To my surprise, the barbarian stood next to me and used his own dagger to cut up the rabbit while I worked on the vegetables.
He put bits into a pot as did I until we had the beginnings of a stew.
He went to a bucket in a cool corner and lifted out a metal ladle to pour several spoons of water in the pot.
Bringing it back he went back to a cupboard above the drawer near the pantry and retrieved several stoppered vials of dried herbs. Pointing and telling me what they were.
“Let’s see your cooking.”
My brown brows lifted and I hesitantly reached for some basil and rosemary. Adding them to the vegetables. Scooping out some of the bits of meat I rolled them in a spiced rub from one of the vials.
“Impressive.” He remarked. Tilting his head grudgingly.
After a few hours I could see the light around the door dimming and new evening was descending.
But my apprehension was only growing.
We were both partaking of the stew which had turned out rather tasteful. He’d admitted so.
But I’d only had a few bites before having to set it aside.
“Eat it.” He nodded with his spoon. “You’ll need your energy.”
“Will I?” My voice darkened. “What if I were to starve to death. You’d be out a pretty bit of coin then, wouldn’t you?”
He shrugged. “Can always by another slave.” He took another thoughtful bite before his icy gaze levelled on me. “Or I could force feed you to keep you.”
I wasn’t particularly fond of the sound of that.
He’ll do it. I was sure.
He stood with his empty bowl in hand and I scampered to near the door to get from his path. He collected my smaller bowl and stacked it in his to set it near a washbasin by the door.
Forcing me to skirt the wall until I was nearly by the pantry. Eying it questioningly.
Could I fit in there?
And could I jam myself in there tightly enough he couldn’t get me out.
“Won’t work, Lass.” He glanced at the pantry. “I’ll tear it from the wall to get to ye, if I want ye.”
“How about you don’t.”
“Don’t what?” He frowned.
“A bit late for that.” He curved a finger near his hip. “I’ve had me digits in ye enough to know I wanna taste o’ ye. Sides all yer spit and fire is rather arousing.”
I grimaced. Reminding myself to be more passive, in that case.
He took a step toward me and I cracked the pantry.
“Now stop, Woman. This’ll go one of two ways. Ye can come o’er here and do as I bid and I’ll be fair and gentle with ye this first time or ye can defy me and I swear by all that’s holy I’ll tie ye to my table and have ye there.”
I looked at the table anxiously.
“Must admit,” He murmured. Following my gaze to it. “That does sound tempting.”
“No!” I yelped.
“Come.” He turned his gaze back to me. Crooking his finger beckoningly.
Like coaxing a rat from under a floorboard.
With the same wild reluctance and fearful glare I eased from the corner toward him. Weighing my options and not liking any of them.
But the pot of stew was still on that table.
Maybe I can slosh it on him and scald him. Or conk him with the pot well and good enough to get a chair to that door and out.
It seemed my only plausible option. So I walked around the table to where he stood. Facing him as boldly as I could muster despite that I wanted to panic and slide under the bed and pray he couldn’t get me out.
“Bold one, ye are. I like that.” He gave me a proud look.
“Now off with me tunic.” He slid a huge callused palm under the shoulder of it and pushed it off. Dropping it over my shoulder and down to my elbow.
I gasped, reflexively lifting my arm to stop the fabric from falling further but already one small breast stuck out above the neckline.
He reached and methodically did the same with the other sleeve so only my lifted forearms held it around my waist.
He gave me a warning look. “Drop it.”
But I don’t want to. I wanted to run.
My eyes flitted to the bed. I can fit under it.
I took one long step to try and run but he shot out an impossibly long arm and hooked me around my waist. Hauling me back to the table and stepping forward so his pelvis pinned my thighs to it.
“Please don’t!” I screeched. Instantly envisioning Bonnie’s wince as he’d prodded into her.
“Stop.” He spoke into the hair on the top of my head. His huge body encircling mine. “Calm…”
He reached around to pull my arms straight to my sides and guide the tunic to the floor.
I was bared and shivering in fear.
“Calm down. You being tense can only hurt ye.”
“Excuse me for not feeling particularly relaxed!”
He paused and chuckled. “I suppose that’s fair.”
He put a hand between my shoulder blades and pushed me over onto the wooden table.
My small breasts were smashed beneath me. The nipples hardening at the feel of the rough surface.
With his palm in the center of my back holding me flat, I felt like I couldn’t get enough air. My lungs and belly couldn’t inflate.
I was panting desperately.
“Stop before ye faint.” He leaned over to eye me worriedly. “I’m not even in ye yet!”