Broken [The Bonds of Marriage Trilogy #1]
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by Terri Pray
Category: Erotica/Erotic Science Fiction/Science Fiction
Description: Futuristic SF Romantic Bondage! In a future world, Carol Taylor has it all, wealth, position and the protection of status. The only unwanted presence in her life is Daniel Kent, a hero of the galactic war, the man she was forced to marry in order to protect her family business. But Daniel has his own plans, and those include breaking Carol down to nothing more than a slave, a toy for his pleasure. His travels beyond Earth have given him the means and experience to destroy a woman before building her back up into the submissive, obedient creature he wants them to be. And now he determined to use every ounce of his knowledge, his patience and experience on the strong young woman he has forced to marry him. Meanwhile Carol plots to escape him and her world! What neither of them suspect is the growing bond between them. The first volume in a brilliant new work of science fiction romantica. Cover art: Ello.
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/Sizzler Editions,
eBookwise Release Date: February 2007
39 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [159 KB]
Reading time: 103-144 min.
"He's not going to be happy about this." Jan set the files discs down on Carol's desk. "He's told you a dozen times over not to be late and that man of yours has a temper."
"And he can kiss my ass," Carol Taylor growled as she pushed back from the desk and looked around the office. A well placed room high in the building that had long since been used to oversee the running of the family business, the office had been the envy of many a man since her father had passed away and left it to Carol. "I've barely seen him more than a dozen times since we got married and then he expects my undying attention as if I was one of his damn recruits."
"Well you knew what he was like before you married him." Jan smiled, shaking her head softly. The woman who acted as her secretary and aide did not miss much when it came to her boss, or the moods that struck the other woman. "Or did you? I don't remember you discussing him that much with me before you announced the wedding."
"There wasn't that much to discuss." The heavy duty plexi-glass window shuddered at the passing of a low skimmer. Racing again. Ever since the new skimmers had been released, kids, old and young alike, had taken up the challenge of speed the creations offered. "Damn kids, you'd think they'd know by now they aren't supposed to be this close to the buildings." She stalked towards the window, peering outside. A dozen skimmers, brightly painted in team colors zipped between the tall buildings. Even those who could not afford their own skimmers, which numbered in the billions, found a way to support the races. Or bet on them.
What else did the masses have to pass the time of day?
Recreational drugs that killed more often than they granted a moment of release from the weight of their every day lives.
There were those few that spent their time in search of something better than the life they had now. Jobs that barely paid the rent. Or sign on the dotted line and give up their lives to the exploration of space, peacekeeping forces on earth or terra forming on worlds that would claim their lives.
The strong ones took their chances in those dangerous professions.
The majority sat and waited for something better to come along. Perhaps that was not a fair though, but it did not change the fact that this was how life now was on earth. The strong left, or ruled, the weak curled up in a ball waiting for the next big thing to distract them.
Those caught in between struggled to find a way to survive, sometimes they managed to make their way in life, keeping their heads above water and food on the table for their families. Other times, they were caught up in the pressure of life, lost by the wayside only to be forgotten by the world around them.
Cruel. Harsh. Unforgiving, but that was just how the world had become.
"It's just not like you to jump into something and you certainly did with him." Jan shrugged. She had been one of the lucky ones. Unlike so many of her class status Jan had struggled, clawed her way out of the mire and taught herself the skills required to survive in the working world.
Lucky for Carol, Jan had found employment with Carol's father and a firm working relationship had been formed between the two women.
"I had my reasons and I'm in no mood to discuss them right now." Or ever if the truth was to be known. Not even with Jan had she been willing to talk about the man she had ended up marrying, or the circumstances behind that marriage. A fact she sometimes regretted. There might have been a sense of relief if she had permitted herself the luxury of discussing the problems with another living soul.
Too late to change her mind now.
"You're in a right mood today. I've not seen you like this since the day the news came in about your father." Her secretary had been with Carol longer than most in the business, and unlike many others had survived the shift in power after Taylor Senior had died. "If you don't like the man, why on earth did you consent to marry him?"
Because there hadn't been any other choice.
A truth few others knew. What would they think of her if they knew? That she had been weak? That she had just gave in and married a stranger just to keep control of the business? It would have been accurate and an ugly conversation to get into.
Better to just sweep it under the carpet and leave the matter untouched.
"It just seemed to be the best thing for the business, that's all." Carol shrugged, trying to put a calm face on her growing concerns. She glanced at the clock on the wall. Late. She was already late. Daniel Kent would not take kindly to her open disobedience of his rules, but he would simply have to become used to it. She had done enough in the way of bending to his petty little demands every time he pulled into town on leave. "But my husband will just have to understand that the business I run in his absence requires my presence far more than being on time to welcome him home."
Why should she start catering to him now when she had refused to do so before, even going as far as keeping her own name? Not that such a thing was unusual these days. Many women refused to take the name of their spouses. Another sign of the independence gained over the years.
Jan's pale gaze met her own in a look of silent disbelief before the older woman slipped back out of the office. Did no one else have the guts to stand up to Daniel? No, few did. The look in his eyes, that steel touched gaze and his sense of authority gave him an air of power few were willing to go up against.
If he had been weak in some way. Shown some sense of humanity. Or had the ability to understand she had a life when he was not around, then maybe things would have been different between them.
Carol eased back into her chair, giving the new data files a quick once over though her heart was no longer in the work. No one stood up to Daniel for long and got away with it. That's how he'd ended up with the controlling portion of the business. A slight, a single slight a dozen years ago, before Carol had even known of his existence, had been enough of a reason for the man to try and destroy everything her father had ever worked for.
The details of what had happened still remained a mystery to Carol. Her father had never spoken of it, and Daniel only smiled knowingly when she had tried to ask him, warning her that she was better off keeping her pretty little nose out of business that did not concern her.
Well this time he could wait.
He would not like it but what did she care?
She had the business, a marriage contract for the next six years and after that she would be free to be rid of the man. No longer would she have to worry when he would show up and demand her presence at the dinner table or in his bed. Not that he seemed to be that interested in her body in the first place, he'd barely touched her. There had been nothing beyond one quick consummation of their marriage that had left her wondering if he looked upon sex as just another duty to perform.
Maybe he preferred men?
Not that it mattered to her. If that was all there was to sex she had no use for it either. So much for all those damn holo shows and their faked passion. No, they were just another set of lies to fool a woman that such things did still exist in the universe. Well if they did then Daniel knew nothing about them and she had no way of learning unless she stepped outside the boundaries of their marriage.
Something the contract she had signed prevented her from doing.
Not that there were many men she would have given a second look at.
Her hands ran slowly down her sides, tracing the outline of her hips. So she did not quite fall into the standard slim, waif-like appearance that the holo's were going for these days. But even so, Carol did not believe she was that uncomfortable to look upon.
Damn that man, there's nothing wrong with me. He probably doesn't even know what to do with a woman beyond a three minute wham bam.
All she had to do was put up with his presence for a few days at a time, then he would be gone. Off on another tour of duty, maybe for a month, perhaps longer. The one thing she could count on from him was his absence the majority of the time. A fact she remained ever grateful for.
If luck turned her way the next time he went out on duty would be the last. With the constant turmoil in the galaxy it would not take much more than an accident to rid her of the blasted man.
Maybe he would piss off the people he worked with just as much as he did Carol and they would arrange a way to be rid of him once and for all. Or he might end up pushed into the line of fire and loose his life that way?
Damnit. She was not like that. Wishing someone dead was wrong. Evil. No one deserved that sort of treatment. What had she become since he had walked into her life?
A woman she barely recognized, who had become capable of wishing another human being harm, even death. Her jaw clenched, a decision reached as she looked around the office. It was time to take back her life, to make a stand and show him the strength behind the woman he had taken as his wife.
"Well my husband, I'll be late and you'll just have to live with that. I'm done with upsetting my life every time you stroll back into it." * * * *
"Carol, you don't have to cancel tonight. It's not as though he actually enjoys the opera." Justin's voice carried into her ear as she sat outside the large house in her transport. "He won't care."
"You don't know him."
"No, I don't. But why on earth would he raise a fuss about you going to the opera with me?"
"Because I'm his wife. It's just the way he is." She could hear the confusion across the open link. Most men were not like Daniel. Not in her circle. No one minded if someone else escorted their wife to an event just as long as that was all that was happening. And everyone knew she had signed an exclusive relationship clause. Legal bonds that no one in their right mind would attempt to break.
No one except Justin.
Of all the men she knew he was the only one who would challenge the boundaries of people's lives. Contracts meant nothing to him, except a dare thrown in his face to do something about it. To try and tempt the woman involved. She had heard of him doing this before, but at least with her he had been subtle about it.
Well, for the most part at least.
"Look, just ditch the fool. I doubt he would even notice. Men like him are all brawn and no brains. You could spend the night out with me at the opera, maybe a meal together as well, fly back in my skimmer and he would believe you had spent the night at the office. Just think about it. You. Me. Good food, a bottle of wine, darting through the clouds on the way home?" His voice took on a low, seductive tone, almost daring her to try it.
She could almost see the scene in her mind. How the skimmer would move through the clouds. Justin skillfully guiding it home, his hand reaching out to caress her thigh, teasing her body with the promise of more intimate touches if she would but let him show the way.
It had been so long since she had been allowed to experience the touch of another living being. Daniel and his contract, the rules that governed their marriage, had prevented her from seeking the comfort of another. And his idea of marriage duties had been brief at best. At least she had the touch of her own fingers. Nothing in the contract had stated she could not relieve herself, ease those needs, just as long as she did not seek to do so at the hands of another.
"It wouldn't work, Justin."
"How will you know if you won't give it a try?"
She glanced out of the tinted windows of her transport towards the closed doors of her home. "He's waiting for me. I have to go."
"One of these days you'll grow tired of dancing to his tune and remember what it's like to have a real life. Look me up when you reach that point, Carol." The line clicked off, going dead in her ear.
Damn man. A temper. He was not used to being turned down, so when it happened, on those rare occasions he did not get his own way, he acted like so many of her circle did. Like a spoiled child.
No wonder Daniel despised her friends.
With a slight scowl Carol slipped out of the transport and into her home. Daniel would have found any reason he could in order to disapprove of her circle. Nothing sat well with him about her life. Not her clothing, her friends, her choice in work. According to that infuriating man she should have stepped back from the office and appointed a man to take care of it. Someone who would have the strength to make the decisions needed.
She had done wonders since her father had died.
"You're late." His voice slipped through the dimly lit room before she had even had the chance to close the door. Just like him to not even grant her enough time to put her thoughts into order before pouncing her for some small thing. "I left precise instructions on the time I desired your presence for dinner."
She glanced up, her gaze playing slowly over his form, a soft shiver running through her body. Her hands clenched at her sides, breath catching in the back of her throat as she fought to keep the reactions under control. He did not need the extra ammunition tonight, or any other night come to think about it. And yet, no matter how angry he made her feel the one thing she could not deny was just how her husband's appearance left her feeling.
Or he would have been if a smile had ever touched his eyes as something more than a threat. Her husband looked as though he had walked straight out of one of the holo's she now looked on with a jaded gaze. Chiseled features, well formed muscles that did not cross from lean, toned lines into the over muscled forms that some preferred.
The day they had met he had worn his uniform, standing so proud in her father's office, only a few weeks before the older man had passed away. The look in his eyes, that sense of pride, the way he had walked with such authority had captured her attention the way no man had managed before or since. Though now she regretted the ongoing attraction that had eased her decision to sign the marriage contract.
He was a tyrant. Cold. Empty. And he cared nothing for her or the business she fought to keep afloat. Men like him had no place in her life. No matter how handsome he appeared to be on the outside, or how many sets of eyes followed his path whenever he paid one of his rare visits to her office.
Focus on the time left. Shake off the affects of his gaze, the way his body looked under his uniform. The wish that he had been able to touch her body the same way he had touched her mind and heart alike.
One year gone. Six more remained. Not that long, if he kept to his current schedule of being away more than he was ever home.
"I had work I needed to complete." Calm. She had to remain calm and not let him get to her. As long as she did not mention the discussion with Justin she would be alright. Sure he would be annoyed at her being late, again, but that had become the norm for them.
Captain Daniel Kent stood in front of the fireplace, his form outlined by the crackling flames in the hearth. A real fire. A luxury few homes could afford either fuel or permit wise, yet when Daniel returned home the hearth would be lit per his instructions. Just another one of his foolish notions. Still, the warmth was welcomed today, especially with the cool, cold look in Daniel's gaze.
"And you believe that your work comes before the duties of our marriage? Or perhaps you were chatting with one of your worthless friends, passing the time of day in mindless gossip?" Steel grey eyes locked with hers. No hint of mercy touched his gaze or his words. Who did he think she was, one of his damned cadets? "I thought we went over this during my last set of leave. I do not tolerate disobedience."
"Then perhaps you should have married a recruit instead of a civilian?" Carol tossed her jacket down over the back of the chair. A long drink, a good meal and a shower before she crawled into bed for at least eight hours of sleep. Things would look better in the morning and maybe, just maybe, her husband would see sense over some of his rules. Times to be in his presence? What rot. She was a grown woman, not a child who needed a curfew. "I'm used to running my own life, Daniel and that life does not just cease to exist when you dock."
"That's where you are wrong. I own you." His voice held no trace of warmth. "I say where you go, what you do, with whom you may spend your free time, if I permit you any free time at all."
"You what? Oh you are sorely mistaken if you think that, Daniel. I am your wife, not your property." Her small hands balled into fists at her sides. Idiot. This had gone way too far even for his twisted tastes. If he thought, for even one moment, that she was willing to be told something like that without fighting back he had just made the biggest mistake of his life. "I may be bound to you in marriage but I have the same rights as every other woman outside the confines of the marriage contract."
He shrugged, a cold smile touching his full lips. On another man the upward turn of those lips might have been sensual, the promise of a kiss to come. Not on Daniel. A shiver worked through her body at the sight, and the cold flame that danced within his iron clad gaze. "Ah, in that you are sorely mistaken, my wife. Or do you not recall the terms of the marriage contract? For seven years you belong to me. You may not seek the touch of another without my consent, you will attend my pleasure when I desire it and subject to the rules I set for your behavior and correction."
Ones she had paid little attention to once she had been sure that the business would revert back to her full control after the marriage contract had played out. "And your point would be?"
Had that been a mistake? Not having someone look over the contract before she had signed it. Some of the wording had been a touch on the archaic side, but it had appeared clear enough. A term of marriage in exchange for the share of the business being returned to her control.
Something she had missed?
Carol wracked her brain, trying to recall everything the document had said.
"You thought that I would be away most of the time, and by that you could do as you pleased. Well you were wrong. Yes my duties to the fleet take me away from earth months at a time, but I intend to put this set of leave to good use my dear, bound wife." He cleared the distance between them, grasping her by the hair, twisting it cruelly until she was forced up onto her toes with a cry of pain. "I intend to make sure you finally understand the discipline and obedience I expect from my contracted property."