Book III Featurning CALEB from #ChainedToTheDevilsSon
Scene: I Am Yours, Sir
Marda, a slave in 1800s is given to Caleb
Caleb stirred with awareness but made no move to sit up.
“It is late in the day, Caleb,” Fredrick kicked the end of the bed. “Rise up.”
Caleb brought his hand up over his face. He lifted his heavy head up enough to look at Fredrick who was seated in a chair at the foot of the bed. Caleb moaned, “Please brother, spare me.”
Fredrick kicked the bed again, this time with more force. “You’ve slept for two days passed. Get up,” he said louder.
Caleb grimaced as he pushed up on his elbows. It took him longer to sit up on the side of the bed. When he was stable, he looked over at his older brother then submerged his face in the basin of water on a table beside his bed. He toweled his face and bare chest dry then picked up a few pieces of meat from a plate next to the basin.
“What is so dire?” Caleb asked as he chewed.
“I’m taking mother home,” Fredrick said. “We depart in a few hours.”
Caleb gave no indication that the news of his mother’s impending departure affected him. He continued to eat from the plate.
“What’s happened to you, brother? You drink and keep company with the lowest assortment of loose women and scoundrels. The few times you’ve graced us with your company, you are drunken and bloodied from the fighting you do. I am told you boxed several men at a time, and for what? Pennies.” Fredrick sighed. “Uncle has told mother of your partying. That you reside and associate with Watkins and his sort. Scoundrels you should not acquaint yourself with.”
“Have you considered that I am the sort of man they should not acquaint themselves with, dear brother?” Caleb lifted a glass to his mouth.
“Clearly you’ve no care of our mother’s well-being.” Fredrick stood. He walked over to the cottage door and opened it. He gently ushered Marda inside, who walked in with her head down. Fredrick closed the door and followed her. He pointed over to the bed for her to sit. Marda sat down on the very edge, on the other side of Caleb.
Caleb’s entire body tensed when he smelled her sweet floral scent. He fisted his hands until his knuckles turned white but he didn’t turn to look at her.
“Jai and her child will accompany us to France. Marda will remain.” Fredrick pulled some papers from his breast pocket and flung them on the bed behind Caleb.
Caleb ground his teeth together as he felt for the papers. He refused to turn around to look at Marda or his brother, who for the first time in his dull predictable life had done something shocking. He peered at the documents.
It was papers concerning Marda. Marda, the girl of his dreams, now the woman of his nightmares. The woman he tried to drink from his mind was now his property. He read the papers over and over again.
“What game do you play?”
“She is yours now, Caleb. Do with her what you will.” Fredrick made his way to the cottage door.
“What do you mean, she is mine?” Caleb stood, and in the blink of an eye crossed the length of the cottage and grabbed his brother’s arm. He whipped Fredrick around to face him.
“I have a theory, you see. I think that your behavior is the direct result of what you desire and can’t have. I know you care for her, Caleb. I’ve always known. We all do. Why do you think father refused to sell her to Mr. Potts, Lord Havers, and all the others who offered much more than what’s fair? You know that Mr. Potts was planning to breed her with Zeus, his biggest and hardest working slave, as a gift to bear offspring. Lord Havers…well, his intentions were much more unsavory. Father flat-out refused their generous offers, often because of you and mother. So, brother…she is yours.” Fredrick grunted out. “Now let go of my arm.”
Caleb knew exactly why Lord Havers wanted Marda. He was the proprietor of a brothel and Marda would have made him richer. He heard the man say those exact words to his father at one of his mother’s dinner parties one evening. It took all he was not to clobber the hell out of the old bastard.
“Are you that heartless? You are no better than them. What would you have me do? Take her screaming to my bed and in a few months’ time, she bears a child I cannot claim as my own? In a few years, I marry an upstanding white woman who bears me children as well, but they can call me father but Marda’s young cannot!” Caleb yelled. “Is this the life you want to condemn her to?”
Fredrick tried to pry Caleb’s hand off him. “If that is what will calm the storm in your mind and bring my brother back to what’s left of the family who loves him, then yes, it is.”
Caleb dropped his hold on Fredrick’s arm as he stared at Fredrick, wide-eyed and stunned.
What have I done to my family?
Fredrick pulled the door open. “No need for farewells. I had them escorted to the docks this morn. You had important business to attend but you will send correspondence as soon as you can. Your wealth is great, try not to squander it all.” Fredrick sighed. “We hope to see you soon, Caleb.” Fredrick left, leaving Caleb standing by the door.
He felt a wave of hopelessness overtake him. He leaned on the door jamb with his hand over his eyes, blocking out the sun. Selene, Jai’s daughter, and William, Fredrick’s son, were dear to him. To not be able to say goodbye to them and his mother, or even the judgmental Abigail, his sister by marriage, was a painful blow.
Caleb felt his anger rise as he moved to confront his brother and show him exactly what made him a sure bet during his boxing matches. But he froze when he heard Marda stir behind him. He wanted to tell her to be gone by the time he returned.
He didn’t mean to turn around and look at her, but when he did, Caleb stumbled back into the open door. Marda was standing naked next to the bed. One of her arms was stretched across her small perfect breasts. The nipples were hidden but the pressure of her arm pushed the flesh below them to swell. Her other arm was stretched the length of her torso, her hand covering the hair over her sex. When his burning eyes trailed back up to her face, Caleb’s heart almost stopped because when their eyes met, Marda slowly let her arms fall away and displayed her slender yet shapely body.
Dear God, she is magnificent.
Marda stood bare for him to see. Her hair was uncovered and freely flowed down her back but several strands fell over her shoulder. Caleb took scores of women to his bed but none equaled Marda.
No…you hate her, he reminded himself.
With new determination, Caleb crossed the room and covered Marda with the blanket from his bed before she could blink. He could tell his movements frightened her because he felt her fear like the blast of a cannon to his chest. In all the years as her Protector, he never felt such raw emotion. It was so strong it caused him to stumble forward.
Marda reached out to steady him. “I do not fear you, but seeing you move that fast…” She paused and lowered her head. “Forgive me, I did not mean to speak.” She let go of his arms and moved back.
“Forgive you? Marda, you speak when you choose.” Caleb turned his head to look away as he bent to retrieve the blanket that fell when he stumbled. He continued to look away as he placed it around her again. “…and I do not own you.”
“I am yours, sir.”
His body immediately reacted to her declaration. Caleb looked at Marda’s face. There was nothing in her eyes. No fire, no passion, no desire that would have him believe she wanted him. Marda was clearly acting on orders.
“Use my name please, not sir,” Caleb spat. He wanted her away from him. She could go away with his family. Living without her love was his cruel reality but to have her offer herself because she was ordered to was unbearable. He turned his head toward the door and twisted his body to follow but…he heard the blanket hit the floor again. Damn his super-sensitive hearing.
Caleb stilled when Marda took a step toward him. They were inches apart now. He could feel her body heat against his skin.
“Caleb,” she said softly.
He closed his eyes when he heard her sing the two syllables that made up his name. Speaking was something Marda didn’t do often. Everyone thought her mute. The only one she spoke to was Jai…and him.
The times she spoke to him, she never said his name. Her pronunciation and her soft tone warmed him in a way he didn’t expect.
“You torment me,” Caleb hissed. He balled his fists tightly. “Can you not see? It is immoral, what I want of you, Marda.”
“Have you quenched your desire for me with all the women you have taken to your bed?”
Marda pressed her breasts against his bare back and wrapped her arms around his chiseled chest. Caleb shivered when they touched. Lost in her warmth, he allowed his fingers to trace her arm before he realized what he was doing.
Caleb turned around and grabbed her wrist tightly. “You mock my pain,” he said angrily. He threw her onto the bed.
Marda fell back, and before she could sit up, Caleb was on top of her. He felt the dizzying effect that alerted him of her fright but he ignored it. Doing so caused him a great deal of pain that shot through his head but he locked it down, growling because his need for her was even more painful.
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The Descent of the Halo Book III
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