting to offer some form of comfort, but doubting she would accept it. “Are you hurt?”

“No. I am…” She blew out her breath. “I am ashamed I lost my senses with fear. I should know the Goddess would not keep me a maid for twenty-six years only to give my virginity to a Saxon pig.”

He stiffened at her prejudice against Saxons and she seemed to sense it, because she whirled to study him, her expression intelligent.

“Why am I here? What do you want with me?” Small though she was, she had every bit of presence as both royalty and high priestess. He sensed her power, the way she looked at him as if looking into his heart and seeing his very soul, the way she managed her emotions despite her fear. In addition, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen–her features delicate, her hair a mix between blond and red, hanging in a braid that fell below her waist. Serene and serious, she was the embodiment of the Goddess herself. How he wished he might have met her under different circumstances.

“You are still a maid?” he asked to redirect the conversation. Engaging with her about the mission could be dangerous. He did not know the extent of her abilities, but it was said she saw into the future. Mayhap she also read minds. The less he revealed, in conversation or thought, the better his chance of escaping this endeavor with his life.

She played the same game of ignoring questions. “You are holding me for ransom?”

“Yes.”

“Who are you?”

“No one of consequence.”

She continued to consider him. “You will not survive.” She said it matter-of-factly, not as a threat.

“Probably not,” he agreed. “But I have walked from death’s blade more times than I can count. Mayhap I will escape death at the king’s hands, too.”

“Why are you doing this?”

His mind flitted to Kendra, the pain of not knowing his young sister’s fate sharp as a blade before he cleared his thoughts so she could not read them. He sank into the chair near the door to guard her for the night.

“My brother will not allow you to live. He may pay the ransom, but he will not rest until he has hunted you down and killed you.”

“I expect no less. Nor would I do differently if you were my sister. Dawn will come soon. Can you rest, highness? I promise no one will molest you as you sleep.”

“Where will you sleep?”

“I will not,” he said. “I will remain here in this chair.”

She looked at him for a long moment, then gave a single nod, walking to the pallet and picking up the blanket, which she attempted to spread over herself with her bound wrists. Seeing her struggle, he walked to her and took it, spreading over her, tucking the edges in around her body as she gazed at him with wide, green eyes.

He extinguished the lamp to conserve oil, though he would have preferred leaving light in the room to be better prepared for any attempted escape. She lay very still for a long time, her breathing never deepening into the sound of slumber.

He knew when she sat up, though she did not make a sound. “There is no way out, highness.” He sensed her irritation.

“I need to use the chamber pot,” she said petulantly.

He stood and took hold of her arms to help her to her feet. Leading her to the corner, he turned her to face the chamber pot. “It is there, in the corner. Do you wish me to light the lantern?”

“I wish you to untie my hands,” she snapped.

“I cannot do so, my lady.”

“I will soil my chemise, as I cannot lift─”

He turned her to face him and lifted the hem of the chemise and his tunic, placing the bundle of them in her bound hands. Holding her beneath the arms, he pushed her backward, so she fell into a squat over the chamber pot. “If you cannot do it yourself, I will help you,” he said, not quite successful at keeping the mock out of his tone.

She gave a huff, but used the chamber pot. When she finished and he lifted her away from it, she dropped the skirts and threw her shoulder into him to give him a shove.

“Mayhap next time you will manage it on your own,” he suggested drily.

“I hope your death is long and painful,” she spat, shoving past him to the pallet.

 

 

Held for Ransom
When Sir Gorran’s people disappear after a raid on a Saxon settlement, he kidnaps Princess Ariana, a priestess of Avalon, and demands their return. Though he knew he risked Ariana’s curse as well as a lifetime hiding from the king’s sword, he does not realize his greatest risk in holding the lovely princess for ransom is to his heart.

The intimacy shared with her kidnapper leaves Ariana wounded by the experience and his reappearance at the annual tournament only deepens her pain. When her brother foists him on her as a guardian and slave she must come to terms with her feelings for the dominant warrior. Will she send him away to his death, or will she realize her pain is only caused by living without him?

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 (c) Renee Rose and Lazy Day Publications

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