Rule #5 of the Sappy/Crappy Romance Novel Directive: There must be one or more horses or creatures passing for horses included.

~

Chapter Three

 

***

When she woke, it was to sunlight streaming through a window that hadnít been there, beside the wardrobe, when sheíd gone to sleep. She blinked at and pulled the pillow over her head.

"Rise, mílady, you must outshine the sun." A voice said from the foot of her bed. She recognized the voice.

"Go awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay." She wailed into her pillow. Suddenly she was being lifted in strong arms and set on her feet. She refused to lock her knees in childish defiance and he held her up. She continued cussing into the pillow, somehow convincing herself that if she didnít look at him, he wasnít really there.

"Do you wish me to bathe you?" He rumbled into her ear, a claw tip trailing gently up her bicep. She jumped back away from him, hitting him with her pillow as she went. He laughed at her and bowed, gesturing to a door that had appeared that on her entrance revealed itself to be a bathroom. Dress quickly, mílady, the horses are waiting." He called as she slammed the door on his toothy grin.

Inside she found a hot shower waiting and her own favorite shampoo and conditioner. Even her favorite brand of razor was there. She inspected each item suspiciously before using them and found them to be genuine as far as she could tell. When she finished her shower she dried herself on a huge thick sky-blue towel and found a pair of jeans in her size and a simple white button-up blouse. Folding in the blouse was a matching set of panties and a bra in silky white and lace. She glanced around suspiciously before slipping them on and pulling on the clothing, then found a toothbrush to use and a brush for her unruly curls. She braided her hair and clasped it with a clip she found in a nearly empty drawer and hung the towel over the shower wall.

Opening the door she discovered Leo lounging on her bed staring out the window. She looked up when she opened the door and flicked his ears toward the foot of the bed where socks and riding boots waited. She slumped to the floor beside them and started pulling them on while he watched, fidgeting a strand of his hair absently.

"You smell far more feminine." He commented idly. She grunted and pulled her pant legs down over her boots.

"Isnít that strange, seeing as Iím a female and all." She said, the sarcastic edge to her voice making him scowl.

"Are you sure? I can hardly tell under those menís trousers." He retorted. She smiled sweetly, startling him.

"Iím far more woman than youíll ever touch, little man." She said, her voice soft. He marveled at how such a pretty woman could be so cold.

"Ah but Iíve already touched you and I will do so at my desire." He answered with a purr. She raised a defiant eyebrow.

"Oh?" She said. "So youíre a kidnapper and a child molester?" He choked.

"Child?! What child?" He protested. "Mílady, you are far from being a child!" She crossed her arms.

"Oh? Well I am an innocent virgin and you are five hundred years old. Youíre ancient!" He sputtered and got to his feet.

"Four hundred and twenty three!" He bellowed and suddenly they were in an open field bordered by woods with two matched white geldings saddled and waited five feet away. She staggered to her feet, and whirled around. "Now get on a horse and hold your tongue." He commanded. He caught the reign of one of the horses and swung into the saddle. She stood glowering at him. "Do it now or youíll not eat today." He hissed. She sighed and grabbed the other horseís reigns and swung into the saddle.

He watched her critically and she settled into proper English posture. The last few women heíd caught had been completely inept on horseback. Others had ridden sidesaddle primly and fluttered frailly when he growled them into the saddle. His favorite pastime was riding and he couldnít abide a woman who couldnít keep up.

She handled the horse expertly and sat, studying him in return. He caught her glance at a break in the woods and how her calf pressed the horse to edge toward it. "If you try to leave me youíll find yourself horseless and falling from that height." He warned and pulled his mount up next to hers. "I hardly think your cute bottom can handle any more of such treatment. Also, this wood is mine as well. Youíll not find an exit." She scowled. He grinned and spurred his horse. "Follow me!" He called and raced off into the enchanted woods. She chased after him and he was sure he heard several insults against his heritage as they went.

Through the trees they went and before long Leo found himself staring at the back of the girlís head and her horseís rump. He gaped at her. Was she too stupid to know how to follow? After a moment he decided to bring it up. "Pardon me, mílady, but where you come from, do people usually follow from in front of the leader?" She slowed her mount and dropped back even with him, shooting him a grin formed of pure evil. His fur stood on end.

"Whatís wrong, old man? Slowing down in your old age?" She asked with deceptive innocence and feigned concern. "Should someone of your advanced years really be out riding with us sprightly virgins? What if you fall? You could break a hip and then Iíll have to sit and watch you cry and whine while you drag your broken body through the dirt." She looked thoughtful for a moment. "Oooh! What if you fall and rupture your spleen! Youíd lie there bleeding internally and I could poke you with a stick to make sure you arenít just faking it like the big fluffy wanker that you are." He blinked, staring at her, appalled. She just smiled cheerfully and reached between the horses to pat his thigh. "Donít worry, Mr. Wanker. Iíll keep your horse from trampling you. Too much."

After a moment of staring he found his voice again. "What manner of woman are you?" He gasped. "I should have slain your father for raising such a vicious hellspawn such as yourself!" Bel grinned at him.

"Stoppit! Iím blushing!" She laughed and kicked her horse up to a canter, getting in front of him again. He sputtered, staring at her back. What has happened in the outside world to create such a woman? Were they all that insane and ill-mannered?

He sniffed haughtily. As if He would fall! Heíd been riding every day for the last four hundred or so years. He was incapable of such gracelessness. And even if he did rupture his spleen, it would heal quickly anyway. The girl was obviously missing something upstairs. To be so openly malicious! Annoyed he snapped his fingers and sent the twit back to her room and her horse back to the ether from whence heíd summoned it.

He finished his ride in peace and quiet, fuming over the nerve of the girl. Sheíd better behave herself at dinner or he was going to start playing his mind games with her. He grinned, remembering one of his favorites. He would start immediately. He gave the silent order that insured that her bedroom would begin to shrink imperceptibly until sheíd began to question her own perceptions. The last girl heíd done it to had lasted four days before she started shrieking and pulling out her hair. The one before that had cried unstoppably and refused to sleep for a week. He wondered what his newest pet would do to entertain him.

*** 

"I need a gun." Bel told her empty room and she hauled herself painfully to her feet. Her ass was throbbing from being dropped on it again. "Not a big one. Just a pretty little glock is all I ask." She blinked when she looked at her bed and saw the requested Glock sitting there, all shiny and ready for mayhem. "Dude!" She picked it up and started to inspect it, checking the clip, seeing that it was loaded and ready. After a moment she stuck it in the waistband of her jeans and turned suspicious eyes to the rest of the room.

"I want a glass of chocolate milk!" Nothing happened. Frowning, she tried again. "I NEED a glass of chocolate milk!" A glass appeared on the bedside table. "Oooo!" She bounced over to it and took a sip, delighted at the yummy taste. Sitting for a few moments in chocolately bliss, she pondered the possibilities.

Finally she set the empty glass down and spoke very quietly to the room. "I need to go home." Nothing happened and she choked back a sob. Crying wouldnít help and she didnít know if the furred moron had returned. The last thing she wanted was to show weakness to him. She took a deep calming breath. At least she had a weapon. She stretched out on the bed and hugged a pillow tight. Sheíd force him to free her.

***

 

~

Ooooops! I guess Mr. Ancient Sorcerer wasnít prepared for an intelligent guest! Guess heíll learn the hard way.