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The Secrets of Jane

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"His gaze glides over my wet body, water dripping down... I breathe heavier. His calloused hand grips my hip, staring at my stomach, his gaze lowering... 'Oh, that was a poor decision, love...'" He reminds her of everything she hates about herself, everything she tries to hide--but the deadly mercenary pulls Jane in, no matter how much she fights her past that is about to haunt them all. ... Jane is a seemingly ordinary woman that has been captured to appear before the most elite collection of mercenaries and Warlords. She's doesn't know why they want her, but the only guess she has makes her desperate to escape. Her captor is the deadly legend named Soren, who is annoyingly handsome, deeply complicated, and ever curious about why the council wants Jane. And there's one type of woman that's his favorite: the one lined with as many thorns to guard one's petals, and Jane is the flower that he's persistent on taking for himself. But Jane carries a secret much larger than anyone can fathom, something that will make even the blood in Soren's veins run cold.

Romance / Erotica
4.9 9 reviews
Age Rating:

1 | Smoke in the Air


“It’s almost cheating, with the way you heal yourself, Jane. How does that make it a fair fight?”

“I think it’s a perfect arrangement,” I contest, placing my right hand over my left knuckles, concentrating on the well of power within my chest. A faint blue light emits from my right palm until the pain subsides in my left. I pull my hand away, flexing as my freshly healed knuckles crack back into place.

That man’s jaw really left my skin raw and red. I could heal it further to remove any discoloration, but I have to admit that that would be cheating.

“You’re an odd bird, Jane,” Kathleen says with a deep sigh. “But I still love ya.”

I glance at my companion, whose a few inches taller than me, with breasts so large someone can eat dinner and dessert off of them—which is actually a favorite trick of Kathleen’s when we visit drinking establishments.

“I can’t help it. I’ve got some issues that I need to work out, and add that with a fighter complex, and you get me,” I admit.

I’m not ashamed to say I carry burdens I’d rather light a match to. What’s the point in letting my shadow haunt me when I can stare it down and rough it up a bit?

Surely, one day, it’ll all come together and I’ll be a better person. Punch someone so hard that all the pain leaves me.

Then again,I know in my bones that I’m trying to fight against a current that’s never going to weaken. I was born with blood that runs hot, and I don’t know what to do with it anymore.

So, I just punch people to get it out of my system.

But, in my defense, I always make sure they deserve it first.

“I’d never, in a century, guess that you’re such a spitfire, but you have some moves, little one,” Kathleen adds. “I think they never see it coming because they’re too busy eyeing you. Which is an idea, right? You could try flirting with a man, rather than beat him senseless. Might make you feel better in a whole different way,” Kathleen suggests, pulling up the bottom of her white skirt when we walk through a muddy spot in the dirt road that leads to home.

I don’t have to pull up my dress because I’m purposefully wearing pants. The idea of getting into a fight at a tavern while wearing flowing fabric sounds ridiculous.

Kathleen is similar, in her own ways, as she isn’t wearing any underwear underneath that dress of hers. Those knickers only get in the way, according to her.

We’re an odd fucking duo, and I adore it. When we go out, I’m always motivated to find a prick who runs his mouth far too much so I can leave him bruised and bloodied, while Kathleen bends over to be fucked nice and hard—according to her—when a handsome wanderer comes into Ern’s Tavern.

I consider Kathleen’s suggestion—I really do. But the whole point to all the punching business is because I don’t want to be a part of that life. Not even for a quick romp.

Or else I am no better than them.

Choosing violence feels like I’m fighting against it, rather than letting that life give me any sense of pleasure.

I breathe deeply, catching the smell of smoke in the air, wondering if it comes from a traveler’s campfire nearby.

Kathleen says, “You’re lucky Coalfell is such a traveler’s hub, or you’d run out of faces to punch.” The woman eyes me. “Do you ever think about not punching people? Truly. Okay, you don’t have to do things my way, but perhaps trying some mediation would help.”

“It’s, well, it’s complicated,” I say, thinking of the man I attacked today and how he was out cold when we were asked to leave for the night. There’s no way to properly describe how it feels to be strong, when I’ve always been so easy to push around. “And I’m careful about it! I don’t go hitting around when a Zenith is in Talon’s Perch,” I add, referencing the outpost in which we frequent the most.

“Thank the gods you don’t, or I wouldn’t go with you anymore. I don’t need to watch what those men would do to you.”

I darkly joke, “At least my death would be swift with them.”

Kathleen snorts. “Oh, stop it. It always stresses me out as it is. Don’t need to imagine the day you hit the wrong man.”

I glance at the busty blonde, most of her hair pulled back, while a few loose curls freely bounce past her ears. I grin at my friend. “Yeah, but I can heal myself. Pain is temporary. And I know how to look for a Zenith. Trust me, on that one.”

“Can’t heal a broken skull if someone hits you too hard,” Kathleen says, pointing to her own head. “Zenith or not.”

“True,” I concede with a bigger grin, placing my hands at my sides.

“What’s someone like you doing with all that anger, anyway? I really don’t mean to be pushy, but I just care about you, is all. I’ve been all over, Jane. The anger in your eyes when you throw a fist is from something big.”

I tut. “It’s nothing terrible, if that’s what you’re worried about. It’s just stuff from my family. And besides, what about you?” I give a crooked grin. “Aren’t you afraid that one day you’ll wake up with a swollen belly and no father to name him after?”

“What about naming them just after me, their dear old mother?”

I laugh. “You could. You’re aware of how our world works, though. It’s the father’s line that means everything.”

My voice is more bitter than I intend as I say that.

“Well, that’s society’s and your issue, along with whatever bugs you so much that you need to beat up random men for it. I don’t care what people think. I’m the one that has to birth the damn baby, so they’re getting my name.”

With a deep sigh, I look up at the stars, placing a hand over my heart and mindlessly rubbing the skin there.

If only it were that simple.

“I’m all for setting new trends,” I finally say, kicking a rock in the path as my boots squelch in the muddy patches. “But in all honesty, I don’t think I can fix me. I was raised to deal with anger by getting into fights. To take it out that way, that the pain leaving my body will carry whatever weighs my heart down. The only real rule was always make sure the other man earned it.”

Kathleen crosses her arms, speaking as she slowly lets out a chuckle. “Hells, Jane, that kind of behavior people have in Skull’s Row.”

My body stiffens, but I’m swift to move the conversation forward like Kathleen is so far from the truth that it’s not even worth mentioning. “Yeah, like I’d survive in Skull’s Row,” I scoff, putting my hands in my pockets. “I’m not that good of a healer. Those men would destroy me with their pinky, as we’ve already established.”

My sometimes humble origins are a gray area for many, and that’s just how I like it. Very difficult and dangerous men would be after me if anyone ever found out who I truly am, and they’d use way more than their pinky to bring me to the Zenith.

Skull’s Row... the Zenith... all fancy names for a world that is built on the killings of mercenaries and warlords. Whereas the more civilized lands of our world call their rulers kings, we call ours Zeniths.

But that’s neither here nor there. That kind of life is behind me. As much as it can be, anyway. I still seek the thrill of a fight in the taverns I visit, my healing abilities granting temporary escape from the boring, slow village when I need it, unafraid of the minor injuries that might await.

I don’t know what I’d do without the ability to heal, if I were honest with myself.

Few people in our world can use anything akin to magic, although it exists in many quiet ways—sirens, rumors of vampires, mages, and healers like me, to name a few.

My mother comes to mind, the woman that I inherited this magic from. It’s for her memory that I try so hard to keep myself from getting lost in the world that killed her.

Kathleen says, “Yeah, well, you can say you’re not from Skull’s Row all you want. The villagers might all be daft, but I’ve been around the world. You don’t have to tell me your secrets, Jane, but I can tell you’re not born to no stable master.” She yawns, covering her mouth before adding, “You got another kind of fire in there. Don’t know where it initially kindles from, but it’s definitely not from a village.”

I sigh, glancing at the silhouettes of the trees that the nearly full moon creates. I could try to deny the statement, but it also feels nice to have someone see a sliver of the truth in my shadow. So, I settle with, “No... I’m definitely not from a village... but it’s clearly good for something, you know? The way that prick was talking to you! He deserved what he got.”

“Oh darlin’, it’s these tits. You always get the pricks in the weeds with these girls... but they do land me my stallions.”

I give a belly laugh, enjoying Kathleen’s company. She’s a worldly woman, and that’s something I don’t come across much of anymore, like she’s a breath of fresh air while I spend the rest of my time living in a stuffy cave. If the village of Coalfell wasn’t such a safe place to rest my head, I’d be out of there the second I thought no one would come looking for me. I miss friends like Kathleen—

We both freeze when we round a corner on the path. The smell of smoke is undeniable, and there’s a distinct glow above the trees in the far distance. Even in the darkness, I swear dark clouds are clearly billowing into the sky. “Are they holding a large bonfire?” I ask, although I fear I know the truth.

Kathleen pauses, too. “No.”

We face each other, more fear in our eyes than any man at a tavern could conjure. Many lessons and memories from my childhood flash through like an index of decisions. The burning down of villages is extremely common in warring lands, but who would do that to Coalfell? It’s protected by Belstead, one of the largest settlements in the region. Even Skull’s Row—where all the darkest bastards eat, live, and die, including the Zenith—have an unofficial understanding with Belstead, leaving their crops and villages alone.

Either way, a burning village is a beacon of caution, telling anyone outside that mercenaries have sunk their blades into it.

Then, the sound of someone screaming, deep in the distance, is the signal that this is no bonfire.

Something horrible has happened.

Kathleen takes off, picking up her dress to allow for a sprint.

And what do I do? Honestly, I fucking hesitate, eyeing the smoke with upturned brows, knowing that if men of Skull’s Row attacked our village, then I have to stay far away from it.

“Kathleen!” I shout.

No, no, no.

This can’t be happening.

The blonde woman runs faster. If Kathleen goes too far, then I will lose her to the night and to whatever carnage waits to ensnare us.

It disappoints me how torn I am when faced with the mortality of a friend.

I’ve been a lone wolf for over a decade—since my teens—and this is exactly why I don’t make friends. Kathleen and I have only grown close over the last six months, when she wanted to visit Ern’s Pub in Talon’s Perch one night with me.

Survival begs for me to run for it, but I also realize that there’s people in danger. And I am technically a healer, even though I don’t consider myself one as a profession. But if this is a mercenary’s doing... then everyone who isn’t already dead, will be.

If they catch me... then they’ll know.

They’ll know what I’ve been trying to hide.

But Kathleen becomes smaller and smaller in the distance, and I swiftly imagine a future where I’ve left this village, which also means leaving a friend behind.

All for his secrets.

Fuck it.

I was raised to die a warrior’s death, not be a coward when facing sharpened steel.

I run forward and pray to every god that this isn’t a mercenary’s doing, and if it is a mercenary... well, hopefully, somehow, they won’t see me.

And somehow, I’ll get out of this unscathed.

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