“You said earlier, that when you escape you’d not come back no matter the cost. I know you have a plan.” Her mind raced with plans for leaving. She knew enough about survival to risk the inherent dangers, but where would she go?
“You wear your thoughts for all to see. You’ll do naught to bring danger to this house. Do you ken?”
She gave him an innocent shrug. “I can’t just do nothing. Escape isn’t so farfetched an idea, especially if we work together.”
“Nay.” He jumped to his feet and grabbed hold of her arm. “I’ll hear no more talk of such.”
“Unhand me, or I’ll lay you low like I did your Viking friend.”
“I welcome your attempt to try.”
She shivered. Apprehension warred with desire.
Desire? Where had that thought come from? She needed to be free from his hold, free from her budding awareness of him as a man.
“Please take your hands from me,” she demanded again, her voice less steady. She couldn’t back down, and he wouldn’t back down. They were at an impasse, and it didn’t look like he was one for compromise.
“Answer me, first.”
She tried to pull away. “I won’t make promises I don’t intend to keep. I’m old enough to make decisions for myself, and I certainly don’t need some self-assured male with an ego problem to dictate to me. Now, drop your hands from my person, bud.”
Tension mounted, sizzling into a more heated emotion. Slowly the anger faded from his face, replaced by a lustful smoldering. Instead of loosening his hold, his hands tightened, and he drew her closer, gentling his touch. “Nay. I think I like my hands upon your person.”
His voice dropped to a low, mesmerizing pitch, a silky invitation designed to break through her resolve. She licked dry lips. When had she lost control of the situation?
She didn’t dare knee him in the groin as she wanted, but she had to let this oaf know she could be as stubborn and determined as he. In a maneuver made difficult by the overlarge shirt she wore, she managed to elbow him in the stomach. Her actions proved unwise. Pain shot through her funny bone. The man’s stomach was as hard as the stone floor.
“Ach, sweet angel. I should no’ care what happens to you, but I do. I’ve forced my will upon you, and ’tis no’ the way I meant for this morn to begin.” He dropped his hands.
She rubbed her arms. He wanted to impose his will upon her but when thwarted would claim nonchalance with an I-don’t-care attitude. He didn’t like losing.“Ye’ll no’ be surprised when I do all I can to see you do no’ escape. You will no’ have an easy time of it, for I mean to have my way. Alas, I can think of no better way to pass the time. ’Twill be a fine game for the two of us to play. No’ friends, no’ lovers, no’ enemies, but adversaries, nonetheless. I look forward to the diversion.”