Startled, Lucia spun quickly but lost her balance. Her eyes widened as she realized she was about to tumble backward down the stairs. Strong hands shot out and jerked her to safety. Her heart was pounding as her face rested against Draken’s bare chest. He must have been stirred from his sleep, as he was clad in only a pair of hunter green sleeping trousers. His skin was invitingly warm against her cheek, and he smelled of fresh soap.
With her heart still racing from the near treacherous fall, Lucia pulled out of Draken’s embrace and frowned up at him from beneath impossibly long ebony lashes.
“You shouldn’t sneak up on people,” she admonished.
Draken’s smile revealed even white teeth as he chuckled, “I can sneak up on anyone I want. This is my house.”
Lucia made to jerk her arms from his grasp, but he held firm. Desperately she offered, “I don’t know why you have me here, or what you’re expecting to gain from all of this, but I have nothing to offer. I thank you for your kindness, but I’m well enough now and you should send me home. I’d like to go home.”
Draken’s amusement faded as he reached down and replaced the silky white robe that slid off her bare shoulder. His eyes lingered on the area he’d just covered and Lucia watched as his gaze changed from one of amusement, to something else, then transitioned again becoming steely. “You’ll stay here until I decide it is time for you to go. Until then, you’ll do as I say. Now, return to your room”.
Lucia’s soft lips parted in protest as disbelief seared her cheeks. “I am not a child and I won’t be treated like one. You don’t own me,” she declared as she attempted to back down the stairs.
Draken grabbed her arms and pulled her hard against him, looking down at her with what she could only describe as a mixture of hatred and disgust.
Again, she attempted to pull back as she challenged, “You can save your loathing for someone who deserves it. I’ve never done anything to you. And as for doing what you say, you’ve got the wrong lady because I’m not her.” Realizing her attempts to free herself were futile, she slumped her shoulders with a harshly expelled sigh of resignation and held her hands up in front of her as if to protect herself from his hateful scowl. She stood trembling from a mixture of adrenaline and anger, but her features only portrayed despair as she kept her head turned to the side to avoid eye contact.
He was much taller than Warren’s five foot six and he was more heavily muscled. Intimidating on and off the track…of course!