Centaur's Reluctant Mate Ch. 03byAMY_Monaco©
Rose clung to Thayer as he gripped her by the hips, moving her over the length of his cock. She closed her eyes, concentrating on how he filled her so perfectly.
She'd gone to him willingly that night, knowing this would be her only chance to experience this ecstasy before she returned to her village. She wanted Thayer to think that if she were accepting him now, he would trust her, thus making her escape easier.
She felt him swell inside of her as he quickened his thrusts. She stiffened as everything shattered inside of her. Thayer grinded his hips to hers as he emptied himself in her the second time that night.
"Ah, my Rose." He murmured, cuddling her into his arms as he closed his eyes. He brought her back to his chest as he nuzzled her neck. She took a deep breath, taking in his sandalwood scent mixed with the musk of their lovemaking. "I love the way your body is flushed after my loving."
"Hmm..." One of hands strayed down to her flat stomach, caressing lightly in circles over her belly button.
"I cannot wait to see your stomach swell with my son." He whispered, rubbing the palm of his hand over her belly. The desire he was igniting mingled with the realization of his words. She turned her head to him.
He smiled lazily. "You do not think that there wouldn't be a child after what we've done?"
"But, I -- " Of course there would be a babe, how silly of her to overlook this fact. Maybe she will be lucky and not get pregnant. "Is that all I'm good for? A breeder?" She asked dryly. He chuckled into her hair.
"Among other things." She started to get up, struggling from his hold, but he was too strong.
"I am only teasing, Rose. We value our mates for more than their ability to give us babes." He kissed her temple, moving his lips down to her jaw line, raining kisses down the smooth line of her neck and shoulders. Rose couldn't help but let out a sigh as one of his hands slid over her damp body, the other kneading her thighs apart.
"I like the way you are kind to everyone you meet." He nibbled on her shoulder, sending shivers up her spine. "I like how you sigh my name..." One hand cupped her breast, teasing the nipple until it hardened under his calloused palm. "I adore the way you throw your head back when you come."
As he said this, the hand that was kneading her thighs slipped up to the thatch of hair between her legs. Damp from a moment ago, he parted the blond curls. He teased her mound until it opened for him, wetting his fingers as he explored the delicate folds.
"I want you to come on my hand." He said huskily. She lay her head on his chest, her hands clutching the arms that kept her tightly against him.
"Oh, Thayer..." She moaned, thrusting her hips toward him as a thick finger slid into her. "Yes..."
"You're always so wet for me, my love." Another finger joined the first. He moved his hand steadily, the pull and sucking sound filling her ears, as did Thayer's heavy breathing against her ear.
Timidly, she reached behind her and touched his arousal. He sucked in a breath as her small hand wrapped around him, exploring the size of him, the velvet skin. "That's it, my love." He urged, as her hand touched the base of him, pulling up to run over the swollen head of his staff. He continued his ministrations, thumbing her clit, as he pumped his hand into her.
Thayer shuddered as she too touched him eagerly. They brought each other over the peak together, muffling their cries with a heated kiss.
"Sleep, my love." He said. Rose was too exhausted to protest.
She woke in the middle of the night. The fire had died down to a small blaze, causing the shadows to dance over the walls of the longhouse. Beside her, Thayer was fast asleep, his face relaxed and sated from their passion.
Ever so slowly, Rose slipped from his arms and glanced back to see if he had awakened. She grabbed her dress and tiptoed to the shelf where she hid one of his daggers. If she was going to escape, there would be no time to don the dress until after she was well out of the camp's perimeters.
Rose glanced back one more time at the sleeping figure on the cushions. She couldn't deny that Thayer gave her intense pleasure. But she wasn't meant for a life here. As she slipped out of the longhouse, she tried to push away the feeling of guilt and sadness.
She ducked behind the longhouse as she spotted one of the centaurs on night guard. She searched the camp for the best way to leave. Several torches were kept lit throughout the night, a small blessing, Rose thought. Otherwise it would have taken a long time to adjust to such darkness.
Her heart pounded as she avoided the guards. A small thrill shot through her as she ran from the camp, hiding herself in the edge of the thick forest.
"Ow!" She nearly fell forward. In the moonlight, she lifted her foot. She must have stepped on a sharp rock. She berated herself for not remembering slippers. With the sole of her foot throbbing, she donned the dress, clutching the dagger. She prayed there were no wolves or coyotes about. As if on cue, an eerie howl sounded from the distance. "Please, no wolves." She whispered.
She looked at the forest ahead of her, dark and so quiet. The fear of the unknown heightened her senses, and as her heart continued to pound, she found herself hesitating. She turned to look at the camp one last time, lit by torches. She wondered if Thayer had noticed her absence yet. If he did, she'd need to leave now.
Forcing her legs to move, she rushed into the forest. She kept a straight path, her footsteps making soft crunching noises on fallen leaves and cool grass. A loud rustle in a bush nearby made her stop. She lifted the dagger in alarm.
Another rustle, this time from behind. She whirled around, yet saw nothing. The trees grew thicker here, so the moonlight was barely there to offer guidance. She kept going, repeating to herself there was nothing to fear. Then she felt something flutter over her bare ankle.
"Ah!" She swiped at it, refusing to dwell on what it must have been. Cockroach? A passing rodent? She shivered. She should have planned more thoroughly, she thought, hearing another loud rustle.
Thayer's eyes open. Without bothering to turn, he already knew Rose was gone. He stood up, taking his time to don his metal wrist guards and strap a large knife to his belt, just in case. He'd give her another five minutes or so.
He'd known she was planning to run. Let her think she was getting away successfully. The forests were full of creatures unfamiliar to a young woman who'd grown up sheltered in a village. Pretty soon she will be begging to return to the centaur camp.
Thayer had just stepped outside when he saw Callum and Soren approach. Both were wearing metal breastplates, intricately carved with their family's symbols. Cuffs of metal similar to the ones Thayer wore guarded their arms. On their backs, quiver and bows.
"What is the matter?"
"We just had word there are slavers entering our lands. A group of us are going to make sure they do not trespass further."
Thayer let out an oath. "Rose has run away. I was just going to get her."
Callum arched an eyebrow. But it was Soren who voiced the question. "Why did she leave?" His youthful face did not hide the hurt and confusion he felt.
"She thinks she can still go back to her village. I thought to teach her a lesson by letting her get lost in the Black Forest for awhile."
"You must find her before the slavers do, brother." Callum said gruffly. "Soren, tell the others that Thayer's mate is missing. We will keep an eye out for her. You better hurry."
Thayer didn't need any further direction and headed for the Black Forest. Callum followed close behind. Their eyes adjusted immediately to the darkness and they moved gracefully through the trees, dodging fallen tree trunks and boulders gracefully even at the speed they moved. They turned right, sure that this was where Rose would have gone, for this was the direction her village was.
Time passed, yet there was no sign of his mate. "Damn it."
"She must have gotten lost." Callum said, listening quietly to their surroundings. The urgency to find her was acute now. The thought of nomadic slavers coming upon Rose made Thayer's heart clench. The slavers were rough beings, traveling from one place to another, luring strays into their camps, kidnapping others, forcing them to be sold as slaves on the market.
They took mostly young girls, bred them to be sold as sex slaves. The younger the better, for they could be trained in the arts of seduction as well as bring in the price of a virgin. He knew that the slavers wouldn't hesitate to take Rose, with her shining blond hair and clear blue eyes. Such beauty would bring in a hefty price.
"I'm going to continue down this path. I want to make sure she didn't make it down the mountains toward her village." Thayer said, though he sensed he wouldn't find her along this path. But he had to be sure.
"I will travel northwest." The brothers parted.
Rose winced as she stepped on another sharp pebble. This time she stopped walking and slumped against a large boulder. She winced in pain and frustration. Her feet were sore and bleeding from lack of protection and she was utterly lost.
She was starting to regret leaving the warmth of the longhouse.
She jumped up at the sound of rustling leaves. There was no breeze, so it couldn't have been the wind. A hungry animal? Thayer? She strained to hear something -- anything -- a voice, a growl. But there was nothing.
"Is anyone there?" She asked, swallowing her fear. Her hand shook as she lifted the dagger up, ready to stab anything that charged forth. "Come out where I can see you." Silence.
A loud rustling and then footsteps sounded.
"Thayer will have to train you." Said a deep voice came from behind. She whirled around and nearly fell on her bottom. Callum came out from behind the boulder and she exhaled. "You won't kill anything holding the blade like that."
"Oh, Callum -- I thought it was a wild animal. I was so scared, I thought -- "
"You should have thought of this before you ran away."
His tone made her feel like a little girl again, like when she was five and her father scolded her for breaking a porcelain bowl. She met his disapproving frown with the lift of her chin.
"I didn't ask to be kidnapped and mated to your brother, Callum. He can't force me to be his, just because it suits him."
"Ah." Callum stepped up to her and she was forced to lift her gaze to meet his height.
"He didn't consider my feelings when he took me. I don't think any of you consider the feelings of the women you take. Doesn't it occur to you that you could be taking her away from a loving family or a husband and children? Her friends?"
"We are careful to take unwed females only."
"What about her life? I was content to live in my village. I had friends there."
Callum said nothing for a long time. Instead, he started to walk. She didn't hesitate to follow.
"You observed our women. Yes, we took them from their homes. But every female you saw is given the freedom to leave. We do not force them to live here in unhappiness." His voice became flat as he said this and he was no longer looking at her.
"Well I refuse to be mated to a man who doesn't really care for me. He only wants me for my body."
Callum paused. "Is that what you think, sister?" Rose bit her lip and they walked in silence for a while.
"How come you aren't mated yet?"
He turned to her, but didn't meet her eyes. "I was mated. Once."
"Her name was Katerina. I took her and like you, she fought me. After some time, she started to give in. She seemed to accept life with me and soon, she gave me a son. We named him Antony. I loved my family. I loved her. And she was happy. At least I thought she was."
There was pain in his voice and her heart went out to Callum, for she could see it in his eyes as well.
"Our son was several years old then. One day she realized she was no longer happy. She was disgusted with what she came to accept as her life. In her village, she had been a wealthy man's daughter. In the centaur camp, she was mated to a mere blacksmith." Callum let out a sardonic laugh. "All that I provided was not enough. Her son was not enough." He swallowed hard. "I returned from a hunt to find her gone. And my son? His throat was slit."
Rose gasped, covering her mouth with his hand. Bile rose to her throat and she fought to contain her shock. How could a woman kill her own child?
"This was three years ago, but the image of my son lying on the ground in his own blood haunts me everyday. So does my mate's betrayal." He shook his head in remorse. "I do not understand how a woman could harm her own child. Perhaps it is a human trait? To hurt those who are unknown to you?"
"No," She whispered. "Not a child. Never a child."
This time Callum looked at her. "Then you should consider the child that grows in your womb. If you give birth to a colt, your people would kill it without a second's thought. In the centaur camp, he will be raised by its father, taught the skills every centaur is learnt."
Rose had to blink back her tears now.
"Listen well, sister. No centaur takes a maiden without some sort of affection on his end."
"You still call me sister? After I've run away from your brother?"
"You have a good heart." Callum said. From the story he just told her, this meant a lot. The fact that he'd known the ultimate betrayal and could forgive her for running away from Thayer meant something. "You are not safe with your people. They would not hesitate to punish you for being with a centaur."
No, they wouldn't. Punishment was the least they would do.
"Thanks, Callum, for finding me."
He tipped his head. "Come, mount my back. Your feet have suffered enough. We must return to the camp immediately. Slavers approach these borders."
Rose had forgotten about the pain. She mounted Callum's back.
"Slavers? I didn't think they traveled these parts."
"Occasionally. We have parties spread out to make sure they do not get too close to our camps."
"Will they capture the centaurs?" Callum shook his head. "They would try to kill us and take the women as slaves. And perhaps the children to use as entertainment."
"Is Thayer with the look-out party?"
"He is searching for you. And I must warn he is not happy."