He heard weeping as he reached the door. Not another crier. He didn’t want to put up with another woman weeping all the way back to Varash. He took a deep breath, opened the door, and found himself surrounded by thirty women. He looked around in surprise.
Most of the women cowered behind one who didn’t seem to be afraid of anything. She glared at him—her chin held high. “Have we not been beaten enough today?”
“I’m not here to beat anyone.” He closed the door quietly. “I’m here for Sashi.”
“We don’t know who you are talking about.” She narrowed her eyes at him. “But you’ll get one of us to entertain you soon enough. Coming in here and trying to find out who will be yours for the night will do you no good. If you don’t leave now I will tell Erroc you were here.”
“You don’t understand.” He stepped into the room a little further.
“What?” She seemed quite cross with him.
“I was sent by Tunari. I’m here to rescue Sashi.”
She looked at the other women. “Does that name mean anything to anyone?” When no one answered, she turned back to look at him. “Sorry.”
“Our intelligence says Sashi is here and it’s extremely accurate. Are there any other places where she might be kept in this keep?”
“No.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “You must have the wrong keep.”
“Has anyone died?” Was he too late?
As much as he grumbled about the women he had rescued so far, he felt responsible for each one he had put in this type of jeopardy. Nutoru was bound and determined to get each of them out. Sashi was no exception.
“Not recently.” She tilted her head at him, probably trying to figure out if he was for real or not. “We’ve all been here three years or more. Erroc picked each of us so he could find the perfect wife. He just been a little slow at choosing which one of us he wants.”
Nutoru ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. She had to be here.
“Look, if you’re really here to rescue one person you might as well leave.” Her words hinted he hadn’t made a mistake after all. “Erroc has threatened to kill everyone if any of us disappear. So you either take everyone or walk away empty-handed. No one is dying because of one woman.”
“All of you?” He had feared as much when Sashi hadn’t stepped forward right away. She was here, but afraid of the consequences if she were to leave with him alone. If he got them all out, perhaps she would reveal herself. His job just got very complicated. But how was he going to get them all out without being detected?
The door creaked as it opened. “Erroc demands that you eat now.”
The moment the door moved, Nutoru jumped behind it. He was close enough to the wall to use the door to block his presence from the guard. As long as the guard didn’t step into the room any further so he could see what was behind the door. He also hoped none of the women would look at him, drawing attention to his hiding place.
Would someone give him away?
©2011 Barbara Donlon Bradley
Author: Barbara Donlon Bradley
Publisher: Phaze Publishing
Genre: Erotic Sci-Fi
Nutoru has inadvertently gotten her into this mess. Now he has to get her out. He has done dozens of these rescues, normally in and out quickly, but not this time. Kese sees the stranger who came to save her and knows this is an opportunity to get all her friends rescued. They deserved their freedom too.
Traveling with all of them gives him a chance to get to know Kese intimately and she’s supposed to marry when he gets her home. How was he going to bring her back home and walk away if he can’t keep his distance from her?